Showing school attendance zone

Test Scores by grade:

About This School

Open Alternative School is a public middle school in Santa Barbara. 174 children attend Open Alternative School and identify as White, non-Hispanic; Unspecified; and Asian. 5% of the Open Alternative School students are "limited in English proficiency." 25% of the 174 students here are paying reduced lunch prices. The student to teacher ratio at Open Alternative School is 19:1. La Colina Junior High School is one of the nearest middle schools.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Arts

    • Computer arts
    • Drawing painting
    • Theater drama
  • Languages Taught

    • Spanish
  • Sports

    • Basketball
    • P.E. classes
    • Soccer
    • Volleyball

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
White, non-Hispanic 57% 28%
Unspecified 5% 2%
Asian 3% 2%
Hispanic 27% 66%
Multiracial 12% %
Black, non-Hispanic 0.6% 1%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.6% 0.8%
Filipino 0.5% 0.5%
Pacific Islander 0% 0.1%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% 5741%

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 25% 46%
Limited English proficiency 5% 40%

Community Rating & Reviews

  • (6 months ago)

    Loving it. It's our first year but with three children attending already have a broad swath of experience ) Teachers and office staff are caring nurturing and respect every student as a unique human being. A great family feel and I have never once heard my children complain of boredom. There are Choice classes on Fridays (fun arts and crafts type classes taught by parents) each child learns at their own level... One of the most important aspects I consider to be the Core Group which happens daily teaching emotional maturity! Each class sits in a circle and students go around one-at a time discussing their recent experiences and expressing concerns/ appreciations about their school-day or personal life. This promotes emotional maturity in the child. Self-reflection and skills to work with others are a key part of succeeding in navigation modern life--- neighbors and co-workers will be from varied cultures and backgrounds children learn to express their joy and also state their boundaries with others in a group atmosphere---assuaging the origin of antisocial behavior (i.e. bullying or acting out) since each child feels personally heard and understood by peers and teachers.

  • (10 months ago)

    So fun...Teacher's nice. Fixing the balls and books would be good. I love my school. (

  • (10 months ago)

    A warehouse for children. A total disappointment. our kid was not taught how to read write or do anything useful. While there we witnessed the decline and transformation of a once prosperous learning institution to a sad and depressing and hostile environment for our kid. Bad news. BTW the comments from 2009 are very accurate It's just not the same school today.

  • (11 months ago)

    We love our school because they have indoor and outdoor class.our kids are always happy to go to school. We enjoy the end of year family camping trip for each grade. We love the theater arts and other electives that are taught by both parents and teachers in music and And other areas of interest. We enjoy the friendly staff and the encouragement they give toward parent participation. I wouldn't change anything about OAS they really support the family unit. We can't say enough good things we totally LOVE our school.

  • (3 years ago)

    We have had our children at OAS for a total of 9 years so far. My eldest is now in Jr. high and thriving both socially as well as academically. I believe this is proof of the wonderful teaching going on at OAS. The hands-on approach to learning academics along with the emphasis on the importance of learning to be socially responsible have made this wonderful school stand out. Core Group is an amazing part of each day's curriculum in every grade. It is a vehicle for dealing with challenges that may come up for students during the day as well as appreciations that want to be expressed. Core Group fosters a safe and effective environment for students to work out social challenges. The two head teachers that have been at OAS since my children have attended have held both teaching as well as administrative credentials. The philosophy of Progressive Education at OAS means that administrators and teachers are consistently learning new methods and theories to advance the learning that takes place. Many parents like myself are also involved in the learning that happens at OAS and the best part for our family is that the environment at this school is organic and authentic.

  • (3 years ago)

    Our children have learned to learn not just memorize. They've learned to have an appreciation for education while also learning how to respect others. Granted our children started in kindergarden and had the full OAS experience while others (bullies?) may have more trouble adjusting when coming in later. This is a problem in all schools. Our eldest child is a straight A student in junior high after attending seven years of OAS. And while I'm pleased at the grades I'm more pleased to know that my children enjoy school and learning. As far as leadership goes OAS has had some unfortunate circumstances due to budget cuts etc. that have required an inordinate amount of principal time and effort. Overall I'm pleased with leadership and the parent participation in the school. The school does a great job with it's limited resources and it's amazing that it is a free public school open to anyone in the Santa Barbara Elementary School District!

