Cajon Valley Union School District Media Response Trustee Barto Lawsuit v. Trustees Miller, Alegria, Otero, Clark-Mejia and Superintendent Miyashiro


NBC Investigates Team producer Dorian Hargrove contacted CVUSD for comment on a lawsuit filed on November 27 by Trustee Barto against Trustees Miller, Alegria, Otero, Clark-Mejia, and Superintendent Miyashiro.

NBC7 requested comment on the day of November 27 prior to posting a story later that evening, with limited comment from Superintendent Miyashiro other than that he could be available as early as Friday returning from Thanksgiving. Essentially, the story was already written, Paul Kruze of East County Magazine submitted a taped interview, and a decision had already been made to air the story. NBC7 and the Times of San Diego (Paul Kruze) published false information.

Trustee Barto’s lawsuit alleges:

  • Retaliation (“depriving her of her right to hold office and the right to exercise the authority of her duly elected position”) by the Trustees and the Superintendent for “policy disagreement… over fiscal expenditures.”

Trustee Barto’s lawsuit includes mention of the following as collateral public accusations made through the media to damage the integrity of CVUSD:

  • Improper travel expenses by the Superintendent and CVUSD staff
  • Improper awarding of a contract by Trustee Otero
  • Limits to her access to CVUSD staff and property.

Trustee Barto is represented by Michael Aguirre and Maria Severson. Aguirre and Severson’s MO is to ambush their opponents in the media by mobilizing reporters and news outlets with misleading, often salacious information that places their opponents on the defensive. Their historical tactic is to shape and control the public debate on their cases regardless of the full set of facts. Their objective is to try defendants in the media and/or create a large enough media nuisance that drives defendants toward settlement.

Statement of Facts

Trustee Barto’s frivolous lawsuit against four duly and independently elected CVUSD Trustees and the Superintendent makes accusations clearly intended to mislead the public and divert attention from issues that are currently the subject of closed board session and that CVUSD is currently unable to discuss publicly.

Ms. Barto has a right to disagree with her board peers and CVUSD leadership on policy, but she has chosen to retaliate against CVUSD for those disagreements through a meritless lawsuit in Court. CVUSD looks forward to refuting her claims in Court as a baseless, petulant reaction to her disagreement with co-equal members of the board and the leadership of CVUSD.

On November 19, 2019, the Governing Board reported out of Closed Session by a vote of 4-1 in support of filing a declaratory relief action. Despite Ms. Barto’s lawsuit, CVUSD remains focused on serving its 17,500 students across its 27 schools with a vision of “Happy kids, Engaged in healthy relationships, on a Path to gainful employment to make Cajon Valley the best place to live, work, play and raise a family.”

Key Points

On $1.1 Million in Travel and Conference Costs

Most of the travel and conference expenses referred to in this allegation were actually towards teacher and school administrator trainings and professional learning. They were funded by the U.S. Department of Education, not CVUSD taxpayers. The US Department of Education mandates that districts use Title funding for these purposes during the school year for which they are allocated. Cajon Valley has made smart and effective use of Federal Title 1, Title 2, Title 3, and
Title 4 dollars. Those trainings on education reform, student resources, and teacher administration of those resources, school leadership, and innovation have won CVUSD national and international recognition from Forbes, the Brookings Institute, the California School Boards Association, and others. The governing board supported these expenditures with 5-0 vote.

Professional learning is important to support leadership and professional development opportunities in response to both CSEA and CVEA groups.

Most of Superintendent Miyashiro’s travel was paid for or reimbursed by the organizations that invited the Superintendent to speak on behalf of CVUSD. In some cases like London, Beijing, and Australia, the organizations paid a stipend to the Cajon Valley Union School District, in addition to all travel expenses, resulting in net positive revenue for the district.

Under direction of the Governing Board, district staff designed and developed a comprehensive K-12 Career Development Curriculum “The World of Work”. CVUSD owns the copyright and trademark to this one of a kind solution that has gained global demand and recognition.

