New V2G projects with school districts and utilities in California and Colorado will lower the cost of electric school bus ownership

********** REPOST FROM PRNEWSIRE - Read Original Press-release here

NEWS PROVIDED BY
Nuvve Holding Corp.
Jul 07, 2021, 09:00 ET

Read entire press-release here

 

SAN DIEGOJuly 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Nuvve Holding Corp. ("Nuvve") (Nasdaq: NVVE), a global technology leader accelerating the electrification of transportation through its proprietary vehicle-to-grid (V2G) platform, announced today that it has been selected as the energy technology provider that will enable school districts and utilities in San Diego, Calif. and Durango, Colo. to accelerate the electrification of their school buses, further expanding Nuvve's growing V2G network. Reinforcing its leadership in this market, Nuvve's proprietary V2G technology will create value for the customers of these deployments by lowering the total cost of ownership of electric school buses (ESBs) to be equal to or less than that of diesel school buses.

Electrifying school buses is a top priority for the Biden administration. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan supported by the administration includes $7.5 billion to replace thousands of diesel-powered school and transit buses with zero-emission electric vehicles. However, with approximately 480,000 school buses across the nation, the $7.5 billion split across both sectors represents only a fraction of the funding needed to electrify all school buses across the country. Nuvve's V2G technology and the company's recently announced plans to form a joint venture ("Levo") to provide fully financed options for customers will help bridge the gap between the need to electrify the nation's transportation fleet and the funding available to do so.

"We're helping pave the way for more schools to rapidly electrify their fleets and for more regions to leverage EVs as distributed energy resources," said Gregory Poilasne, chairman and CEO of Nuvve. "These school districts aren't just electrifying their fleets; they're demonstrating that their immediate needs and budget constraints can be addressed through our V2G technology and intelligent bidirectional energy management to create cleaner and healthier rides for students."

By using Nuvve's V2G platform, schools and other fleet customers can realize cost benefits by allowing Nuvve to use the excess energy in their EVs to perform services that help stabilize the grid. In applicable markets, Nuvve can also sell the extra energy back to the grid and these proceeds can be shared with customers or help offset upfront costs of charging infrastructure. In addition to intelligent features that allow the EVs to charge when rates are low for cost savings, the technology enables EVs to act as "storage on wheels," firming up the value of renewable energy, including solar and wind, that is intermittent by nature, and helping integrate these resources into the grid in a more predictable and reliable way. To date, Nuvve has deployed over 120 V1G and V2G charging stations for electric school buses across North America.

In San Diego County, Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) is electrifying its bus fleet as a natural next step in its clean, renewable energy initiatives. All of the district's school sites already have solar power and, after receiving grant funding, they jumped at the chance to add ESBs. Five Nuvve V2G DC 60kW charging stations are being installed at its site this summer with four additional chargers being commissioned this fall in conjunction with plans to expand its electrification program to diesel warehouse vehicles.

"We're excited to be working with Nuvve because they were an early advocate for school bus electrification and worked hard to find solutions to problems that no one had addressed before," said Tysen Brodwolf, director of transportation at Cajon Valley Union School District. "We see electric and V2G as where school transportation is going, and we want to start planning for that future now."

CVUSD Assistant Superintendent, Business Services, Scott Buxbaum added, "Nuvve has provided the district with a tremendous amount of support and is passionate about its V2G technology and its success. We're happy to be blazing a new trail together and leveraging V2G to positively impact our district's students, community, and environment."

Another San Diego County district, Ramona Unified School District ("RUSD"), is also looking to the future by adding eight Nuvve V2G DC 60kW charging stations by the end of the year to help electrify its bus fleet.

In Colorado, La Plata Electric Association ("LPEA"), a member-owned, nonprofit, electric distribution cooperative, ("co-op") teamed up with Durango School District 9-R to purchase and install a fully electric school bus and a Nuvve V2G DC 60kW charging station made possible by a grant aimed at improving the state's air quality. This will be the first V2G installation in LPEA's service territory, enabling the electric co-op to operate with a higher degree of flexibility, save money on network operating costs, and take advantage of low-cost renewables. The installation is scheduled for early fall of this year.

"As a co-op, we have an obligation to lower costs for our ratepayers, and Nuvve's V2G solution is helping us do this," said Dominic May, energy resource program architect at LPEA. "We also have aggressive decarbonization goals, and electrifying school buses in Durango helps us achieve those. It's a win for our ratepayers and students, and we see ourselves demonstrating how V2G can help other Colorado co-ops looking for innovative cost savings technology."

For more information on Nuvve, available charging solutions, or V2G technology, visit www.nuvve.com.

About Nuvve Holding Corp.

Nuvve Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: NVVE) ("Nuvve") is accelerating the electrification of transportation through its proprietary vehicle-to-grid ("V2G") technology. Its mission is to lower the cost of electric vehicle ownership while supporting the integration of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind. Nuvve's Grid Integrated Vehicle, GIVe™, platform is refueling the next generation of electric vehicle fleets through intelligent, bidirectional charging solutions. Since its founding in 2010, Nuvve has launched successful V2G projects on five continents and is deploying commercial services worldwide by developing partnerships with utilities, automakers, and electric vehicle fleets. Nuvve is headquartered in San Diego, California, and can be found online at www.nuvve.com.

Nuvve and associated logos are among the trademarks of Nuvve and/or its affiliates in the United States, certain other countries and/or the EU. Any other trademarks or trade names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

Nuvve Press Contact
Marc Trahand, EVP Marketing
marc@nuvve.com
858-250-9740

Nuvve Investor Contact
Lytham Partners
Robert Blum or Joe Dorame
nuvve@lythampartners.com
602-889-9700

Camp Cajon is Delivering the #BestSummerEver for Students

Cajon Valley Union School District just completed Week 1 of Camp Cajon. It was a huge success thanks to the hundreds of teachers, counselors, staff, and partners who answered the call to serve the Cajon Valley students, families and community. Camp Cajon, including before and after Extended Day Care, is free to all Cajon Valley students and includes daily field trips, outdoor immersion, computer science, engineering, club level sports, performing arts, and daily learning explorations and community building activities provided by Cajon Valley teachers.

Camp Cajon is based on the design principles from Summer Learning and Beyond: Opportunities for Equitable Learning Postpandemic, a report co-produced by the Learning Policy Institute and the Spencer Foundation, developed to support schools and districts in developing systems that are equitable, rigorous, and meaningful in the pandemic and post-pandemic world.  

Dr. David Miyashiro, Superintendent of the Cajon Valley Union School District, along with several leading educators from the fields of higher education and K-12 research and policy, was invited to participate with The Learning Policy Institute and The Spencer Foundation during Spring of 2020 in the production of this holistic framework for designing goals, practices, and activities for summer learning and beyond.

The Six Design Principles for Summer Learning and Beyond include: 

  1. Center Relationships 
  2. Create a Culture of Affirmation and Belonging 
  3. Build From Students’ Interests and Take a Whole Child Approach to Their Development 
  4. Engage Students’ and Families’ Knowledge in Disciplinary Learning 
  5. Provide Creative, Inquiry-Based Forms of Learning 
  6. Address Educator Needs and Learning

The full report and detailed account of the 6 Design Principles can be found online at https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/summer-learning -creating-equity, and at spencer.org.

The Cajon Valley Union School District drew national attention when it reopened schools for Emergency Childcare for Essential Workers in April of 2020.  Building on the success of this program and hearing feedback from families that parents needed to work and that their students were struggling amidst social and emotional isolation from Governor Newsom’s shelter in place orders, Cajon Valley reopened all 27 of its schools in June of 2020 using federal CARES Act funds to create a free, optional Summer Enrichment Program for the district's students.  Under the care and nurturing of their teachers and school employees who know them so well, students participated in small groups, personalized instruction, hands-on science activities, arts, organized sports, swimming, and field trips. The district also partnered with Beable, a literacy platform, to organize  Summer Spark reading challenge with weekly prizes for students showing the most growth. 

On average Cajon Valley students experienced Extraordinary Outcomes: 5X Expected Lexile Gains and Increased Levels of Hope and Engagement.  These growth measures remained consistent throughout the 2020-2021 school year where all Cajon Valley schools stayed open for their students.  

This Summer at Camp Cajon reading growth will continue with Beable, providing teachers with a comprehensive Learner Record to monitor progress in literacy, social-emotional learning, career development and to personalize learning for each student with ease.  

