“GLO – ing” at Avocado Elementary School

It was GLO day at Avocado Elementary School on Wednesday, September 27th.  Principal Keith Himaka and I toured all of the classrooms before having the chance to see the GLO teachers in action as 2nd and 3rd grade teachers worked with Jenn Petraglia on our TED Presentation Literacy solution.  We also saw some early adopters utilizing both the Sanford Harmony curriculum and World of Work resources.  Very exciting to see the beginning of our transition.  With a brand new ELA adoption coming around the corner and full implementation of the World of Work resources in 2018-19, our teachers will finally be equipped with the modern curriculum they deserve. Thank you for a great visit Avocado!



Crest Takes a Stand With Style

Take A Stand week is an opportunity for schools to focus on bullying prevention by empowering students to make positive changes with their words and actions. At Crest, our counselor, Allyson Wilkins, created activities which encouraged students to reach out with kindness. I wanted to increase excitement and school spirit leading up to Take A Stand week, so I enlisted the student’s help in producing a music video. I invited everyone who wanted to participate to join me during recess. We selected the song and planned the filming locations. Our broadcast room became a dance studio for a few days. We cranked up the music and learned a few dance moves. We encouraged students to wear their school colors and wrapped up filming with a culminating school wide dance shot. The project allowed me to connect with students in a fun and exciting way while bringing us together for a common goal. We hope you enjoy our music video as much as we enjoyed creating it.


By Carmen Restrepo, Ed.D., Principal

Crest Elementary School & Design Learning Academy (Home School)

Important Update on Hepatitis A Outbreak from Graham Mitchell, Assistant City Manager, City of El Cajon

Important Update on Hepatitis A Outbreak from Graham Mitchell, Assistant City Manager, City of El Cajon

As you are aware, San Diego County is experiencing a Hepatitis A outbreak.  Cases have been reported in almost every community, including El Cajon.  As such, the City has proactively been working with County of San Diego health professionals on appropriate responses to address this issue in the community.  The City has begun implementing a series of efforts as describe on a webpage devoted to this issue (http://www.ci.el-cajon.ca.us/resident-services/public-safety/hepatitis-a-outbreak).

The good news is because children began being vaccinated in the mid-1990s, there is little risk to those under twenty years old.  In fact, of the 461 reported cases, only one victim is a child (that individual was not immunized).

The following is a link to a  County website that includes much information about Hepatitis A: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/Hepatitis_A.html.

Despite the low risk to children, I wanted to reach out to the District to see if there was any information that the City can share or if we can connect you with County experts about Hepatitis A.  Please let me know if we can be of help.


Graham Mitchell

Assistant City Manager

City of El Cajon


office: (619) 441-1716

Sentiments from a Cajon Valley Middle School “Papa”

Dear Dr. Miyashiro;

I want to express to you my sincere appreciation for Mr. Felipe Garcia, Office Assistant at Cajon Valley Middle School. As a grandfather, I dropped by the school today to deliver a couple of items to my grandson. Mr. Garcia was attentive, professional and helpful. Not only that, when my grandson came to pick up his things, I noticed something very important to me. Mr. Garcia has developed a personal relationship with my grandson, as I am sure he does with many – a relationship that is obviously built on trust as a result of mutual respect. I walked away with the undeniable positive feeling about Mr. Garcia: that he puts the best interest of my grandson first and, as a result, is able to provide a constructive avenue for communication should any problems arise. This is the essence of child development, to help children grow and learn the values of good relationships. Mr. Garcia’s dedication, patience, kindness and engaging personality are assets to the Cajon Valley School District. While I am certain his positive relationship with students is the norm, not the exception, for faculty and staff at Cajon Valley, today, I saw first-hand the value of Mr. Garcia as a source of guidance, trust and friendship to my grandson and, by extension, to many young boys and girls at Cajon Valley Middle School.

Please pass my compliments on to Mr. Garcia and to the leadership on his campus.

Kindest regards,

Herb Cawthorne

“Papa” to Daniel Jacobs, 8th Grader

Manufacturing Expo and Resource Fair

Did you know that the manufacturing Industry is strong and growing in East County? If you and your student would like to learn more about Career opportunities in Manufacturing in East County, DON’T MISS the Manufacturing Expo and Resource Fair. The Expo will be held on Tuesday Oct. 3rd, at The Allen Airways Flying Museum, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. It’s free and open to the public! This is a great opportunity for students and job seekers alike to meet with manufacturers and resource providers to learn about the opportunities for Training and Careers in Manufacturing. Skip the line byregistering your spot online at http://mfgexpo2017.brownpapertickets.com/

Click on the link for a map/address to  The Allen Airways Flying Museum

Cajon Valley Union One Of Several Districts Taking On Social Emotional Learning This Year

Cajon Valley Union One Of Several Districts Taking On Social Emotional Learning This Year

Second-graders at Meridian Elementary School dance to a song about listening,...


Above: Second-graders at Meridian Elementary School dance to a song about listening, Sept. 19, 2017.

There is a new routine in Ms. Carolina Calhoun’s second-grade class at Meridian Elementary School in El Cajon. After lunch, she presses play on small boombox. A man’s cheery voice sings over bouncy music.

“Let’s talk about you. Then we’ll talk about me. Be a good listener to everyone you meet.”

The students wriggle in place and perform choreographed hand movements to match the music.

Theirs is one of 490 classrooms in the Cajon Valley Union School District implementing National University’s Sanford Harmony program this year. It aims to help students deal with their and their peers’ emotions through regular activities and story time — usually signaled by the “listening” song.

More than 160 schools in San Diego County have adopted the curriculum, which National provides for free through a donation from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. They join many others who are teaching students to understand their emotions and develop social skills like conflict resolution.

