Distance Learning 2.0: Pajaro Valley looks ahead, with Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez

Within five days of school closure in March, Pajaro Valley Unified in Watsonville successfully implemented distance learning that included distributing 15,000 Chromebooks and 1,000 hot spots so that all 20,000 students had a device.

In this webinar, Supt. Michelle Rodriguez and Rolling Hills Middle School Principal Ivan Alcaraz speak to EdSource’s John Fensterwald about how the district has provided social and emotional supports to students and staff during this transition, their preparations for the fall and their plans to help the students farthest behind get a jump-start on the new year.

Click here to view the slide presentation for this webinar.
Click here to see the district’s contingency planning timeline.

Also, Supt. Rodriguez will be a panelist on the PACE, equity at the local level, early Covid-19 response in California school districts webinar on June 11. Click here for more information.


Michelle Rodriguez

Superintendent, Pajaro Valley Unified School District

Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, Superintendent of Schools in Pajaro Valley Unified School District is an inspired leader of uncommon ability engaging the educational community in an authentic and intentional transformation process to support efforts that value innovation, affirm student strengths and capacity, increase rigor, and inspire joy to prepare all students to be college and career ready.

Dr. Rodriguez has been dedicated to students in urban and rural, low socio-economic districts for over 28 years with a focus on vulnerable student populations. She embraces the powerful, long-term responsibility of improving the lives of students, families and an educational community. Due to the implementation of many new innovative programs, she has been recognized for her excellence in leadership through the 2020 Community Health Trust Rather Award, 2019 United Way Community Hero Award, 2019 Broad Fellowship, and 2019 League of Innovative Schools Acceptance.

Ivan Alcaraz

Principal at Rolling Hills Middle School, Pajaro Valley Unified School District

Ivan Alcaraz is the Principal of Rolling Hills Middle School and has been serving the students of Pajaro Valley since 2013 as an Intervention Counselor before becoming an Assistant Principal at Watsonville High School.  Alcaraz is a local resident of Watsonville and a former student of PVUSD.

He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Business Management Economics from UCSC, his Masters in Education in Counseling and Student Personnel, Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision and is currently earning his Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

John Fensterwald

Moderator; Editor-At-Large, EdSource

John Fensterwald joined EdSource in 2012. Before joining EdSource he was editor and co-writer for the “The Educated Guess” website, a leading source of California education policy reporting and opinion, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, which he founded in 2009. For 11 years before that, John wrote editorials for the Mercury News in San Jose, with a focus on education.

He worked as a reporter, news editor and opinion editor for three newspapers in New Hampshire for two decades before receiving a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997 and heading West shortly thereafter.