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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
November 14, 2017
Episode 6: Dr. Jenifer Golden of Bobier Elementary School
Today we speak with Dr. Jenifer Golden, Principal of Bobier Elementary School. Dr. Golden leads a team that has developed an inspiring culture of engaging students, families and the community in a holistic effort to provide opportunities to students that are second to none.
You’ll hear the student excitement in the background, as we recorded this interview during lunch time.
You’ll also hear about how the school engages with its community, about their preschool and TK programs, and academic opportunities that give Bobier students chances to tour the world form their classrooms, and how opening students and families up to opportunities has created a dynamic learning and growing environment. Enjoy!
October 22, 2017
Episode 5: Family & Community Engagement with Carol McKane of Maryland Elementary School
On this episode we talk with Carol McKane, Principal of Maryland Elementary. Carol and her team have a wide-ranging vision that sees Maryland not just as a school, but as a community hub. With a reading room that is open to families as well as students, a robust summer program, and partnerships with community leaders, Maryland is pioneering ways to engage with families.
A result of greater parent engagement is increased student achievement, and in this conversation you’ll hear about many of the ways that Maryland is innovating in this space.
October 9, 2017
Episode 4: Tracy Zachry
Our guest today is Tracy Zachry, Principal of Hannalei Elementary school.
Tracy and her team have done a remarkable job of bringing together diverse groups of parents and family members to create a special environment at the school.
Getting a wide range of family members together can be tough, based on various work and family schedules, but Hannalei has been very intentional about doing this and you’ll hear from Tracy just how impactful and meaningful it’s been.
One of the heroes of her story is the school’s Community Liaison, and we’re thrilled to share that story. The community liaison is a position that Vista Unified has invested in as part of the Blueprint for educational excellence and innovation, and the investment is paying off with greater lines of communication and understanding between families and schools.