By Miriam Raftery
As the National Showcase District, Cajon Valley Union School District opened its classrooms February 4th to over 250 educational leaders from across the United Statesunited by attendance at the National Conference on Digital Convergence and two common goals: to deliver the experiences that students need to thrive, and to serve all students.
According to a press release from the district, Cajon Valley Union School District is being honored for its “revolutionary approach to delivering modern learning experiences. The district’s partnership with the community to collaborate on the future of learning has not only inspired educational leaders to think differently about their approaches to modern learning, but it has informed the best practices for modern learning at scale within the Digital Convergence Framework.”
The school site visits focused on the district’s Modern Curriculum designed around the community’s hopes for the future of learning in El Cajon: to elevate the types of jobs essential to the infrastructure of the local economy,and to eliminate the college-only mentality and expectation that the district says fails to serve every student.
Over 250 educational leaders saw the district’s practical approach to delivering modern, real-world workforcecompetencies. The World of Work program presents students with opportunities to explore career possibilities that are directly tied to what they are learning in school and align with their strengths, interests, and values.TEDxKids@ElCajon creates a forum for students to develop and refine their presentation literacy, synthesize and share new ideas, and explore the practical applications of their passions.
“Over the last year, Cajon Valley’s cutting edge work has become part of the integral fibers of the Digital Convergence Framework through the addition of the Community Driver,” Dr. Shawn Smith, Modern Teacher CEO explains. “The addition of the Community Driver gives our nation’s district leaders a practical pathway to effectively partner with their communities and ensure that student experiences are relevant, just as Cajon Valley Union School District so powerfully exemplifies.”
The Cajon Valley Union School District has over 17,000 students in grades K-8, according to the County Department of Education. Two-thirds are from low-income families on the school lunch program and over a third are English language learners.
The diverse district, which includes many immigrant and refugee students, has a 25 to 1 teacher to student ratio, according to Niche.com, but only a 42% readingproficiency and 34% math proficiency, ranking a C+ for academics. According to the State of California’s Dashboard site ranking schools, the district’s students ranked 27.4 points below standard in English and 53 points below standard in math, declining 6.5 points in math.
Modern Teacher partners with districts to support the transition from traditional classrooms to modern learning environments at scale. They provide a research-based methodology for Digital Convergence in education, including a technology-enabled solution to support districts’ organizational change. Modern Teacher has established a National Network of districts dedicated to supporting teachers in today’s highly connected, digital world.