The Superintendent’s travel won $1.2 million in grants from American Student Assistance (ASA) and support from The Myers Briggs Company, Google, Digital Promise, the TED organization, Arizona State University/Global Silicon Valley, and the U.S. Department of Education for World of Work and TEDxKids@ElCajon programs as referenced above. Additionally, 13 other school districts across the country have purchased World of Work which has created a new source of revenue for the school district.

Trustee Barto claims to have voiced concern, but in truth voiced her approval at Governing Board Meetings where Trustees voted on Travel & Conference. Her voting record can be found in boarddocs online (Summary Provided)

Voting Results of Travel & Conference for Trustee Barto


Board Meeting Vote Result Item Notes
10/23/18 Aye Action She made the motion to approve
11/13/18 Aye Consent  
12/11/18 Aye Consent  
1/15/19 Aye Consent  
2/12/19 No Action  
2/26/19 Aye Action  
3/12/19 Aye Action  
3/26/19 Aye Consent  
4/30/19 Aye Action She made the motion to approve
5/14/19 Aye Action She made the motion to approve
5/28/19 Aye Consent  
6/11/19 Aye Consent  
6/25/19 Aye Consent  
7/30/19 Aye Consent  
8/13/19 Absent Consent Absent
8/27/19 Aye Consent  
9/10/19 Aye Consent  
9/24/19 Aye Consent  
10/8/19 Aye Consent  
10/22/19 Aye Consent  
11/19/19 Aye Consent  

On restricting access to CVUSD events, facilities, and employees

Multiple CVUSD staff filed workplace harassment complaints against Trustee Barto. CVUSD is committed to the safety of our employees in a workplace free from harassment.

On $600,000 expenditure on media, branding, and marketing

At a time when most school districts struggle to invest in their culture and to brand and market their unique programs, CVUSD made this investment in visual media and a series of branding and marketing videos posted on the district Youtube channel ( which includes an increase of candidate applications. While most school districts have lost student enrollment over the last seven years, CVUSD added over 1200 students. While most school districts have struggled to retain and attract teachers, applications to teach at CVUSD have surged, including in areas of severe teacher

On Otero Construction contract (from statement to East County Magazine)
Cajon Valley Union School District followed a fair, impartial, transparent, and legally compliant competitive bid selection process. The Board of Trustees in no way influenced that process or the recommendation from professional district staff to award a competitively bid contract to Otero Construction. The Board approved the recommended bid on a 4-0 vote, with Trustee Tamara Otero appropriately declining
to vote on the item. Allegations made by a losing bidder, Handy Industrial, were unsubstantiated, procedurally infeasible, and self-serving. Handy Industrial had five days to contest the bidding process and did not do so.


Cajon Valley Union School District
Howard Shen – Webmaster


Too many children in America face difficult life circumstances everyday, and many of those children’s circumstances are unknown by the adults at their school that could make a difference. Across the nation, law enforcement departments are taking action, teaming up with local schools to help children exposed to trauma and difficulties in life. Three simple words create a path to helping those kids: “Handle With Care.” Cajon Valley Union School District will be partnering with El Cajon Police Department on the Handle With Care initiative that is making a difference in mental health throughout the United States.

The model for Handle With Care (HWC) is straight-forward: First responders, such as police officers or firefighters, will notify the El Cajon Police Department when they respond to a crisis that has impacted a CVUSD student. The Police Department will then pass that information on to school officials who can help support the child. Under the HWC program, first responders and police departments do not give specific details to the school about what may have happened, but they simply pass on the message that a child needs to be “Handled With Care.” This information is provided to the school’s principal, counselors, nurses, and teachers. The message helps school staff identify students that are in emotional distress and need, so when they act out or don’t pay attention in class, the student can be handled with care and sent for a rest in the nurse’s office or discreetly pulled aside for a candid conversation.

