Instructional Vision


Recently, the Rio School District has been working on developing our vision of Rio Instruction. Like many other Districts and organizations, we are pressed to do two simultaneous and daunting tasks;help learners build and develop basic literacies while helping them develop 21st century learning practices. The three charts posted above are a first tack at looking how we can do this. At Rio, we do know, that we don’t want to ask our learners to wait to become 21st century learners until they have the literacies as has been the case in many schools and Districts. Rather, we accept they are already 21st century learners and that our schools must work with them as individual and group learners, beginning with who and where they are as learners and growing from that unique place in time and space. For many of us at the Rio School District, this sounds like fun.

Quilts and Math

Quilting and Math are inexorably intertwined.

Here are some excellent links for educators to get learners working on both.

Math Quilts Explained

Tying Quilts to Montessori Math and Geometry (PDF)

QUILTING – Let’s Finish the Pattern (PDF)

CSUCI Science Carnival November 2nd

Bell Tower and CSUCI skyline

Our friends at CSUCI are holding their annual Science Fair this Saturday, November 2, 2013.

The Rio School District will be sending students and teachers to experience this excellent hands on learning experience.

New Mission, Vision & Goals

Greetings Students, Staff, and Families,

Recently the Board of Trustees of the Rio School District took three giant steps towards becoming a world class learning organization. We attended the annual Edleader21 conference, we adopted a new mission, vision, and set of long terms goals (Vision mission goals Adopted october 16 2013) and we approved the purchase of more than 1500 student netbooks on our goal of one to one computing for every child in the District. Please connect to the highlighted links to learn more.

John D. Puglisi, Ph.D.

Rio School District Superintendent

Successful Schools = Successful People

Recently, I read an article from the Journal of School Public Relations. It talked about the results of surveys of 20,000 students, parents, and schools and their thoughts on their schools. The findings of the surveys were fascinating and the author generated ten tips for various roles in the schooling process. I edited them a bit and changed the word “winning” to “successful.” Still, I think they serve as an excellent guidepost for all of us involved in American Public Schools; teachers, principals, administrators, board members, students, and parents. I am working on my thoughts for a top ten list for other categories of school employees, but until then I thought these were very useful.


  • Know their stuff.
  • Help students and parents know them as a professional and as a person.
  • Show parents the agenda.
  • Clearly communicate what they expect from both students and parents.
  • Make learning fun.
  • Address bad behavior.
  • Report progress twice as often as you think you should.
  • Coach your class one students at a time.
  • Keep homework and home projects reasonable.
  • Celebrate each child’s success.


  • Are champions of reading, writing, and technology use.
  • Make discipline fair and equitable.
  • Stand for something.
  • Keep the school clean, outside and inside.
  • Create a culture of competence and caring.
  • Exude enthusiasm.
  • Listen- really listen to staff, students, and parents.
  • Know people’s names.
  • Be on good terms with bus drivers.
  • Serve a good lunch and breakfast.


  • Have a vision.
  • Develop broad horizons and deep perspectives.
  • Are competent.
  • Are organized.
  • Think service, inside and out.
  • Anticipate.
  • Play defense and offense.
  • Champion children.
  • Know what’s happening in the schools.
  • Keep asking how your work is helping students achieve.


  • Know their role.
  • Are team players.
  • Are good listeners and hear what people say.
  • Ask questions to learn.
  • Explain their point of view.
  • Hold opinions about issues, not people.
  • Swear off hidden agendas.
  • Look and act professionally.
  • Conduct school business at board meetings only.
  • Understand the big things and don’t’ get bogged down by the little things.


  • Are prepared for class.
  • Look and act interested.
  • Participate, asking questions and contributing suggestions.
  • Give their best.
  • Ask for help when their best comes up short.
  • Volunteer.
  • Do their homework.
  • Show their manners.
  • Treat others with respect and dignity.
  • Read whatever they can whenever they can… just for the fun of it.


  • Know what’s going on.
  • Understand how their child is doing.
  • Set standards, expectations, and consequences for their child.
  • Open and maintain dialogue with teachers.
  • Are there when needed.
  • Are never apathetic about school.
  • Understand that schools can’t raise their child.
  • Model life-long learning.
  • Tell their children about the importance of education… every chance they get.


These paintings and photographs represent some of the artistic output of JP. They were requested for viewing at a recent career day by Gabby (student) at Rio del Valle Middle School.

PHI Four Fun Floating Threesome Love Formula tumblr_mj7mi7gZgX1s7slcdo4_500 tumblr_mj7mi7gZgX1s7slcdo5_500 tumblr_mj7mi7gZgX1s7slcdo6_500


Here are some words we have been using and th8inking about lately:

World Class

Ranking among the foremost in the world; of an international standard of excellence; of the highest order: a world-class figure skater.

Great, as in importance, concern, or notoriety.

Professionals Developing…not Professional Development

Professional teachers.. usually means workshops, or one time events, sometimes a series of events intended to show teachers how to do something they are not already doing or something someone else thinks they need to be doing. Its seen as a noun.

When we think about Professionals Developing (thanks Dr. Yeager) we are thinking about a process.. or verb….. that hopefully is more reflective than sausage making.

Sausage making

Meaning making


The Leader’s Guide to 21st century Education

Teachers Matter in This World


All over the world, teachers matter to children, to learners of all ages, to society, to the evolution of the human species.

All over the world, teachers matter in the little things they do and the big things they do. They make a difference by being an important person in the life of the learner. If they are doing it right, they foster resiliency characteristics. This is important, because in many ways, this is a challenging, traumatizing, and difficult world to navigate, and resiliency research suggests that even among the most traumatized, 70% are able to go on to live normalized lives. Teachers help make that happen.

My wife Sarah, is one of those teachers. She brings her whole self to the job and to each child that is fortunate to be in her class. She brings her intellect, her art, her creativity, her love of children and humanity, her stick-with-it-ness (and she has needed this these past three decades), and her drive to develop as a teacher and human being. She knows this practice is never done… and that she rarely gets to observe the long fruits of her labor. Though from time to time… either in person, on the phone, or via the Internet, her students from the past will contact her and tell her what she has meant to them in their lives.. Just one school year can truly be a game changer… a life changer… a spark plug.

All over the world, the human race fosters its best selves through great teachers. Great new teachers…full of hope and idealism, youth and energy and great experienced teachers who have chosen a path.. a seasoned path to wisdom, excellence, and longitudinal achievement.

I say BRAVO to all teachers and to the power of teaching in any and all forms…as teachers in schools, as parents, as coaches, and in myriad forms…This is life giving back to life…

Happy Week of the Teacher and Happy Day of the Teacher.

VCSTEAMN Colloquium # 2…..Materials


The Ventura County Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts,Mathematics Network (VCSTEAMN) is bringing our second Colloquium to our community of Educators.

Our first Symmetry Colloquium was great….

Our 2nd colloquium will be all about MATERIALS….


and will be held on May 29, 2013…a Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.


Check out this great list of links that are developing..we hope to see you there….

Materials Colloquium links                                                                           4.23.2013

VCSTEAMN (Ventura County Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math Network)

Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science… Chemistry for Life

Materials Science and Engineering

Strange Matter

Materials Classroom

Materials Videos, Games, Simulations and more

Top 100 Materials Scientists

Materials Science Fair Projects

Tensile Test Experiments

Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules

The Future of Materials Science

Materials and Technology

Common Molecules

Materials, Technology, and Sports

Smart Materials

Wild Materials

Materials and Art

Extraordinary Art from Ordinary Objects

Understanding Materials in Primary Art Teaching