  • (3 years ago)

    I notice a lot of the reviews are from 2009. This is our second and final year at OAS and I feel it is slipping away. We have had trouble with bullying all year. The teachers are great but their hands are tied in matters of getting the kids to listen or behave. The current head teacher (a.k.a. principal) is not credentialed or in my opinion qualified to run a school. This fact is slowly degrading the quality of education and the experience at OAS.

  • (3 years ago)

    OAS is a wonderful school that is truly a community of teachers staff children and parents who come together to offer a unique engaging and effective learning experience.

  • (3 years ago)

    My children have excelled at the Open Alternative School! Academically they are pushed to their potential. OAS has the ability to individualize instruction which sets this school above all other public schools. The students at OAS are responsible caring and bright. I am proud to say my children attend OAS.

  • (4 years ago)

    OAS is criticized for it's lack of academics by people who have never set foot on our campus. The truth is OAS students are superior academically. Here are a few facts... -3 out of 4 of the La Cumbre students chosen for the Tri-County Gate Leadership Conference were OAS students. -The two essays awarded for the ADL 7th-12th grade contest were OAS students currently in the 7th grade. -The Renaissance Club (Honors Club) has an extremely high percentage of OAS students. Get the facts on OAS it's an amazing school!

  • (4 years ago)

    My children love going to school! They are flowering in an engaging environment that creates a love for learning and instills respect for others.

  • (4 years ago)

    OAS has a style of teaching that encourages individuality independence and self worth... yet not all of the teachers have mastered the delicate balance between this type of child centered instruction and the need for clear expectations and structure. The school is a parent co-op but leans more on parents than any other co-op I've been exposed to. Be prepared to participate financially and physicially in every class activity. Their lunch program is excellent and the on campus child care teacher is its most valuable asset.

  • (4 years ago)

    The people and the relationships and the caring are the best! Kids are not squashed but allowed to blossom at their own individual rate.

  • (4 years ago)

    Open Alternative School has been a great place for my 6th grader. He's learned a lot about treating people with respect feeling confident his his ideas and abilities excelling in creative writing math and the sciences. Most of all he has a love of learning that he can take with him to all his other places of learning throughout his life.

  • (4 years ago)

    OAS's non traditional way of teaching enriches the students life in ways that 'traditional' classrooms don't. It allows the student to not just grow as a student but also as a person. They teach math reading and other 'technical' elementary school classes but also teach them about interaction how to express themselves and how to develop their own learning style.

  • (4 years ago)

    OAS teaches kids to think...not just follow instructions

  • (4 years ago)

    I love participating at OAS. As a parent I got to collaborate with the children in writing an original theater play. It was the funnest thing I've done in my life. I'm doing it again this year since it was so fun. Children are creative and OAS encourages their creativity and free thinking. Our children were slow to start reading. OAS teachers didn't rush them or punished them for it. They knew the children would come to reading at their own speed. Now they both love reading and devour books. If they had been singled out for not reading in their earlier years I'm sure they wouldn't love reading now. Thanks for reading Isaac

  • (4 years ago)

    It has amazing dedicated teachers. The school has a healthy lunch program that includes food from the school's organic garden. There is a strong emphasis on outdoor and environmental education including camping trips from 2nd grade on. It also has annual class plays. Core group sharing is a daily event where students discuss 'concerns' and 'appreciations' and there is a Peer Mediation Program. All in all a strong small (k-8) progressive school.

  • (4 years ago)

    I love Alternative School because along with the basics my children are learning how to be caring sharing citizens of the world.

  • (4 years ago)

    Freedom to teach our kids the way they individually need to learn and not put them in a box.

See all reviews on GreatSchools

Nearby