Jurupa Unified School District (JUSD) is located in Riverside County, the hub of population growth in Southern California and the state's fourth-largest county. JUSD serves 19,000 students in the city of Jurupa Valley, incorporated in 2011, plus a section of neighboring Eastvale. Jurupa Valley spans roughly 44 square miles, and horse tradition runs deep. It is not uncommon to see riding trails weave through neighborhoods in this municipality of roughly 100,000 residents.
In 2015, thanks to funding from a local ballot initiative with overwhelming support, JUSD launched the Digital Gateway initiative to put a Chromebook in the hands of every student in grades TK–12. The program, named a 2018 Model of Excellence and Academic Innovation by the Riverside County Office of Education, promotes learning equity, digital proficiency, and excellence in education through universal student access to modern technology. Integrating digital citizenship district-wide was part of this initiative.
- No. of students: 19,112
- No. of schools: 26
- Ethnicity of student body:
- African American: 2%
- Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1%
- Latino: 86%
- Multiracial: 1%
- Native American: <1%
- White: 9%
- Economically disadvantaged students: 79%
- English-language learners: 31%
JUSD was motivated to implement digital citizenship for several primary reasons: supporting students, E-rate, and the technology rollout, and earning Common Sense Recognition.
Administrators, teachers, and families were all concerned that students needed to be explicitly taught about how to be safe online. They also saw that students, and those who supported them, needed to define online norms and behaviors that would lead students to be successful -- academically, professionally, and personally.
JUSD was also motivated by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements related to E-rate compliance, and to the district's upcoming robust investment in technology. JUSD's District Gateway initiative included a rollout of Chromebooks for every student for the 2016-17 school year. This initiative made it essential that the district invest in digital citizenship to teach students to manage their devices and be safe and responsible in the digital world.
JUSD was further motivated by the Common Sense Recognition program, which provided an opportunity to share with the community a commitment to students and a road map to success.
Align to initiatives
To identify where and how digital citizenship could best be taught, the district had to think carefully and strategically about what was being asked of teachers. As an ambitious and full-service district, JUSD already provided many opportunities and programs for students and families: dual immersion, arts, special education, early literacy, and STEM. Digital citizenship would be an additional program that teachers would be asked to learn about and help make successful.
To help address this, JUSD's leadership took the digital citizenship framework and infused it into their existing SEL program. This allowed administrators and teachers to teach digital citizenship concepts using their existing SEL language and within existing Tier 1 initiatives. The district also worked to align digital citizenship with their use of Common Core standards and their College and Career Readiness initiative.
Get buy-in from key stakeholders
From the very beginning, JUSD engaged its individual school and teacher leaders to be involved in the planning and implementation of the program. This ensured that the program rollout would be responsive to the diverse needs of each unique school site, and that schools would have ownership and buy-in to the goals of digital citizenship education.
Implementing Digital Citizenship: Jurupa Unified School District
To kick the program off, JUSD asked each school leader to define their educational vision around media and technology, with digital citizenship as a key component, and to outline the role that their school culture plays in supporting that vision. This helped guide the school to identify the instructional model and where digital citizenship fits into that vision and in the curriculum.
After reviewing and sharing each school's vision, the district gave schools autonomy to choose which digital citizenship lessons and skills they wanted to focus on. The district had each school then make a plan for implementing the lessons, using teacher leaders and librarians to get overall staff buy-in and define engagement and outreach with parents and caregivers.
In year one of their digital citizenship program, schools were given autonomy in terms of the lessons and skills they focused on at their site. But after the success of implementation and revising expectations, schools are expected to teach all the lessons in Common Sense Education's Digital Citizenship Curriculum. This may be taught by the librarian or classroom teachers in primary school, following the Library or Media Lab model, or the Core Subject Embedded model. In secondary school, digital citizenship is taught in advisory classes in line with the Advisory Implementation model.
One of the challenges that JUSD faced was a lack of familiarity among administrators and teachers with the subject matter of digital citizenship. Many had never seen what teaching digital citizenship looked like in a classroom. To address this, the district offered centralized professional development sessions on teaching and implementing digital citizenship. They utilized teacher leaders in the district who were confident using digital tools and teaching digital concepts to model the teaching of the lessons. They also created opportunities at each site for teachers to share their experiences, worries, and reflections on how their lessons went. Finally, the district had schools and teachers use a shared learning management system, PowerSchool, to share resources and ideas for how best to use the curriculum and engage students.
JUSD engages families and communities in a number of ways. Schools are given autonomy to create their own family engagement plans using their own outreach strategies and resources. The district also communicates with parents and families through social media and a dedicated page on the district website, which outlines the plan for parents and provides links to helpful resources. The district and individual school sites used existing councils and committees to hold face-to-face meetings and Q&A sessions on relevant digital citizenship topics and concerns. Parent education leaders at schools tapped into the Family Engagement Resources to support their parent education events. They also directed parents to Common Sense Media's free ratings, reviews, and advice for parents, including encouraging parents to sign up for the weekly newsletter.
One big concern, given the demographics of JUSD, was making all the family content available in Spanish. By using Common Sense Education's materials in Spanish, and by Spanish-speaking families using resources from the Common Sense Latino Program, families were able to gain access to information, activities, and helpful videos.
Teaching Digital Citizenship: Digital Media and Your Brain
Define and measure impact
JUSD measures its program effectiveness by doing check-ins throughout the year with schools, in which schools report their completed teacher trainings, lessons taught, and how students are performing on digital citizenship skills. The district then uses these results in a cyclical fashion to plan future professional development and refine the overall implementation. They are also using BrightBytes' Technology and Learning module to assist in identifying key data points, such as student skill level, to continue developing their overall program.
By making digital citizenship a commitment district-wide, and holding schools accountable for their own implementation models, JUSD earned Common Sense District recognition for the first time in the 2016-17 school year and has held their recognition status since then for their work training educators, teaching students, and engaging families. JUSD has much to celebrate after five years of building a strong digital citizenship culture. Students, teachers, and families build their positive digital footprints using the hashtag #jusdshares, showcasing the district's digital citizenship wins across social media, and particularly via Twitter. People from across the district, including teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals, host weekly Twitter chats that provide an open platform for sharing great lessons, student work, specific challenges, and other uplifting content that strengthens the district's culture of digital citizenship. Teachers who achieve recognition are celebrated through JUSD's Learning Leaders website. Finally, JUSD makes sure to include recognition of their accomplishments and achievement of milestones through their newsletter, the Horizon.