El Cajon Leads San Diego County on Solving the Homeless Crisis

Earlier this month Mayor Bill Wells, the El Cajon City Council, and our local government officials were highlighted by local news media on our efforts to make El Cajon a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family… “For Everyone”.  CVUSD Governing Board members Karen Clark Mejia, Tamara Otero, Jo Alegria and I have served on the East County Homeless Task Force led by several community leaders including CEO of the East County Chamber of Commerce, Eric Lund; ECPD Police Chief, Jeff Davis; and Meridian Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Rolland Slade.  SD Union Tribune reporter Karen Pearlman has been documenting community efforts to improve conditions.  http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/east-county/sd-se-elcajon-homeless-20170809-story.html

Mayor Wells has been interviewed by most of our media outlets on the city’s efforts.  The one below is from KUSI.  Mayor Wells has a background in clinical psychology and deep expertise on root causes behind homeless and mental health issues.

We have received some negative press around our efforts to provide a permanent solution to homelessness in East County and El Cajon… It is important for all of us to know that we have proven solutions that are helping our homeless students and their families transition into permanent housing and gainful employment.  The East County Transitional Living Center is a prime example of “What Works”.  Several of our students and their families are served by this community led effort to provide permanent solutions.  Please check out ECTLC here and share with anyone you know who can benefit from these efforts the City of El Cajon and the East County Homeless Task Force are directing our efforts toward.  https://www.ectlc.org/

We recognize that those contributing to panhandling and giving food to the homeless are doing so out of good will and intention.  Enabling homelessness, however, has proven to only prolong and potentially derail any opportunity for those in need to find permanent housing and pathways back to being contributing members of society.  It is important that the CVUSD family supports the El Cajon City Council, El Cajon Police Department, and the East County Homeless Task Force in our efforts to provide a permanent solution for the homeless in our community.

Very Sincerely,

David Miyashiro Ed.D., Superintendent

Cajon Valley Union School District



Who built Santa’s Sleigh??? Carpenters #WorldofWork @ Blossom Valley

It can be challenging to help younger children connect, in a meaningful way, to the idea of someday having to get a job and go to work…It’s seems an abstract and distant goal. Something for adults to be concerned with, not children.  But the journey to a “someday” career, at least one that has meaning, and purpose, and feeds the soul, begins with knowing who you are, what you’re good at, and what you enjoy.  And that journey begins with exploration.  With a little creativity, a pile of cardboard boxes, and some thoughtful planning, kids can engage with the World of Work and experience a taste of what it might be like to have a real job, with real purpose.  Mrs. Reed’s 2nd grade class had the opportunity to do just that when she presented them with a challenge based on one of the career studies found in the 2nd grade WOW box.  It seems Santa was in the market for a new sleigh, and he was looking for a skilled Carpenter to build it.  Working with partners, Mrs. Reed’s students drew up blueprints for their original designs, and went to work cutting, assembling, and decorating their creations, in the hope one of them would be selected as Santa’s new ride.  The atmosphere in the classroom, and the hallway outside (turns out you need a lot of space to build a sleigh), was as lively as Santa’s Workshop. Kids got to experience, first hand, the challenges a real carpenter faces when pieces don’t fit together the way you planned…They had to think on their feet, problem solve, work it out.  It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a lot of fun.  In the end, what they designed was a fleet of unique creations, any of which “The Man in Red” would be proud to drive.  And who knows, maybe a seed was planted.  A seed that might one day bloom, and grow into an amazing, and soul-satisfying career as a carpenter.


Kirk Hoeben, Principal

Blossom Valley Elementary School

@ Blossom Valley Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Back in 2016 Blossom Valley was chosen for a site visit when the US Dept. of Ed, Digital Promise, and the League of Innovative Schools came to visit Cajon Valley. Amazing to see the growth since then! Tim Dobbins, Assistant Principal of Los Coches Creek joined principal Kirk Hoeben and me as we toured classrooms and visited with staff and students. There were a few grade levels working on projects that showed the power of teacher collaboration. We saw a Mystery Science lesson that integrated a story and lesson on the career “Technical Writer” then went right into writers’ workshop. It was obvious where planning and lesson design were done in teams.   The rewards are that all children at a grade level benefit from the ideas and strengths of multiple teachers. We also observed students being introduced to “Meet Up/Buddy Up” from the Sanford Harmony resources. Tim Dobbins shared how impressed he was by caring atmosphere and warm environment everywhere on campus. The kids perked up when they learned he was from Los Coches Creek. “I’m going there!!!” many kids shouted out with a smile.


David Miyashiro Ed.D.


Empower Academy “Discovering Students’ Strengths”

Empower Academy is a separate school program that services students with various social emotional and behavior needs through compassionate, therapeutic and nurturing best practices with dedicated, passionate team of teachers, therapists, and behavior intervention specialists. The Empower staff comes to work daily determined to make a difference by learning about students and engaging them through academics, through listening, validating and talking, through laughter, through play and through tears. Our first and very important focus is cultivating positive relationships with every student in order to build trust, safety, confidence, and the feeling of importance that may lead students to discover their strengths, their abilities and grow their desire to learn, care about themselves and utilize skills to making safe and positive choices to function daily to their best ability.


