Math Field Day

Fifth and sixth grade teams representing all 23 Escondido Union School District (EUSD) elementary and middle schools participated in the 2017 EUSD Math Field Day, held at Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences on Saturday, March 6th.  School teams, consisting of seven students, worked together to solve a series of hands-on mathematics and engineering problems during the morning. The teams with the highest scores received medals at the end of the event.

In addition to the student competition, family members in attendance had the unique opportunity to participate in a workshop and demonstration by Edward Price, Professor of Physics, California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).  This presentation served as an introduction to the Mobile Making STEM Afterschool Program that is currently available at two EUSD middle schools, and that will be offered at all EUSD middle schools during the 2017-2018 school year.

In total, 168 students and their family members participated in this year’s Math Field Day.

The following school teams were awarded medals for their outstanding team performance during the 2017 Math Field Day:

5th Grade Winners

Math Field Day 5th Grade - First Place - Bernardo

1st Place – Bernardo

Math Field Day 5th Grade - Second Place - Miller

2nd Place – Miller

Math Field Day 5th Grade - Third Place - Rock Springs

3rd Place – Rock Springs

Honorable Mention: North Broadway

6th Grade Winners

Math Field Day 6th Grade - First Place - Bear Valley

1st Place – Bear Valley

Math Field Day 6th Grade - Second Place - Del Dios

2nd Place – Del Dios Academy of Arts & Sciences

Math Field Day 6th Grade - Third Place - Quantum Academy

3rd Place – Quantum Academy

Event Recap: 2017 State of the District Address

Music, videos, and excitement filled the air during the very first State of the District Address on Monday, February 27 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

As attendees took their seats, they were entertained by the Rincon Middle School band. Under the direction of Mr. Roger Anderson, these talented student musicians exemplified the excellence in arts education offered in EUSD’s schools.

Deputy superintendent Leila Sackfield then welcomed attendees, and school board president Zesty Harper introduced EUSD’s superintendent, Dr. Luis Ibarra. With sincere appreciation, Dr. Ibarra presented the Community Champion Award to the Escondido Education Foundation (EEF). Led by board president Carolyn Royer, this all-volunteer organization has been in existence since 2004, and they work tirelessly to support EUSD’s students and teachers. This past year alone, EEF raised and donated over $70,000 to support innovative teaching in our classrooms.

Dr. Ibarra then began his presentation by offering a vision:

“To actualize the unlimited human potential of every learner. Before you can move an organization, you have to understand who you are, who you serve and, most importantly, imagine what is truly possible.”

In order to understand who you are, you have to be willing to honestly acknowledge challenges and shortcomings. Dr. Ibarra proceeded to do exactly that:

“As we move forward, the road ahead has many challenges that we, as an organization, will need to overcome. We have aging facilities and infrastructure. Our achievement results are not reflective of our students’ unlimited potential. And we have declining enrollment. So what is our response to these challenges? Rather than ignore the challenges or, worse, accept or resign ourselves to the challenges, we have reached out and turned those challenges into opportunities for change.”

Dr. Ibarra then outlined the many ways in which EUSD is working hard and making progress in these key areas.

Facilities Improvement

In 2014, the Escondido community approved Proposition E, a $182.1 million dollar bond measure for EUSD’s schools. The objectives of the bond were simple and concise:

  • Improve school campus safety and security
  • Improve the District’s network infrastructure
  • Modernize aged facilities

Those bond dollars are already hard at work throughout EUSD. The District has completed the first phase of its security projects, and all schools are now protected by secure perimeter fencing. In addition, major construction is well underway at three of EUSD’s oldest schools: Central, Orange Glen, and Mission.

All of this is being accomplished while remaining fiscally solvent and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Dr. Ibarra revealed that the bond projects are currently on schedule and under budget. In addition, older bonds have been refinanced to take advantage of historically-low interest rates — an action that will save taxpayers approximately $5.3 million through 2026.

