Innovation in education

Mon September 23, 2013 10:46pm

For most of us who haven’t been in an elementary school in quite some time, we might still be picturing in our minds blackboards, chalk, spiral notebooks and the little seats with the desks attached to them. Throw those preconceived notions out of the window when you see Otay Ranch’s newest school, Camarena Elementary.

The school is named in memory of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was kidnapped and then killed in 1985 while on assignment in Mexico.

Camarena Elementary is the first two-story, technologically driven institution, which is galvanizing the educational system in the South Bay community. Classrooms are filled with desks that students can write their thoughts on, iPads instead of books, wifi instead of cords, Apple TVs instead of large-reeled projectors, and state-of the-art elements that you’d think you’d only see in the movies.  The backdrop of Otay Mountain, a blue sky and red-tiled roofs complete the picturesque setting of the Chula Vista Elementary School District’s) newest school in the heart of Otay Ranch.

At the school’s helm is Dr. Daniel Winters. Dr. Winters stands behind the school’s mission: “To make Camarena the model neighborhood school for learning in the 21st century,” and if you’ve met any of the teachers at the school, you’ll know they believe in the mission as well. Blogs, hashtags, wordpress and instagram might be foreign to some, but they’re every day jargon for this school. Also, the days where you’d have to call the principal’s office to make an appointment to ask a question are long gone. Tweet Dr. Winters (@DFWinters) and expect a response within a day.

For more information on Camarena Elementary, visit their website at

To follow news about Camarena Elementary on Twitter, search for #camlearns.

Contributor Rebecca Kelley is  South County Regional Director Marketing, Media and Community Relations, South Bay YMCA