Unfortunately, children are often on the scene of overdoses, violence, and other crimes. Witnessing these traumatizing events affects every child differently, but all too often the child begins to suffer in school. Handle With Care programs promote safe and supportive homes, schools and communities that protect children, and help traumatized children heal and thrive. This initiative coincides with Cajon Valley Union School District’s ideals of meeting the needs of the whole child. Grateful for this opportunity to help his students achieve their best, CVUSD Superintendent David Miyashiro said “We are looking forward to learning more and collaborating with [ECPD] on this program. The goal of implementing this program in partnership with the El Cajon Police Department is to provide the help needed for students to thrive despite and in spite of the traumatic circumstances. The relationships our schools, staff, and students have with our local heroes and first responders from Heartland Fire & Rescue, San Diego Sherrifs, and the El Cajon Police Department are an investment in the well-being of our entire community. We can’t thank them enough!”

The HWC program began in 2013 in Charleston, West Virginia as a response to the city’s drug epidemic, which primarily consisted of opioid abuse and addiction. Since that time, the program has grown throughout West Virginia and has been adopted by a number of states and cities, including Maryland, Texas, Illinois, and now California. For more information on the original Handle With Care pilot program, please visit

About Cajon Valley Union School District

Named a 2019 Top Workplace in San Diego, Cajon Valley Union School District focuses on the positivity of each student’s unique strengths, interests, and values. Serving over 60 square miles of San Diego’s East County, Cajon Valley Union School District offers personalized education, with programs that develop students into happy kids, healthy relationships, on a path to gainful employment; making El Cajon the best place to live, work, play and raise a family. Visit the district at, and don’t forget to follow CVUSD on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram

Cajon Valley Union School District Nominated as Top Workplace as Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Soars

Cajon Valley Union SD Top Workplace

Cajon Valley Union School District is being honored by the San Diego Union-Tribune for their nomination as a Top Workplace. This distinction comes to the District as they have put focus on employee engagement and satisfaction in recent years. Among the academic and social goals CVUSD has for their students, the District is turning its attention to a community-based atmosphere, making El Cajon “Best Place to Live, Work, Play and Raise a Family.” Happy, engaged employees working in positive and productive environments make for an outstanding atmosphere for students to learn and thrive in. 

With their nomination as a Top Workplace, Cajon Valley employees were surveyed using Energage technology that is backed by experts and produces science-based results. These surveys, in conjunction with the CVUSD’s partnership with Gallup and their Q12 Employment survey, have given the community a look into the type of engaged employees that are working at Cajon Valley and how they view the CVUSD culture. David Miyashiro, Superintendent, says that an investment in company culture “is truly an investment in the bottom line and has a direct impact on the happiness, health, and well-being of our employees”

When surveyed by Energage, Cajon Valley employees used words like innovative, family, child-centered, multicultural, welcoming, creative, inclusive, and technological to describe their employer. The survey revealed that CVUSD is exceeding employee expectations. One employee noted, “This job is better than I expected when I started because it is personal. Having come from other districts, CVUSD blows them all out of the water! My strengths are encouraged, my interests are given an outlet to explore and my values are respected.” 

energage results

Energage Top3
From Energage Survey of 2960 Cajon Valley Employees.

Through the anonymity of participating with Top Workplaces and the Energage survey, employees were given the opportunity to feel empowered as they shared their opinions and suggestions. Some employees offered suggestions for improvement, but the overwhelmingly positive majority of the 3,500 comments that came in through the survey shows the true colors of CVUSD. As one employee from Avocado Elementary put it, “Our district isn’t afraid to try new things, to bring new leadership in, to offer excellent training for teachers, to support their teachers in wellness inside and outside of the classroom.” 

Michelle Hayes, Assistant Superintendent Personnel Services states, “Our employees are hard-working, committed people who deserve the best place to work. By investing in a culture that embraces relationships, empowerment, creativity and active engagement, our employees get to enjoy their work, do what they love, and do what they do best each day…creating the best place to learn for our students.”    

This nomination as a Top Workplace provided an outlet for employees to showcase the most beloved aspect of their jobs. Many employees mentioned the innovation at CVUSD, the relationships they build, and the creativity they use in their jobs. Above all, the number one word used in the responses to “I love my job because…” was KIDS. The kids are at the center of every decision CVUSD employees at every level make. A company is, at its core, what the employees band together to create, and in looking at what words employees most mentioned in their surveys, Cajon Valley Union School District is well on its way to becoming the “Best Place to Live, Work, Play and Raise a Family.”