Student Achievement

EUSD has a very diverse student population with 77 percent of students coming from homes with low socio-economic status, and 44 percent of students designated as English Learners. Our District’s diversity is certainly a strength, but it also poses a serious challenge — namely, how do we better ensure that all students realize their unlimited potential?

Dr. Ibarra shared that the District has made major strides in this area. The process of improvement began with the commissioning of a team of researchers from West Ed’s Quality Teaching for English Learners. The results of their report were not flattering, but they provided a clear understanding of the steps EUSD needs to take to increase instructional rigor for English Learners. Working with WestEd, the District has since provided intense training to over 200 teachers and all principals.

In addition, EUSD has put structures in place that support the diverse social and emotional needs of all students. Every one of our schools now has a full-time parent liaison, a full-time social worker, intervention teachers, academic coaches, and a full-time resource teacher.

While there is more work to be done, data suggests that EUSD is moving in the right direction. For example, 2016 standardized test results showed a 7-point District-wide increase in Language Arts, and a 4-point increase in Math compared to 2015.

Innovation and Choice

Over the last 12 years, EUSD has lost over 3,000 students. This decline in enrollment can be partially attributed to statewide trends, such as a decline in birthrates. However, parents also have more educational choices than ever, and some are choosing other options for their children.

In response, EUSD formed a task force on declining enrollment. According to Dr. Ibarra:

“The purpose of the task force was very clear: First, to identify the possible root causes of declining enrollment. Second, to assist in the development of possible solutions or recommendations in order to mitigate declining enrollment.”

Ultimately, the task force determined that fears about school size and safety, negative or incorrect perceptions about programs, perceptions about school culture, and matters of race and poverty were the root causes for the District’s decline in enrollment.

EUSD is responding by innovating and offering unique choices to parents and students.

One example is Quantum Academy, which was designed from the ground up by two outstanding EUSD teachers. Quantum provides a 21st century, project-based learning opportunity for our community — but it’s only the beginning. Here are just a few of the other innovative highlights that can be found throughout EUSD:

  • Conway Elementary is engaged with a transformative initiative known as Expeditionary Learning that utilizes rigorous, hands-on, real-world curriculum.
  • Del Dios Middle School has been transformed into the Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences where students are exposed to the STEAM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
  • Mission Middle School is providing more relevant hands-on experiences through project-based learning.
  • Our Bilingual programs have been redesigned into Dual Language programs where students in grades K–5 can become proficient in both English and Spanish. This program is currently being offered at Lincoln, Farr, Pioneer, and Glen View, and preliminary data suggests that participating students are outperforming their single language counterparts.

Ultimately, the message at the State of the District was clear: You want the best for your child — and so do we. EUSD isn’t perfect, but the state of our District is strong because of the many wonderful people and programs that are moving EUSD forward.

EUSD Kindergarten Spotlight

If you have a child that is starting kindergarten, read on! Registration for kindergarten is now open at all district elementary schools. There are some wonderful things happening in EUSD kindergarten classrooms.

See for yourself:

Bottom line: You want the best for your child, and so do we! That’s why we offer a well-rounded curriculum for both kindergarten and transitional kindergarten, and why our caring teachers go above and beyond every day.

We are excited to have the opportunity to offer kindergarten registration online, or you may visit your neighborhood school where they can assist you with the registration process any day during normal school office hours. We look forward to providing your child with an exceptional learning experience!

Take the next step:

Explore Our Schools OnlineSchedule a Campus TourEnroll Your Child Online

What is LCAP, and why is it so important?

Over the last few years, you’ve probably heard about LCAP: The Local Control Accountability Plan. But what exactly does that mean, and why should you participate in EUSD’s upcoming LCAP community meetings?

In a nutshell: Imagine being able to provide input and help influence EUSD’s educational priorities and budgetary spending. That’s what the LCAP process does.

