Illumina, Global Genomics Leader & Cajon Valley Collaborate on The World of Work


How can a child aspire to be a Bioinformatician?  This is one of hundreds of new jobs that didn’t even exist a year ago because of the rapid convergence of technology, research, and scientific breakthroughs.  Global Genomics Leader, Illumina, opened their doors to the Cajon Valley Union School District last week to assist in answering this question.  Just as trailblazers like Illumina will need a skilled and adaptive workforce to continue curing cancer and improving conditions for the human race, our local schools need exposure and opportunities for our students during their formative years to align their strengths, interests, and values towards finding their place in the world.  We are very excited about this partnership and are grateful to Illumina for including our students in their mission to improve the human condition.  The video below was made last year at Illumina with employees and thought leaders on the future.

Cajon Valley Union School District “World of Work” Initiative

Vista Grande Students Have a Voice


Last year, the Vista Grande Sock Hop was on the chopping block. But a group of vocal 4th graders rallied their peers and wrote persuasive letters to myself and the VG PTA board in hopes to continue the tradition. As you can see from the poodle skirts,  leather jackets, and Pink Ladies, they succeeded.


While Vista Grande is rich in tradition, our forward thinking staff members,  aren’t afraid to try new things in order to provide meaningful learning experiences for VG students.  As Dr. Miyashiro and AP Bartley visited our classrooms, they observed everything from 5 year olds creating digital portfolios to 5th graders collaborating with classmates to build popsicle bridges. Additionally,  we have a supportive parent community, ready to roll up their sleeves to paint with students, organize school events and participate in decision making committees.


CVUSD, listen up! Our Vista Grande students have a lot to say about their learning.


Tita Cordero-Bautista, Principal

Vista Grande Elementary

EmSTEAM 6th Grade Team Wins $2000 Grant from the SDSU Research Foundation

After completing various maker projects in the classroom, the need for more space and materials for students to continually revise and refine their drafts/prototypes of projects was necessary. To support the Design Thinking Process and encourage our students who are innately makers, the 6th grade team at EmSTEAM applied for and received a $2,000 grant from the SDSU Research Foundation on behalf of the California Community Foundation to help fund materials to create a maker space on campus. This will support projects that emphasize students’ strengths and take what they have learned across curricular areas in order to apply it in creating new innovations. It will encourage them to collaborate, persevere at problem solving, provide and receive effective feedback, discover their passion, and learn skills that they can apply to their future world of work.

Amber Walsh

Emerald Middle School

Math and Science Teacher 

Congratulations El Cajon Police Department Officer Louie Michael

Cajon Valley Schools and Staff do not take safety for granted.  Every day we are so grateful to rely on Heartland Fire & Rescue, San Diego Sheriffs, and The El Cajon Police Department to safeguard our community and schools.  On Tuesday March 14th, The Anti Defamation League gave one of its highest awards (The Sherwood Award) to our very own El Cajon Police Officer Louie Michael.  The Anti Defamation League and Police Chief Davis allowed me to share a few words of thanks on behalf of our school district.  The El Cajon Police Department is in a class all by itself in terms of community leadership and law enforcement and Officer Louie Michael is a shining example why… This year alone Officer Michael provided leadership at the Knights of Columbus festival where funds were raised to support refugees in El Cajon, he assisted the Latino Police Officer Association in providing bicycles to Cajon Valley students, when Louie learned that many of our children didn’t have helmets he found resources to provide them, Officer Michael assists WD Hall in their Junior Achievement program, he provides under privileged children with clothing and school supplies through Target’s “shop with a cop” program, Louie engaged with ECPD in a teddy bear drive to bring teddy bears to Children’s Hospital, Louie was Involved in the annual Christmas toys giveaway with the Chaldean middle eastern social services giving needy children something to smile about, he serves annually at the Thanksgiving turkey meal give away for El Cajon families, he gives presentations at local churches and mosques to help Syrian children and families assimilate in the US, and he’s created cultural awareness training for school and law enforcement professions to better serve our community.  We are so happy that Officer Louie Michael and the El Cajon Police Department were recognized for their “above and beyond service”.  Thank you for your love, compassion, strength, and leadership!

