Career Development Should Start Early

by Ian Egan

In the suburbs of San Diego lies the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) in a city of over 100,000 tucked deep in a valley surrounded by mountains. With a student body of 8,800 students in grades K-8, superintendent Dr. David Miyashiro is dedicated to advancing education in the digital age. He did it so well that he was named 2016’s Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (Region 18) in recognition of his innovative accomplishments.

Meanwhile, Ed Hidalgo was the Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer for El Cajon and the director of the World of Work initiative based on the Holland Code (RIASEC) career tests at the University of San Diego. He and his team worked with researchers to design the World of Work initiative for students in partnership with David and the CVUSD, with the ultimate goal of helping all children find their place in the world. This means helping students discover their unique strengths, interests, values, building skills, and aligning them to authentic experiences in the classroom to prepare them for their next step after graduating and giving them the tools for the rest of their lives in finding their way in their life and career.

David Miyashiro knows that all kids aren’t, and shouldn’t be, ready for a STEM career. As David says, “It’s really just a lot of listening to the community. A lot of our folks in this particular region of San Diego are carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. They are in very skilled labor industries that are dying on the vine because they can’t find enough talent.” But the issue isn’t the lack of educated adults, they tell him. “They’ve told us that the school system, in general, has stigmatized physical labor and hard work.”

They tell David that the education culture somehow made it undesirable for a kid to get a skilled labor certification, become a journeyman and serve an apprenticeship, and then go into a development career. “We’ve told every kid that they have to go to college, and they do,” David says. “That’s some hard feedback coming from community leaders who are very successful business people.”

For David and Ed it’s the idea of putting dignity in all work, and starting with the individual kid’s strengths and interests. It’s about letting them explore every type of career possible, a little each year. RIASEC is an acronym for Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers). The six models ranked by strength provide the possibility of 720 different personality patterns and the types of careers that would align with those types of interests. “Kids won’t foreclose on anything that could be their possible future,” David says.

David says they’re starting to see levels of hope and engagement rise. They’re starting to see teachers think a little bit less about test scores and more about connecting with their kids. He sees them getting to know their kids on a very personal level, caring about their individual strengths and interests. “And it’s returning the fun to school,” David says. “This is why we came to the profession in the first place. It’s so we can have happy kids and healthy relationships on the path to gainful employment.”

Student engagement surveys measure hope, engagement, relevance, and whether or not kids feel the adults in the building care about them. Ed Hidalgo says that if we put those metrics first in the classroom, then the conditions for learning and human development in our schools are going to skyrocket. Gallup research shows that a one-point increase in hope and engagement will equal an 8 percent gain in language, arts, and math. Talk about a return on your investment.

“So don’t start with test scores,” David says. “Start with hope, relevance, engagement, and the practices like the TED Talks. Start with personalized learning, by giving the student a voice. Use World of Work for career development. Keep engaging with hope about future aspirations and then really focus on relationships in school and making that the starting point of any school day or school period. Connect students with each other and with their teachers as a community.”

“That’s well-being,” he says with a smile.

About Dr. David Miyashiro:

Dr. David Miyashiro currently serves as Superintendent of the Cajon Valley Union School District. David was named 2016 Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators Region 18.  With David’s leadership, Cajon Valley has undergone a seamless transition to the digital age. Cajon Valley has achieved system-wide success with blended and personalized learning where all teachers and students have 24/7 access to their own district issued laptop, internet connectivity, and a digital ecosystem of robust resources and creativity tools. 

In 2015, The Cajon Valley Union School District was inducted by Digital Promise into The League of Innovative Schools, a bipartisan nonprofit, authorized by Congress in 2008 as the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies through Section 802 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush. This distinction ranks Cajon Valley in the top 73 US school districts for innovation and digital learning.

David believes the role and impact of public educators go far beyond the classroom walls. “In order to keep pace with the rapidly changing world, our systems of public education both in California and the United States must be in a constant state of evolution.”

In the spirit of TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) and “Ideas Worth Spreading,” the Cajon Valley Union School District launched the first district-wide TEDx and TED-Ed Club in the United States.  David was invited by the TED organization to the first cohort of TIES (TED Innovate Educators) This partnership has allowed all students in Cajon Valley access to a robust and personalized curriculum designed by the TED-Ed team that empowers kids to learn how to give TED-like talks. Cajon Valley brings the entire community together at its’ annual TEDxKids@ElCajon  to celebrate children and “Ideas Worth Spreading” that may in some way, shape, or form…improve the human condition.  One of the most prolific ideas Cajon Valley has brought to fruition is the district-wide partnerships with Code.Org and Code To The Future to bring Computer Science to all students in the Cajon Valley Union School District. All students in Cajon Valley Schools engage with Code.Org and computer programming beginning in Kindergarten. Cajon Valley has also launched the first K-5 Computer Science Magnet Schools in the US.

David formerly served as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the Encinitas Union School District. In this role, he designed and implemented a one to one digital learning initiative as well as a comprehensive yoga-based health and wellness program. David served as a Principal in the Fullerton and East Whittier School Districts. There he led two Title I schools with challenging demographics successfully out of program improvement status with a combined API growth of over 240 points. David completed his doctoral studies at UCLA, Masters of Education at Grand Canyon University, and Bachelor’s Degree at Long Beach State University.

Most recently, David was appointed by the CA State Board of Education to serve as co-chair for California’s committee tasked with bringing Computer Science to all K-12 students.  David was also appointed to the California School Boards Association President’s advisory council. Cajon Valley completed its’ first round of development of a comprehensive K-12 Career Development and Well Being Program called “The World of Work.” This work has gained international recognition and is now available to LEAs and K-12 systems looking to bridge the gap between Education and the Workforce.

Follow David on Twitter.

About Ed Hidalgo:

Ed Hidalgo is the Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer (CIEO) at Cajon Valley Union School District.

How does a child aspire to a career they don’t know exists? How do we prepare all students for their place in the future world of work? The CIEO role leverages Ed’s corporate experience in response to these questions. The approach is the design and implementation of a world-class, research-based and integrated model of career development. Secondly, to develop a strengths-based, data-driven employee culture across the district of 1,800 employees and 17,000 students to drive hope and engagement.

Prior to his current role, he was the director of the world of work initiative at the University of San Diego Institute for Entrepreneurship in Education where he worked with researchers to design the world of work initiative for the Cajon Valley Union School District. This work reflects the initiatives he led at Qualcomm where he worked in human resources, staffing and government affairs. As senior director of government affairs, he led the development of the Thinkabit_Lab®, a dedicated makerspace providing thousands of students and teachers exposure to technology and the world of work. Prior to this role, he led the global contingent workforce and immigration practice which hired more than 20,000 workers globally. He co-founded Career Explorations, a career counseling and coaching practice for employees to drive engagement and career wellbeing. He served as the executive sponsor for Qualcomm’s Workforce Development Labs, an initiative to promote youth and veteran engagement in workforce development through hands-on experienships.

Prior to Qualcomm, he was the area manager for Manpower responsible for technical recruiting and site-management operations contributing to the employment of thousands of workers throughout San Diego County.

He is a member of the Workforce Development Board for the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

Gallup Certified Strengths Coach: Top 5 Theme Sequence: Maximizer, Belief, Adaptability, Responsibility, Connectedness.

RIASEC Type Sequence: SEA

Follow Ed Hidalgo on Twitter

  1. Education World – Five Ways to Better Prepare Students for Careers
  2. – Insights from Socializing the World of Work Initiative
  3. EddyPump – World of Work Business Partner – Cajon Valley School District

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