In July 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed a new school funding model into law. This new plan is known as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), and it requires school districts like EUSD to develop an LCAP that guides priorities in the budget development process.

Each district’s LCAP must be built around eight priority areas identified by the California Department of Education:

  1. Access to core services
  2. Implementation of Common Core State Standards
  3. Access to a broad course of study
  4. Student achievement
  5. Other student outcomes
  6. Student engagement
  7. Parent involvement
  8. School climate

But while these priority areas are dictated by the State, the specific goals and targets within each area are largely determined by each school district.

In other words, LCAP helps ensure that EUSD — not Sacramento — will have more authority to spend precious resources in a way that is better aligned with the needs of the Escondido community and our students.

That’s why opportunities for public input are so critical to the development of the LCAP. In fact, the following EUSD programs and initiatives were created or expanded as a direct result of LCAP input we received from 2014 through 2016:

  • Summer school
  • Dual Language programs at four of our schools
  • Before and after school intervention and enrichment programs
  • Physical Education teachers at every school
  • Family liaisons at every school
  • Social workers at every school
  • School-based resource teachers at every school who help teachers customize learning plans for their students
  • District coaches and coordinators to support additional on-site professional development with an emphasis on English Learners, STEM, Math, Language Arts, and Technology
  • A one-to-one iPad program for new teachers as part of our iREAD program
  • Our new district website, Facebook page, and other marketing efforts designed to improve communication with parents and reverse declining enrollment

Learn more and get involved

As you can see, your input and involvement truly does make a difference. That’s why we encourage you to:

Attend an LCAP community meeting

Learn more from the LCAP website

Get Moving With Two of EUSD’s New PE Teachers!

In this edition of EUSD’s Spotlight Series, we want to introduce you to Brenda Langston and Simon Vieaux, two new teachers with a lot in common…

Brenda Langston and Simon Vieaux were both hired as full-time credentialed teachers this summer and are currently serving as full-time physical education teachers. They both grew up and attended EUSD schools from kindergarten through high school, and…they are cousins! So as we welcome them into our EUSD family this year, we want to celebrate their contributions to our community of learners.

Ms. Langston

Ms. Langston - PE teacher

Brenda attended Miller Elementary School and Del Dios Middle School while growing up in Escondido. She participated in Escondido Girl’s Softball throughout her youth. Her hard work and dedication to the game eventually earned her a scholarship to the University of Mary in North Dakota, where she continued to play softball and earned a degree in Health and Physical Education. Brenda moved back to Escondido after graduation and began coaching softball for Orange Glen High School. Beginning her career with EUSD, she started as an Instructional Assistant. Now a full-time PE teacher at Rock Springs Elementary, Brenda is concentrating her efforts on the health and wellness of Rock Springs students by leading fun and engaging PE activities.

Mr. Vieaux

Mr. Vieaux

Simon attended North Broadway and Rincon in his youth. He enlisted in the Army after high school and was deployed to both Korea and Afghanistan. After serving our country in the U. S. Armed Forces, Simon moved back to Escondido to pursue the next chapter of his life. He completed his college education at CSU San Marcos, started a family, and student taught and volunteered at EUSD schools. As a full time PE teacher at Rose Elementary, Simon leads all classes through games and activities to ensure students are reaching their unlimited health and wellness potential.

Their Classes in Action

Why Physical Education is Important to EUSD

You want the best for you child, and so do we! That’s why our new district-wide physical education program was designed to foster a lifelong commitment to health and wellness for our students. To learn more about EUSD’s well-rounded curriculum, visit

Celebrating 50 years in an EPIC Way… Spotlight on Conway Elementary

There’s excitement in the air at Conway Elementary as students, staff, and families prepare for their 50th Anniversary Celebration on November 4th. This wonderful event will highlight Conway’s rich history, while providing a glimpse into the exceptional educational opportunities experienced by Conway’s current students, each and every day.

