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February EBlast

Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Provides a Warm Welcome for All

From DPEA Communications Team

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Continuing its push to create amazing educational opportunities for local students, the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy had its first Spanish Language Open House on Thursday, January 30. More than 100 parents from Santa Barbara and Goleta toured the DPEA building and took tours led by Spanish-speaking students.

The night began with a tour of the building that took in all the rooms of the Elings Engineering Education Building on the DPHS campus, from the computer lab to the art studio to the machine shop. Bilingual student tour guides gave a brief overview of each room's purpose. Parents and prospective students also examined the many projects created by DPEA students, from mobiles and light sculptures to the senior-class robots.

The DPEA is a four-year school-within-a-school that focuses on project-based learning. Students compete for spots entering ninth grade. Each year, students work with physics, art, engineering, machine-shop, and computer teachers to create amazing projects that advance their knowledge in those areas. The culmination is one of two senior projects involving robotics. Since its founding in 2007, DPEA has won numerous national awards for its work and its curriculum. Its Team 1717 robot annually is among the nation's best in the prestigious FIRST Robotics Competition. Recently, DPEA founder and director Amir Abo-Shaeer was named one of the first Paul Allen Distinguished Educators in recognition of his national leadership in STEM education and the groundbreaking work of the DPEA.

"Volunteer DPEA students visit junior highs to help students understand what the DPEA is and how they can apply to be a part of it," says DPEA admissions director Emily Shaeer. "This year, we took part in the school district's Academy Showcase so we could reach every eighth grader in our public school district."


However, Ms. Shaeer and her staff realized that they were not attracting as many Spanish-language families as they wanted. "Even though we have tried to be more open and accessible, including having bilingual student guides at all Open Houses, we just were not seeing as many people from that community as we had hoped."

A presentation by Just Communities provided the spark to change that.

"After I heard a presentation from Just Communities at the beginning of the year during the SBUSD teacher in-service days, I was inspired to take their ideas and create this new event," says Ms. Shaeer. "Everything that they suggested, we did for our event. And I'm very pleased that the event was such a success."

The Spanish Language Open House was a part of the most successful Admissions Open House season yet for the popular academy. More than 400 students visited the facility. The Spanish-language event was the result of hard work by student and parent volunteers and the staff of the academy. Ms. Shaeer reports that DPEA plans to make it an annual event to continue to welcome everyone in the Santa Barbara and Goleta communities to find out about the DPEA program.

Like Our Language Justice Material?

It's All Thanks To Adrienne Samaniego!

A big THANK YOU to Adrienne Samaniego, a Santa Barbara-based graphic and web designer who regular donates her skill and time to create outreach materials for our Language Justice Initiative. For more information about Adrienne and opportunities to work with her, she can be contacted via her website.

CommUnity Leadership Institute

10 Year Reunion Celebration

It's reunion time CLI folks! If you have EVER participated in a CLI with Just Communities you are cordially invited to our CLI 10 Year Anniversary and Reunion Party. On Saturday March 22, we will celebrate 10 years of youth leadership with food, music, and lawn bowling!

It will be a great time to reconnect with old friends, make some new ones, and remember the unique and special experience that all CLI graduates share.

We hope to see you there!

March 22, 2013

1:00pm - 4:00pm Santa Barbara Lawn Bowlers Club

1216 De La Vina

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

For more information please contact Maddie Ranson at

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