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Big STEAM Expo ready for Saturday at Planetarium & Science Center

STEAM Expo 2020

Organizers of the Sixth Annual STEAM Expo have gathered more science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities this year, assembling them into the largest hands-on festival for families and children of all ages in the Central Valley. Become an aerospace engineer by designing and launching your own rocket. Envision your own arcade game and build it at the Cardboard Challenge. Crack open the sidewalk chalk and create an artistic masterpiece. Visit the Science Fair and marvel at 80 projects students have created to address real-world issues. Or relax in the Peña Planetarium and peer into worlds beyond ours. Robots, virtual reality goggles, video booths, and more are just a part of the STEAM Expo set for Saturday, March 14 at the TCOE Planetarium & Science Center.

STEAM Expo 2020

“The STEAM Expo is a place where kids can explore the wonderful world of STEAM through hands-on activities,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire. “In addition to all of the activities, we have representatives from more than a dozen organizations available to show visitors how they use STEAM education in their jobs every day.” The STEAM Expo was created to engage students and families in learning about educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. One feature of the STEAM Expo is the Tulare County Science & Engineering Fair. Over 100 elementary, middle, and high school students have created and entered 80 projects to be judged. Top projects will be eligible to advance to the California State Science & Engineering Fair April 20-21 in Los Angeles.

STEAM Expo 2020

The Peña Planetarium will premiere a new show at the STEAM Expo – The Sun, Our Living Star. The sun has shone on our world for four and a half billion years and has been felt by every person who has ever lived. It is our nearest star and our planet’s powerhouse, the source of the energy that drives our winds, our weather and all life. Discover the secrets of our star and experience this visually striking planetarium show about its importance. Free screenings of The Sun, Our Living Star will be offered every half hour beginning at 10:30 a.m. The last show will begin at 1:30 p.m. Tickets for the shows will be available at the box office beginning at 10:00 a.m. Doors close at show time with no late seating and no reentry after the show begins.

Community Exhibitors scheduled to attend include US Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Kaweah; US Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Flying Eagle Squadron; Porterville College Foundation Science, Mathematics and Resource Technology (SMART) Lab; Playzeum of Central California; National Park Service; Sequoia Riverlands Trust; Circle J-Norris Ranch; National Weather Service; Tulare County Sheriff's Office; Visalia Rawhide Baseball Club; UC Master Gardeners; and Discovery of Learning, Visalia.

Activity Stations will include rocket launches, cardboard challenge, shape bubble, monoprinting, nature tracing, collaborative chalk drawing, virtual reality headsets, Ozobots and Spheros programmable robots, and a green screen photo booth.

The STEAM Expo is a free, open house-style event for families with children of all ages. For more information on the STEAM Expo, scheduled for 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on March 14, visit

Photos above:
~ At the event, attendees have opportunities to visit the booths of over a dozen community organizations working in STEAM fields.
~ The STEAM Expo also provides numerous hands-on activities, including a Cardboard Challenge.
~ The Tulare County Science & Engineering Fair is also a component of the STEAM Expo. This year Tulare County students have developed 80 projects. The top projects are eligible to compete in the California State Science & Engineering Fair next month.

Poetry & Prose set to begin next week with over 1,400 students attending

Poetry and Prose

The 36th Annual Poetry & Prose On Stage Program will begin March 16 and continue through March 27. For seven days, over 1,400 Tulare County students will visit the Redwood Conference Center to bravely recite nearly 600 poems individually or in small groups. The public is invited to attend any of the 17 performance sessions.

2020 Schedule
March 16 at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m.
March 17 at 9:00 and 10:15 a.m.
March 18 at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 a.m.
March 23 at 10:15 a.m.
March 24 at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 a.m.
March 25 at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 a.m.
March 27 at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 a.m.

Photo above:
~ Over 1,400 students are registered to participate in the 36th Annual Poetry & Prose On Stage Program beginning March 16.

Tickets now available for CHARACTER COUNTS! Day at the Ballpark

Character Counts! Day at the Ballpark

Teachers are invited to reserve their free tickets for the annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Day at the Ballpark. The May 6 event begins at Rawhide Ballpark at 11:00 a.m. and includes in-game CHARACTER COUNTS! awards and activities, and a baseball game against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. For tickets and more information, contact Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.

Debra Lockwood wins state school libraries award

TCOE Library/Media Supervisor Debra Lockwood

On February 7, the California School Library Association (CSLA) gave Debra Lockwood, TCOE’s library media supervisor at Educational Resource Services, its prestigious Advocate for School Libraries Award. This award is given annually to honor a person or group who has advocated for school libraries within the past year.

The CSLA recognized Ms. Lockwood for leading the development of a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) promotional program designed to be shared with administrators, board members, and parents to connect school library programs with the eight state priorities. The organization was impressed with Ms. Lockwood’s vision to create an advocacy tool for strong school libraries not only in Tulare and Kings counties, but in every school throughout the state.

Photo above:
~ Debra Lockwood (left) is pictured receiving the Advocate for School Libraries Award from Renée Ousley-Swank, past president of the California School Library Association.

Coming Up!

  • through March 31
    Best of Show Student Art Exhibition
    TCOE Administration Building Lobby, 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia
    More information.
  • March 11
    Math Super Bowl
    8:00am - 2:30pm, Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave.
    More information.
  • March 11
    Crisis Prevention, Preparation, and Response Forum
    8:30am - 3:00pm, TCOE Conference Center, 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia
    More information
  • March 14
    STEAM Expo
    10:00am - 3:00pm, TCOE Planetarium & Science Center, 11535 Avenue 264, Visalia
    More information
  • March 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, & 27
    Poetry & Prose
    9:00am - 1:00pm, TCOE Conference Center, 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia
    More information
  • March 19
    University Preparatory High School Information Night
    6:00 - 7:00pm, COS Visalia campus, Yokut Room 9, 915 S. Mooney Blvd.
    More information
  • March 20
    Planetarium Public Shows
    6:00pm: Perfect Little Planet
    7:00pm: CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story

    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, Conan Palmer, Brook Killingsworth, Kelley Petty, and Debra Lockwood.

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