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“Every year is fresh for me. I just love going back to school!” — Donna McCain, Cajon Valley Education Association


Staff in the Cajon Valley Union School District dance dance danced into the 2016-17 school year, thanks to a splashy music video that put smiles on the faces of students, teachers, classified employees, school board members and administrators. Check it out:

The video, which went viral, shows school staff and board members preparing for the first day of school while boogying with abandon in the classroom, boardroom, print shop, fiscal services department, cafeteria and warehouse, and even on school buses and atop tables, to the beat of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

Produced by Fe Fi Fo Films, the video was sent to principals and teachers throughout the district near San Diego, who shared it with students at the district’s 26 schools. Some schools and teachers were inspired to create their own videos after seeing the district one, says Superintendent David Miyashiro.

“We aimed to inspire, encourage and truly welcome back our teachers and staff to a new school year,” says Miyashiro. “We were able to engage the entire district office staff, who work all through the summer to get our sites ready for the new school year, in a fun team-building event to show our teachers how much they care and support them.”

Parents, students, former students and others raved about the video.

Chris Prokop, president of the Cajon Valley Education Association (CVEA), believes the video set a positive tone for the school year.

“The kids loved it, and the community really enjoyed it,” he said. “Our district population has grown by hundreds of kids, so there’s something to be said for it being successful.”

Representing teachers in the production is Donna McCain, a seventh-grade English instructor at Hillsdale Middle School beginning her 21st year in the profession. She laughingly says she will be forever remembered as “the twirling teacher in the red dress.”

The CVEA member just happened to be working during the summer on a blended learning program when the superintendent walked in and asked if she’d like to be in the district’s back-to-school video.

“I knew how to dance and sing and twirl, so I said yes,” says McCain. “And that’s what happened in a hot classroom on a summer day. It was fun stepping out of the box and doing something I’ve never done before. Every year, as a teacher, I like to try something new.”

Whether or not El Cajon plans another back-to-school surprise this year, McCain says, the first day of school is still magical for teachers as well as students.

“I love the anticipation. I love the excitement of meeting new people, seeing new faces and trying to remember everybody’s name. Every year is fresh for me. I just love going back to school!”


Make a Back-to-School Night Video

Save yourself stress – not to mention your voice – by creating a few videos for Back-to-School Night. It’s a way for parents to see you’re capable, prepared and tech-savvy and opens the door to better communication as the year continues. Moira West of Animoto, a video creation service, suggests  a few ideas, using simple templates for your photos and video clips:

  • If your school has a social media presence, create and post a quick video reminding parents to attend. It will show up in their feed and get more attention than a written note.
  • Incorporate video into your Back-to-School Night presentation with an introduction, rundown of rules and class expectations for students – and parents.
  • Create a video showing parents what their children have been learning since school started. This can be photos of students working in class or their artwork, for example.
  • Afterwards, post any informational videos you showed during the event, which can serve as a virtual Back-to-School Night for parents unable to attend. Or create a video recap of the night to post online or make a video thank you note to volunteers who helped with Back-to-School Night.