Episode 16: School Safety Roundtable

March 12, 2018

Episode 16: School Safety Roundtable

Today we have a special episode: a roundtable on school safety. With so much of the nations’ attention focused on this topic, we wanted to take some time to hear from a few of the many people working daily to maintain safe school environments.

We’ll hear from Dr. Linda Kimble, Superintendent of Vista Unified School District, Dr. Kyle Ruggles, Executive Director of Student Support Services, Jeff Geyer, the district’s safety and Environmental Manager, as well as members of the Oceanside Police Department and the San Diego County Sherriff’s department.

They’ll share information as to how the district trains and equips teachers and staff in safety practices, how school facilities are optimized for safety, the many social and emotional support services available to students, as well as the importance of fostering kind and trusting cultures on school campuses.

We cover a lot of ground on the topic, and hopefully that helps you, our listeners, to have a better sense of the breadth and depth of care and expertise that the district invests in when it comes to school safety.

And listed here are a few of the details mentioned in the episode.

Regular Drills

- Fire Drills: K-8 monthly; 9-12 twice a year
- Earthquake: twice a year
- Intruder/secure campus or lockdown -- twice a year

The podcast also includes brief comparisons of Secure Campus vs Lockdown, and how those terms help to identify what sort of situation may be happening.

Recent Facilities Modifications To School Campuses
Additional perimeter fencing has been installed at:
Beaumont Elementary
Bobier Elementary
Breeze Hill Elementary
California Ave. Elementary
Casita Center Elementary
Empresa Elementary
Grapevine Elementary
Lake Elementary
Madison Middle School
Mission Meadows Elementary
Mission Vista High School
Monte Vista Elementary
Rancho Buena Vista HS
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Vista Academy (VAPA)

Reconfigure school entrance to single point of entry at:
Alamosa Park Elementary
Breeze Hill Elementary
Lake Elementary
Mission Meadows Elementary
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Vista Academy (VAPA)

Installation of security cameras at all schools and district facilities
Upgrade of District wide Emergency Radio system

Episode 15: Cindy Anderson of Alamosa Park Elementary

March 7, 2018

Episode 15: Cindy Anderson of Alamosa Park Elementary

Today we’re talking with Cindy Anderson, Principal of Alamosa Park Elementary School. In our conversation, Cindy share about the many exciting developments at Alamosa Park, including an expanded role for project based learning, Next Generation Science Standards, and how those help to reinforce the foundational skills in literacy, language and mathematics.

We also talked about the changing role of teachers, and how the school equips and empowers it teachers in the way they approach guiding students in the learning process.

We’re glad you’re here and hope that you enjoy this conversation with Cindy Anderson.

Episode 14: Dr. Linda Kimble, Superintendent

February 26, 2018

Episode 14: Dr. Linda Kimble, Superintendent

This episode feastures a conversation with Dr. Linda Kimble, who recently began her role as Superintendent of Vista Unified. Dr. Kimble comes to Vista after five years as Superintendent of the Anaheim Elementary School District in Orange County, where she was granted a number of honors, including a Superintendent of the Year award, the 2017 Orange County Arts on the Rise Award form the Orange County Department of Education, A Woman of Distinction award for the 65th Assembly District, and Outstanding Administrator for the Los Angeles County Bilingual Directors Association.

Dr. Kimble was a classroom teacher for 15 years before transitioning into administration, serving schools in a variety of settings.

Dr. Kimble is an engaging person who enjoys and gains great value from listening to others and understanding the opportunities and challenges of various roles in the school district. In a short time we discussed what made her aware of and interested in Vista Unified, the challenge of innovation in education, change, the arts, language skills, and how her enjoyment of shadowing people on the job, as well as students, helps her to gain insight into how schools and students function.

Episode 13: Laura Smith of Casita Center

February 21, 2018

Episode 13: Laura Smith of Casita Center

Today we speak with Laura Smith, Principal of Casita Center for Technology, Science & Math, a magnet elementary school, and one of two elementary schools in Vista Unified to be certified as an International Baccalaureate World School.

We’ll talk about what being an IB World School means for the students and teachers of Casita Center, as well as how that curriculum provides opportunities for students to become more internationally minded.

