Cajon Valley Union School District Recognized as a Common Sense District

Digital media and technology are evolving at a dizzying pace, both unlocking extraordinary opportunities and posing real risks for young people. Students are using the immense power of the Internet and mobile technology to explore, connect, create, and learn in ways never before imagined, both in and out of the classroom. But issues that emerge from this 24/7 “connected culture,” such as cyberbullying, privacy lapses, and uncertainty about which information to trust online, are surfacing both in schools and at home.

Cajon Valley Union School District sees these as teachable moments. We believe that digital citizenship skills have become essential for students in the 21st century, especially in schools like ours that are using technology to transform learning. That’s why we are committed to teaching our students how to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly. Cajon Valley Union School District has just been approved as a Common Sense  District, an honor that recognizes our efforts in teaching digital citizenship to young people and engaging the entire community in this important discussion and supporting educators using technology for learning. The recognition acknowledges our district’s’ commitment creating a culture of digital learning and citizenship.

This honor  is provided by Common Sense Education, part of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.

Our schools are one of the more than 100,000 schools across the country that use Common Sense Education’s groundbreaking education resources. As a result, our students are better equipped to navigate the digital world and use devices for learning.

To learn more about Common Sense Education, visit

Jenn Petraglia
EdTech Facilitator, Cajon Valley Union School District

Kiwanis + Anza Elementary School = K-Kids

Lt. Governor, Greg Fox, is pictured above installing K-Kids officers at Anza Elementary School on October 24th.  The club at Anza has grown in popularity over the past two years with 49 members signed up this year (up from 30).  Below is a photo of the whole club sporting their new Tee’s provided by our club with (L to R) Greg Fox and Kiwanis advisors Marianne Merriman, Terry Jones and Dick Campbell, along with the faculty advisor, Nancy Bobo, in back.  Terry prepared Halloween themed treats for each club member to go along with their Tee’s, pins and other membership materials.

Cajon Valley Welcomes The Netherlands Ministry of Education to the United States

On Monday, September 25th, The Ministry of Education from the Netherlands visited Cajon Valley to learn about innovations in personalized learning and how to achieve systemic change in K-12 policy and practice.  Questions from our Dutch collaborators were very similar to the questions we are asking here at home… “How do we prepare our children for jobs that don’t yet exist?”  They were very interested in both Presentation Literacy and our World of Work solution.  Thank you Bostonia Language Academy and Naranca Elementary School for opening your schools to our visitors.  Our guests wanted to see whole-scale systemic innovation (every classroom/every day) and left with a strong impression of how they might achieve that in their own schools.  US Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, sent her regards to this important meeting.

6th Graders @ Los Coches Creek Middle ask, “I Wonder if there’s anything we can do to help?”

Los Coches Creek 6th grade teacher, Deborah Turner, was recognized recently for her amazing efforts to help others.  Mrs. Turner spoke with her students one day about the terrible flooding in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey.  What began with a student asking the question, “I wonder if there’s anything we can do to help?” has blossomed into a great example of the empathetic powers of our CVUSD students.  Mrs. Turner’s class “adopted” Mrs. Koontz’s class at Kipp 3D Academy in Houston.  Many of Mrs. Koontz’s students and their families lost everything in the aftermath of the storm.  Amazingly, Mrs. Turner’s students raised over $1,100 to send to those middle school flood victims!   Thanks to the generosity of  105.7 Max FM, the San Diego County Office of Education, Mission Federal Credit Union, and the San Diego Padres, LCC was able to hold an assembly for our 6th graders and Mission Fed donated an additional $1,000 to Mrs. Turner for her efforts!  Mrs. Turner is so proud of her students, and is a great example of a wonderful Cajon Valley teacher leading her students to find the joy in helping others.


Scott Goergens, Principal

Los Coches Creek Middle School

“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 (

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:

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

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.”