Melissa Taite

Melissa Taite and daughter Chloey take bikes to the first day of fourth-grade at Aliso School in 2016.

We welcome new and returning families to the 19-20 school year and look forward to greeting our students on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 26.

During the summer months, our campuses were transformed from worn, outdated, inefficient facilities to modern, fresh, new classrooms in the C, D and G wings of Carpinteria High School and the C and D wings of Canalino Elementary. Four primary classrooms at Aliso were also updated.  

New flooring, ceilings, heating systems, fans, window shades, lighting, communication systems, technology, paint and furniture replaced the outdated facilities. Student bathrooms were updated. Digital tools were integrated in each high school classroom to improve student outcomes and better prepare them for college.

We are grateful for all the hard work completed by the Measure U Team, and the generous financial support from the communities. Modern, high-quality facilities positively impact student learning and the Carpinteria and Summerland communities’ investment of bond money to upgrade CUSD learning environments is making a big difference for students and teachers.

Teachers are at the heart of what we do, and we are thrilled to welcome our new teaching staff:  Christine Ibrahim, CMS; Alison Cole, CHS; Jamie McDuffie at Summerland; Mikyla Cordero, Kana Thomason, Luis Quintero, Tania Martinez, Alisa Mathes, Kristina Garcia, Carolyn Haines and Katie Lewis at Canalino; and Monique Melgoza, Christina Villa, Jordyn Romanta and Kristin Metz at Aliso. We also welcome Gabe Covarrubias, CMS Assistant Principal, and Dr. Karla Curry, Director of Special Education. Two new grant- and donation-funded Mental Health Counselors will also join CMS and CHS staff for this school year.      

This school year, CUSD students will benefit from new and improved curriculum, instruction and integrated technology. Across the board, administrators and teachers participated in professional development during the summer in these areas. The CHS Engineering and Physics teacher attended a weeklong institute to prepare for the launching of the new Engineering program at CHS this fall. The CHS Computer Science teacher partnered with Microsoft’s TEALS (Technology in Education and Learning in Schools) program to develop the new CHS Computer Science courses which will include instruction from professional software engineers.

Additionally, many teachers worked with their grade level teams and departments to revise curriculum, adjust instructional practices and integrate digital tools to improve student learning. New Science curriculum that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards will be piloted this year at CHS and CMS, and new Social Studies and Health curriculum will be piloted at CHS.

In partnership with Carpinteria Education Foundation, CUSD joined Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to provide engineering and robotics at the elementary schools and CMS.  The GATE teacher and Aliso Principal attended PLTW training in elementary Robotics lessons which will also be implemented this fall. Canalino expanded their Dual Language Immersion classes to second grade, and Aliso will provide Spanish-language instruction three times a week to students in grades TK, K and 1.  

AHA!—an educational program that promotes social-emotional learning—awarded CUSD a three-year $200,000 annual grant to provide monthly training in social-emotional learning to all CUSD staff, making CUSD the first school district in Santa Barbara County to support all staff with an increased understanding of social-emotional skill development in students. AHA! has been providing social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum to the Carpinteria High students for the past 10 years in the Get Focused Stay Focused and Afterschool programs. This past school year, AHA! provided SEL curriculum to Rincon and Carpinteria Middle seventh- and eighth-grade students, and held two parent nights. CUSD teachers will begin the new school year with a keynote address, “Positive Mindsets for You and Your Classrooms” from AHA! Executive Coach, Dr. Jim Peal.   

Back to School Nights will be held at each school site:

Aliso – Thursday, Aug. 29  

Canalino/Carpinteria Family School – Tuesday, Sept. 3

Carpinteria/Rincon/Foothill High Schools – Wed., Sept. 4

Summerland – Thursday, Sept. 5

Carpinteria Middle School – Monday, Sept. 9.  

Parents are encouraged to attend, and community members are also welcome to join us!     

Diana Rigby is the superintendent of Carpinteria Unified School District. She is focused on improving teaching and learning for all CUSD students and welcomes parent and community input and feedback. For more information about CUSD, log on to, or contact Diana at or (805) 684-4511x222.

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