Our Schools: Then and Now


John Swett Unified School District (JSUSD) is a small school district located in northwestern Contra Costa County in California, serving the communities of Crockett, Rodeo, Port Costa, and the City of Hercules. JSUSD was rated the fifth most diverse school district in the entire country according to a recent New York Times article “Diversity in the Classroom,” which examines the impact of recent immigration on primary education. Their Diversity Index measures the percent chance that two students selected at random would be members of a different ethnic group. Higher numbers indicate a more diverse student body. JSUSD received a score of 75% on this index, easily ranking first in Contra Costa County. Overall, the district’s 1,708 students in 2009 were: 23.5% White; 21.0% African American; 19.1% Hispanic; 16.9% Multiple Races; 9.4% Asian; 8.8% Filipino; 0.8% Pacific Islander; and 0.7% American Indian (California Department of Education). Linguistically, about 20% of District students are “English Learners,” with native languages such as Spanish, Punjabi, Pilipino or Tagalog, Vietnamese, Pashto, and more. Such great diversity simultaneously creates multiple challenges and new opportunities in educating students.