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Students from JCCS Shine in Spring Exhibitions

2022 Design Jam art colorful numbers

From writing and math, to art, fashion, and photography, the Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) Design Jam Take Action showcased an array of student talent across the region.

Design Jam is a semi-annual, cross-curricular effort designed to engage students in the San Diego County Office of Education's JCCS program in relevant learning. Students and teachers can choose how they want to participate and exhibit their work. The main objective is to create projects utilizing multiple subjects and answering the essential question, which this spring was: How can I take action for a cause that is meaningful to me, my family, and/or my community?

“With every new Design Jam, we see more students participating in innovative and creative ways such as exhibiting ideas through Flipgrid, Adobe videos, art, and even a fashion show with student-designed clothing,” said Melanie Tolan, JCCS instructional coach. “It's always uplifting to see the curriculum come to life through each student’s unique lens.”

This quarter, schools hosted both virtual and in-person exhibitions, which allowed students to share their projects and interact with SDCOE staff members and other guests. San Diego SOAR Academy students wrote argumentative essays; Bayside Community School shared poetry and art on Flipgrid; Innovations Academy of Empowerment students created newspaper matrices. Nearly all schools in JCCS participated.

Ocean, a former Girls Rehabilitation Facility student now enrolled in an independent study program, worked with arts partner Combat Arts and classmates Elie and Jamie to create a painting of a huma bird with the aurora borealis in the background. Combat Arts founder and teacher Elizabeth Washburn and JCCS teacher Yolanda Collier arranged for the painting to be displayed at the new Youth Transition Campus in Kearny Mesa.

“My inspiration for the painting was my Persian culture,” Ocean said. “The huma bird is a Persian myth. The huma never touches the ground and brings hope and presents to people in despair. I thought the huma would be perfect for everyone at the Youth Transition Campus because now it will bring hope to them when in need. We thought that this symbol would inspire students not to give up."

Ocean presented the creative process and photos of her final product as part of the Design Jam.

Students at 37ECB hosted an in-person event to showcase a variety of projects they have been working on this spring. They displayed silhouette art projects, which asked students to share how they are perceived by others and who they feel they are; live streamed students using a digital board to solve math problems; and held a fashion show to showcase and sell clothing students created as part of their entrepreneur program.

“My experience with the entrepreneur program really changed my perspective on entrepreneurs because I never realized how hard it is to come up with your own ideas and to come up with something you really like enough to share with the world,” said Charlotte, a student at 37ECB. “It was really cool that we had this opportunity to create something from our own mind and put it on something for everyone else to wear or use.”

The first JCCS Design Jam was held in 2019 at the Comic-Con museum in 2019. Since then, JCCS has held two jams per year in the fall and spring.

“The Design Jams have been a wonderful opportunity for students to have voice and choice, and to express their creativity and innovation,” said Sara Matthews, JCCS instructional coach. “It is an all-hands-on-deck JCCS family affair with arts partners, community partners, teachers, staff, and leadership aligning around a common theme, essential question, and watching our students shine.”


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