Congratulations Matt Haley From Hillsdale “All-State Honor Band”


Matt Haley, a Hillsdale Student, was accepted to the All-State Honor Band. Matt Haley (8th grade Trumpet) will be traveling to Fresno California. He was accepted based on a CD audition with required music that we spent the month of November recording. Over 1,000 students applied from across the state from 7th-12th grade.  Only 6 middle schools in San Diego county have students accepted. Hillsdale since its inception in 2003 has had 24 students accepted. You can see the list of all students, schools, and districts at Matt will spend 3 days rehearsing music with a top notch music conductor then perform in a concert featuring the best colleges and honor groups. Matt will also have an opportunity to meet with college recruiters as they recruit from this event. I have had students in the past make great college connections like UCLA, USC, Berkley, and Pepperdine.

Spencer Caldwell
Hillsdale Middle School, Music Director
2004, 2013 Cajon Valley School District “Teacher of the Year”

Technology @ Cajon Valley

At the request of Trustee Markle, an update was given to the Board of Trustees about our current technology initiatives, as well as, information on what technology looks like across our classrooms.  As you can see from the presentation, technology in Cajon Valley is becoming increasingly old and there is a huge need for additional funds to support our current program, in addition to any new initiatives.  The last few slides in the presentation shows the age of devices across our district schools.  If I may point out the orange bars specifically, they represent technology that is five or more years old.

Thank you for the Heavy Lifting… literally (IT, Purchasing, Warehouse, Maintenance, and Operations)

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Charging Carts: This week we received a total of 203 charging carts for Phase 2 of the Chromebook deployment. Tuesday we received the first shipment of 132 Aver Charging Carts for the Chromebooks and tablets, which arrived in 3 fully loaded trucks. Our amazingly efficient Warehouse staff wasted no time unloading, unboxing, tagging, engraving, and inventorying the carts.  The other 71 carts were received today Friday, February 28th.

Chromebooks: The Chromebooks have been on backorder, but we are excited to announce that the first 1,200 just arrived today (February 27th), with the remaining 5,014 to follow in multiple shipments. The Chromebooks will be loaded with Google Management Software on the CVUSD network, tagged, engraved, and labeled numerically to match the carts. Once the carts have been wired, the Chromebooks are loaded, and security measures are in place, we will begin shipping them out to the schools.

Distribution: The deliveries will be scheduled in order of priority to best accommodate testing schedules, taking into consideration testing dates as well as the ratio of Chromebooks to students at each school. Schools in the first testing window with less Chromebooks per student in this phase will need more time to test, so they will receive their deliveries first. Tentatively, schools will receive their distribution in the following order:

Order of Delivery

Sharon Clay
Manager, Purchasing & Warehouse

Verizon Innovative App Challenge Winners!

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Congratulations to Hillsdale Middle School students Rae Bel Neary, Mikal Palmantier, Anna Johnson, Alessandra Gulino, and Noah Cabral.   They were chosen best in state and best in region for their app concept design entry in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge.  Rae Bel found out about the challenge on her own, gathered a team on her own, and the team worked outside of school hours on their app design.  This hard work included writing an essay, and doing a short video showing how their app would work.  Their video can be seen here:  One of the prizes for winning best in region is a $5,000 STEM grant for Hillsdale Middle School.  They find out if they win best in nation on Wednesday, February 26th.  Great job to these amazing Hillsdale Students!!

Chris Stephens
Assistant Principal
Hillsdale Middle School

Tech Tip: Enhancing Classroom Instruction with Web 2.0 Tools By Carmen Restrepo, Ed.D.


Click the above link to sign up for weekly push communications on the latest trends, innovations, and resources in the Ed. Tech Space

Teachers frequently look for digital tools to enrich student learning, but having access to hundreds of resources can often be daunting. How do you begin selecting the right tool to enhance teaching and learning? The key is start with one or two tools, which augment communication, collaboration and interaction among students. Keep in mind that the tool you select is unique to your individual needs and preferences. I suggest starting with a typical lesson. How do you get feedback from students during your instruction? Do you use whiteboards, class discussions, sticky notes, or partner sharing? How can you embed technology to increase the interaction and conversation about content between and among students?

Using a variety of tools such as Edmodo, Today’s Meet, or Padlet can enhance your ability to gather feedback and promote discussion. The added value of using these tools is that all students can participate simultaneously and responses are immediately visible to everyone. Instead of waiting for groups or individual students to share-out one by one, these tools promote active engagement among all students as they read and interact with student posts in real time. Begin today by thinking about your typical lesson and what you already do in the classroom to engage students. The right tool will support and enhance student engagement without requiring you to change the focus of your lesson. Take a look at these suggestions by Richard Byrne.

 15 Things Teaches and Students Can Do With Edmodo by Richard Byrne

 Three Good Ways to Use Today’s Meet in Your Classroom By Richard Byrne

 How to Create a Padlet Wall for Your classroom by Richard Byrne

Actual links in just in case they don’t transfer.