RELATED: What It Means When San Diego Educators Talk About ‘Supporting The Whole Child’

A national panel of education, psychology and neuroscience researchers this month called on all schools to adopt so-called social-emotional learning programs. The group, assembled by nonpartisan think tank The Aspen Institute, looked at the available research and said: “the success of young people in school and beyond is inextricably linked to healthy social and emotional development.”

“Studies have shown through social-emotional learning programs — and through Sanford Harmony — that empathy goes up, aggression goes down, and math and reading scores go up,” said National University Vice Chancellor Chris Graham. “And classroom management, less time is spent with the teachers doing that.”

Meridian Principal Ryan Satterfield said, five weeks into the program, teachers are having to spend less time managing conflicts.

“Foursquare gets pretty heated out there and arguments are settled with a quick push, where now they’re given the language to communicate effectively, strategies to resolve the conflicts they have,” Satterfield said.

Carolina Calhoun reads to her second-grade class at Meridian Elementary Schoo...


Carolina Calhoun reads to her second-grade class at Meridian Elementary School, Sept. 19, 2017.

Students are learning to recognize emotions, anticipate reactions by their peers and ask questions to diffuse situations. Take the recent picture book Calhoun read to her students. The main character was disappointed when her plan for show-and-tell did not work out.

RELATED: Dalai Lama In San Diego: Modern Education Needs To Focus On Compassion

“And from her body language, can you see that it went from (her) standing up nice and tall to her shoulders kind of hunched over?” Calhoun said to the students. “We need to pay attention to body language, don’t we?”

Assistant Superintendent Karen Minshew said she jumped at the chance to bring the free curriculum to her schools. She said they are skills students will need in their future workplaces, but also right now. El Cajon is home to a diverse community of immigrants and refugees.

“We want kids to have intentional conversations with each other and to build that empathy and to really understand who’s in my classroom,” Minshew said.

Cajon Valley plans to measure its outcomes at the end of the year, but Satterfield said he is looking forward to expanding the program to more grade levels.

“It is a way to naturally give a framework to the things that teachers are already doing, but it gives equity across classrooms,” he said. “And it gives us consistency in the language that we’re using with students and the way that students are speaking to each other.”

“Do you Remember…September” @ Cajon Valley Middle School


Cajon Valley Board Member Karen Clark Mejia and I enjoyed a full day of excitement this Thursday at Cajon Valley Middle School.  Principal Justin Goodrich and Assistant Principal Vidalia Resendes couldn’t say enough about how committed and dedicated the teachers and staff are at CVMS.  We observed this all over the campus.  The level of depth and challenge we saw in lessons made us feel like we were visiting a school near the end of the year.  The student work and amazing school culture we experienced is something that usually takes all year to build.  Amazing to think it’s only September at Cajon Valley Middle School.  CVMS will have a new Assistant Principal, David Geck, joining them in October.  They began the year with a vacancy.  Skies the limit at CVMS.  Keep up the great work Cougars!

David Miyashiro Ed.D., Superintendent

Not “Just another middle school” @ Los Coches Creek Computer Science & Media Arts Magnet School

Lifelong friend of LCC…Governing Board Trustee Tamara Otero and I enjoyed a passion filled day at Los Coches Creek this Wednesday.  Principal Scott Goergens led us on a tour of both an amazing campus and even more amazing academic program where LCC students continually aspire to be valedictorians in the Grossmont Union High School District.  The opportunities LCC teachers provide in Computer Science & Media Arts give our students a competitive advantage both locally and globally in the future World of Work.  Looking forward to the Color Run and all of the awesome experiences the Los Coches PTA have in store for the children in 2017-18.


So Thankful For Those Who Serve @ Flying Hills

Something great that happened at Flying Hills a week ago Friday.  It was about 10 minutes before dismissal and the grandmother of Hailey (6th Grade) and Ethan (1st Grade) Goodman spoke with me to let me know that their father just came back from deployment.  We were able to surprise both students and grandma took some video.  I spoke with Grandma last week and asked if there was a way she could share the videos with me and if I could share them with you.  I also shared this experience with Governing Board Member Mejia at our Back to School Night last Friday night.  Grandma sent a picture and two videos to me today.
WOW!!! What an experience and so thankful for those who serve.
Michael Kuhfal, Principal
Flying Hills (FAME Fine Arts Magnet Elementary) School

Empathy, Courage, Tenacity, and Lots of hard work @ Emerald EmSTEAM

Governing Board Member Tamara Otero and I had visited Emerald EmSTEM Magnet Middle School today.  Several times during the visit my eyes teared up because the love and care of our staff for our students was so palpable.  Amanda Silva has been a superstar principal in our district both at Naranca and Magnolia.  We are so excited about the dynamic duo she and Daniela Ruiz-Jo make at Emerald.  Below is a memo sent by Trustee Otero to the Emerald team following our visit.  Sums it up perfectly!


To the Emerald Staff,

Thank you for the extraordinary visit today.  Today was one of those days when life gives you worry and a visit to classrooms gave me pause.  It isn’t often that we are gifted those moments when reflection is the best tool in our tool box.

Today I saw empathy, courage, tenacity and lots of hard work.  It is evident that the spirit of Emerald is to grow happy, healthy, kids who will lead our world!  In an ever changing world at CVUSD and around us, it is so easy to become distracted from our mission to support every child in all of the ways that they require and deserve.  I appreciate so much the efforts of Emerald Staff to do that.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of service.  Keep up the great work!  I can’t wait to visit again and celebrate with all of you the progress of OUR kiddos!

All the best,

Tamara Otero, CVUSD Governing Board