Camp Cajon starts week 2 of a 6 week program that will culminate with celebrations and live performances at the Magnolia Center for the entire Cajon Valley Community to attend.  There is still room to register so tell a friend to come out and join the fun.  For more information please visit

www.cajonvalley.net/campcajon.  Come join the Cajon Valley Union School District at Camp Cajon for the #BestSummerEver

 

Camp Cajon Update

It's the #BestSummerEver at Camp Cajon

Congratulations Campers and Staff! Week 1 of Camp Cajon was a huge success. Here's a short video showing some of the highlights from across the district. We'll be coming out to get more great footage of our teachers, enrichment providers, and kids learning and engaged all summer long. Camp Cajon, including before and after Extended Day Care, is free to all Cajon Valley students. We still have room so tell a friend to come out and join the fun. For more information please visit www.cajonvalley.net/campcajon. There's NO CAMP MONDAY JULY 5TH in observance of our Independence Day Holiday.

See you all on Tuesday.  Have a Safe and Happy July 4th Weekend!

David Miyashiro, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Cajon Valley Union School District welcoming sign ups for summer enrichment program Camp Cajon

Repost from KUSI News

CAJON VALLEY (KUSI) – In summer 2020, the Cajon Valley Union School District used federal CARES Act funds to reopen all 27 schools for the community and create a free, optional Summer Enrichment Program for the district’s students.

Under the care and nurturing of their teachers and school employees who know them so well, students participated in small groups, personalized instruction, hands-on science activities, arts, organized sports, swimming, and field trips.

The district also partnered with Beable, a literacy platform, to organize a summer reading challenge with weekly prizes for students showing the most growth.

For more information on Camp Cajon, click here.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego

Learning Curve Special: Back to School Review

Repost from CBS 8

SAN DIEGO — As the traditional school year comes to an end, there is much to look back on and learn from the past year.

On Thursday, May 13, News 8 is partnering with the Cajon Valley Union Elementary School District and the Family Health Centers of San Diego to bring you a virtual panel looking back at the lessons learned during the pandemic over this past school year, and what we need to know moving forward as we return more kids back to school safely in the fall.

Hosted by News 8's Shannon Handy, the discussion was streamed live on Thursday, May 13 on cbs8.com, in the News 8 app as well as on our News 8 Facebook page.

New School Visions Requires a Change in How We Make Decisions

Repost from EdTech Magazine

As schools mark a full-year since the pandemic hit, lessons learned have pushed districts to embrace change in ways big and small.

We see evidence of this willingness to think boldly and embrace new circumstances in Cajon Valley Union School District’s career-focused Launch Pad, which had to make some quick pivots to continue to deliver value to district students when the pandemic forced it to operate under new conditions.

“The teachers are being super-resilient,” says Ed Hidalgo, chief innovation and engagement officer for the California school district. “They’re not going to be able to get robotics kits out to all kids, but over the summer, we sent home kits of STEM materials, and teachers have created activities using things you can find at home, such as foodstuffs, string, tape and cardboard.”

Investing Time Wisely to Provide Suitable Service

On the technology side of the house, IT leaders in school districts have been forced to rethink how they spend their time, as students and parents rely on them far more for tech support. This means IT staff has to cut back time spent elsewhere.

At North Canton (Ohio) City Schools, Technology Director Kim Nidy knew she needed to spend less time unboxing and more time helping students learn with devices the district was acquiring. That meant partnering with CDW•G to provide last-mile integration for the district’s one-to-one device project.

Without this support, “we would be taking machines out of boxes, putting stickers on them,” says Nidy. “If we are doing that instead of answering the phone and solving people’s problems, that is a customer service issue for us. We want to be an effective and efficient tech department, and we need to deliver good customer service.”

Educators are facing, embracing and adapting to change in unprecedented ways. It hasn’t been easy, but education has and always will rise to the occasion.

See what educators had to say about the future of learning with our coverage of the 2021 TCEA conference at ­edtechmag.com/k12/TCEA.

Accelerating Learning As We Build Back Better

Repost from Forbes Magazine

After a year of struggling with distance learning and hybrid models, parents, teachers, and policymakers across the country are concerned about “learning loss” and how to recover from the educational effects of the pandemic. While many of us resist the deficit orientation of learning loss language, these concerns are certainly legitimate: As the crisis began, millions of children, particularly those in low-income communities, lacked access to the computers and connectivity that would make in-person remote learning possible, creating even greater equity gaps than those that already existed.

