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Learning and fitness continues while La Sierra cadets remain at home

La Sierra teachers are utilizing a variety of technology to assist students learning from home. Teachers are using Google Classroom on a block schedule to deliver assignments and to meet with their students at appointed times. Some teachers are utilizing Zoom to work one-on-one with students. Teachers have also set aside time on Fridays to hold virtual office hours for additional student support. The school’s support staff members are conducting daily calls with students and family members to ensure they are successful learning at home.

La Sierra Distance Learning

Student officers also have a role in providing social-emotional support to fellow cadets. La Sierra’s commanding officer and executive officer have been collaborating to send out weekly Instagram Live updates and answer questions which have come in during the week. Information flows through the division officers, company commanders, and administrative officer to the cadets. “The idea was to build a structure for questions to come in, followed by weekly answers, updates, and social-emotional support from cadet leadership,” said La Sierra’s Chief Joe Andrade. “Leadership has been nothing short of outstanding with this directive.”

La Sierra Distance Learning

What is unique about La Sierra is that cadets are also required to continue their physical trainings. In the backyard, in the garage, and around the house, cadets are utilizing home exercise equipment and the resistance of their own bodies to maintain the high levels of fitness they achieved over the school year. Chief Andrade reports that students are required to turn in daily physical training logs and pulse logs each week with a record of the number of exercise repetitions completed. “Our philosophy is to keep the body conditioned to help cadets maintain a healthy lifestyle and promote personal readiness,” he said.

Photos above:
~ La Sierra Military Academy cadets are learning at home utilizing Google Classroom. Student officers have organized a weekly Instagram Live message sharing answers to questions asked, updates, and social-emotional support for their fellow cadets.
~ Cadets remain committed to their physical training at home by completing daily exercise and pulse rate logs.



ABC30 half-hour special to highlight heroes and helpers during pandemic

ABC30 Children First special Coping During COVID-19

ABC30 will air a Children First special on Sunday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. entitled Coping During COVID-19. The special will feature a number of inspiring stories and interviews with Tulare County educators and students. Action News anchor Margot Kim hosts the special focusing on the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on local families and the people and programs offering help and hope.

Among the segments in the special is an interview with TCOE’s Dr. Jennifer Newell, director of Behavioral Health Services, who offers parents tips on how to support their children during difficult times and shares apps that can help reduce anxiety. Katherine Goyette, educational technology specialist with Educational Resource Services, was also interviewed to explain how teachers are using digital resources to connect with students via distance learning.

The highlight of the program will be a forum hosted by Ms. Kim featuring six students from six valley schools. Among them are Tulare County seniors Noah De La Pena of Granite Hills High School in Porterville, T.J. Martinez of Tulare Western High School, and Savannah Travis of Redwood High School in Visalia who will share how the pandemic has impacted their lives and how they are coping.

The Tulare County Office of Education is a partner in the Children First program with ABC30, EECU, and Valley Children’s Hospital. The station produces three half-hour Children First specials each year. For more information on the program, visit abc30.com/ChildrenFirst.



Expanded Learning Programs prove an essential community partner

Student connectedness within the community has been a focus that the Porterville Unified School District’s Y.E.S. (Youth Experiencing Success) After School Program team has remained committed to strengthening and sustaining over time. The approach to supporting the whole child within the community was magnified in recent weeks in response to COVID-19.

TCOE's Exanded Learning Programs

Similar to other after school programs in Tulare County, Y.E.S. suspended program operation when the district closed on March 19. Shortly thereafter, the district decided to begin serving school-age children of essential workers while schools were closed. With only a small staff to navigate a brand new program, Program Coordinator Krystal Miller and her resourceful coworkers went to work developing student interest surveys and organizing activities around student voice.