About Cajon Valley Union School District

Named a 2019 Top Workplace in San Diego, Cajon Valley Union School District focuses on the positivity of each student’s unique strengths, interests, and values. Serving over 60 square miles of San Diego’s East County, Cajon Valley Union School District offers personalized education, with programs that develop students into happy kids, healthy relationships, on a path to gainful employment; making El Cajon the best place to live, work, play and raise a family. Visit the district at, and don’t forget to follow CVUSD on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram

CVUSD Newsletter November 13, 2019

Dear Cajon Valley Family,

Happy World Kindness Day! You’re going to love this week’s CV Broadcast brought to you by Paige Greenfeld and Tiffany Guppy from Anza Elementary School. Thank you both for capturing the fun and spirit of our Fall Festivities and Celebrations across the district. Vista Grande Principal Tita Cordero-Bautista gives a new definition of “going all in” for her school.  Be sure to watch the broadcast till the end to see an epic finish!

Last month Police Chief Michael Moulton and the El Cajon Police Department hosted our principals and school student body presidents for a Red Ribbon Week Kick-off event at the ECPD Station. What has become an annual event, our first responders “thank you” luncheon cooked up by our friends in the Child Nutrition Department allows our students and staff the opportunity to both reflect on and express gratitude for the safety and love our local superheroes bring to our community every day! Fire Chief Steve Swaney brought his team from Heartland Fire & Rescue to celebrate with our students as well. They’ve been assisting other fire departments all over California on some of the recent wildfires.  Thank you!

Next week on Tuesday Cajon Valley Schools will host members of Congress, National Education Committees, and a distinguished list of elected State Officials from across the United States.  We are excited to be included in the national conversation on the future of work and schools.  Thank you to our Cajon Valley teachers and support staff who have worked so hard to make us a national model of excellence.  We will share highlights from this convening in the December CV Broadcast.

With Appreciation,

David Miyashiro, Ed.D.

Please tune in and subscribe to us on YoutubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter to receive frequent updates.

Cajon Valley Broadcast #14

El Cajon Police and Heartland Fire Job Fair – Dodgeball!

Cajon Valley Public Service Annoucement for El Cajon Police Department

Cajon Valley Public Service Announcement for Heartland Fire

KUSI interview of Dr. Miyashiro and ECPD Chief Mike Moulton

Celebrating Our Local Heroes Lunch Recap

Students who know themselves and their options will be ready for success

california schools magazine _ from the field
“In the Cajon Valley Union School District — a wonderfully diverse school district that serves a socioeconomic population with nearly two-thirds of families living in or nearly in poverty — high-skill, high-wage jobs in the community often go unfilled. Across the nation, school districts are experiencing a similar landscape. It’s a troubling pattern raising some tough questions for schools about what they can do to help shift this alarming trend.”
 – From the Fall Issue of California Schools

Red Ribbon Week with El Cajon Police Department and Heartland Fire and Rescue Team

Cajon Valley started Red Ribbon Week with ECPD and Heartland Fire and Rescue. Watch the interview of Superintendent David Miyashiro and ECPD Cheif Mike Moulton on KUSI News Good Morning San Diego.

Here is the DodgeBall Video mentioned in the interview…

Here is a recap of the First Responder Appreciation Luncheon

Reflection on CDAA Keynote

Last week I had the honor of being a keynote speaker at the Career Development Association of Australia conference held in Canberra, Australia to speak on the integration of career related learning in classrooms in the Cajon Valley Union School District. What a pleasure it was to engage with more than 250 career counselors, independent practitioners, educators, consultants and researchers who are serving people across the life span, across industries and settings, and committed to applying research to bring career well-being to their clients. 