Iman Degano
Special Ed Coordinator
Empower Academy

Cajon Valley Teachers Rock the SD CUE Tech Fair

Cajon Valley teaches attended SDCUE Tech Fair in force! Over 120 teachers participated in the local technology centered conference hosted by the San Diego Computer Using Educators (SDCUE). Sessions ranged from basic Google tools to specialized apps like Desmos a math app. This year’s favorite app sessions include Seesaw and Flipgrid. Teachers created a collaborative document to take notes and share resources from sessions. Nine Cajon Valley teachers presented sessions on Genius Hour, Presentation Literacy, DLP Coaching, and Digital Admin Resources. The day ended with several of our Cajon Valley crew winning raffle prizes.

Liz Loether   Director LSS, Cajon Valley Union School District
photo Phone: (619) 593-5219
Email: loethere@cajonvalley.net
Address: 750 East Main Street, El Cajon CA, 92020

IMPORTANT: The contents of this email and any attachments are confidential. They are intended for the named recipient(s) only. If you have received this email by mistake, please notify the sender immediately and do not disclose the contents to anyone or make copies thereof.

Google Expeditions AR Visits Cajon Valley Schools

Throughout the past months, Cajon Valley students and teachers have had the opportunity to beta test Google’s latest Expeditions app with augmented reality. Augmented Reality differs from Virtual Reality in that the experience takes place in the actual real-life environment with virtual objects appearing.With AR, students can get up close to virtual objects and scan around using a selfie stick and smartphone to view objects at different angles. In Cajon Valley, students and their teachers were able to explore natural disasters like erupting volcanoes and whirling tornadoes, get up close to animals on the ocean floor, and even analyze artifacts from ancient Rome! Google continued to visit sites throughout December.  Thank you Katie Connolly for organizing and assisting with connecting this opportunity to our schools!

Click here to see the 10 News Story https://www.10news.com/news/el-cajon-students-test-out-new-google-augmented-reality-device

Katie Connolly
EdTech Facilitator, Maker Bus/STEM Support

Jamacha Hawks Ready for the Holidays

When Kindergarten students can articulate what computer programmers do and why their work is important, demonstrate how to debug a machine, then look you in the eye and deliver an explanation of their learning with confidence… you have to stop and pause!  Wow… Chase’s Assistant Principal Catherine White joined Governing Board Member Jim Miller and I as we learned about the 2018 goals from principal Colleen Newman.  I was impressed by the integration of the Colombia Teacher’s College and TED Ed curriculum and how much student voice was evident in both writing and in student presentations.  It was also visually evident in a few grade levels that deep collaboration is taking place and that all students benefit when teachers share strengths and align resources.  Thank you for the Holiday Cheer Jamacha.

David Miyashiro, Superintendent

Montgomery Middle International Baccalaureate School

What does it mean to be a Global Learner prepared for the 21st Century and Beyond?  Montgomery students and staff can articulate that clearly.  Principal Bryan Schultz brought years of International Baccalaureate experience with him from the Sweetwater School District.  He explained the recertification process they are currently in to Lexington’s Assistant Principal, Sergio Navarro and Governing Board Vice President, Tamara Otero as we visited classrooms.  Assistant Principal Debbie Long and Bryan make a great team!  IB takes the concept of a well-rounded education to a whole new level.  Break a leg on your accreditation visit Montgomery!  We saw flying colors!

David Miyashiro, Superintendent

Greenfield Middle School “Academics, Arts, Athletics”

Cajon Valley Middle School’s Assistant Principal, Vidalia Resendes joined me at Greenfield to collaborate and learn with the GHouse.  Passion, engagement, and a growth mindset philosophy permeated the campus.  Fun to see Joan Knoernschild in her new role as Assistant Principal having fun and setting a positive tone.  Principal Greg Calvert and the Greenfield team were in preparation for the GAP Gala.  When students are excited about showcasing their work, results are optimal.  Google and Digital Promise have chosen Greenfield to host the next Dynamic Learning Project collaboration.  Visitors from all over the country will be here in the Spring to learn about our initiatives first hand.

David Miyashiro, Superintendent

Anza All Stars “Here to Change the World”

Anza Elementary has received both regional and national recognition for their work in environmental science.  School Gardens, Natural Habitats, Farm to Table, Hydroponics, etc… If you haven’t seen it in person yet, Anza is definitely a destination school.  Equally impressive is the work Principal Cindy Knight and her team have done around data, early literacy, and personalized learning.  Everything is integrated from K through 5.  The icing on the cake was to see impressive World of Work and Presentation Literacy lessons in almost 100 % of Anza classrooms.  It’s not that you do it all… It’s that you do it all so well!  We welcomed new Cajon Valley Middle School Assistant Principal, David Geck, on his first elementary school visit and were also joined by Governing Board President Jo Alegria.  Congratulations Anza.  We can’t wait to return.

David Miyashiro, Superintendent