CVUSD Connect

Cajon Valley School District's weekly updates…


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


Cajon Valley “Deeper Learning in Action”

To read the full article please click here


30 School Districts Worth Visiting (Guess who made the list… again)

10. Cajon Valley is one of several San Diego County districts with unified executive leadership around next gen learning. The 1:1 district boosted math proficiency with district wide use of adaptive tools. Check out the April 2016 TEDxKids@ElCajon. (See Smart Cities: San Diego.)

To see the entire list and report click here


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


“Team Awesome” from Vista Grande takes the TEDx stage @ Petco Park

Vista Grande become “Team Awesome.”  Every Thursday, we dance as part of our PE curriculum. I broke up the dance into six combinations, taught a piece each week, and then posted review videos on Google Classroom. Students practiced on their own, at home, and came prepared the following week. In only 8 practices, these children pulled together the confidence, energy, and talent to perform their dance at the STEM festival at Petco Park. Their excitement and pride is evident in the video. Our next journeys are Vista Grande’s annual Variety Show in late March and the TEDx event on June 3rd. 

Christina Audette & Miranda Cook

Vista Grande Elementary School


Magnolia BLOSSOMING year round

The first day of spring is around the corner, and we are all looking forward to the warmth and color it will bring after so much rain.  Magnolia, however, has been BLOSSOMING year round.

We are recognized for innovation supported by sound pedagogy as we have been busy hosting guests in recent weeks.  Sites are beginning to check-in to learn more about our journey toward and implementation of flexible seating and its impacts on teaching and learning.  Our work in creating an individualized, strengths-based educational experience for every student becomes more visible each day. Every student at Magnolia is connecting the “why” to the learning and work we do at school as a result of our reflection and action around Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) and the World of Work.  We have been proud to share our work with guests from within CVUSD and beyond including a recent visit from a group from our District, a team from Abermarle Virginia, and Grant Lichtman.   

Amanda Silva, Principal

Magnolia Elementary


Hillsdale Middle School Represents @ National History Day

During the past three weeks the 7th grade students at Hillsdale Middle School have been completing their National History Day projects which they have been working on since September.  The six students who competed in the San Diego County National History Day competition all won first place and will be competing at the State competition in May.  It was quite an impressive showing for Hillsdale and Cajon Valley USD and the third year we have had students make it to State.  In the past, the winning students of this competition were honored by the District at a board meeting.  We were hoping you could make arrangements to add these students to an upcoming meeting.  

We have also included links to all of the Hillsdale students’ projects for your viewing.  We are so proud of our students for their continual perseverance and follow through on one of the most in-depth research projects they have ever done.  They began six months ago with a glimmer of an idea and those ideas grew into amazing products.

Several students emailed primary sources and received feedback which greatly inspired our students.  They received packets of information from the Mother Teresa Center in San Ysidro, first hand knowledge on what it was like to be a 19 year old, white Freedom Rider from Professor David Fankhaus, and information from Carlotta LaNier who was one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas.  This makes history come alive for our students.

Mika Peck and Jordan Alstad, who won top Junior Division Group Website and Best Use of Primary Sources Award sponsored by San Diego History Center, were able to interview Candy Lightner of MADD on the phone for their website project and are meeting with her personally this Sunday, March 12, for dinner.  Ms. Lightner plans on adding their website to her foundation website.  Jack Gardner along with his first place Junior Division Performance award won a special award from the Friends’ of Classics.  He will meet with this club soon for a luncheon at the San Diego Yacht Club.  Savanna Sterck, Alexa Davis, and Hannah Torres not only won first place in Junior Division Group Performance, but also an award for Outstanding Historical Performance in Honor of Cassandra Davis, sponsored by Nicole Carnation Grolman.  They all put in numerous hours and work to achieve their honors.

Below are the links to all of the Hillsdale History Day projects:

Link to History Day Exhibit photos:

Link to History Day Documentaries:

Link to History Day Papers and Slideshows (an option for a few students):

Link to History Day Websites:

(Due to some technical issues, the performances will be shared later.)

We hope you enjoy seeing our students’ extraordinary work.

Teri Davis  &  Kathy Petschke

7th Grade World History

Hillsdale Middle School


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