The conference highlighted a wide spectrum of career development focus areas, demonstrating the depth and breadth of this important and exciting profession and the knowledge practitioners benefit from when they serve clients in varied areas such as: youth and veteran employment, career transition, retirement, education, life planning, and career sectors such as STEM and agriculture. The complexity of this work was evident as we explored areas that affect career development such as: workplace values, mental health, neuroscience, social media, gender, skills gaps, dignified work, identity, and more. It was compelling to see such a comprehensive focus and the engagement of counselors eager to deploy research and tools to support high quality career related coaching, counseling and learning.     

As the lead practitioner of the World of Work™ initiative (WoW), the focus of my talk and accompanying workshop was on the integration of career development in our schools. This was my first opportunity to speak to a large group of experienced counselors about our model, one that incorporates career theory to equip teachers to integrate career related learning in their classrooms. Aside from our development phase, it was the first time I was exposing our framework to a professional community that understands career theory in practice and could make natural connections as to why the resources were created in the manner they were created. The response was very positive and led to many points of validation of our K-12 practice.   

CDAA conference activity

As I reflect on this experience, I’m left with several takeaways based on the feedback from delegates and the interest in our work. First, I’m convinced that Holland is the right choice for a foundational career framework. The simple language allows us to frame our supporting tools in a way that is simple, elegant, and useful for scaffolding teachers’ knowledge as they work to integrate career development. Second, I’m reassured that our work should continue to focus on developing students’ meta cognitive skills, rather than prescribing career matching, to support their career-decision making self-efficacy and best prepare them to make informed choices and navigate the future world of work. Thirdly, as I interacted with professional career counselors, it reinforced the early decision to anchor WoW in respected career theories, like the RIASEC, SCCT, The Work Adjustment Theory and Theory of Circumscription and Compromise, that are well known and applied by these practitioners. And finally, when answering questions about our practice, I was excited to notice a piqued desire by many to begin exploring the idea of starting this work in the early grades to create a common language between student, teacher and parents. 


Across many points in peoples’ lives, they will face indecision about their education and career. The world is changing so rapidly it will be impossible to have complete confidence in one path or another throughout their lifetime. Helping students develop self-awareness and having exposure to CDAA Postacademic and career opportunities during their earliest years, contextualized through career related learning, will prepare them to navigate this uncertain future. Our students will face indecision, but if we do our work well, when the time comes to make choices, they will possess the knowledge and skills to participate in a rich dialogue, where their knowledge of self, their experiences, and their ability to share their story, will help the counselor, teacher, coach and parent to co-construct a vision and path for the individual’s future possible self. Together, we can all play a role in helping people develop their path to gainful employment. 

I’d like to thank CDAA leaders Peter Mansfield and Wanda Hayes for inviting me to represent the Cajon Valley Union School District to share about our work. I’d also like to thank Dr. Peter McIlveen and the team at ACCELL Research for their encouragement and support. I look forward to exploring ways to collaborate in the future. 

Cajon Valley Making Smart Investments to Create New Opportunities For Students

Today in Cajon Valley Union School District, campuses are flourishing, students are thriving, and the community is heavily involved in the development of every child’s unique “Strengths, Interests, and Values.”  These changes are all in congruence with Cajon Valley’s greater Vision of creating an educational plane where “Happy Kids are able to develop Healthy Relationships while paving a Path to Gainful Employment.”

The innovative programs and work developed in CVUSD contribute to not only the improvement of the district, but of the entire community, making Cajon Valley “A Great Place to Live, Work, Play, and Raise a Family.”  Cajon Valley is focused on giving the students within their reach the best possible chance at cultivating effective skills for their future career and financial well-being. With crucial investments made towards the brand Cajon Valley Union School District is fostering like the TEDxKids@ElCajon event, the World of Work program, and community-building events, the district has seen 6 straight years of increased enrollment and fiscal stability, a complete anomaly for public school districts in San Diego County and the entire United States. View Cajon Valley’s Flash Mob video.

While the foundation of our success is and always will be teaching and learning, many of the changes we’ve made in the past few years have come from broadening our leadership team’s focus from traditional administration to running CVUSD as an innovation driven business. In doing so, we’ve seen how investing in brand development and marketing can open new opportunities for student achievement.

