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History of School

Providence was born out of a 2013 merger between Providence Hall and Santa Barbara Christian School. The school draws on more than 50 years’ history of serving the community, providing academically excellent education in an environment that fosters the development of faith, values, and character.

The schools share histories written by parents and community members who held a deep passion and conviction to provide children with the best education possible and built on a Christian foundation. The merger of these two institutions in July 2013 was an answer to many prayers over the years for a seamless K-12 institution whose central and compelling mission is to provide students an environment and program in an atmosphere in which they could flourish academically, socially, and spiritually.

A Brief History of Santa Barbara Christian School (1959–2013)

With a conviction that the education of a child is not limited to the mind, but extends to the heart, a group of parents formed Santa Barbara Christian School in 1959 with the purpose of providing an excellent, faith-centered education for their young children (K–6).

The doors first opened at Alamar Church in September 1960. Blessed with increasing enrollment over the subsequent years, the realities of Santa Barbara real estate and facilities led to several location changes and necessitated operating on more than one campus. Over the years, SBCS was hosted by St. Vincent’s, Shoreline Community Church, Grace Church, and Emmanuel Lutheran Church. 

A junior high program was added in 1973, with classes through ninth grade at one point. By 1982, the entire school was settled at the El Camino public school campus, where it remained for the next 15 years.

The years 1997–2003 brought more location changes, until the school settled in at its current beautiful campus adjacent to Emmanuel Lutheran at 3723 Modoc Road.

SBCS has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since 1981 and also is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International.

A Brief History of Providence Hall (2006–2013)

The hopes and dreams of a number of Christian leaders in the Santa Barbara area led to the formation of a group to pray and consider the formation of a Christian high school that would be very strong academically and unapologetically committed to the historic Christian faith. This would be a new educational endeavor for the Santa Barbara community.

Providence Hall opened its doors in September 2007 with seven faculty members and 25 students. A portion of the beautiful Notre Dame School in historic downtown Santa Barbara was leased as the campus. The school was run by a dedicated board of directors, all of whom were personally and passionately committed to seeing it succeed.

Providence Hall received full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in March 2009, after only two years in operation. The school offered a complete curriculum based on a core humanities program, mathematics, natural sciences, foreign languages, theater, visual art, music, physical education, and foundations of the Christian faith. It complemented the academic program with numerous co-curricular activities, such as Christian service opportunities, field trips, outdoor pursuits, concerts, and retreats. By its fourth year, Providence Hall tripled its enrollment to 75 students.

In December 2010, the Board of Directors announced the addition of grades seven and eight for the 2011-2012 academic year.

This growth and expansion led to the need for a larger campus.  During the summer of 2011, Providence Hall relocated to the upper school campus at 630 East Canon Perdido Street, still in downtown Santa Barbara. The new campus, with some shared facilities with the Boys & Girls Club, provided additional access to field space, a gymnasium, and art and music rooms. By the 2012–2013 school year, Providence Hall enrolled just under 100 students, maintaining its commitment to small class sizes and a rich college-preparatory education. That same year, WASC renewed the the school’s accreditation at the highest level possible, the California Educators’ Hall of Fame presented Providence Hall with their Outstanding Campus Award, and the Lions girls basketball team won the CIF Southern Section championship.