Blossom Valley – Stepping into the Future

The students and staff of Blossom Valley Elementary were excited to welcome our Superintendent, Dr. David Miyashiro, and Board Member, Tamara Otero to our beautiful campus. Our focus on student collaboration, the creation of our blended learning environment, and our renewed focus on student writing was on full display. Our guests were able to witness assignments being distributed through Google Classroom, ST Math, collaborative assignments/presentations via our Chromebooks, student publications, volunteerism, physical education and performing arts in one short visit. We appreciate our visitors for recognizing the hard work and dedication of our amazing staff, and for taking the time to create several special moments for those specific students that would benefit most from a positive interaction with another caring adult. The smiles made and the impressions left by those meaningful interactions are priceless, lasting and greatly appreciated!

During their visit, Dr. Miyashiro and Mrs. Otero were also able to watch the first dress rehearsal of our third grade musical. Our third grade risk takers put their nerves aside, and put their talents on display for our guests, staff and their student peers. Dr. Miyashiro and Mrs. Otero, we hope that you enjoyed your visit as much as we enjoyed having you at Blossom Valley. Our home is your home. Please come back and visit us, again, soon!

Keith Himaka, Principal
Blossom Valley Elementary School

Flying Hills Takes “I Need a Vacation” on the Road

70 fourth and fifth grade performing arts students from Flying Hills FAME, took their musical, “I Need a Vacation”, on the road! The musical took audiences on a vacation of their own as they watched students create vacation scenes, such as a family road trip, fishing trip, baseball game, a trip to the beach and a trip to an amusement park. They have previously performed at schools around the district and this week they performed for the residents at Mount Miguel Covenant Village, a retirement community in Spring Valley. The residents, many who are former teachers, were so excited to watch the students onstage. The students enjoyed the chance to interact with the residents while they talked about their interests, shared stories, and enjoyed cookies and punch! It was an unforgettable experience for the residents, students, and their teachers!

Brittany Lindsay and Valerie Barnes
4/5 Grade Performing Arts Teachers
Flying Hills Elementary

What is “Burn Book” and… What to do about it.

Burn BOOK is the newest of the anonymous teen apps that cases problems on school campuses.
Just in the last couple months, the BurnBook App has gained hundreds of thousands of users, and is very much hated by parents and TEACHERS. It also caught a lot of attention from police and law enforcement.
We created this social media app guide for parents and teachers to help them understand what the BurnBook app is and how they can keep their STUDENTS safe from this app.

What is the BurnBook App?
What is Burn Book Parent Teacher Guide
BurnBook is an anonymous app for posting text, PHOTOS and audio rumor MESSAGES about others. Here is what the company says in its marketing:

“Always be in the know.” – Which means to kids: “trust what others share.”
“Voice your thoughts. Keep your privacy.” – Which means: “You’re not responsible for what you say.”
“Count the screenshots.” – Which means: “Count how many times people capture your rumor and SAVE it to their phone.”
How Does BurnBook Work?
The app groups messages by school and/or college campuses.
It requires ACCESS to your location so it can find all schools nearby.
BurnBook app has an age restriction 18+. However, no one monitors or restricts ACCESS for younger kids
BurnBook App age restriction?
All users must be 18 years or older to use this SERVICE.
However, no one monitors or restricts ACCESS for younger kids.
Elementary school students can easily get access to this app (and their schools are already listed).
Phone number verification
The app doesn’t require users to CREATE AN ACCOUNT or reveal any personal information in order to browse posts. However, to be able to post news you have to go through phone number verification.

BurnBook rules for posting:
Before you are able to use the app or post your news the BurnBook app asks you to read and accept the NEXT rules:

You are responsible for the content you upload.
No nudity or violence.
Don’t harass other people.
If you break the rules, YOUR ACCOUNT will be removed and you might be held legally accountable.
The Burn Book app is easy to use
When reading a post you can:

Like the post
Take a screenshot
Vote the post “up” or “down”
Report the content
BurnBook app perhaps got it’s app name from a pink diary in the 2004 movie titled “Mean Girls.”
BurnBook’s name is from a movie
BurnBook perhaps got it’s app name from a pink diary in the 2004 movie titled “Mean Girls.” In the movie, characters use THE BOOKto write mean comments and rumors about schoolmates, teachers and others.

BurnBook has cyberbullying issues
This app encourages students to use real names when they share rumors and drama about students at the school. Also, it encourages students to take screenshots of rumors and save them to their phone. This causes bullying issues.