Cajon Valley has converted our innovations in technology, modern curriculum, and career development into a global brand that has attracted students formerly enrolled in charter schools, private schools, and even neighboring districts. While we have increased our financial investment in this area, the return on that investment has meant more funding and resources to help our students learn and grow.

Here are some highlights on what this means for students in our district:

TEDxKids@ElCajon is an event affiliated with the popular TED talks and gives the community of El Cajon a platform to share their own ideas, insights, and stories. This event, now held annually, is put on by volunteers, sponsorships, and vendors from the community and from the Cajon Valley Education Foundation. TEDxKids@ElCajon is a community-wide event that unites all stakeholders and celebrates the rich diversity in the East County region of San Diego. The District’s partnerships with the City of El Cajon Recreation Department, Heartland Fire & Rescue, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the El Cajon Police Department, and local businesses truly make this event a community builder amplifying the “Ideas Worth Spreading” of the El Cajon community. View TEDxKids@ElCajon2019 recap video.

ASA Grant
With a recent 1.2 million dollar ASA grant to incorporate World of Work into La MesaSpring Valley, Vista Unified and the Grossmont Union High School District, Cajon Valley has already recouped the initial investment for the program and stands to bring in additional ongoing revenue as other districts sign on as clients. In fact, ten other districts nationwide have purchased the World of Work curriculum from CVUSD. This new and consistent revenue stream will be used to help the District reinvest in other areas of curriculum, offerings for students, staff development, and attracting and retaining high-quality employees with branding and marketing efforts. View ASA President and CEO Jean Eddy’s visit to CVUSD.

Teacher Recruitment
Cajon Valley’s reputation has also paid off in the area of human resources.  Applications to teach at CVUSD have flooded in, despite a massive teacher shortage in many areas, and the symbol that Cajon Valley Union School District has become represents a positive future for the community.

The accomplishments of our Business Services team under the direction of Chief Business Officer Scott Buxbaum cannot be underscored. They include 6 straight years of fiscal stability and positive budget certifications from the state and county, growing a healthy budget reserve, and eliminating deficit spending while at the same time adding programs for students and increasing teacher and classified staff salaries. Cajon Valley’s image is now being recognized among elite institutions like Forbes, The Hechinger Report, The Brookings Institute, Getting Smart, and Voice of San Diego. Partnerships and affiliations with organizations TEDx and TED-Ed, the ASU/GSV Summit, Myers-Briggs Corporation, Google, Digital Promise, and the ASA are bringing Cajon Valley to the forefront of the push to modernize education to help more students than just those college-bound for white-collar careers.

Increase in Enrollment

CVUSD Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer Ed Hidalgo has been invited to speak at conferences like the ASU/GSV Summit and a Brookings Institute conference to share the district’s accomplishments with the world’s leading education and workforce innovators. During the 2019 ASU/GSV Summit, conference participants from around the globe visited CVUSD as part of the summit. These visitors were impressed by the identity Cajon Valley has created as a public-school district and a community during their efforts to modernize education and create a curriculum that can be applied to every student. View ASU/GSV X Cajon Valley Tour here.About Cajon Valley Union School District
With roots dating back to 1870, Cajon Valley Union School District focuses on the positivity of each student’s unique strengths, interests, and values. Serving over 60 square miles of San Diego’s East County, Cajon Valley Union School District offers personalized education, with programs that develop students’ interests into goals for a career-minded approach. Please visit and follow CVUSD on YoutubeTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.Contact:
Howard Shen


Two years ago, the Cajon Valley Union School District enlisted the world-renowned analytics and advisory company Gallup to evaluate corporate culture and employee engagement within the District. This collaboration is in conjunction with Cajon Valley’s aligned purpose and mission to the city of El Cajon’s; to be the best place to live, work, play and raise a family. This mission has led to a school board driven vision of developing happy kids, in healthy relationships on a path to gainful employment. In order to accomplish these goals, the District is focusing on employing adults who are happy, in healthy-relationships, and gainfully employed. 

