This semester, Jurupa Unified assigned more than 19,000 devices, factory-fresh, to students in grades 2-12. The machines replace the district’s inaugural set of 2015 Chromebooks, which have run their expected operational course.
From the start, “students have been fearless” in exploring what their devices can do, said Josh Lewis, Director of Education-Information Technology for JUSD.
The adventure in learning continues with the Dell 3100 touchscreen Chromebook, selected by JUSD tech experts and library staff. The new laptop offers 14 hours of battery life, a spill-resistant keyboard, and a durable design, Mr. Lewis said.
Digital Gateway, he added, pairs every Jurupa student with a personal Chromebook not only at school, but also during evenings, weekends, holidays and summers, to support learning 365/24/7. The program has kindled innovation, enhanced student achievement, and ensured inclusive access to current technology.
“Many students in our community come from homes where their Chromebook may be the first computer in the family,” said JUSD Superintendent Elliott Duchon. That makes the devices transformational not only in the classroom, but also in life.
At the same time, the laptops add rocket fuel to classroom efficiency and student innovation – by improving literacy, enhancing work habits, building technology skills and more. Opportunities to learn are as vast as the sky, or the Internet itself.
“Students research, solve math problems, incorporate writing and stay hip in the tech world,” said Cara Woolweaver, a teacher at Stone Avenue Elementary. “Jurupa students are learning without limits.”
The devices also help with typing skills, teamwork on student projects, and communication with parents, who can track student assignments electronically, the teacher said. Moreover, laptop-based lessons can serve a range of student learning styles – from written to oral to visual – and help students show mastery of material in various ways, including via video, written reports and slide presentations.
Said Ms. Woolweaver: “Students can take ownership of their learning.”
Since Digital Gateway rolled out four years ago, student test scores and graduation rates are up, dropout rates are down, and the district has added at least 10 computer science courses. In Jurupa Unified’s 2018 LCAP parent survey, 93 percent of parents said that JUSD Chromebooks supported their child’s learning.
Students report using the devices every day or almost daily, and said the machines help them gather information, complete assignments and receive teacher feedback.
Asked what advice they had for their peers, Olivia, a Stone Avenue fourth-grader, said to “try to take care of it really well." Samantha, a sixth-grader, added: “Use it properly." That includes keeping searches tasteful; Ms. Woolweaver said every student should remember the machines are monitored for safe, appropriate use.The Chromebooks are funded by Measure EE, the facilities bond approved by local voters in 2014 – with laptop-related borrowing repaid during the life of the devices. Digital Gateway also reflects the district's focus on infusing curriculum with principles of modern neuroscience, nurturing grit, resiliency and a growth mind-set in students, and preparing every student for college and careers. The program has earned multiple awards, including:
A 2018 Model of Academic Excellence and Innovation Award from the Riverside County Office of Education.
A 2018 School of TechXcellence Award, conferred by District Administration magazine and sponsored by HP and Intel.
Recognition twice in two years from the nonprofit Common Sense Media for teaching every Jurupa student to stay safe, smart and respectful online.
"The gains are dramatic," said Mr. Duchon.
“Every time I walk through classrooms I can see the impact that Chromebooks have on student learning," the superintendent said. “Students are researching information, collaborating on writing assignments, sharing resources and embracing opportunities to learn that reach well beyond the classroom."