Threats posted on BurnBook caused at least six schools to CLOSE in March 2015
BurnBook causes problems for schools around the country
Threats posted on BurnBook caused at least six schools to close in the last 23 days (March 2015):

Torrance, CA – threats to commit shootings, 14-year-old girl was arrested (DailyBreeze)
Lawndale, CA – shooting threats, 16 YEARS OLD student was arrested (DailyBreeze)
Oceanside, CA – 14 YEARS OLD student was arrested (KPBS)
San Marcos, CA – 14 YEARS OLD student was arrested (KPBS)
Princeton, NJ – mass shooting threat, a teen is arrested (Las Vegas Review Journal)
Lebanon, OR (Koin6)
Explain your kids that if you threaten someone else (even anonymously) you will get caught by the police
What can teachers and parents do to keep students safe?
We recommend you have your kids DELETE this app
If your kids have this app – have a conversation with them immediately
Discuss bullying issues. Tell your kids that they can always come to you if they have a problem or a concern
Explain that anonymous posts end up public
If you threaten someone else you will get caught by the police

Flying Hills third-graders learn about environmental impacts at the beach

“A DAY AT THE BEACH” conjures the imagination to daydreaming of sun, fun, play and rest. The third-grade students from El Cajon’s Flying Hills Elementary School had a different kind of day at the beach on March 10. Their visit to the coastline was about good lessons to learn and good acts of community service to perform, as these students went to Ocean Beach to do beach cleanup and hear about the science of marine and environmental studies.
The project, the inspiration of Shauna Stueve, one of three third-grade teachers at Flying Hills, lives in Ocean Beach and volunteers with the Surfrider Foundation, to help keep San Diego’s coastal areas clean and protected. The beach cleanup day was most recent in a series of special CLASS projects she designed to increase her students’ environmental awareness.
These projects were partially funded by a small grant awarded from the San Diego Teacher’s Fund, administered through The San Diego Foundation, for lesson programs especially targeted toward classroom studies that spilled over into student engagement for community betterment and service projects. This is the second year in a row that Stueve has APPLIED FOR and received one of these grants. The grants have also funded on-campus recycling bins scattered and trash pick-up tools for student use.
The two other teachers who brought along their classes were Stacey Perkins and Marci Knoles. Each Flying Hills class PARTICIPATING in the beach cleanup day numbered about 22 or 23 students.
Event organizers quickly assembled the children into work groups of about five or six apiece, with each beach cleanup team assigned a responsible adult leader. Children were provided with reusable plastic-covered work gloves and reusable trash-collection bags. Adults carried safety trash pickers and tally sheets to record the TYPES OF marine debris that the children removed.
Haley Jain Haggerstone, San Diego County manager with Surfrider Foundation, gave the eager children a few safety alerts.
“Be careful of anything sharp,” she warned. “Pick up broken glass or metal carefully. And don’t touch any animal you find, whether dead or injured. Tell an adult about the creature, and we will make sure it’s taken care of.”
Then the children scattered across the sand along the coast and into the adjacent grassy park areas. They spent over an hour rambling the shoreline, collecting whatever did not belong at the beach.
The first group to return had its trash bags weigh in at two pounds.
At the cleanup’s end, all the student teams had collected a total of 49 pounds of debris from the beach, 44 pounds of that being outright trash and 5 pounds of recyclables. The most common item retrieved was part of a cigarette. GLASS BOTTLES were also significant.
“Why is this bad?” Haggerstone asked the children. Their answers included the fact that baby animals could eat the trash and get sick. Haggerstone said small creatures could get caught in some TYPES OF debris and be hurt if not freed. Haggerstone and Stueve told the children that although they live in East County, the entire region is connected environmentally as habitat. Many birds that nest toward the eastern areas also fly to the coast and migrate through the area. Furthermore, much of the trash the students collect on campus is lightweight enough to become airborne and eventually alight on the beach or in the ocean.
Prior to their beach visit, Stueve’s students had been studying biomes and animal habitats. Integrated science curriculum based around the beach cleanup will also include mathematics and science lessons using data on the debris objects that the children picked up. Back in class, the children will analyze and research the numbers about beach pollution using the technology in their Chromebooks, they will COMPUTE fractions and draw graphs presenting the data, and they will practice informative writing about the types of trash collected.
Stueve believes that she is teaching lasting lessons for CONTINUING impact, about how her students will care for the earth’s natural environment and the places where they will live and work over the long term. She says she is teaching her students empathy and awareness.
“I like to think when they leave my class, they are all going out as little environmentalists,” she said.
Stueve expanded, “I think it is extremely important for children to realize that they can make a difference in their community. Although my students live in East County, they are helping marine life and our coast because litter TRAVELS into storm drains, and then eventually ends up in our ocean. By encouraging children to create a cleaner and waste-less environment at school, home, and within their community, we are teaching them how to be animal and ocean heroes. I often ask my students, have you saved a dolphin today, have you saved a sea turtle today?”
– See more at:

