slide image

Teachers relish Summerjam

​Where did Walt Disney come up with the idea for Disneyland? 

  1. At a circus
  2. At a zoo
  3. On a train ride
  4. On a bench

This question appeared in the presentation “Design Like Disney 2" at Summerjam, the annual JUSD workshop where educators share insight, camaraderie and innovation.


The half-day event, held June 4 at Mira Loma Middle School, drew more than 200 teachers and staff members to connect with peers, share ideas, and learn without limits.  Attendees could sample from 33 sessions – taught primarily by Jurupa teachers – on topics such as 3D printing, data analysis, mapping software, tech-based literacy tools and design inspired by Disney.


“The timing of Summerjam is perfect," said Patriot High School teacher Theresa Mendoza-Kovich.  “The variety of sessions allows people to find the resources they are likely to implement next year and consider as they plan over the summer."


The sessions are geared to be flexible, individual and based on educators' needs, said Veronica Gonzalez, Coordinator of Education Technology.  The event is designed by the JUSD Education-Information Technology Department to have flair: “We want it to be a celebration of learning, creativity and talent within our district."

Summerjam was born five years ago as JUSD Tech Fest, held in the fall.  Shifting the sessions to early summer has given teachers more time to adapt or revise curriculum based on peer sharing and learning, Ms. Gonzalez said. 

This year, the program contained several new elements, including student presenters, guest presenters from partnering districts, and some sessions focused on pedagogy rather than tech tools.
The student presenters, in particular, excelled, educators said. 

“Having my four students from MMS being presenters was my favorite aspect of #jusdSummerjam," said Jose Ramirez, a teacher at Mission Middle School.  “With their knowledge of technology they shared their tech tools with the attendees.  It was a proud moment observing my students taking a bold step to lead our teaching community."

Asked to relay other highlights and describe how they might apply Summerjam learning in the classroom, JUSD teachers offered a range of perspectives:


  • Denai Brower, teacher at Jurupa Middle School: “My favorite aspect of Summerjam is the camaraderie that is felt from session to session. … As educators we don't always have time to figure out all the new resources that are available, but at Summerjam we often have a co-worker or two who has guinea-pigged their way through resources and can pass that knowledge/experience on to others."


  • Erika Krause, teacher at JMS: “I love to see what programs/tools elementary is using so I can scaffold and build on those ideas/skills for my middle school students.  And I talk to high school teachers who often use the same programs but might use them in different way that I never even thought of."


  • Christina Ramirez, teacher at Patriot High School: “I have attended technology training on Digital Notebooks before, but here I was able to ask questions and troubleshoot with the expert teacher.  I also took advantage of a session about Common Sense that will help me address students' social-emotional issues and using technology appropriately."

  • Kevin Roughton, teacher at JMS: “The biggest takeaway for me is the importance of inspiration.  I loved how (Del Sol Academy teacher) Jason Atkinson put it in his presentation.  Teachers are professionals; they can figure out the nuts and bolts on their own.  We just need to inspire them to go do it."


It was Mr. Roughton who delivered the popular “Design Like Disney" presentation, emphasizing imagination, captivating visuals, and simple fun in learning. 

​  ​

“The energy and innovation that Mr. Roughton shared from his experiences studying Disney reminded me that we are never done innovating and energizing our lessons," Ms. Mendoza-Kovich said.  “Rather, it's an ongoing process that requires us to consider new technology, current pedagogy, and modern brain shifts.  … Summerjam helps us replace, or at least reconsider, our usual instructional strategies."

And as for where Walt Disney conceived Disneyland?  The answer is on a bench.