Furthermore, many low-income communities and communities of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death, as well as greater rates of unemployment and housing and food insecurity. These traumatic events, coupled with the ongoing instances of police shootings of unarmed civilians, have led to a growing and ever more visible divide between the haves and the have-nots, with many students encountering barriers to keeping up in school and others disengaging from school altogether.

Why We Should Aim for Reinvention

It is critically important, though, that we address these concerns based not on outdated notions about remediation, but on what we now know about how people learn effectively. Among those lessons are the following:

  • Positive relationships and attachments are the essential ingredient that catalyzes healthy development and learning … and enables resilience from trauma.
  • Children actively construct knowledge by connecting what they know to what they are learning within their cultural contexts. Creating those connections is key to learning.
  • Learning is social, emotional, and academic. Children learn best when they feel safe, affirmed, and deeply engaged within a supportive community of learners.
  • Learning is enhanced by physical activity, joy, and opportunities for self-expression.
  • Students’ perceptions of their own ability influence learning. All children are motivated to learn the next set of skills for which they are ready; few are motivated by labels that rank them against others or communicate stigma.

These principles — drawn from brain science and research about learning — mean that we must reinvent school in ways that center relationships (unlike the factory model designs we have inherited), allow educators to deeply understand what children know and have experienced so they can build on it and draw connections to new learning; lead with social and emotional supports and skills, fully integrated with academic learning; and enable children to see their strengths and what they do know — to feel competent and confident that they can learn. We also need to support educators in recognizing the effects of trauma, accessing resources for children, and supporting their attachment and healing, rather than unwittingly exacerbating the effects of trauma by using curriculum and rules that alienate, rather than reattach students to school.

What a “New Normal” Should Look Like

If we really want to support learning, the return to school should not include these staple features of an outdated approach to learning that research has found actually undermine achievement:

  • Testing students to label and track them into “high,” “average,” and “low” groups that are segregated by perceived ability — and often by race, class, and language background as well;
  • Offering regimented drill and kill remedial instruction in these segregated groups, focused on filling gaps in basic skills in the artificial ways they are assessed on multiple choice tests, which then often causes them to be taught in equally artificial ways;
  • “Personalizing” learning by putting students in front of programmed computers for machine-based instruction for long hours at a time — or piles of worksheets that offer the same decontextualized approach to learning;
  • Punishing students who disengage or express frustration and despair by excluding them from the classroom or removing “privileges” like recess and library time;
  • Placing the neediest students in remedial classes with the least trained and experienced teachers who are least likely to know how to create productive learning environments.

Instead, a supportive school return — both this summer and next fall — will seek to ensure that students:

  • Experience warm relationships and social-emotional supports achieved by redesigning schools so that they are relationship-centered, with built-in time for creating community, trust, and belonging among students and with families;
  • Engage in outdoor play and exercise, expressive arts, and collaborative activities that support brain development and learning;
  • Encounter authentic, culturally responsive learning tasks and inquiry projects connected to their experiences that allow them to understand and positively impact their environment;
  • Assess what students need both socially and emotionally as well as academically, address trauma with healing and support, and identify the next steps they are ready to take in their learning rather than labelling them;
  • Accelerate learning through additional time and high-quality tutoring rather than tracking. Intensive tutoring, found to be highly effective, both establishes strong relationships and customizes teaching directly to student readiness and needs.

This work should start right away and continue into the summer and next year. Summer school should not be a boot camp designed for students who are “behind.” Instead, studies find the most effective models provide rich opportunities for play and enrichment paired with academic content offered through small classes and individualized instruction, like those Cajon Valley School District in California has structured in its “Camp Cajon” summer enrichment program.

Educators can partner with community-based organizations as Tulsa Public Schools plans to do this summer with partners ranging from the YMCA to Tulsa’s Bike Club, Global Gardens, Reading Partners, Debate League, and more, creating highly engaging opportunities that mix recreation with learning. They can also motivate and educate students with opportunities like the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools. Modeled after the 1963 Mississippi Freedom Schools that developed leaders in the black community, CDF Freedom Schools now partner with community organizations, churches, and schools to provide literacy-rich after school and summer programs for k–12 students in all kinds of communities. These programs, found to be effective in promoting reading gains, motivate and inspire students as they read books that are culturally meaningful and discuss ideas aimed at social action and civic engagement for the betterment of their communities.