Today’s Meet:


15 Things Teachers and Students can do with Edmodo.

Three Good Ways to Use Today’s Meet in Your Classroom

How to Create a Padlet Wall for Your Classroom

By: Carmen Restrepo, Ed.D.

Kindergarten Collaboration

Kindergarten teachers from Blossom Valley, Flying Hills, Fuerte and Lexington spent a day collaborating last week.  The day was spent unwrapping the ELA standards for the next performance task and further defining what blended learning will look like in their classrooms with their students.  Grade level teams worked together to identify best practices to teach the necessary processes  to be successful on the next PT.  This model of collaboration provided “Cross Pollination” of ideas throughout the district.  The group learned how to access Google Drive and created a shared google document folder so the collaboration can continue remotely. It was exciting being in the presence of such creative teachers.

Karen Sapper & Team

In Shift to Common Core, Schools Need to Make Time for Collaboration

By Alison Wright on February 20, 2014 10:37 AM

Alison Wright

If you ask high school math teachers about the Common Core State Standards, you will most likely get mixed reactions. Some rejoice in the complexity and rigor of the standards and the mathematical practices, while others consider the implications for classroom practice—and the current lack of resources—with a great deal of anxiety. The instructional shifts require major changes in the ways that students are presented with information as well as assessed. Teachers can no longer rely on skill-based lessons in which students are “GPS’d” through problems to specific answers. Common-core implementation requires math teachers to start with students’ misconceptions and then teach the skills necessary for students to create their own understanding.

So, yes, there are some things that we need to take off teachers’ plates in order to make these shifts happen effectively. But I would argue that we must also rethink our notions of time and scheduling within the school day. Together, teachers can solve problems, design lessons, analyze data, and create assessments much more effectively than in insolation. Schools must provide teachers with more time to collaborate, and here are four ideas that could help:

1) Make room for common planning time

Although many schools already engage in this practice of creating a master schedule that allows teachers to have a common planning time during the school day, some (like mine) do not. Here is what a colleague had to say about a past experience:

“I had common planning with the entire math department and it was extremely beneficial. Did we meet every single day? No, but we did meet frequently to review what was and wasn’t working. This included lesson strategies, formative assessments, and summative assessments.”

 2) Provide co-teaching opportunities

One summer, I joined forced with a fellow math teacher to teach a group of 40 students who had previously failed Algebra I. The two of used separate classrooms that were right across the hall from each other and co-taught the entire group. It was the best professional-learning experience I have ever had. Working closely with another teacher to develop and execute lessons is a valuable experience that I know would support long-term positive impacts on the growth and implementation of common-core-aligned instructional strategies.

3) Let teachers lead

Since classroom teachers are the ones developing and implementing new instructional practices for their students, they should be given leadership opportunities to share ideas and bring their work to scale. What would it look like if every grade level or subject area had a master teacher who was given release time to work alongside their colleagues to create resources, analyze data, and provide meaningful professional development?

4) Meet only to “decide and commit”

Currently, teachers spend quite a bit of time attending ineffective meetings that are irrelevant to their classrooms and students. To curb this, business-leadership coach Fred Kofman offers this advice: “The only goal for a meeting is to ‘decide and commit.’ ”  He recommends that any other objectives—including reviewing, discussing, evaluating, updating—be eliminated from meeting agendas; such activities can often be accomplished by other means, including e-mail. By limiting the time that teachers spend in meandering administrative meetings, teachers will have more time for authentic work and collaboration around the common standards.

What other changes could allow teachers more time to implement the common-core standards?

Cajon Valley Schools Adopt Weekly Minimum Day

2014-15 Calendar

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, all Cajon Valley elementary and middle schools will implement a minimum day schedule on Monday. All schools will dismiss one hour early every Monday. On weeks with a Monday holiday, the minimum day will not be made up. The purpose of the minimum day is to provide teachers and principals time for professional development and instructional planning.

Granite Hills STING Team Opportunity for CVUSD Students

Sting 2014 Online Flyer

Granite Hills High School is happy to announce that student registration for S.T.I.N.G. is now open on our website and will be running until the 18th of March. We have linked a flyer to this email along with a course catalog and a sample extra credit assignment for teachers who may be willing to offer this to students. Please forward this information to all of your teachers.
In previous years, schools have shown a commercial on the weekly broadcast. If you are willing to do that again this year, what teacher should we contact to broadcast the commercial?
We would also like to ask for your permission to post a banner on your campus.
Lastly, we would like to send Granite students to your school to explain and promote the program, possibly during lunch or whenever is most convenient for you.
Please let us know about a date and time for us to visit.

The Real Role of Leadership in Education

Celine O’Hara, teacher at Magnolia Elementary School, shared the following quote from Ken Robinson’s most recent TED Talk.  Thank you Celine!  Yes… As CVUSD transitions to personalized learning and team-based school organization our focus needs to be climate control.  Working on conditions and positive work environments for all stakeholders is a Governing Board and District priority.  Thank you for sharing.