St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon @ El Cajon

El Cajon’s Half-Marathon last weekend was the only race event in our region that actually showed an increase in participation. Several of those participants were children in the Cajon Valley Union School District. Congratulations to all students from CVUSD and abroad who “got their health on” and ran the race.

Qualcomm Welcomes Cajon Valley Union School District

Ed Hidalgo and the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™ from Qualcomm welcomed Cajon Valley staff to learn about the work they are doing to provide local students with an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to be competitive in the global economy. We look forward to collaborating with Qualcomm on district initiatives. Ed Hidalgo, from Qualcomm and the Classroom of the Future Foundation, will be a featured speaker at TEDxKids@ElCajon on Saturday, May 30th. You don’t want to miss it!

All Hands On Deck @ Anza Elementary School


Saturday, March 21, 2015, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Hands-on Nature and Schoolyard Habitat Installation
Anza Elementary School, 1005 South Anza St, El Cajon, CA 92020

This school has been identified as THE MOST PARK-POOR SCHOOL in the El Cajon area with no green space on campus and none within 1/2 mile of the campus. Help the Anza Community, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, SDMBA, and EDI to create a native habitat garden on the campus of Anza Elementary School in El Cajon.
9-10am: Hands-on Nature and Display Activities
10am-12pm: Trail Building in the Garden
Snacks Provided!
Please join us! RSVPs are appreciated but not required. Contact us at,, 619-654-3793.

W.D. Hall Third Grade Celebrates El Cajon History Day

Want to teach third graders about El Cajon’s rich history in a fun and creative way? Supported by their principal, Colleen Newman, the school community, and ECHS Docent Coordinator (and retired Cajon Valley teacher) Becky Taylor, W.D. Hall Elementary School’s third grade teachers Vicki Jones, Brinna Van Slayke, Joy Tongzon, and Alison Esquivel designed and coordinated their first ever Third Grade El Cajon History Day, which was held on Friday, March 13, 2015.
In recent weeks the third graders have been learning about El Cajon’s history, so they were primed to view an El Cajon’s history slideshow and presentation given by ECHS’s Becky Taylor. Afterward, the students returned to their classrooms, where each teacher had prepared a different activity that reflected part of an El Cajon’s pioneer child’s life. To add to the fun, the teachers, the principal, and most of the students dressed in pioneer costumes. Little girls in dresses and long skirts and boys wearing button shirts and jeans went from classroom to classroom and learned to write with ink and a quill pen, sing a 19th century American folk song, dance a Virginia reel, and decorate a wooden frame that will hold his/her “old-time” photo. Every class spent approximately thirty minutes at each station (classroom). Many parent volunteers helped in the classrooms and manned the “old-time” photos and refreshment areas. The fun continued after lunch when the children played hopscotch, jacks, and other pioneer games. Throughout the day children and adults voiced their eagerness and joy, and the W.D. Hall Elementary third grade teachers are already planning next year’s El Cajon History Day!
The ECHS salutes W.D. Hall School teachers and school community for their ingenuity and enthusiasm and encourages every Cajon Valley elementary school to hold its own El Cajon History Day.

Becky Taylor, Retired CVUSD Teacher

#CVDLD…. Digital Learning Day in Cajon Valley

Naomie gathered a handful of pictures shared to the @CajonValleyUSD Twitter Handle #CVDLD… There are many more out there I’m sure. We’ll take a look into the Google Classroom next week to see what amazing lessons and stories emerged from “What do you do With an Idea”. Thank you to all those who prepared for and participated in this national day of digital celebration.

Hillsdale’s 20th Anniversary and Showcase was a great success

Over 40 retired and former staff members reunited for a special reception and photo on March 2nd.
Our Showcase night was bustling with so many activities. Here are just a few of the photos from last weeks festivities.

Marietta Minjares, Principal
Hillsdale Middle School