We also talk about various unique learning opportunities at Casita, including the school’s several outdoor learning spaces, a broadcast journalism class, and what it’s like to have a CA Teacher of the Year on staff.

So settle in and enjoy our conversation with Laura Smith of Casita Center.

Episode 12: Steve Post of Vista Magnet Middle School

January 25, 2018

Episode 12: Globally-Minded Students at Vista Magnet Middle School

On this episode we talk with Steve Post, Principal of Vista Magnet Middle School. Vista Magnet has a rich learning environment, with an emphasis on math and science, as well as being an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme school, which Steve explains a bit in our conversation.

The IB program helps to develop students into global citizens, finding connections between their local school environment and other spaces around the world. This global-mindedness is a key difference-maker in the learning process, and also contributes to the school’s tradition of students involving themselves in a service project.

VMMS students have also, for the past two years, won a contest to have an experiment run on the International Space Station, making the school's reach not just global, but galactic!

Enjoy this conversation with Steve Post, and contact the school to set up a tour and see what students are learning first hand.

Episode 11: Rachel Schmidt of CA Ave. Elementary

January 9, 2018

Episode 11: CA Avenue Elementary, building caring people through blending traditional and special needs students.

In this episode we talk with with California Avenue Elementary Principal Rachel Schmidt. California Ave is a unique school in Vista Unified, serving special needs students in a manner second to none from pre-school onward.

Classes are blended between students with special needs and more traditional students, which, as Rachel explains, provides phenomenal opportunities for all schools, and leads other schools in the district to notice a high level of compassion and empathy from students that have attended California Avenue.

Rachel is a leader in the area, and I’m certain that you’ll find her insights and stories engaging and compelling. So without further ado, here’s a conversation with Rachel Schmidt from California Avenue Elementary.


Episode 10: Stephanie Vasquez of Olive Elementary

December 20, 2017

Episode 10: Infrastructure, Montessori-Inspired Approach and more with Stephanie Vasquez of Olive Elementary

On this episode we talk with Olive Elementary Principal Stephanie Vasquez, and as with every school in Vista Unified, there’s a lot to cover and even more to be excited about.

Olive has a number of innovative things happening, from having aeroponic tower gardens in classrooms that produce fresh produce for the school, to the planned shift to a Montessori-inspired approach to learning, to a full-day pre-school partnership.

Infrastructure happens both in how teachers are prepared as well as the physical spaces of a school, and Olive has both things happening.

Episode 9: Sochie Schmitz of Beaumont Elementary

December 18, 2017

Episode 9: Ifrastructure - Building Teaching Methods and Physical Infrastructures to facilitate Learning with Sochie Schmitz of Beaumont Elementary School.


Today we’ll address both of these areas in a conversation with Beaumont Elementary School’s Principal Sochie Schmitz. Sochie is in her first year as Principal at Beaumont, but has a wealth of experience in Vista Unified, and is able to share her broad and deep understanding of how infrastructure affects all areas of learning. 

We covered a lot of ground and it felt like we were just scratching the surface of the things happening at Beaumont, and the wisdom and insight that Sochie brings to the school and the district. Enjoy!

Episode 8: Donna Caperton, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services

December 13, 2017

Episode 8: Looking Into Infrastructure, with Donna Caperton, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services

This month, December 2017, we’re going to be talking about infrastructure, addressing both the physical structures of schools as well as changes and innovations in teaching and curriculum.

On this episode we speak with Donna Caperton, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services for Vista Unified School District. She oversees the remarkable number of projects around the district, from large scale projects to smaller upgrades and improvements. You’ll be impressed by the process and thoughtfulness that go in to all of these decisions.

Episode 7: Rafael Olavide of Grapevine Elementary

November 27, 2017

Episode 7: Early Childhood Education and more with Rafael Olavide of Grapevine Elementary School

On this episoide we speak with Grapevine Elementary School’s principal, Rafael Olavide. Grapevine has been serving the Vista community for over 50 years, and has deep and meaningful roots with the community.

Grapevine is also a leader in early childhood education, working with district partner Educational Enrichment systems to provide a seamless path from preschool into kindergarten and beyond. Rafael explains just what P-3 education is, and how students and families benefit greatly from this opportunity.

You’ll also hear about Grapevine’s work to develop a dual language immersion program, which is an exciting development for the school and the district.