Not only is the Conway community very proud of their past, they’re extremely excited about their future. Staff, parents, and students are committed to a shared goal: All Conway students will acquire the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly-changing world, and be contributors to their community.

To accomplish their goal, Conway has embraced the nationally-recognized, research-based, and innovative school improvement model known as EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning). The goals of EL Education are to foster academic achievement and character growth, while instilling a love of learning and a sense of community. This model has been credited with producing high-performing schools that promote student achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork.

Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly evident that EL Education is definitely working at Conway — as evidenced in their students’ infectious enthusiasm for learning, their meaningful contributions to their school and community, and their significant gains in academic proficiency measures.

In fact, some of Conway’s fourth grade teachers recently presented at the EL National Conference in Detroit. Their presentation, Making Connections: Engaging English Language Learners with Complex Text, received incredible feedback from conference attendees — yet another example of EUSD being recognized on the national stage.

Group photo of Conway principal Tina Meglich, Conway teachers Lana Deo Brady, Therese Gallup Devan, Bonnie Kaufman, and Steve Palomino, and EL Education CEO Ron Berger

Conway principal Tina Meglich and teachers Lana Deo Brady, Therese Gallup Devan, Bonnie Kaufman, and Steve Palomino meet Ron Berger, CEO for EL Education, at the October 2016 EL Education Conference in Detroit.

Conway’s vision is truly EPIC: All learners discover their potential through Excellence, Perseverance, Integrity, and Compassion. Of special note is the fact that their EPIC vision is one that extends beyond the walls of the classroom. As Kindergarten parents, Roman and Gaby Gomez, shared:

“My wife and I are teaching our son, a kindergartener in Mrs. Vidales’ class, how to be EPIC at home, too. What you are teaching him here at school, we are extending it to home. It’s important to us. We are thankful to be here at Conway.”

To turn their EPIC vision into reality, Conway’s teachers work very hard to make academic content standards come alive through long-term, in-depth studies called Learning Expeditions.

Each Expedition incorporates the teaching of academic skills, while fostering a genuine love of learning. Learning becomes even more relevant as students are provided opportunities to investigate real-world or community issues, collaborate with their peers, develop meaningful solutions, and take positive actions.

Expeditions vary by grade level and have included such complex topics as: the interdependent relationships in various ecosystems, the plight of endangered animals, and protecting our local watershed. Students develop and hone many skills throughout their engaging expeditions, including: scientific research and observation; reading, writing and speaking; and collaboration and problem-solving.

Students tend to their garden at Conway Elementary School

The Conway Garden is just one example of the hands-on, real-world nature of EL Education at Conway Elementary School.

Additionally, technology, art, and various hands-on building projects are often incorporated into the students’ creative solutions and plans of action. Raising community awareness about the issues they’ve studied, and being of service to others, are vital components of Conway’s EL Education.

Clearly, their foundational motto — “We are CREW, not passengers” — exemplifies the Conway community’s collective commitment to quality work, scholarly actions, collaboration, and good citizenship. As their Principal, Tina Meglich, states:

“I am inspired each and every day by the Conway Crew. The teachers are agents of change, champions of a growth mindset, and facilitators of creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration so that our students learn how to lead their own learning. The spirit of CREW permeates throughout every aspect of Conway, and I am so proud to be a Conway Cougar!”

Our hats go off to Conway Elementary School! Their unwavering commitment to academic achievement, inclusion, collaborative relationships, and community service embody the many skills that our students will need to be successful — now, and in the future.

Visit Conway’s Website

Parents: Information About New Progress Report Cards

During the 2015-16 school year, a committee of first through fifth grade teachers from across the district collaborated to revise our report cards.  This work resulted in the development of standards-based progress report cards for students in first through fifth grade.  The 2016-17 school year will be the first year the new progress report card will be implemented. The progress report card is designed to document and provide feedback about what each student is learning in every subject area and to report progress toward grade level end of year standards and habits of success.

