What parents are saying

Sea Change is such a fitting name for the school. No one has had a more profound transformation because of this school than my son Otto. Prior to enrolling in Sea Change Prep Otto’s future was bleak.

At 7 years of age our school district of residence deemed Otto incapable of learning and therefore ineligible to be on an academic track to earn a high school diploma. For the next fifteen years his time at school would be spent learning “life skills” such as personal hygiene and activities of daily living. He spent an entire school year learning to pop a bag of popcorn in a microwave and learning how to put a stamp on a letter and then put letter in a mailbox. He was placed in an adaptive physical education class which by definition had very little physical activity. He was miserable. No one within the school district would listen to my pleas for help in finding a program for my son to be challenged and happy.

Otto had his sea change when he turned 10. Cheryl and John Allcock saw something in Otto that no one else did. They believed in his intelligence, his determination, and his desire to succeed. In just 2 short years he is completing a grade level curriculum and back on track to graduate with a high school diploma. The Physical Education program at Sea Change is like no other. Open water marathon swimming is a perfect sport for Otto.

Otto is nonverbal, meaning he is completely incapable of expressive language, he speaks no words, he types his thoughts on an iPad. When asked why his likes swimming so much he often says it is an equalizer, you do not need to talk to swim. He says the water calms his body. The open ocean is his favorite place in the world. The intense physical training has an amazing effect on his entire attitude. He feels accomplished and has a huge sense of pride. He was on the relay team this summer that swam from Santa Rosa Island to Goleta. This swim was a world record and he was thrilled to be part of a team. A sense of pride, of belonging, of self worth are things that Otto lacked and now has because of the efforts and the vision of the Allcocks, teachers, staff, and peers at Sea Change. Last week the school psychologist asked Otto what he was going to do after high school graduation and he replied “Go to college, write a book about my journey titled ‘Ottobiography’, get a movie deal, and do a Ted Talk.” I have full confidence he will in fact do all those things and more. I can not thank Sea Change Prep for giving my son the greatest gift of all, a future.

Sea Change Prep changed my son’s life and by doing so the lives of my entire family. An extremely intelligent child, A began having trouble in school in third grade, particularly around homework and focusing in class. We switched from the traditional private school we were attending to our local public school, where the reduced workload seemed to help. In fifth grade, at perhaps the best traditional public school in North County, we began to have multiple issues…bullying, disruptions in class, special accommodations to make it through the day, etc. Things were tough at home, homework was out of the question, and the daily fights around electronics usage and management cast a pall over nearly everything.

Enter Cheryl and Sea Change Prep and fast forward one year. A loves school, is excelling in all of his classes, has been completely off electronic devices and the resulting highs and lows associated with gaming and online social interaction, and recently set a world record in Open Ocean Relay Swimming with his teammates. All of his relatives are amazed at the transformation, and rather than arguing and sulking about school every morning he is up, getting himself ready, and out the door. “I wish we could have school on weekends” he said the other day.

I believe Sea Change Prep changed the entire trajectory of his middle school life. I would highly recommend Sea Change Prep to any parent / student that is highly capable but for whatever reason is not thriving in his or her current environment. The individualized learning program, mindfulness, and ocean swimming programs have enabled A to be the kid we always knew he could be but was trapped in a cycle of underperformance and the associated low self esteem that can come with it. Life changing!”

Our son and daughter were not getting what they needed in public school. With 38 kids in a class and the count still rising, we couldn’t see how this would be changing. At Sea Change Prep, not only is there a very low student-teacher ratio, but teachers and staff focus on finding what works for individual students, and customizing their education accordingly.

Expectations of the students are high – the academics are rigorous and oriented to prepare students for college. Students are required to make a presentation at the end of each course where they summarize what they have learned and teach selected topics to their peers. Students are called to do their best at every turn.

The level of support offered to students is also very high. In addition to the individualized attention, the school offers programs for all the students that facilitate both academic learning and personal growth. Students practice mindfulness and yoga, and work out by swimming in the ocean a short walk from the school.

In our son’s case, living with his ADHD and executive functioning challenges had cost him self-esteem and blocked his academic progress. At Sea Change Prep, this has turned around. Swimming is great for him – not only is he ready to learn during the school day, but his increase in confidence and maturity as an ocean swimmer and Zombie team member has paid dividends in the classroom and beyond.

With the guidance of his teachers, he is learning how to set goals and follow through. He has acquired confidence and skill in creating and delivering presentations. As he progresses toward graduation, his world has opened up. He has taken an interest in world events, visited several foreign countries with his classmates on global trips, and with the Zombies, he has participated in five open-water relay swims, three of them world-record-setting. A junior now, he is a mentor to younger students, well on his way to becoming a productive member of society.

Our daughter was rapidly losing interest in academics and getting entangled socially in unproductive ways. With the swimming program, mindfulness, small size, and individualized academics, we realized Sea Change Prep would be a great benefit to her as well. Since starting, she has become more engaged, confident and well rounded. She is doing well in her academics and is currently applying to several colleges to major in animal science/veterinary medicine. Now a senior, she is a leader, a mentor, captain of the Zombie swim team, swam all five open-water relays and holds three world records.

We credit our kids’ education and experiences at Sea Change with helping them grow into confident, independent, and mature students. Thank you to everyone at Sea Change who made all this possible!