We have learned a lot about our students and ourselves using RIASEC with PBL

Students as young as five years old have a good idea of who they are, what they like, what they are good at, and what they want to be. Careers were introduced into our thematic units of study this year. Students have pretty clear opinions about if they would enjoy a particular career like being a Farmer or Zoologist and if they have similar strengths and likes. World of Work is now just a natural part of our dialogue in the classroom.
Using RIASEC also challenges our views of how we see our students. Behavior challenges and students we saw as timid, step up and become amazing leaders! They are focused and on task. They take their position seriously and channel that energy. Students we feel have poor fine motor skills want to be be recorders and artists. It is often NOT the position we would have assigned to them but it is how they view themselves and what they aspire to. In giving students that choice  we believe there is confidence building and ownership. Even if it is evident they lack the skills for their chosen job and it’s a disaster, that in itself is very powerful for the student! We hope they internalize and learn more about themselves from that experience.
As a teacher, it is both fascinating and frightening to step back and watch kids fail, disagree, and problem solve. It is sometimes a painful and counter intuitive experience for us. But ultimately we know the language, engagement and open endedness of the task is the best gift we can give them to truly prepare them for life in the real world.
This video chronicles our year of learning and growing together.
Niki Glah
Rios Elementary

EdSurge Article Summary and Reflection by Lisa Russo (HMS)

What Skills Do Google, Pinterest, and Twitter Employees Think Kids Need To Succeed?


  1. I quickly found that the skill people should master is clear writing—the ability to write well. I think that writing English might seem mundane compared with writing an iPhone app, but it really gives you a leg up on people who have just the technical skills. Being able to write well is never wasted—it forces you to understand your own thoughts and goals and what you’re trying to accomplish, and break them down in a way that actually ends up being parallel to the work that you do in programming computers.
  2. I think that public speaking is so important. I think it’s being at Google where I really developed that skill… I think that’s something we don’t put a lot of emphasis on, but it is super important, from my perspective.
  3. Having critical thinking around what you’re doing and where it is that you want to go is something I think is really important. Having a good idea of what it is you want to learn and where you want to go can do a lot to help further your career.
  4. I also think we should cultivate being unafraid of technical things. I think it’s important to arrive with the skill that you are capable of learning anything—even if it’s technical.
  5. To add to that, I think with problem solving, there also comes this notion of resiliency. I know we teach that failure should be embraced, because that way, you uncover more successes… Sometimes in those failures, you reveal your biggest triumphs, too. How do you bounce back from a failure and don’t get less confident or you don’t feel that you can’t move on from that?
  6. It comes back to growth mindset for me. I think that really helps you have that resiliency and grow faster.


Shared by Lisa Russo, Hillsdale Middle School (Thank you Lisa)

Congratulations Mark Reagles… “California’s Best”

Congratulations to Mark Reagles on placing 2nd in the 3rd Annual “California’s Best” competition in Lake Tahoe on June 7th.   Your participation in the competition written knowledge exam plus three very demanding technical challenge stations demonstrated your high level of knowledge and skills.  Only a very few points separated you from the first place competitor.

The competition was designed to be both fun and educational and to provide recognition for the individuals who contribute so much to school bus safety.  All participants received training on tires, multiplex wiring, accident investigations and wheelchair lift maintenance among other subjects and tested their skills with the goal of making school buses even safer across North America.

Phil Medved
CASTO “America’s Best” chairperson


Giving students what they need most: Encouragement

CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8

EL CAJON (NEWS 8) — Sometimes, what a student needs the most is encouragement.

In Thursday’s Zevely Zone, Jeff visited El Cajon to meet a special teacher who dug deep into her heart – and pocket – to help a student in need.

Jason showed up in Miss Wilson’s class 8 years ago and he was a bit of a handful. But he had good reason to be – when he was younger his mother went to prison and when he was 12 years old his father was murdered. Jason then went to live with a family friend.

Still, growing up without parents had many challenges and Miss Wilson became family to Jason.

Click here to see the full story.

“Anything Goes” @ CVUSD Extended Summer Day Camp

Our Extended Day Program’s second week of Summer Day Camp went off with out a hitch!   Our theme this week was “Anything Goes!” .  Just to name a few of the fun and engaging activities students enjoyed this week week we had Park Rangers guest speaking, We put our engineering skills to the test and built towers at of pencils, and enjoyed a week of coding from the Code to the Future group!  The fun just keeps on happening!

Week Three of EDP Summer Camp was “Community Helpers”  We kicked off the week working together to build Rosie the Riveter. Students moved on to learning the fine art of seeing bones by making “x-rays” of their hands with q-tips!  Kids enjoyed the outdoors with parachute play and then ended their week with a visit from the El Cajon Fire Department.  Fun, laughter and learning was had by all!

Week four, “The Wonderful World of Water” had students enjoying water games, the Bubble lady and ended in a Kickball tournament!  Students also made sure to give a big “thank you” to the El Cajon Fire Department for taking time to show our kids how to be safe and still have fun!

Kaarn Hopkins-Wolfe, Program Supervisor

Cajon Valley Extended Day Program

Summer Fun With CVUSD Extended Day Summer Camp

Our Extended Day Program’s Summer Day Camp has started off on the right foot!  Our first weekly theme this summer was “The Wonderful World of Disney” .  One of our many STEM activities included Cinderella’s Slipper!  Students used their engineering skills to design a new shoe for Cinderella!  Check out some of their designs!


Kaarn Hopkins-Wolfe, Program Supervisor

Cajon Valley Extended Day Program