Revisions to the progress report cards include the following:

  • The content areas for English Language Arts and Mathematics have been aligned with the state’s standards.
  • The grading has been transitioned from numerical grades to descriptors designed to show where students are on their journey towards meeting end of year grade level standards. 
  • The effort/work habits and citizenship section has been changed to Habits of Success; Lifelong Learning to further reflect the work habits needed to be successful in the 21st century.

Please take a moment to view this short video on the new progress report cards.

Lights… Camera… Action! Spotlight on Mission Television

“This class was a stepping stone in my future. MTV was a huge life changer. It’s a class I will never forget.”

Ranger Saldivar
UCLA student & Mission Television graduate

This week, we’re shining the spotlight on Mission Middle School’s video production program — otherwise known as Mission Television, or MTV. Entering their ninth season, these very talented Mission Wildcats not only reach for the stars, they literally become the stars — year after year!

Students begin this award-winning program in 6th grade with a twelve-week introduction to digital media, taught by the amazing Ms. Tamara Whitney — a 2009 Teacher of the Year recipient at Mission Middle School, and a finalist for Educator of the Year for the California League of Middle Schools, Region 9.

Then, in 7th grade, students receive an entire year of extensive training on video equipment while learning about the three stages of filming: Pre-production, production, and post-production.

Encouraged by Ms. Whitney, student productions often tackle difficult social issues while offering ideas that will promote positive social change. Viewers can’t help but be genuinely impressed by the students’ video production skills, and truly inspired by their empathy and compassion. In fact, in competition with schools from throughout San Diego County, Mission Middle School’s videographers have won the prestigious Public Service Announcement Award at the Innovative Video in Education (iVIE) awards a record eight years in a row!

As 8th graders, these very talented students continue to hone their writing, editing, directing, and production skills to produce an entire season — 25 complete video episodes — of MTV. Then, as each season draws to a close, preparations begin for the annual end-of-year film festival — the Wildcademy Awards (a hybrid of Wildcat and Academy) — where the creative talents, hard work, and dedication of MTV’s cast and crew are honored and celebrated in style!

However, the awards don’t stop there…

Mission’s video production students have earned a total of twenty-five iVIE awards including four Grand Recognition Awards (best of the best) in the middle school category! They’ve also gone on to win many other video contests and grants at the local, county, state and even national levels.

Mission Television teacher Tamara Whitney poses with her students after winning big at the 2016 iVIE awards

Mission Television teacher Tamara Whitney poses with her students after winning big at the 2016 iVIE awards

While the awards and recognition have been rewarding, perhaps nothing has been more rewarding than the sense of personal accomplishment MTV participants have experienced in this wonderful program. In fact, many of Mission’s former MTV students credit their motivational MTV classes for their subsequent academic and career successes.

One such student is Ranger Saldivar, who went on to study at UCLA. His words reflect the thoughts and feelings of many MTV graduates: “This class was a stepping stone in my future. MTV was a huge life changer. It’s a class I will never forget.”

And, while the beloved Ms. Whitney is thrilled to see the impact she and her classes have had on her MTV students, she humbly adds:

“I don’t really teach video… I use video to teach. I want to teach students to not only have a voice, but how to use it to make a change! Very honestly, students are teaching me just as much as I’m teaching them. My students’ stories inspire me. They move me. They drive me not only to think differently, but to simply be a better person.”

EUSD is very proud of the Mission Middle School MTV program. Ms. Whitney, and her very talented and empathetic students, truly inspire us all!

A few samples that highlight MTV’s amazing work:

Channel 4 San Diego

This segment produced by Channel 4 provides a behind-the-scenes look into the work and process at Mission Television:

Mission Television Gives Back

This documentary about Mission Television and its service to the community was an honorable mention at the 2015 White House Film Festival:

Big Bank Bully

This fun TV commercial for San Diego County Credit Union was the $3,000 winner of the RedEye contest in the 2016 iVIE Awards, beating out competing entries from both middle and high schools in San Diego County. In July 2016, it aired as an actual commercial on NBC 7 San Diego!

