“Get Arlington JUiced”

JU SOE to present at One Spark 2014

Get+Arlington+JUiced

In an instant, a spark ignited. At an undefined moment, somewhere between the clarity of hopes, passions, and realities and the blur of future possibilities, the light grew, and an idea became a movement, “Get Arlington JUiced.”

Created as a collaboration between the Jacksonville University School of Education and three Arlington public schools as a grass-roots effort to strengthen the community’s educational network, the “Get Arlington JUiced,” program has found an opportunity to shine.

The JU School of Education has been selected to showcase “Get Arlington JUiced” at the second annual One Spark, the world’s largest crowdfunding festival, to be held April 9 – 13 in Downtown Jacksonville.

One Spark 2014 will feature 632 independent, grass-roots projects from creators from all over the world. Spread across the downtown landscape in 70 venues, creators will present their ideas for a chance to access portions of $320,000 in event crowdfunds, $3,250,000 in potential capital investments as well as direct contributions from an anticipated 150,000 attendees, according to the event’s website.

“Get Arlington JUiced” will be presented as part of EdSpark, a One Spark venue on the second floor of the Well’s Fargo Building devoted to 46 education based projects.

What is “Get Arlington JUiced?”

Standing for Jacksonville University’s School of Education United In Community Educational Development, “Get Arlington JUiced” is a collaborative effort between the JU School of Education and Arlington Elementary, Justina Road Elementary, and Fort Caroline Elementary, to build a stronger educational community in Arlington.

“What we want to do is grow a tighter community for education,” said Rachel Green, educational resource specialist for the JU SOE. “Arlington seems to have lost its luster. We can show Jacksonville and everybody in the nation that Arlington is an educational hub that just needs polishing. We’re going to come out showing that between the schools and JU, we’re in a good place.”

Working together, the JU SOE and Arlington public schools will develop specialized training to meet the needs of Arlington educators, such as Clinical Educator Training, classroom management, classroom technology training and guest lecture workshops.

“This is a wonderful community that is willing to work hard to help students learn,” Green said. “The teachers and the administrators at the schools have been absolutely amazing and they just need this juicing up of energy and charge. That’s what we want to do. I think this project gives them that.”

The “Get Arlington JUiced” movement is designed around active communication-oriented relationships between the university and community elementary schools that work outside of, and drive deeper progress than, cookie-cutter standard models of one-sided aid.

“I think that often times things are done to organizations,” said Colleen Wilson, Ph.D., JU associate professor of education. “What we really want to do is ask them what they need from us, then develop things collaboratively that will support the Arlington needs and support school of education students here.”

The partnership is making strides that are mutually beneficial, fostering educational growth for the students, teachers and administrators of Arlington schools as well as JU School of Education students.

As part of this, “Get Arlington JUiced” will provide JU School of Education students with opportunities to work in the field alongside professional Arlington teachers in year-long classroom placements.

“Students learn the most when they’re immersed in a situation that has a real context,” Wilson said. “Being part of a school community, working with children and teachers every day to make a difference. I think it makes their education more meaningful.”

JU SOE Students work in field placements every year of their education, and the new connections solidified in “Get Arlington JUiced” are designed to make the placement process easier. While in the past, students would have to find teaching placements.

“Teachers can utilize our strengths to help them in the classroom as much as possible and it’s not a burden to anyone,” said Christina Robb, junior Masters in Elementary Education student. “It helps us grow. It helps their classroom grow. It takes some of the stress off and it builds a stronger community, and a smarter community.”

A Sense of Community

One of the most important aspects of the program for the School of Education, is that it focuses centrally in their own community of Arlington.

While much of Arlington has been changing in recent years, JU and the neighborhood schools are one of the remaining landmarks that have held strong and remained important parts of the community, Wilson said.

“If we can take those foundations and those milestones in this community and really turn them into a vibrant network, then I think we could really have the opportunity to do some good things for students and families.”

Starting with small steps, Wilson hopes to see the program expand to include collaboration between all Arlington area schools.

“We’re a part of Arlington,” Wilson said. “It’s part of our mission to work in Arlington, to make Arlington better than when we found it. By helping Arlington we’re going to help our students too. We’re all in this together. We live here. We work here. We play here.”

This strong sense of community is a reoccurring element that resonates among the students and seasoned educators involved.

“This project has huge meaning to me because I have two kids of my own who attend Fort Caroline Elementary in Arlington,” said Lauren Herbert, JU Masters in Elementary Education student. “I have formed many close relationships with teachers and have come to understand the struggles they face daily teaching in Arlington. The ‘Get Arlington JUiced’ project has the potential to do great things for this school and I am excited at the prospect.”

Anyone can support the “Get Arlington JUiced” movement by voting for the project during One Spark, with each vote increasing its shares of the overall crowd fund, or by making individual contributions to the cause.

How to Support “Get Arlington JUiced”

Voting begins April 9 and can be cast via the One Spark smartphone app, texting the creator’s entry number [20731 for “Get Arlington JUiced”]  to 904-647-2955, or in-person at a one of One Spark’s 11 voting and information kiosks.

For more information or to spread the word about the movement, individuals can find “Get Arlington JUiced” on Facebook and Twitter.

“Being accepted into the One Spark is so huge and exciting for all of us in the School of Education family,” Herbert said. “Many people have the notion that all we seem to do is cut, color and paste; this is an opportunity for us to show them and the community that our work in the SOE program is so much more.”