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A Chromebook Culture

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher's hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world." 

- David Warlick, educator/expert in instructional technology

At JUSD, every student has electronic pen, paper and lens:

Jurupa students learn with new laptops, thanks to the district's award-winning Digital Gateway program.

chromebook story5.jpgIn fall 2019, Jurupa Unified assigned more than 19,000 devices, factory-fresh, to students in grades 2-12.  The machines replaced the district's inaugural set of 2015 Chromebooks, which had 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.​

Donna Cmelak, a teacher at Ina Arbuckle Elementary, agreed: “Students have thrived with the individual laptops provided by Jurupa Unified.  My third-graders use their Chromebooks for researching, publishing stories in Google Drive, and creating PowerPoint presentations.  The learning opportunities are limitless."  

The Chromebooks are possible thanks to Measure EE, the school facilities bond approved by local voters in 2014.  The machines are funded by bond proceeds, with laptop-related borrowing repaid during the life of the devices, educators said.  

chromebook story 2.jpgStudents today use 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 pairs every Jurupa student with a personal Chromebook not only at school, but also on evenings, weekends and holidays – including summer – to support 365/24/7 learning.  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 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."

chromebook story 3.jpgSince 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, and said the machines help them stay organized, complete assignments and prepare for college and careers: 

  • According to Clare, an eighth-grader at Jurupa Middle School: “My family does not have a great computer at home.  I use my Chromebook for homework every night, and I also use it for research, presentations, and to take pictures and make videos.  It would be difficult to keep up without it."

  • Bree, a junior at JVHS, said: “My Chromebook gets used every day.  It has become a learning tool that I need to be successful.  Next year, I plan on using it to complete my FAFSA and to apply for the colleges I hope to attend."   

  • William, also a junior at JVHS, said: “I use my Chromebook for research, to improve my typing skills, and to take notes in class.  The programs I use the most are Google Docs, Google Slides, and Adobe Premiere.   My career goal is to be a construction company contractor and the skills I am learning with my Chromebook will help me in the future."
    B​oadly, Digital Gateway 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.”