Beginning with 47 students (only two were girls) and a few computers, the academy has grown tremendously since then under the leadership of academy director, Dan Williams, fulfilling its early promise and continuing to respond, innovate and evolve going forward. The academic and technical aspects of the curriculum have been supplemented by an additional focus on building the sense of community within MAD and serving the greater community beyond it.
In 2008, MAD was awarded a CTE Modernization Grant and Loan to update and increase the size of the MAD facilities from 2,500 square feet in the current building to 6,500 square feet in the renovated former trade-arts building on Nopal Street. Construction is set to take place during summer 2012, with classes starting in fall.
Parents have taken on ever-greater responsibilities, such as organizing monthly student lunches, running the lounge, and spearheading any number of committee efforts for art shows, trips, marketing, fundraisers and more.
Programs and initiatives have been added, including the MAD Tutorial Center and MAD Bridges, a diversity-focused partnership program that prepares Santa Barbara Junior High School students for entrance into the academy. The after-school MAD Elements class allows students to increase their technical skills, and students in MAD Studio take on a professional level of accountability while providing digital-media services to local businesses and organizations.