Manny Can!

This movie about Mission Television student Manny B. was the winning entry in the Grades 6–8 Documentary category at the 2016 iVIE Awards:

Going Home

This documentary was a 2014 iVIE Grand Recognition winner, and California Student Media Festival winner. Written, filmed, and edited by an 8th grade student, it highlights the cultural conflict many of our students experience as they are torn between two cultures:

Like Mission Television on Facebook

Spotlight on Jo-Ann Fox

At EUSD, we have an incredible teaching staff — including many who have won local, state, and national awards of excellence. We’d like to shine the spotlight on one of those amazing educators: Jo-Ann Fox.

Jo-Ann’s resume reads like a “Who’s Who” of education:

  • She has been a San Diego County Teacher of the Year and a California Teacher of the Year semi-finalist
  • She has served on a California state technology advisory board
  • She is a Google for Education Certified Innovator
  • She is the Co-Founder and Moderator of California Edchat, a statewide Twitter chat that occurs weekly

These are just a few of her career highlights!

Most recently, Jo-Ann was awarded the Classroom of the Future Foundation’s Innovative Teacher Award, sponsored by San Diego Computer-Using Educators, for her leadership in designing and implementing EUSD’s newest school of choice, Quantum Academy.

When asked how she embodies the “Innovator’s Mindset,” Jo-Ann said:

“Two and a half years ago, leaders in EUSD asked me a career-transforming question: ‘Would you be interested in helping to design a new, innovative school for EUSD?’ Never in my life have I been so challenged to be a problem-finder and research what might transform learning environments for students. Through empathy I was able to seek new questions about the design of school, classrooms, and lessons. As I walk into the very school I helped to research and design, I am beyond honored to see our idea of what a school might be come to life through project-based learning, design thinking, STEAM learning, and the creative use of 1:1 technology.”

This spotlight is just the beginning…

Our new website will allow us to shine a light on a number of wonderful EUSD people and programs, including teachers, staff, administrators, volunteers, donors, alumni, and of course, our amazing students! More spotlight articles will be published throughout the year. Stay tuned…

Superintendent’s Message: Welcome to the 2016–2017 school year!

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! We hope you had a fantastic summer and are ready for a productive and rewarding year. Here at the Escondido Union School District our vision is that we will “actualize the unlimited potential of every learner.” In order to realize our vision, our district has adopted the following four focus goals:

  1. Provide a high quality and rigorous instructional program;
  2. Build a collaborative culture, which promotes creativity, responsibility, and trust;
  3. Ensure our students, staff, and all stakeholders are safe and secure; and
  4. Remain fiscally solvent.

With these focus goals in mind, we are very excited to provide a more comprehensive intervention program which addresses social emotional support as well as academic support. This year through funding provided by our Local Control Funding Formula, we are able to provide a Physical Education teacher at every one of our sites. Additionally all our sites have a full-time Social Worker, a Family Liaison, and an intervention teacher to provide additional support to your children’s needs. Through a systemic system of support, our plan is to ensure that every child receive a quality educational program.

Through the generous support of our Proposition E Bond Measure, we are excited to continue with our modernization projects that began last summer at Central, Mission Middle, Orange Glen, and Quantum Academy. Much work is being done at each of these sites to take care of the aged facility infrastructure.

With safety on the forefront of everyone’s minds, I want to reassure all of you that we will continue to keep safety and security as one of our main priorities to the extent that all of our teachers and staff will be trained on responding to various emergency scenarios to include an active shooter.

Lastly, as we begin this school year, please take a moment to establish a clear line of communication with your child’s teacher, as this will be critical to your child’s success.

On behalf of the Board of Education and myself, I officially welcome you to the 2016-17 school year!

Dr. Luis Ibarra, EUSD Superintendent

Dr. Luis Ibarra, Superintendent