The opportunity to contribute is highly motivating for students, and recovery from trauma can be enabled by engaging in projects that allow students to grow and improve things: from school or community gardens and murals that feed and beautify, to a range of school, classroom, or community improvement projects that show students their strengths and produce a sense of agency as they advance growth and well-being for themselves and others.

As in-person school resumes, schools can help teachers understand students’ needs with tools like the CORE districts’ RALLY survey that provides regular information about students’ experiences and wellness, as they integrate social and emotional learning, mindfulness, and wraparound supports health, mental health and social services. The more than $122 billion just allocated to k–12 schools in the American Rescue Plan Act provides states and districts with the opportunity to support all of these kinds of services and their coherent delivery through community schools models as a critical part of learning recovery, alongside academic investments.

To re-attach students to school and to accelerate learning throughout the coming year, the most effective classrooms will provide well-designed collaborative learning opportunities in non-tracked classrooms using curricula that involve students in engaging mathematical inquiriesculturally-affirming expeditions in English language artsmind-opening experiments in science, and opportunities to reflect and express in the arts and humanities. And to ensure that students are able to recover successfully, these can be coupled in expanded learning time with small group supports and high-intensity tutoring that supports rapid skill development during and beyond the school day, and with successful strategies like the Acceleration Academies offered during winter and spring break weeks in Lawrence, Massachusetts. In these academies, excellent teachers work with students in small groups on hands-on learning that brings them back to school with strong skills and confidence.

If we focus only on “learning loss,” we will walk down a familiar road, one paved with repetitive remediation, disengaged students, and reluctant families who are disillusioned with impersonal, inauthentic learning. Beginning this summer and continuing into the next academic year, we should restructure schooling to build trust within supportive classrooms that do not ignore the trauma of the pandemic. We can create time to build capacity among trauma-informed educators, and we can make decisions based on multiple measures of student learning and well-being. If students feel attached and affirmed, and if they receive enriching experiences with targeted supports, they will learn in ways that far exceed the “old normal” and set the norm for a new age in education that builds on how children really learn, rather than working against it.

Adam K. Edgerton, a senior researcher at the Learning Policy Institute, contributed to this story.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am president of the Learning Policy Institute and professor emeritus at Stanford University, where I worked on teacher education and educational policy. I combined these interests as founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, whose 1996 report "What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future" was named among the most influential education reports of that decade, leading to widespread teaching policy reforms. I led President Barack Obama’s 2008 education policy transition team and continue working to improve schools at federal, state and local levels. I am past president of the American Educational Research Association and a National Academy of Education member. Among my books are "The Right to Learn," "Teaching as the Learning Profession," "Preparing Teachers for a Changing World," "The Flat World and Education" and "Empowered Educators." I began my career as a public school teacher and have cofounded a preschool and public high school.

Maintaining STEM Engagement Requires Imagination and Creativity from Schools

by Calvin Hennick

But for the past year, students have attended school in either a remote or hybrid model, or full-time five days a week at some schools, forcing teachers to devise new ways to deliver hands-on, relevant instruction, especially in the content areas of science, technology, engineering and math. “The teachers are being super resilient,” says Ed Hidalgo, chief innovation and engagement officer for Cajon Valley Union School District. “They’re not going to be able to get robotics kits out to all kids, but over the summer, we sent home kits of STEM materials, and teachers have created activities using things you can find at home, such as foodstuffs, string, tape and cardboard.”

The coronavirus pandemic has presented problems for teachers in all subject areas, but STEM teachers have faced a special challenge as they try to find replacements for interactive lessons such as biology dissections and chemistry labs. Beth Allan, president of the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), notes that there’s been a national move to push STEM instruction away from textbooks and toward more hands-on activities across grade levels.

“That’s a really different way of teaching, and now we’re asking teachers to do it remotely,” Allan says. “There are teachers who have taken activities that were meant to be in a classroom and modified them for home. You look at online forums, and teachers are really envisioning new ways to use technology to foster a deeper understanding of science through investigations and discussions. That’s one of the good things that will come out of all of this.”

