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CUSD’s Preschools Among Region's Best

State and Regional Agencies Give High Marks to District’s Early Education Programs

preschool teachers with students

“There’s a great demand for quality early childhood education programs, and we’re proud to be able to offer local families some of the best available,” said Heather Elston, Preschool Director for Campbell Union School District. The district-operated programs have earned high marks from the State, First 5, and other agencies that monitor the quality of these programs. 

“We hold ourselves to high standards, because we know our families do too,” she said, adding that the programs for children aged 3 months to 5 years old are designed to be inclusive and help children develop language skills, learn how to play and work together, and make friends.

Here are the distinctions that the district’s early childhood education programs recently earned: 

  • Excellence in Quality Standards: Quality Matters California

The goal of Quality Matters is to ensure children in California have access to high quality programs to thrive and succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Two of the district’s 9 sites rated a tier 5 for Excellence in Quality Standards, and the remaining 7 sites rated a tier 4 for Exceeding Quality Standards. 

  • Endorsed Inclusion Sites: Inclusion Collaborative

6 preschool sites have been endorsed by the Inclusion Collaborative and First 5* Santa Clara County in Spring of 2018 and Spring 2019. Blackford, Castlemont, Forest Hill, Lynhaven, Marshall Lane, and Rosemary preschools participated in the Inclusive Classroom Profile assessments already and the remaining 3 sites—CSI, Capri, and Sherman Oaks—will begin external rating and training in February 2020. 

  • Model Partner Site: California Dept. of Education and WestEd

In partnership with WestEd (a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency), the California Department of Education (CDE) recognizes and endorses programs who are deemed “model partner sites” for achieving full program implementation of the Teaching Pyramid, this includes: planning for sustainability, systematic training of the workforce, providing coaching/technical assistance to support fidelity level implementation, fostering home/school connections, and on-going professional development using data collection.  Campbell USD is one of the state/s longest running Teaching Pyramid Partner sites.    

Extensive Professional Development is another area where the district’s preschool programs exceed the norm, according to Elston. The district’s preschool staff receives extensive Professional Development as compared to most other early education programs. For example, the newest team members receive more than 75 hours of professional development in their first year of teaching. The topics include Teaching Pyramid, DRDP, Pre-K GLAD, licensing, mandated reporter, and much more.  All teachers must meet or exceed a standard of attending 21 hours professional development each year to keep current on research-based practices and child development. The district also offers continuing education hours through trainings on Inclusion, Pre-K CLASS, Strengthening Families, and more. 

Our program fosters a culture of lifelong learning and personal growth not only with children but also with teachers. To this end, all of our teachers receive on-going professional development on research based early child development curriculum, social emotional support, and caregiving practices on an annual basis. New teachers receive over 75 hours of targeted professional development in their first year of teaching in our programs on topics such as Teaching Pyramid, DRDP, licensing, and more. All of our teaching staff are required to meet or exceed a standard of attending 21 or more hours of professional development each year thereafter on department of education approved training topics. 

“We are educating each child to his or her highest potential,” said District Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “That commitment begins with our earliest learners.”

Families do not need to reside within the Campbell Union School District boundaries to register their children in the district's preschools. For registration information, visit the program's website at