What an amazing first couple of weeks in Cajon Valley Union School District. The first day back for teachers began with #cvConference. Our first attempt at hosting our own professional learning conference for the entire district set a high bar the for the next one. Thank you to all those who lent a hand, mind, and heart to make it possible. Here’s a short recap of #cvConference.
On Monday, August 14th we gathered together at Shadow Mountain Church for our Convocation and annual Welcome Back Breakfast. We will have highlights from our All Staff Welcome Back Breakfast soon… but in the meantime we have the highlight reel from TEDxKids@ElCajon 2017 and our District Office Welcome Back Video “Everyday Heroes”
The video encapsulates the messages of “You can’t” that our students often face from their environment, and how just one teacher who connects with them and tells them, “You can!” can change their trajectory for life. This teacher’s video and subsequent YouTube channel is a reflection of the many teachers in Cajon Valley who tell their students “You can!” and inspire them daily to do so.
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.
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.
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.
Havingcritical 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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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!
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!
Kari Hull, Joan Knoernschild, Steve Spence, and a team of directors and student musicians received permission from global recording artist Matisyahu, to make some age appropriate modifications to and record our own version of his hit song “One Day” for our annual TEDxKids@ElCajon event. The idea came from Avocado Principal Keith Himaka… Deputy Superintendent, Kari Hull, took it from there. The result was a beautiful collaboration with the city of El Cajon and an opportunity to provide yet another stage for Cajon Valley Students to shine. We are grateful to the City of El Cajon and the El Cajon Police Department for closing down Main Street for the shooting of this music video.
On Thursday, Governing Board President Jo Allegria and I had the pleasure of joining the Johnson Volunteer Tea, watch the 5th graders rehearse their songs for promotion, and visit students and teachers showing of their best work at the end of the school year. The Volunteer Tea was beautiful. It was so evident that the parent volunteers felt so valued and appreciated. The detail and thoughtfulness put into the celebration by Johnson teachers and staff made my heart smile. The progress made at Johnson this year in terms of academic focus, blended learning, and progress monitoring was impressive. I was also very impressed by the routines and procedures in place to set high expectations for student behavior and proper engagement. You have much to be proud of Johnson Team! Congratulations on an outstanding school year!
David Miyashiro Ed.D., Superintendent
Snippet of Kids Singing at the Volunteer Tea
Snippet of 5th Graders Practicing a Song for Promotion