Principal's Message

Bill Woodard

When Dos Pueblos opened its doors to its first students in the spring of 1967, then Assistant Superintendent of the Santa Barbara High School District William E. McLaughlin noted that one of the main objectives in designing the school was to "provide a setting for future innovation in the instructional program." In a newspaper article heralding the opening of the school, DP's first principal Henry Baylor made a point of highlighting the fact that the school was built with no internal bearing walls so that "conceivably, the internal spaces can be modified if new uses are found for the space."  Even at its founding, DPHS was already looking ahead with the expectation of always looking to evolve and grow as an educational institution. 

That ethos of innovation is alive and well at DPHS where this year we just opened one of the most innovative education facilities to be found anywhere with our brand new Virgil Elings Center for Media and Communication. We hope to open its sister facility - the Virgil Elings Center for Creative Learning very soon to complete the complete revamping and modernization of the south side of our campus!

 We are in the process of reimagining education for an ever-changing world. To do this, we are focusing on developing student competencies in the "4 C's" --  Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking -- skills that the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (a coalition of national business leaders, educators, and policymakers) deemed the most important for work, life, and citizenship in the 21st century. From the creation of specialized academic programs, to our robust array of extracurricular programs, to our strong emphasis on interdisciplinary and project-based learning, DPHS is at the forefront of the movement to rethink what the high school experience should be to best prepare our students for the world they will inherit. Indeed, in 2016, Dos Pueblos High School was profiled in the PBS NOVA Documentary series as a "school of the future."

Here are just a few of the ways we are helping build our students capacity in the 4 Cs':

  • Through a Robotics curriculum developed at Carnegie Mellon, our Computer Science students use VEX IQ robots to learn the basics of programming in the ROBOTIC language and then program their own robots.
  • Media Arts students produce, write, edit, direct a completely student-run television news program five times each week (link)
  • Construction Technology students design and construct "tiny homes" from scratch -- learning modern construction and design techniques as they develop valuable skills and experience that prepare them to enter the workforce, or go on to study architecture and design.
  • Culinary Arts students learn the ins and outs of running a real restaurant through the "Charger Inn" -- where they apply their culinary skills to this student-run restaurant that serves the faculty and staff of DPHS.
  • Engineering Academy students design and construct museum-quality science installations that are displayed at Santa Barbara's MOXI, and San Francisco's Exploratorium. (link)
  • Sports Medicine students capstone experience involves interning in physical therapy offices, or assisting our head trainer with Charger student athletes applying their learning to real-world situations. (link)
  • Students in our award-winning performing arts programs put on professional-quality performances such as the DPHS Jazz Festival, this past spring's DP Theatre Company's production of "Anything Goes" and our Jazz Choir performing at community holiday events. 
  • Our championship Mock Trial team competes at the prestigious Empire World Invitational in New York City.

We are proud to be the only high school in Santa Barbara County to offer the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme -- which provides interdisciplinary student-led research opportunities where students can explore their unique interests and passions. In addition, through our strong partnership with SBCC, DP students can take an array of dual-enrollment courses to enhance their education and begin earning college units while still in high school. Along with these innovative academic programs, DPHS is also proud to offer 24 varsity athletic teams, over 50 active student clubs, and a spirited, student-centered campus culture that values inclusion, diversity, and connectedness.

As we begin the 2024-25 school year, I wanted to thank the outstanding faculty, staff, parents, and students that work so hard to continue the legacy of innovation and the tradition of excellence at DPHS. Your efforts make our school a source of pride for our community. WE ARE DP!


Bill Woodard