The importance of culture is widely recognized by organizations, but translating this into action remains a challenge. When Cajon Valley Union School District partnered with Gallup in 2017, the School Board made that decision in order to deploy one of the most influential culture surveys ever created, the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey.  For a district first established in 1870, this was the first time the district had applied such a highly regarded survey to evaluate organizational culture based on employee engagement. As the largest employer in El Cajon, developing a positive employee culture for employees is a priority. The Deloitte Center for Board Effectiveness points out that, “Culture matters, because a strong, positive corporate culture provides a framework not only for risk mitigation, but also for both short- and long-term value creation.” (Deloitte 2018) 

The Q12 assessment has tracked engagement of more than 35 million employees in 189 different countries and 69 languages. By tracking Q12 results from year to year and developing the right data-based interventions to promote growth, companies can ensure that their workforce is engaged and meeting its potential. By working with Gallup, CVUSD will measure the 12 elements that exist in every high-performing work environment. These 12 elements identified through the Q12 engagement survey represent the factors most powerful in explaining employees’ productive motivations at work. We know that investing in everyday moments and incorporating these engagement needs into our world of work can help provide direction, clarity, encouragement and growth that employees need to perform at their best. 

Engaged employees fuel Cajon Valley and are the basis of the culture CVUSD hopes to create for adults and students alike. According to Gallup, engaged employees are involved in and enthusiastic about their work. They are 100% psychologically committed to their role. They are thrilled at the challenge of their work every day. They are in a role that uses their talents, they know the scope of their job, and they are more likely to look for new and different ways of achieving the outcomes of their role.

Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer for Cajon Valley Union School District, Ed Hidalgo, noted that “The really good thing is we are measuring [engagement], and if we can build happy adults, we hope we will have happier kids.” He also pointed out that the District also measures student engagement through the Gallup student poll and parent engagement through another Gallup poll. Hidalgo was happy to report “In both of those polls we are above the national average. For the parent poll we are almost 2x the national average which is about 39% parents are engaged. Nationally the number is about 20%.” 

The numbers provided by the Gallup Q12 surveys represent more than just a set of data points. CVUSD is working closely with Gallup researchers to continually explore data and meet with employees to understand what the numbers mean and how employee engagement can continue to increase. Hidalgo is pleased to see not only an increase in Gallup survey participation from employees, but also the increase in actual engagement. “In our first year,” Hidalgo explains, “more than 1,498 employees participated in the survey and in the second year, more than 1,650. Employee engagement grew from 38% to 46%. These percentage changes, while seemingly small, represent hundreds of employees shifting to higher levels of engagement and decreasing levels of disengagement.”  

Building an engaged workforce where employees are positive and productive requires people at every level in an organization to take accountability in creating a culture of engagement. According to Gallup, engagement is about providing employees with the direction, clarity, encouragement and growth they need to perform at their best and has linked this to improvements in workers’ health, well-being and personal relationships, among other benefits.  CVUSD sees measuring engagement as a way for our leaders to focus on what employees need for their current and future performance and development goals so we can best serve our community. 

Participating in the Q12 survey is just the beginning of the engagement journey. It’s what we do to make specific, targeted improvements within the workforce that matters most, and the only way to make a sustained impact is to get everyone involved. Starting this fall, Cajon Valley Union School District leaders will evaluate results from the spring Q12 survey and work with team members to identify opportunities to improve engagement throughout each school site and department. CVUSD employees will have any opportunities during the 2019-2020 school year to share their opinions, ideas, and innovations to improve processes and strengthen relationships to build on the engagement conversation. We are excited to begin this movement and continue with our role to help make Cajon Valley the best place to live, work, play and raise a family!

About Cajon Valley Union School District

With roots dating back to 1870, Cajon Valley Union School District focuses on the positivity of each student’s unique strengths, interests, and values. Serving over 60 square miles of San Diego’s East County, Cajon Valley Union School District offers personalized education, with programs that develop students’ interests into goals for a career-minded approach. Visit the district at and don’t forget to follow CVUSD on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram