Inside Education

An Innovative Look at Santa Cruz County Schools

Inside Education 2022-23 CohortThe Santa Cruz County Office of Education and the ten local school districts have joined with community partners for a first-hand, interactive and participatory look at the public education system in Santa Cruz County. This innovative series provides an in-depth look at preschool through high school education. The mission of the program is to build public awareness and support for public education. The Inside Education group meets once each month during the academic year, traveling throughout the county to experience what is happening in the schools. The series of intensive half-day seminars educates participants on current issues and opportunities for students, successful programs that are offered in the schools, and the current and ever-changing challenges of preparing students for the next steps in their educational journeys. Through a lens of access and equity, topics may include school finance, enrollment, school safety, child development, career and technical education, elementary and secondary education, charter schools, special education, outdoor education, alternative education, and connections to higher education.


Those interested in joining or learning more about Inside Education may fill out the interest form linked below, or contact Inside Education Coordinator Les Forster directly with any questions. 

Les Forster
Inside Education Coordinator


“I was skeptical in the beginning. It took a few Inside Education events to turn me around, so now I am a believer in the mission, goals, innovative methods, and caring professionals who deliver COE programs. I can’t imagine a better way than Inside Education to affect such change!”

“Inside Ed has been such an amazing experience! It shed light on all of the amazing educational programs and opportunities Santa Cruz County has for our youth. Inside Ed has been an amazing opportunity to witness these programs and outcomes as well as educate me on how to better serve youth in our county. Thank you for a wonderful program and I can’t recommend enough to others in our community.”

“Thanks so much for putting on such a great program- it really has been such a great experience and I learned so much (even as someone who has worked with youth in [our] county for over a decade!)”

“It is changed not only what I thought the education systems in Santa Cruz looked like but also has given me some insight as to how many different types there actually are. It is already supporting me in working with my clients and helping them learn about different options for their children have been struggling in mainstream education. I have appreciated the van rides and opportunities to get to know different people in the community as well as spend time together in that way. Thank you for your commitment to our youth and sharing Inside Education with as many as possible.”

“Inside Education has widened my scope of truly understanding the complexities and dynamics of our educational system. Even though I have worked in Education for over a decade, I walked away after each meeting feeling knowledgeable and inspired. There is so much that goes on in our community to support youth, yet not enough people know about it. Participating in Inside Education will give you an opportunity of a lifetime, you will walk away able to be a resource to your community and championing educational programs you never have heard of. Thank you County Office of Education for sponsoring this very special program and giving me the opportunity to participate.”

“I was honored to participate in Inside Education. I have been a children and families mental health provider in Santa Cruz County for 15 years prior to being part of Inside Education. Inside Education provided an invaluable understanding about the many different educational programs and opportunities for the diverse youth in our community, many of which I knew nothing about prior to attending. I met so many committed, caring and exceptional educators in these programs and learned about the unique ways the different sites work to meet the needs of youth served. We are so lucky in Santa Cruz County to have such an innovative County Office of Education. I would highly recommend participating in this informative program if you work with youth in Santa Cruz county.”

“I can’t say enough about what a fantastic, unique program we have in Inside Education. What a joy is was to see our students flourish and bloom in programs that fit their unique needs. The variety of opportunities for these kids is astounding, thanks to the area school districts, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and the businesses and individuals who support these programs.”