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

Welcome to our new website

After months of hard work, the new EUSD website is finally here! The process began in early 2016 when we solicited feedback from a number of parent, teacher, and staff groups to learn about their needs. We also analyzed statistics from the existing website to learn what was most popular.

The website you’re currently viewing is the end result of that research-driven process, and we’re incredibly proud of how it turned out. Here are some of the most important features:

  • Audience-based customization
    The days of the cluttered, single-purpose home page are over. Now, every major audience that EUSD serves has a customized home page of its own. For example, let’s say you’re a parent: By visiting the Parents & Families home page, you’ll see only the information and links that are most relevant and helpful to you.
  • Mobile-friendly design
    No more “pinching and zooming” on smartphones. Now, utilizes a 100% responsive, app-like design. That means that the website “shape shifts” to accommodate any size screen, from a 4-inch iPhone to a 27″ iMac. Fonts are beautiful and readable on every device.
  • Advanced search
    Our new search not only searches for pages on — it also searches for events in our new Event Calendar, articles in our new News & Announcements section, school campus home pages, and even login portals for systems like PowerSchool and Google Apps.
  • A more powerful calendar
    Our new Event Calendar is also mobile friendly with list and month views that display beautifully on mobile phones. Most importantly, the calendar is full of major dates and events — from major holidays and back to school nights, to testing dates and board meetings. And we’re just getting started: Additional events will be added in the coming weeks.
  • Spanish translation
    Many websites utilize automated computer translation systems like Google Translate — but they’re not always accurate. That’s why we decided to incorporate actual human-written translations on the new We’re starting small with a new Spanish homepage and a few of the most important subpages on the site translated to Spanish. In the coming weeks, more and more human-translated Spanish pages will be published to
  • A focus on good news, strengths & signature programs
    We heard you loud and clear: You want EUSD to take a more active role in promoting itself and all of its wonderful people and programs. Our new News & Announcements system will allow us to do just that through weekly articles, including a Spotlight series that will share the stories of some of our amazing people and programs. In addition, our new Why EUSD section is similar to the admissions website of a university — a central place where prospective EUSD parents can go to learn about our strengths and signature programs, and easily enroll their son or daughter online.

Questions or comments?

Today’s website launch is just the beginning. We will continue to improve in the coming weeks, and we will be adding new content throughout the school year. If you have a question, comment, or suggestion related to the new site, please send it to us via email by using this form: