Better Together: Merger FAQs

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Better Together: Merger FAQs

On April 16, 2018, the board of directors of both of El Montecito School San Roque and Providence, A Santa Barbara Christian School voted unanimously to merge the two schools, effective July 1, 2018.

Naturally, there are many questions about the details of merging the schools. A transition team is diligently and prayerfully working on every aspect of this process. A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers appears below. In a time of transition, new questions and resolutions will come up and this page will be updated accordingly.

For questions beyond what is covered here, please use the contact information listed at the bottom of this page to reach out to the appropriate school administrator.

We are so thankful for God’s leading us into this next season and we are grateful to partner with parents in shaping the hearts and minds of children, and the opportunity to bless our community together.

  • Why are we better together?
    • Unity in Christ: Santa Barbara is a small community and this decision further unites the Christian community.
    • Missionally, the two schools are closely aligned, both focused on faith, excellence in education, shaping the hearts and minds of children, and preparing them to lead meaningful lives. Together we can do more to further these desires.
    • Increasing the student population will lead to a richer and more diverse community. We believe this will enhance the school culture and community.
    • Joining together ensures that the sustainable greatness that Providence and ELMO have pursued will be present in Santa Barbara now and for years to come.
    • The merger moves us into abundance and out of scarcity. This will fill classes and create demand. It will increase resources for academics and enrichment activities, furthering our mission.
    • It is good stewardship: combined resources, increased efficiency, and decreased expenses (of time, treasure, talent, board, faculty, administration, and financial partners).
    • Campus solutions: makes the San Roque campus sustainable; makes a permanent Upper School campus far more accessible and affordable.
  • How did we get here? How has this merger process happened?
    • The idea of these schools merging has existed in the minds and hearts of the board members for many years, and has been an ongoing hope, investigated from time to time, and intentionally pursued over the early 2018 months by both boards.
    • What began as a conversation between board and administrative leadership progressed to a more developed proposal for each board to consider and adopt. The proposal has been a joint collaborative effort between both schools. The goal was to develop a working model that was clear enough to be a realistic blueprint for the boards to consider.
  • How do we celebrate and honor the histories and traditions of the two schools while creating a new school identity?
    • We are in an intentional season of listening to teachers and parents to gather feedback on what is most cherished and valued by our families, as we consider what it means to gather the “best of the best” from each school’s culture and programs.
    • We will work to learn each other’s history and revered traditions (Christmas concerts, Grandparents/Special Friends Day, etc.)  while creating new traditions together as we write a new chapter on Christian education in Santa Barbara. All references to the merger will be just that—a coming together, like a marriage. Like a newlywed couple’s first Christmas together, treasured traditions from both families will be celebrated, some will be set aside as history, and new traditions will be created. Language that would imply one school “taking over” another will never be used. Unity, community, coming together, and the vitality of the new school will be themes incorporated in chapels, parent meetings, convocations, and similar gatherings throughout the first year of the merger.
  • How will we bring the parent and student communities together?
    • We held a meet-and-greet social on Monday, May 14, to introduce teachers, students, and families to one another. 
    • Parent Councils/Associations are meeting to plan the structure for their new organizations (charter, leadership, meeting times and place).
    • Over the course of time, families will naturally integrate as we do things together. Many of our families are already friends and neighbors who regularly fellowship together.
    • We will give special attention to new-school-year events, such as back-to-school picnics and opening Convocation.
  • What will the board of directors leadership look like?

    Each of the two schools' boards sent members to the newly formed Providence board, effective July 1, 2018.  

    The new board is comprised of 16 members, including current parents, alumni parents, and community leaders. Board of Directors 2018-2019

    The board members who did not matriculate to the new board have joined the ranks of the Board emeriti and may be invited to work on board sub-committees.

    Updated 7/12/18



  • What will the administrative leadership look like?

    In the transition year, Dr. Tim Loomer will serve as the Interim Head of School, Scott Rockney will continue to serve as the Associate Head of School and Upper School Principal, Matt Knoles will serve as the Lower School Principal, and Cathy Rempe will serve as the Director of the Preschool. Each will have specific areas of oversight and serve on the broader Administrative Team.

    Next year, the board will determine the process for identifying a permanent Head of School.


  • Will any teachers, staff, or administrators lose their jobs?

    We are able to retain all full-time teaching staff who desire to return. (Several teachers from each school had previously indicated their intent to not return next year for a variety of reasons, including retirement and stay-at-home parenting.)

    A few non-teaching staff positions are duplicates, and every effort will be made to retain all personnel, with some new assignments within the institution where it most benefits our families and our employees.

