A JUSD kindergarten student, out shopping with her mother, saw a customer struggling to communicate with a sales clerk.
The student jumped in to translate, smoothing the exchange.
“Although the girl had only been learning Spanish for one year, she demonstrated her understanding of the two languages and her willingness to work with a variety of people and situations," said Martha Gomez, Director of language services and student programs for JUSD.
Such anecdotes typify student learning in award-winning programs at JUSD. The latest to receive honors: Dual Immersion, which teaches students biliteracy; and AVID, a program that systematically prepares K-12 students for college.
Both earned 2019 Golden Bell Awards from the California School Boards Association at CSBA's annual education conference in San Diego on Dec. 5. The Golden Bell, a statewide honor, recognizes programs that are innovative, sustainable, achieve results and meet the needs of all students.
Both winning programs have deep roots at JUSD.
Dual Immersion, founded in 2007 at Sunnyslope Elementary, earned a 2013 Models of Excellence and Innovation Award from the Riverside County Office of Education and today enrolls 1,000 Jurupa students at five schools: Pedley, Stone Avenue and Sunnyslope elementary schools, Jurupa Middle, and Patriot High.
“Our students have met the challenge of learning academics in two languages," Ms. Gomez said, adding: “Students in DI acquire strong multi-linguistic and academic skills that increase their career opportunities in countless ways."
DI trains students to read, write and speak English and Spanish while meeting or exceeding all state academic standards and promoting cross-cultural understanding. The program, open to both English learners and native English speakers, can help students earn the State Seal of Biliteracy – a signal to colleges and employers that students have exceptional language skills.
Biliterate workers provide employers with versatility, paths around language barriers, and help with understanding a range of cultures.
AVID, short for Advancement Via Individual Determination, closes achievement gaps and helps prepare every student for success – in college and in life.
The AVID approach centers on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading – cultivating a mix of practical and intangible skills from setting study routines to building resiliency to completing financial aid forms for college.
While many districts offer the nationwide program, JUSD innovated four years ago by expanding AVID from secondary school into lower grades: Jurupa Unified is one of just five districts in a four-county region (Riverside, Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino) to integrate AVID into every elementary, middle and comprehensive high school.
“We knew taking AVID districtwide would mean
all students would benefit from AVID's instructional approach and focus on a college-going culture," said Roberta Pace, Director of college and career readiness at JUSD. “We wanted all students to benefit from the 'AVID Effect' " – and learn without limits.
Judging by the numbers, they have: In the district's AVID senior class of 2018, 100 percent graduated from high school; 79 percent enrolled in four-year college, with 99 percent attending a two-year or four-year college; and the average GPA was 3.5.
Broadly, JUSD programs have earned multiple Golden Bell Awards in recent years, with honorees including the Pacific Avenue Academy of Music in 2018; Youth Court and Next Generation Science Standards in 2017; and ABC Music and Me in 2016.