On August 16, 2018, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation staff helped host the Santa Barbara Educator’s Roundtable’s (SBERT) second Teachers’ Night Out at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
The Santa Barbara Educators Roundtable (SBERT) is a consortium of southern Santa Barbara County nonprofit organizations dedicated to education in history, nature, science, art, culture & conservation. For years, SBERT’s focus was its Passport Program, which encouraged families to visit SBERT organizations’ sites for informal educational visits outside of school tours and classroom hours. The children that visited the museums and sites with their parents, friends or family members would get their “passports” stamped each place they visited. If they visited five sites over the course of the academic year, they would then receive a prize at the end of their school year. Over the past five years, SBERT’s paper-in-hand Passport Program grew outdated and interest among local youth subsided. The program failed to continue to reach the number of students and families it once had. Accessibility for parents’ to get their kids to the sites was part of the problem.
This reality led to SBERT’s shift in focus in 2017 from trying to reach students and enhance their classroom learning through the Passport Program to trying to reach them through direct contact with their teachers. Hence, Teachers’ Night Out was born. Teachers’ Night Out is a free social event for local teachers where representatives from all participating SBERT organizations hold informational booths, highlighting their educational programming for students.
The August 16 Teachers’ Night Out was strategically scheduled to take place the week before public schools began classes. The event was a huge success. Altogether, over 300 teachers and guests attended. There were raffle prizes donated by each SBERT member organization. Santa Barbara’s DJ Darla Bea spun records and the guests enjoyed delicious food catered by the Santa Barbara Unified School District Food Services.
The SBTHP booth engaged over 60 individual teachers from public, private and charter schools. Our Programs Department staff provided information about our educational tours, public programming and our available facility rentals. I’d like to personally thank our staff for their help and local photographer Fritz Olenberger for taking wonderful pictures of the event.
With its renewed focus and relevance, SBERT is working on a way to better market and brand the organization and is looking forward to the next Teachers’ Night Out in August 2019 that just might take place at our historic Alhecama Theatre.
by Kevin McGarry, Associate Director for Public Engagement