TCOE's Exanded Learning Programs Early this month, Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville reached out to the Y.E.S. Program, requesting that they help develop a meaningful expression of appreciation to hospital staff and patients. In less than five days, nearly 1,000 handmade cards were created by Y.E.S. staff, children, and several family members who wanted to help. In addition to the personal greeting cards, cheery card displays were set up all over the hospital as reminders that the community was thinking of them. Ms. Miller said the hospital staff were very appreciative of the gesture, reporting that the students’ work boosted morale throughout the facility.

Krystal Miller is proud of the impact she and her team have made in their community in a short amount of time. “Students, seeing photos of their work shared with the hospital staff and patients, often ask me, ‘Are they healed?’” she said. “They are very attune to those affected and empathetic for their speedy recovery.” The program’s work has brought additional requests for assistance with outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic. Y.E.S. is now working on projects with the Porterville Police Department, Anthem Blue Cross, and local nursing homes.

Virginia Sepeda, Region VII Expanded Learning Program lead, was not surprised by Ms. Miller’s wholehearted support of the hospital’s request. “When Krystal stepped into the role of expanded learning program coordinator in 2017, she took great interest in developing her team’s capacity to apply principles of social-emotional learning throughout the organization,” Ms. Sepeda said. “She and her team participated in a yearlong Social-Emotional Learning Professional Learning Community our office offered to expand and deepen its implementation in Porterville Unified’s after school sites. They are also in their second year of participating in the Social-Emotional Learning and CHARACTER COUNTS! Cohort also provided by the Region in partnership with the CHARACTER COUNTS! program.”

TCOE's Exanded Learning Programs

The Region VII Expanded Learning Program, with the support of Tulare County Office of Education, provides technical assistance to grantees from Tulare, Kings, and Madera counties that have received ASES, 21stCCLC, and ASSETs funding. For information about virtual supports available to after school programs, contact Virginia Sepeda at virginias@tcoe.org.

Photos above:
~ Following the closure of school sites and after school programs in response to COVID-19, Porterville Unified opened a single after school site at Santa Fe Elementary for children of essential workers.
~ The after school program, known as Y.E.S., was contacted by Sierra View Medical Center asking for children to create a meaningful appreciation for staff and patients at the hospital. The Y.E.S. staff and students created nearly 1,000 personal greeting cards.
~ Staff at the hospital enjoy just a few of the numerous cards created for them.



Dr. Paul Gorski returning to Tulare County twice this fall to work with school equity teams

Dr. Paul Gorski The Leadership Support Services program is bringing Dr. Paul Gorski, the popular keynote speaker from TCOE’s first annual Equity Conference, back to Tulare County twice this fall. Tulare County school equity teams are encouraged to register to attend one of Dr. Gorski’s full-day trainings on either September 8 or November 19 in TCOE’s Redwood Conference Center.

In these trainings, entitled Disrupting Inequities: An Influencer’s Guide, Dr. Gorski will expand on his presentation delivered at the Equity Conference in January and will share a set of principles and skills designed to guide district equity practices. “We are delighted to have Dr. Gorski back in Tulare County to work with school leadership teams on the critical process of identifying and eliminating inequity within school communities,” said Tim Hire, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools.

Dr. Gorski is the founder of the Equity Literacy Institute. He has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts, having worked in 48 states and 14 countries. Dr. Gorski has also published more than 70 articles and written, co-written, or co-edited 12 books on educational equity.

The trainings are free to Tulare County school district teams. There is a cost of $25 per person for attendees working in districts outside Tulare County. To register for the September 8 training, please visit tulare.k12oms.org/147-185198. To register for the November 19 training, visit tulare.k12oms.org/147-185199.

For more information about the services of Leadership Support Services, contact Martin Frolli at martinf@tcoe.org.



Distance Learning Resources


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 tcoe.org/CalendarofEvents.



Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Anjelica Zermeño, Joe Andrade, Ronni Aguilar, Virginia Sepeda, Kelley Petty, Martin Frolli, and Yesenia Tadeo.

To receive News Gallery Week, visit tcoe.org/GetTheGallery, or contact Jennifer Fisher at jenniferf@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172.