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First Annual Student Tech Showdown held during popular Tech Rodeo

Student Tech Showdown and Tech Rodeo

On Saturday, students participating in the Student Tech Showdown experienced something adults often encounter in the workplace – a request to make a presentation on the spot. While students – working in groups of two or three – knew weeks in advance of the new competition that they would be speaking about the issue of cyberbullying, they did not know the applications they would be required to incorporate into their presentation. To begin the competition, event coordinator Katherine Goyette gave nine teams of students three applications to include – Google Maps, Google Slides, and Screencastify, a simple video creation tool used by teachers and students.

Utilizing the research they had previously conducted on the realities of cyberbullying and its social-emotional effects on students, the teams developed presentations that made use of the three apps and included action plans to combat cyberbullying. Participants were given the opportunity to develop their presentation and then present it before their peers. Other teams offered helpful suggestions, which the presenting team could consider before making their final presentation before judges late Saturday morning. For their efforts in developing compelling multimedia presentations, the following teams received medals:

Elementary Division (Grades 4-5)
Collaborative Designer Award: Tech Thunder from Denton Elementary School
Resourceful Digital Citizen Award: Dynamic Dudes from Denton Elementary School

Middle School Division (Grades 6-8)
Collaborative Designer Award: Captain Jack's Sparrow from Sundale Union School
Resourceful Digital Citizen Award: The Big Brains from Sundale Union School

High School Division (Grades 9-12)
Collaborative Designer Award: Mustangs from Tulare Western High School and New Yorkers from Tulare Union High School
Resourceful Digital Citizen Award: SCCA Tech from Summit Charter Collegiate Academy and New Yorkers from Tulare Union High School

Student Tech Showdown and Tech Rodeo

The new Student Tech Showdown was part of the Fourth Annual Tech Rodeo conference which was attended by over 150 educators from throughout the Central Valley. The conference began with fireside-style presentations by nationally-known educators and authors Jon Corippo and Tara Martin. During their keynote presentations and in following breakout sessions, Ms. Martin taught educators to engage students in annotating and analyzing text using Google Slides in a way that leveraged their interest in Snapchat, while Mr. Corippo guided educators in utilizing technology with simple, open-ended protocols that are applicable for nearly any content area and grade level.

Following these presentations, attendees were able to choose from a variety of breakout sessions led by award-winning presenters from across the state – all designed to foster 21st century learning in their classrooms through the use of technology. For more information on upcoming education technology trainings, contact Katherine Goyette at

Photos above:
~ Participants in the Student Tech Showdown were challenged with creating a presentation about cyberbullying on the spot utilizing three popular technology applications.
~ Top teams in the elementary, middle, and high school divisions of the Student Tech Showdown are pictured with their medals.

Planetarium to offer two public shows on Friday

Planetarium Public Show - Perfect Little Planet

Planetarium Public Show - Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity The Peña Planetarium will offer two public shows on Friday, January 24. At 6:00 p.m., audience members can enjoy Perfect Little Planet, a charming animated story about a family from another star system seeking the perfect vacation spot. The family decides to visit our solar system where they fly over the surface of Pluto, sail through the rings of Saturn, feel lightning storms at Jupiter, and walk on the surface of Mars. At 7:00 p.m., visitors can see Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity. The program explores places in space where gravity pulls so hard that even light cannot escape. Black Holes takes audiences on a journey through otherworldly wormholes to witness the creation of the Milky Way Galaxy and the violent death of a star and subsequent birth of a black hole.

The Peña Planetarium is located at 11535 Avenue 264 in Visalia, on the southwest corner of Mooney Boulevard and Avenue 264. Tickets are available at the Planetarium office only after 5:00 p.m. on the day of the shows. Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children 11 and under. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No late seating is offered once the planetarium doors close. For information, call (559) 737-6334. For program descriptions and more information on the public shows, visit

Scholarships available to graduating seniors

Scholarships available The Tulare County Office of Education is proud to announce its annual Pursuing Victory with Honor (PVWH) Scholarship is available for up to eight graduating seniors who plan to attend a college or university in the Fall 2020. Pursuing Victory with Honor is the character education program developed by the creators of CHARACTER COUNTS! as a tool for coaches to instill good sportsmanship in their players.

Tulare County seniors are invited to submit an application for the scholarship by April 3 and include an essay on sportsmanship. The program will offer $500 scholarships to as many as eight students attending high school in Tulare County. To apply for the PVWH scholarship, complete and submit the application at by April 3.

Scholarships available Additionally, TCOE partners with the Tulare County School Boards Association (TCSBA) to promote their annual scholarship program. TCSBA typically awards a scholarship to one senior in each Tulare County high school and charter high school that submits an application. This year, $350 scholarships are being offered. Application packets were mailed this week to all high school counselors. Students may access the application at Completed applications are due to students’ assigned high school counselors by February 21.

Support Staff Conference set for May 5

Support Staff Conference

Support Staff Conference Keynote Speaker Thomas Murray The Tulare County Support Staff Conference – an event attended by over 700 school and municipal employees from around the Valley – will be held on Tuesday, May 5 at the Visalia Convention Center. The event will feature a Cinco de Mayo theme with plenty of colorful Mexican-inspired decorations, entertainment, and food. Thomas Murray, an educator and author, will be the keynote speaker. Mr. Murray is the Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education located in Washington, D.C. He was named the "2018 National/Global EdTech Leader of the Year," by EdTech Digest, the "2017 Education Thought Leader of the Year," one of "20 to Watch" by National School Boards Association in 2016, and the "Education Policy Person of the Year" by the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015. Mr. Murray is passionate about creating school cultures where support staff, teachers, and administrators work together to help today's modern learners thrive.

“The conference is an important day, not only for personal and professional enrichment, but to remind support staff of the important role they play in building successful school cultures that help students be the best they can be,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire. Registration for the Tulare County Support Staff Conference will be available soon at

Photo above:
~ Thomas Murray will be the keynote speaker at the Tulare County Support Staff Conference scheduled for May 5 at the Visalia Convention Center. Mr. Murray is an educator and an author, and was selected by the National School Boards Association as one of their “20 to Watch” in 2016.

Coming Up!

  • January 21, 23, 28, 30, February 6, 18
    Tulare County Mock Trial
    5:00 - 8:00pm, Tulare County Courthouse, Visalia
    More information
  • January 21 - February 28
    Student Art Exhibition
    TCOE Administration Building Lobby, 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia
    More information.
  • January 23
    University Preparatory High School Information Night
    6:00 - 7:00pm, COS Visalia campus, Yokut Room 9, 915 S. Mooney Blvd.
    More information
  • January 24
    Planetarium Public Shows
    6:00pm: Perfect Little Planet
    7:00pm: Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity

    TCOE Planetarium & Science Center, 11535 Avenue 264, Visalia
    More information

View more events at

Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Paula Terrill, Katherine Goyette, Conan Palmer, and Kelley Petty.

To receive News Gallery Week, visit, or contact Jennifer Fisher at or (559) 733-6172.