Jamacha is a-Buzzing

Jamacha Hawk activity was in full swing as Superintendent Miyashiro, Board Member Miller, and Naranca AP Johnson visited this week. Among the highlights were 5th graders preparing for Biz Town; 4th graders using Hyperdoc to create content,;3rd graders preparing for their annual musical program,; K – 2nd graders developing their abilities as self-regulated learners through blended learning rotations, and TKs creating a neighborhood in their maker space, We were finalizing preparations for our CYT performance of Peter Pan Tuesday night, our annual Father-Daughter Sock Hop Friday, and our Moton event later in the month. Jamacha is a-buzzing!

To my Hawk family – teachers, scholars, and families – I’m proud of our hard work and perseverance to learn and use new and exciting technology to ensure that each and every one of our scholars excels, learns to love learning, and begins to explore their passions and talents.  David noticed that we’re ahead of the pack in piloting Smarty Ants and consistently have stellar data on ST Math.  And we continue to learn about, try out, and evaluate new programs and apps to drive student achievement.


Jamacha teachers are the “lead learners” right along with me here at Jamacha.  Kudos!


Kathy Skube, Principal

Jamacha Elementary School

LCC is the Place to Be!

Students and teachers at Los Coches Creek Middle School work and play in a highly engaging, technology infused learning program. From the construction of towers that need to stand up to the violent shaking of an earthquake simulator, to self monitoring their improvement at running the mile with personal fitness trackers, LCC students continually set goals and strive to improve their performance.

Something Big is Coming to Los Coches Creek!!!

Dana Stevenson, Principal

Los Coches Creek Middle School

CVUSD Transportation (student check and ZPASS)

We are attaching two videos of our newest systems which are now fully functional on our school buses.  Both systems are provided by Zonar Systems, which incorporates our existing GPS.  This allows us to have one company handle all aspects of the system.  I will put in a little synopsis for each video.

Video 1:  Student Child Check system

SB 1072 (The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law) was enacted as a result of the September 2015 tragedy (Whittier, CA) when a student was left aboard a school bus unattended and died.  This new law requires that all school districts for the start of the 18/19 school year must have a child check system (approved by the California Highway Patrol) installed in each school bus.  By Dec 2017, the CHP must have the specifications adopted for this system.  Unfortunately, leaving students aboard a school bus unattended happens too often.   Here at Cajon Valley, I teach our drivers from day one how to prevent this from occurring, and continually remind ALL staff of the process to prevent leaving a child aboard unattended.  We also will have updated curriculum from the CDE addressing this situation which too will be taught to all of our staff.

Cajon Valley implemented this program well before the mandated start date, and installed the Student Check System in all of our school buses for the start of the 16/17 school year.  The video shows a brief process on the steps the driver(s) MUST do each and every time the bus is left unattended.  IF a driver does not complete these steps, continual email alerts are sent to appropriate staff.  At this point, staff must go to the bus, and perform the student check.  We have internal measures here to keep track of when this occurs.

Video 2:  ZPASS – Student Attendance System

It is becoming more common that parents/guardians want to know when their children have gotten on or off the bus, at what location, and at what time.  This system, ZPASS, uses an RFID card which is issued to each bus rider.   The student will swipe (scan) their issued ZPASS card at the reader which is located at the entrance area of the school bus.  The child will scan each time he/she gets on and off the school bus.  For our Special Needs students who are unable to perform this task, the driver or attendant will scan the ZPASS card for the student.  The system will send electronically (either via a desktop portal or smart phone application) the information to the parent.  This parent portal is optional and we are receiving positive feedback from our parents on that option.

Further, each principal has received a set of directions on how to log in to the portal to instantaneously see who is aboard the school bus.  We find this is a very useful tool as we get inquiries that require us to radio the driver to find out if a particular student (or group of students) is/are aboard the bus.  This allows Administrators the ability to find this information out without having to contact Transportation.

The online attendance also allows us the capability of determining exactly who is aboard any of our school buses at any given time.  This comes in particularly useful when an accident has occurred, and we need to provide lists of those aboard.

Edward “Ted” Saltzstein

Cajon Valley Union School District, Transportation Department

Driver Instructor / Safety Coordinator,  Field Trip Coordinator

Emerald Middle School “Color For College” – Color Run (Friday, April 7th @ 2:30)

Emerald Middle School is hosting our first annual “Color For College” – Color Run.  The goal is to raise money for college field trips and other college readiness activities while promoting a positive climate and college going culture.  I would like to invite you to our event and extend the opportunity to throw color powder on our students! The event will take place during our 8th period on Friday, April 7th at 2:30. Check out our promotional video: 

Please let me know if you are interested in attending!


Ashley Maher, School Counselor  &   Steve Bailey, Principal

Emerald Middle School