  • How does this impact the campuses?
    • The Lower School: The preschool and elementary (K-6) programs will meet on the San Roque campus. Improvements will be made to the campus to accommodate the expanded enrollment and to maximize programming.
    • The Middle & High Schools: Plans to move the middle school and high school to the Modoc campus have been submitted to the City of Santa Barbara for approval. If approved, the Modoc campus will undergo several phases of renovations and improvements to meet the needs of the students and programs.
  • What size classes are projected in the Lower School?
    • In the transition year, we will run two class sections for first grade, third grade, and fifth grade. The other classes will meet in single sections. Class sections will range from 13-21 students.
    • Long term, we anticipate serving 130-140 students, with 16-22 students per Lower School class. We feel comfortable with these numbers, based on research which demonstrates that students are successful academically and socially in classrooms of this size while ensuring sustainable greatness for the school. If class sizes swell, we will run more than one section per grade.
    • Assistant teachers will be assigned as appropriate to ensure the individual attention and quality of education matches that expected by both Providence and ELMO.
    • There will be some modifications and remodeling on both campuses to make better use of our space and give us flexibility in our transition.
    • Our plan is to keep the sixth grade on the San Roque campus next year. We will continue to study the benefits and challenges of moving sixth grade into the middle school program in the future.
  • What are the Preschool hours?
    • The school day begins at 8:30 am. Pick-up time is 1:00 pm.
    • Wednesdays are early release days with pick up at 12:00 pm.
    • An extended-day option is available until 2:45 pm.
  • What are the Lower School hours?
    • The school day begins at 8:30 am.
    • Gates open at 8:00 am with supervised access to the playground only for those students for whom it is essential that they arrive at school early. Students may not access the classrooms early in order to allow teachers to prepare for the day, with the exception of grades 3-6, who may access classrooms after 8:15 am to stow their belongings.
    • Pick-up times are staggered to alleviate traffic: K-1 @2:40 pm, 2-4 @2:50 pm, and 5-6 @3:00 pm.
    • Wednesdays are early release days with staggered pick up between 12:15 pm—12:30 pm on the first Wednesday of the month and between 1:45 pm and 2:00 pm on subsequent Wednesdays.
    • An extended day option is available until 5:30 pm.
  • What are the Upper School hours?
    • The school day begins at 8:10 am. Pick-up time is staggered to alleviate traffic:  9-12 @2:55 pm and 7-8 @3:10 pm.
    • Wednesdays are early release days for 7-8 only with pick up @ 2:20 pm.


  • What will we do about school uniforms?
    • We will introduce a common uniform for K–6  to establish our new identity but for the first year of the merger we will allow students to wear previous uniforms as a consideration to families who’ve already invested in the clothing. All new orders will be for the new uniforms.
    • A uniform for the Upper School continues to be considered.
    • Preschool children are not required to wear uniforms.
  • How will annual student trips and activities be merged? When will the Washington, D.C. trip be offered?
    • As with all programs, we will evaluate trips and activities and determine which most advance the mission and vision.
    • The Washington Historic Tour will be an eighth-grade trip included in the tuition and is an excellent adventure at an opportune time in the life of the students. Parents remain invited to participate.
    • We anticipate creating a new experientially-based trip that is aligned with the fifth-grade curriculum.
  • How will curriculum be determined?
    • Thoughtful collaboration will go into this determination. Our Head of School, principals, Academic Affairs Committee, and teachers will work together to create an excellent and comprehensive academic program.
  • Which accreditations and affiliations will be sought?
    • Both schools are accredited through WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges). We will renew our accreditation as a merged school.
    • Providence is in the process of becoming an associate school of CESA (Council on Educational Standards & Accountability), an association of excellent Christian schools across the country.
    • We have scheduled visits from both entities in the 2018-19 school year.
  • Will student management systems integrate?
    • ELMO currently uses the Sycamore system and Providence uses RenWeb. At this point, we anticipate all ELMO school records will migrate to RenWeb.
  • What are the tuition rates for 2018-19?


    • Preschool: Current ELMO rates (Call 805-962-3091 for details)
    • K–6: $14,025 (current Providence rate)
    • 7–12: $19,492 (current Providence rate)

    Student Fees:

    • Preschool: $125 (current ELMO rate)
    • K-6: $515 (current Providence rate)
    • 7-12 $515-$985 (current Providence rates)
  • Does this change my tuition assistance award (“scholarship”)?
    • No. All signed and returned agreements (Statements of Tuition or Tuition Contracts) will be honored. No changes in assistance offers will be made for 2018-19.
  • What payment system will be utilized by families?

    We will use the FACTS payment management system.

    • All ELMO families will sign up with FACTS by July 1. Details will be sent to each family to help them sign up as soon as possible, and to ensure that all of their previous payments are accounted for on their current accounts.
  • is it too late to apply for admission?
    • We will accept new applications at all levels, preschool through high school.
    • Preschool inquiries should be directed to Julia Davis (
    • K-6 inquiries should be directed to Angie West (
    • 7-12 inquiries should be directed to Joyce Luy (