School History

“Planning for the present La Cumbre Junior High School began when one could buy one and a quarter acres of land in Goleta at a grand total of eight hundred fifty dollars…”

Don Skipworth, “La Cumbre Junior High School Background and Implications for Pupil Personnel Services.” May 11, 1965

The Santa Barbara School District was founded in June 1866, and its student population grew steadily over the passing decades. In the 1920s, all local 7th through 9th graders were housed in temporary Santa Barbara Junior High facilities (some of which were damaged in the 1925 earthquake), but this was a short-term solution. The community passed a bond for $400,000 in 1925 in order to construct its first purpose-built junior high campus. La Cumbre Junior High School was dedicated on April 21, 1927, and opened to students in January 1928 under the leadership of Principal William J. Kircher. The building was designed by William H. Weeks and named after La Cumbre Peak, which stands as a sentinel in the Santa Ynez Mountain range and overlooks the coast and the City of Santa Barbara. Built on former swamplands, the campus was definitely considered “out in the country,” and while most students biked to school, a number rode their horses from Hope Ranch, Goleta, and Ellwood.

Originally designed for 600 7th to 9th grade students, La Cumbre has had outbuildings added to the campus over the years and has served a variety of middle grade levels. Its population has fluctuated from 350 to nearly 1500 students. Currently the school serves approximately 500 7th and 8th graders. No matter the ages served, the hopes and aspirations of the founding faculty and students are as important today as they were over eighty years ago, and the words of the first graduates of the Class of June 1928 still hold true:

“The La Cumbre Junior High School will stand through the years to come as a symbol of the trust and confidence placed in us by the people of Santa Barbara, and as a lasting monument to public education…”

The Midget. June 1928