California Educational Data Processing Association
DataBus - Vol. 38, No. 3
April-May, 1998
Technology Innovation Challenge Grant

Project LemonLINK: Building a Connected Learning Community

Darryl La Gace, Lemon Grove School District

The mission of our schools is to prepare students to be life-long learners in a global economy where there are constant and dramatic changes occurring daily in the workplace. No longer confined to the classroom, learning will be a process lasting a lifetime. This transformation demands an integration of the school, the home, and the workplace. The community of Lemon Grove is unique in its ability to provide a seamless communication and information system between the home, the school, and the entire community.

The connector is technology. Working diligently over the past five years, the District has fulfilled the first benchmark in its LemonLINK vision by building a district-wide network, one of the most advanced computer networks in the nation. All sites in the District are connected to each other via a high-capacity wireless backbone using state-of-the-art microwave links. The wide area network provides enough bandwidth to support a full duplex Ethernet connection at 10 megabytes to each of the District's eight schools. The network supports voice and compressed video using one of four T1 channels also available over the microwave link.

The advanced architecture of this network provides unlimited Internet connections not only to every computer in every classroom within the District but also to the broader community as well. We are now building a community network that extends learning beyond the traditional classroom. The construction of the community network has already begun, linking the City of Lemon Grove and the District. As a result of this joint effort, the District is currently providing contracted information system services to the city. A wireless backbone has been connected to City Hall and fiber laid to interconnect other city facilities to the District, which acts as the network operations center. Meaningful partnerships between business and our community has made this possible.

Technology exists that can offer expansive and efficient learning opportunities for our students. The Lemon Grove School District and its partners envision a comprehensive educational system that embraces this technology as a centerpiece to its educational program. Through the development of a community Intranet, web-delivered applications will be available not only to our students during the day, but also to the entire community. This community Intranet will provide access to parents of students, community members, city government, community facilities, parochial school, and the local library 24 hours a day.

Building on the foundation the Lemon Grove School District has established, Project LemonLINK strengthens collaborative partnerships that will utilize the network system already established to build and create a District/community Intranet. Our business partners have pledged to help bear the costs and to marshal resources collaboratively in the implementation of the goals for this grant program. The school district will serve as the hub, forming a bridge between business, schools, students, parents, and community members.

Our vision is to promote literacy and academic achievement by providing all Lemon Grove students and their families with direct link-ups with teachers, classroom materials, and the unlimited global resources of the Internet. Additionally, specially designed electronic lesson units will enable class work to be directly accessed from home via the Intranet, extending the hours of the school day to anytime and almost anyplace. Through this process, Lemon Grove students and residents will become a community of learners, linked to the information superhighway and to local sources of information including the local library, government offices, and community centers. They will have increased opportunities to build technology skills and acquire knowledge to improve their education, career, and economic opportunities. The Lemon Grove School District and our collaborative partners have set the following goals and objectives for Project LemonLINK:

Goal 1 -- To establish a collaborative learning environment for students, teachers, parents, and members of the Lemon Grove community.


1.1 By the end of the five-year funding period, Project LemonLINK will have developed, refined, and implemented a working model District Intranet linked to the entire community.

1.2 By the end of the fifth year of funded implementation, 90 percent of the families in the District will be able to have Intra/Internet access at home through the District's cable modem network.

1.3 By the end of each year of funded implementation, an additional 20 percent or more of the classroom teachers will provide increased guided Intranet access for students and their families.

Goal 2 -- To establish a comprehensive technology-based education environment which will stimulate student's engagement and help them learn to challenging standards.


1.1 By the end of the first year of funded implementation, Project LemonLINK will have developed, refined, and implemented interactive learning units (LemonAids), technology-based lessons with extended student research activities for use on the Intranet in all core curriculum areas.

1.2 By the end of the second year of funded implementation, Project LemonLINK will have developed, refined, and implemented performance-based authentic assessment strategies designed to assess and document the participating students' competence in core curriculum areas.

1.3 By the end of the five-year period, 95 percent of students will be using the computer as a tool for web-based applications at least once per week.

Goal 3 -- To institutionalize a comprehensive, proessional, and continuing staff development program which will foster and support the effective integration of technology throughout the curriculum.


1.1 By the end of each year of funded implementation, 20 percent of teachers will have participated in an intensive summer institute and three or more inservice workshops/training sessions during the school year designed to improve their instructional and technology use skills.

1.2 By the end of each year of funded implementation, teachers will have demonstrated their ability to use technology in support of their instructional program by designing and/or using one or more lessons for classroom/home use which used the Internet as a learning tool.

In order to realize the Project LemonLINK vision, to meet the challenging eighth grade technology standards and address the learning needs of our student population, the Lemon Grove School District will install additional equipment, adding software and workstations in classrooms. Our goal is to provide a ratio of one computer station for every four students. Technical support personnel will be added as the number of workstations increases.

Project LemonLINK is a catalyst for change in the way students learn and access information and in the way teachers provide instruction. It empowers all students and their parents to have equity access to technology, strengthen learning to challenging standards in core academics, and build literacy and technology skills in an exciting new way--utilizing the Lemon Grove School District Internet/Intranet. The project's Intranet transforms classrooms and student homes into information-age learning centers, providing access to learning using LemonAids, high-quality software, and other resources for information.

Lemon Grove School District is determined that this District and its students will move into the 21st century not only prepared for its challenges, but equipped to take the lead in meeting them.

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