- 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.
In 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.
Students 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."
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, and said the machines help them stay organized, complete assignments and prepare for college and careers:
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.”