SAN YSIDRO – Students from San Ysidro School District’s Vista del Mar Elementary shrieked with delight when Ms. Melinda the cow and her doe-eyed calf were revealed during a visit by the Dairy Council of California’s Mobile Dairy Classroom.

The Dairy Classroom educates students on cow anatomy, animal husbandry, agriculture and the food supply. Vista del Mar’s Dairy Classroom was led by instructor Steve Miller who integrated language arts, by teaching students bovine-related words; math, by talking about the scale of milk of production; and science, by explaining cow biology and the technology used in dairy production. After the lesson, students lined up to pet Ms. Melinda’s young steer.

“Today is so cool because there’s a cow at our school,” Vista del Mar kindergartener Myking Mitchell said. “All the little kids want to see a real cow in real life.”

Vista del Mar is also a recipient of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Team Nutrition grant, which will enable the school to continue implementing healthy changes in cafeteria offerings while teaching students about California agriculture. The grant provides schools with funds to implement a comprehensive education on nutrition, linking classroom learning to healthy choices in the cafeteria and beyond.

“It was amazing to watch my students’ faces light up when the instructor opened the mobile dairy trailer to reveal the cow,” Vista del Mar Principal Maria Rodriguez said. “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to bring this educational experience to Vista del Mar.”

SYSD Superintendent Dr. Julio Fonseca addressed students before the appearance of Ms. Melinda and her calf, and reminded students the importance of eating healthy.

“It’s going to help you learn better in the classroom and become a better citizen,” SYSD Superintendent Dr. Julio Fonseca said. “We also want to make sure that you know we really care about you and our school district.”

The Mobile Dairy Classroom assemblies are California’s original Farm to School Program, teaching students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The Mobile Dairy Classroom reaches more than 450,000 students via six full-time instructors traveling to elementary schools, agriculture days and fairs throughout California.

“We’re so thankful to have wonderful partners and community members who make these opportunities possible,” SYSD Board President Marcos A. Diaz said. “We value these relationships because they allow us to provide additional resources for our students and families.”

In attendance from the California Department of Education were Sandip Kaur, director of nutrition services, and Heather Reed, a nutrition education consultant for the Department’s Education and Nutrition Policy Unit.



SYSD Dairy Farm 1: Vista del Mar kindergartener Myking Mitchell, second from right, waited patiently for the reveal of Ms. Melinda and her calf during a visit from Dairy Council of California’s Mobile Dairy Classroom.

SYSD Dairy Farm 2: All eyes were on Mobile Dairy Classroom instructor Kevin Miller as he gave students at Vista del Mar a lesson on the technology used in dairy production.

SYSD Dairy Farm 3: After their Mobile Diary Classroom lesson, students had the chance to get up close and personal with Ms. Melinda’s calf.