Madison Second Grade Teachers & Students = Heroes!

This year Madison’s second grade teachers and students were motivated to do a service-learning project by the book The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern.  After reading the book, they knew they wanted to help those in need, but first they would need to raise money.  They decided to do an Art Gala and Auction.  Each of the four second grade classes learned a different type of art, and the students wrote Artist’s Statements to go with their masterpieces.  They raised $981 at their auction!

Next they needed to learn HOW to help people in need.  For that they turned to a local charity organization and interviewed two individuals who participate in weekly donation campaigns to benefit the homeless people of San Diego.  The second grade students took notes on all the suggestions made by the experts, and then each classroom voted on which items they felt would be most important to include in the care packages.  

The teachers shopped for the items, and then the second graders stuffed 120 brightly colored cinch sacks to be distributed by the charity organization.  This video was made by one of the organizers to thank the Madison second graders.  Our team showed it to the students along with the Kid President video on being a hero.

Madison’s second grade teachers and students definitely are heroes!  


Christine Sphar, Principal

Madison Elementary School

WD Hall 4th Grade Team Celebrates Gold Rush Days in Style

On Friday, May 27, our fourth grade team celebrated Gold Rush Day at W.D. Hall. Parent volunteers and teachers coordinated a special day for the kiddos to help them relive a day in the life of a forty-niner. The students rotated between five stations where they were able to participate in different California Gold Rush themed activities. At one station, the students were given an opportunity to pan for gold out of kiddy pools that were filled with sand, water, and “gold” rocks. They then rotated on to the general store where they were able to purchase goodies with the gold they had just panned. The students also participated in Reader’s Theater and acted out the discovery of gold. They were each assigned parts to play of major people during the Gold Rush, and given a script. It was really cute and some of them turned out to be great actors! For a more creative twist on the day, students participated in a Gold Rush directed draw. They were not told beforehand what the picture would be, it was a surprise! They had a blast seeing their drawings come together and were excited when they realized that what they were actually drawing was a gold mine. Students were then able to add more creativity to their drawings by adding color, more detail, and a catchy Gold Rush themed title! The last of the rotations was the photo booth followed by potato sack races. Each student sat on a saddle that was hoisted on top of bails of hay. After their picture was taken, the students had a chance to compete against their classmates in potato sack races. Sack races were a fun way to play outdoor activities and didn’t require any technology. The day concluded with a flapjack and bacon breakfast that was provided and prepared by parent volunteers. Students sat at the lunch tables and enjoyed a hearty breakfast after a long day of mining. The students loved the hats and bandanas that they were provided and some even took their costumes a little further. It turned out to be a great day that commemorated an important time period in our state’s history. Please view the shared video that recaps the event below. Thank you.

W.D. Hall, 4th Grade Team

CVUSD’s Family & Community Engagement (FACE) Office

This week, we introduced the newest department in Cajon Valley – the Family & Community Engagement (FACE) Office!

The mission of the FACE Office is to provide opportunities for families and schools to build productive partnerships committed to student learning. We started by launching the Newcomer Outreach project, which included parent workshops, one-on-one orientation meetings with newcomer parents, and a host multilingual Welcome Videos for sites. Over the next two years, with support from a Kellogg Foundation grant, we will launch a pilot of our new Parent University and a Family Engagement University at six sites.

Please let us know what you think! Write to us, call us, tweet at us. Visit our website ( We’re eager to hear from Cajon Valley staff and families about what you think our priorities should be around family and community engagement.

Eyal Bergman

Family & Community Engagement Officer

Eyal Bergman  |  Family & Community Engagement Officer  |  619.590.8884  |  @eyalbergman

Hillsdale Music Dept. and CVUSD Record Soundtrack @ Disneyland

Hillsdale Music department auditioned two ensembles with over 100 students into an amazing workshop called the Recording Soundtracks Studio. This included six schools Hillsdale, Fuerte, Vista Grande, Rancho San Diego, Avocado, and Jamacha. This is the only place in the world you can record right into actual Disney Movie Soundtracks just like recording artists do. Schools come from all over the world to participate in this workshop. Our students  recorded three separate scenes: Lion King, Cars 2 and the opening Disney logo castle that is used on all disney movies. We were directed by Kurt Kurtis. Mr. Kurtis  has been a performer for the Disney bands for 30 years and has been not only on CD, Movie and TV soundtracks but was also in the movie Hidalgo as an actor. The students did amazing job and considering it is a grueling 1:30 of intense concentration, the director was very impressed at the character of our students. 

Spencer Caldwell, Director

Hillsdale Middle School

Cajon Valley Music Programs

Fuerte Kids Enjoy “Farm Stand” from Child Nutrition Services

Hi Mark,

Many thanks to you and your staff for bringing the farm stand to us today. My class was so excited and really enjoyed the fruits and vegetables – many of them went back for not just seconds, but thirds and fourths!

I really appreciate your department’s efforts to promote healthy eating and to encourage kids to try different foods. And the great response to Landon’s note really had a positive impact on all our kindergarteners! 

I made a padlet to send to my class families; here’s the link if you’d like to see the photos.

Thanks again,


Kathy Fine, Kindergarten teacher

Fuerte Elementary School

Meridian Teachers and Staff Activate Learning

As the school year winds down, Meridian teachers and staff continue to activate learning in the minds of each student. We have made tremendous progress this year, from K-5 student led conferences in November to Project Based Learning in 3rd and 4th grade, a student speaker selected for TEDxKids@ElCajon to Dash and Makey Makey kits. It is exciting to see the dynamic learning that is happening in each classroom. Meridian teachers have worked extremely hard to collaborate, take risks, and share with each other to personalize learning for each student and grow as professionals. This year’s work has taught us to have trust in each other, share more freely, and celebrate more frequently. 


Michelle Hayes   l   Principal   l   CVUSD  l  Meridian Elementary School   l   619-588-3083



A Standing Ovation for Montgomery Middle School Advanced Drama Performance

Kevin Day and the MMS Advanced Drama Class closed another successful season this week.  Below is a letter of appreciation from one of the proud parents who had students on stage.  Congratulations Kevin and MMS Advanced Drama Class!

Good Afternoon,

I’m not so good at remembering the correct names and faces the first time around, (I try) but I would like to thank all of you at MMS for the most awesome presentation.  You must be so proud of your students.  I see a lot of talent in your milieu.

I really enjoyed watching the performance, seeing their creations and hearing about all the exciting things we have to look forward to and for the rest of this and the upcoming school year!  

Caleb was really excited to perform with Luc. The entire evening was Very Cool!  Not to minimize anyone nor their own awesome accomplishments in their own rights in any sense of the word, however, I must make a special mention to Mr. Day ~ the kids love working with you. They think you’re amazing! 

And a special thanks to Mrs. Smith for working with Caleb with his cast issue.  Our next appointment is Thursday, June 2nd, at 2:00 p.m., so I’ll need to pick him up close to 1 p.m.  His cast is scheduled to be removed, but I will ask them to do so regardless so he won’t miss out on the 6th Grade Camp Activities.  We hope you all have an awesome week.

Take care and thanks again, so much!

Debbie and Caleb Q.

PS ~ Hope the pictures come through.