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TCOE takes various measures to address spread of COVID-19 virus

COVID-19 image

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire announced Monday that TCOE will close its offices and Early Childhood Education Child Development Centers effective March 18. TCOE offices will remain closed until April 2. Child Development Center staff will return to work on April 2, with the centers reopening to students on April 14. This announcement follows the decision last week to cancel or postpone many of the annual student events and larger professional development trainings scheduled for March, April, and May. “These measures reflect our wholehearted commitment to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Mr. Hire.

During the closures, TCOE employees are working from home and can be reached by email. Telephone calls to the administration office on Mooney Boulevard will be forwarded to appropriate employees. La Sierra Charter School, University Preparatory High School, and Court/Community Schools are currently closed and scheduled to reopen after spring break on April 14.

Watch the TCOE website for status updates regarding COVID-19 closures. The student events page and calendars will be updated with cancellations and re-scheduled dates as information becomes available.

Porterville community supports annual Stars in the Hills Prom for students with special needs

Stars in the Hills Prom

On March 7, the Porterville community came together to throw its annual Stars in the Hills Prom for students with special needs. The 16th annual event, entitled “Roaring 20s,” was attended by over 80 students who are enrolled in Special Services AcCEL and Community Based Instruction Programs in Porterville.

The prom is organized by the Porterville Breakfast Rotary Club with support from numerous other community organizations. Janice Castle, a Rotary Club member and president of the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation, reported that Tulare County businesses donate food, transportation, hair, manicures, and makeup, dresses and tuxedos, photography and videography, flowers, decorations and party favors for the special event. Various clubs at Monache High School and Granite Hills High School also support the prom.

Cathy Machado, program manager for Porterville-area AcCEL Programs, said that students were chosen as prom royalty. “Those honored as royalty were kings Rodney Barrios, Christian Bernal, Raul Romero, and Tylor Wilson,” she said. “The queens selected for this year’s prom were Mariam Alsamaan, Cecilia Angeles, McKensey Basaldua, Susana Rivera, Cassandra Rodriguez, Jessica Sanchez, Alexandria Simpson and Nicole Trujillo.” Adrian Cloyd, an AcCEL program graduate, provided DJ services.

Photo above:
~ The kings and queens of the 16th Annual Stars in the Hills Prom were presented to attendees of the annual event for students with special needs in TCOE Porterville programs.

Students work together to solve agricultural scenario as part of annual Math Super Bowl

Tulare County Math Super Bowl

More than 650 seventh- and eighth-grade students from 43 schools participated in the 47th annual Math Super Bowl on March 11. The students from Kings and Tulare county schools competed in three events – working independently, in teams with their classmates, and with students from other schools.

Tulare County Math Super Bowl

In the Pro Bowl portion of the competition, students were divided into teams of four to five students from different schools. This year, the problems were related to choosing a crop to plant at their school’s agriculture program. Students were asked to determine total production, earnings, expenses, and profit per year for each of three crops – seedless grapes, almonds, and sweet corn. Students then worked together to write out a response to their school board with their findings to support their recommendations. The top scoring seventh-grade team included Maria de los Martinez (Bartlett Middle School, Porterville), William McAllister (La Joya Middle School, Visalia), Ashea Lucero (Summit Charter Intermediate Academy, Porterville), Daniela Ramirez (Sundale Union School, Tulare) and Gael Garcia Castro (Washington Intermediate School, Dinuba). The top scoring eighth-grade team included Juliet Prosser (Green Acres Middle School, Visalia), Andrew Gamez (Live Oak Middle School, Tulare), Natalie Nelson (Ridgeview Middle School, Visalia), Mya Martinez (Washington Intermediate School, Dinuba) and Olivia Machado (Waukena Elementary, Waukena).

For a complete list of winners, visit

Photos above:
~ During the Pro Bowl portion of the annual Math Super Bowl, students worked in teams from other schools to solve hypothetical problems related to agricultural profitability on a school farm.
~ A complete list of award winners is available at

Annual Science Olympiad competition tests skills of over 400 middle and high school students

Tulare County Science Olympiad

On March 7, over 400 students participated on 31 middle and high school teams in the annual Science Olympiad. Across the Mission Oak High School campus in Tulare, students built bridges, launched rockets and gilders, piloted robotic vehicles, and solved crimes as part of dozens of scientific competitions.

The top four middle school teams (Division B) in this year’s competition were Jefferson Academy Team 12 (Hanford), Green Acres Middle School Team 4 (Visalia), Oak Grove School Team 7 (Visalia) and Palo Verde Union School Team 14 (Tulare). The top four high school teams (Division C) were Redwood High School Team 52 (Visalia), Tulare Union High School Team 41, Exeter Union High School Team 51 and University Preparatory High School Team 45 (Visalia). For a complete list of Science Olympiad Divisions B and C winners, visit

Tulare County Science Olympiad

The Science Olympiad Division A Competition for elementary grade teams, originally scheduled for April 25, has been cancelled for this year.

Photos above:
~ Science Olympiad is comprised of dozens of competitions, including the testing of structures, planes, rockets, musical instruments, and vehicles students built beforehand.
~ Students from TCOE’s University Preparatory High School are pictured with the fourth place trophy won in the 2020 Science Olympiad.

Coming Up!

  • Many upcoming student events have been cancelled or postponed. Check the current list of all student events (cancelled, postponed, and tentatively scheduled) on the Student Events webpage.

View more events at

Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Kelley Petty, Cathy Machado, Paula Terrill, and Juliana Davidian.

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