CoffeEd: Teaching Students To Stand Up To The Mic

by Dr. Berger

I sat down with progressive-minded, Dr. David Miyashiro, Superintendent of Cajon Valley Union School District and ACSA 2016 Superintendent of the Year to discuss new advances for his district and discover more about his path to becoming a superintendent. Miyashiro mentions frustration above all else, as the motivating factor behind every career rung up the educational ladder. Action rather than excuses and a belief that things can be done better has inspired Miyashiro to think outside the box, reaching out to an international community of best practice educators, as well as, top CEOs of Business. Technology has allowed for far greater influence, and Miyashiro is a believer.

A few years ago, Miyashiro attended a tour of the Google campus and was forever changed. Google obsesses over the livelihood of people who work for them; they want their workers to have easy access to everyday needs, and they have developed their campus around that model. Miyashiro asked the question, “Why not do the same for schools?” Why not put the same efforts toward teachers and make schools the very best place to work?

As Miyashiro set out to change his district’s approach, he found himself drawn to Ted Talks and the motto “The best ideas in the community to improve the human condition.”  After watching a Ted Talk by the highly esteemed Sir Ken Robinson, Miyashiro was hooked and became so inspired that he made it his goal for the kids in his district to learn the value of public speaking to a global audience, not to fear the “stage” and learn about presentation. The results have been astounding with one of his 1st graders already being flown to Ted Talk headquarters in NY to help polish his talk, “Math is Everywhere.” Miyashiro is undoubtedly an inspirational superintendent preparing kids for success in the future.

Dr. David Miyashiro currently serves as Superintendent of The Cajon Valley Union School District.  David was named 2016 Superintendent of the Year by ACSA (Association of California School Administrators), Region 18.  Cajon Valley has undergone a seamless transition to the digital age. Through inclusive planning, design, and an iterative approach, Cajon Valley has achieved system-wide success with blended and personalized learning for all students.  Cajon Valley has been dubbed “One to Watch” by The Classroom of the Future Foundation and has earned both local and national recognition for its leadership in transforming public education.

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 student 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.

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