Tech Eases the Transition to Remote Learning

Technology has been a major factor in helping teachers deliver meaningful instruction remotely, Hidalgo says. He notes that students at Cajon Valley Middle School all had their own district-issued Chromebooks well before the pandemic, and teachers had been trained to use the devices effectively. “If you’re just going to send a bunch of technology home and the teachers don’t know how to use it, that’s a problem,” he says. “There’s a lot of professional development required to get good at teaching this way.”

Students at Cajon Valley Middle School are using a plethora of applications — including Google Classroom, Beable, iReady, ScreenCastify, Padlet, EdPuzzle, Jamboard and Flipgrid — to work at their own pace, and teachers are aligning activities to career assessments such as the RIASEC (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional) assessment of personality types. Some teachers in the district have led students and their families through cooking lessons to teach math content such as volume and fractions. “For some of the kids who are quieter during in-person instruction, those barriers came down as they were recording their cooking videos,” says Hidalgo.

Interactive learning is at the heart of the Challenger Learning Center for Science and Technology in Woodstock, Ill., which uses space-themed learning environments to engage students in problem-solving STEM activities. Before the pandemic, students visiting the center participated in an immersive mission to Mars, spending half of their time in a mission control center and the other half in a simulated spacecraft.

“We can’t do any of those things with students when they’re remote,” says Denise Brock, lead “flight director” (an instructional role) at Challenger. “We can’t get them robotic arms. So we worked really hard to come up with virtual missions. We have a website with a Zoom call embedded. Students get a dashboard, and they’re divided into breakout rooms. They go over the information they’ve been given, and the goal of the mission is to determine which of two moons they should settle on for future Mars missions.”

Tracy Jacobson, program developer at Challenger, says younger kids participate in remote play-based activities that get them excited about STEM content. “They get the opportunity to hear an astronaut from the International Space Station read a story, and they learn how to track the space station in the sky and when it will pass over their house,” she says. “They design their own space stations within their homes using sheets and furniture.”

“That ends up being a pretty fun day,” says Brock. “We wanted to get the kids off of screens, to try to get them to do something hands-on.”

KEEP READING: Computer science education at Aberdeen High propels growth and equity.

What Does the Future of STEM Pedagogy Hold?

Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts set up a fully online Remote Learning Academy for the 2020-2021 school year. The district sent home packages of materials, and teachers have given students challenges using common household items. In one lesson, students sorted materials by whether they were transparent, translucent or opaque, and then used the materials to try to completely darken a room during the daytime.

But effective STEM instruction goes beyond hands-on activities, notes Sean Musselman, remote learning academy director and a science specialist for the district. “So much of good STEM pedagogy is rooted in discourse,” he says. “Teachers struggled mightily early on with that interaction.”

Over time, Musselman says, teachers became more effective at getting students to collaborate and communicate remotely — especially when Google Meet deployed breakout rooms in the fall. “That gave teachers more flexibility to send students to smaller settings, and it moved the needle considerably in terms of what we were able to get out of kids,” he says.

One silver lining of remote instruction: “Students in our remote learning academy are so much more proficient with the tech tools that we’re using,” Musselman says.

Students in our remote learning academy are so much more proficient with the tech tools that we’re using.”

Sean Musselman Science Specialist, Burlington Public Schools

It’s a benefit that NSTA’s Allan says will serve students well into the future: “I believe this experience is going to enhance STEM pedagogy and experiential learning. Technology isn’t going to go away, and the incredible investments that school systems have made aren’t going to be put back on the shelf.”

See more of the incredible experience at the Challenger Learning Center for Science and Technology at edtechmag.com/k12/ChallengerVid.

CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT (LAUNCH PAD)

Cajon Valley Union School District shares lessons learned on reopening with schools across country

The East County district was asked to participate in a national summit designed to help other districts follow their lead.

***REPOST FROM CBS8.COM - Read Original Story HERE***

EL CAJON, Calif. — With COVID-19 numbers dropping and more and more people getting vaccines, there's a strong push to get children back into the classroom. One San Diego County school district is doing such a great job with their reopening, they were asked to participate in a national summit designed to help other districts follow their lead.

“Getting our kids safely back to school is essential,” President Biden said Wednesday at the National Safe School Reopen Summit.

Cajon Valley Union School District presented at the event, sharing lessons learned during the pandemic. The East County district has been at the forefront in this area, opening four schools full-time in September. The district is also on-track to resume full-time in-person learning at all of its 27 schools April 12.

District leaders said it's all about trust.

“We have to create relationships,” said Nerel Winter, Principal of Bostonia Language academy. “We have to focus everything on the relationship.”

Administrators said if students and parents know they're being heard and valued, it knocks down barriers that create a better learning environment.

“Our teachers in Cajon Valley were vulnerable enough at their sites to get on calls with parents from a school and listen and facilitate the feedback directly from parents,” added Assistant Superintendent Karen Minshew.

The district serves 17,000 students in the East County. Some of their schools have been back for months with barriers on desks in the classroom, mask-wearing, and a lot of hand washing. It's worked. They haven't had a single case of COVID-19 spread from one student to another.

“Even families that weren't ready to come back - or don't feel comfortable being back - we're seeing minds shift with the evidence of this is safe... it's good for students... my child's thriving,” Minshew said.

Students agree. They say their time on campus has been invaluable, especially when they talk to their friends in other districts that are still doing all remote learning.

The Biden administration said their goal is to get nearly every K-8 school open by the end of next month and provide money for districts to offer summer programs for students who fell behind during online learning.

Cajon Valley school district’s COVID-19 reopening strategy spotlighted at national reopening summit

Cajon Valley students, teachers, administrators joined the U.S. Department of Education’s ‘National Safe Schools Reopening Summit’

***REPOST FROM SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE - Read Original Story Here***

ANDREA LOPEZ-VILLAFAÑA

Transitioning to online learning and navigating the changes brought on by the pandemic was tough for El Cajon eighth-grade student Anisha Ward.

However, Anisha, a student at Bostonia Language Academy, said it was the support from her teachers that helped her get through the unprecedented challenge.

“They are not only our teachers now, they are our counselors, they are our friends,” Ward said. “We can go to them, we can talk to them ... time has been difficult, and they’ve been helping a lot with that.”

The Cajon Valley Union School District student joined teachers and administrators, as well as thousands of educators on Wednesday for the U.S. Department of Education’s first “National Safe Schools Reopening Summit” virtual series.

Educators from across the country shared how they are addressing academic, social, emotional needs of students, while implementing reopening plans that keep students and staff safe.

Cajon Valley Union’s focus on the emotional well-being of students, outreach to parents and community was recognized during a panel discussion on reopening.

Cajon Valley Union announced last week that it would return to full-time in-person learning after spring break on April 12. The school district, however, will still offer a distance learning option.

The district serves more than 17,000 students in 27 schools in East County. About 69 percent of its students are low-income. The students are 49 percent White, 34 percent Latino, 7 percent Black and 4 percent Asian.

The district was one of the first in the state to bring students back to campus, not for school but for free child care services for essential workers in May 2020. It also offered summer school to more than 6,500 students.

Those programs allowed the district to prepare for a larger reopening in September, when four schools opened to in-person instruction five days a week, with the rest offering hybrid options, school district officials said.

The district reported one case of COVID-19, with zero cases of student-to-student transmission.

Karen Minshew, assistant superintendent of Cajon Valley Union, said that when the pandemic hit, the district made an effort to hear from families and teachers.

She said the district hosted about 100 listening sessions and town halls to identify needs and concerns from families.

“Engaging our customers was the key and that has provided us the steps and the guidance to reopen, and it has created trust with each of our groups,” Minshew said.

Nerel Winter, principal of Bostonia Language Academy, said that as a result of feedback the school placed additional focus on connecting with students to ensure that their emotional needs were met.

Cajon Valley Union was one of several districts spotlighted during the summit for their reopening efforts. Educators from Cleveland, Tulsa and New York City shared examples that worked and others that did not.

The virtual summit is one of many the Department of Education plans to host to provide school districts with support and resources to reopen quickly.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona led two panels about reopening strategies, alongside Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cardona emphasized reopening strategies must be mindful of inequities nationwide.

He said only 28 percent of Black students in the United States are back to in-person learning, 33 percent of Latino students are in-person, and only 15 percent of Asian students are back — that’s compared to half of White students.

Cardona encouraged school districts to prioritize the emotional well-being of students, as well as their safety moving forward.

He announced plans to tour schools across the country.

Guest speakers Wednesday included President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Dr. Jill Biden and Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the Learning Policy Institute.