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AcCEL teacher incorporates puppets into her video lessons to boost engagement

AcCEL online learning

Despite the fact that she’s having to teach from home, Whitney Pollock has an aide – two of them, in fact. The special education teacher within the AcCEL Program created Mango, a puppet, and his sister, Gloria, to engage her students in the program’s Unique Learning System lessons, the curriculum utilized in AcCEL classrooms.

AcCEL online learning Through short instructional videos, Mango and Gloria help Ms. Pollock teach lessons. At the end of the lesson, she tells parents how to continue teaching the topics covered in her videos, which have been very popular with Ms. Pollack’s students at Rocky Hill Elementary in Exeter.

Jill Santivanez, AcCEL program manager, obtained a copy of Ms. Pollack’s first video as a resource for other AcCEL teachers. “We have a team that puts together weekly lessons for all of the AcCEL teachers during this school closure time,” she said. “Whitney sent me the first video and we shared it with all of the directors of special education in Tulare County school districts and with AcCEL teachers in the Porterville, Tulare, Visalia, and North County settings.”

Ms. Pollock’s videos featuring Mango and Gloria have been a hit with teachers, students, and parents, having been widely shared on YouTube and social media. Ms. Pollock now plans to produce a new segment each week to share with Tulare County families. To see her and her friend, Mango, visit

Photos above:
~ Whitney Pollock, a special education teacher in the AcCEL Program, created two puppets, Mango and Gloria, to boost engagement of her students utilizing the program’s online curriculum. Her video lessons have been shared with special education teachers throughout the county.
~ Student Isaiah so loves Mango that he created his own version of the instructional puppet.

SCICON to release new set of instructional videos on YouTube

SCICON Instructional Videos on YouTube

Tomorrow, the SCICON program is releasing 13 new instructional videos for teachers. The videos were developed by the program’s interns and cover lessons on birds, amphibians, erosion, natural resources, astronomy, plate tectonics, and night creatures. The series also features several fun videos on SCICON songs, chants, stories, and dances. The videos are available in the SCICON Instructional Lessons playlist on TCOE’s YouTube channel at

“While we’re concentrating on sixth-grade NGSS standards, there’s something in this series for students at a variety of grade levels,” said Dianne Shew, SCICON director. “Students who visited SCICON a few years ago may want to refresh lessons learned, while younger children can learn ahead of their visit and delve deeper into the curriculum we’ll teach them when they arrive in sixth grade.”

Last month, the SCICON interns developed a series of 10 videos featuring Irvy the Hermit. The fun videos were designed to give sixth-grade students who were unable to attend SCICON an overview of the program. Links to the videos were sent to the schools whose visits were cancelled in March, April, and May due to COVID-19. Mrs. Shew reports that some schools that received the videos have requested Zoom presentations, which she and staff are now providing.

For information on instructional support from the SCICON program, contact Dianne Shew at

Photo above:
~ SCICON will release a series of 13 instructional videos tomorrow for teachers to use with students learning from home. The videos cover a variety of earth and natural science topics, and include fun SCICON stories, songs, and chants.

Early Childhood Education receives grants to support those affected by COVID-19 and to renovate Fairview Center

Since the closure of Tulare County schools in mid-March, the Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP) has received two substantial grants to support families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These additional funds come as the program continues to serve children learning at home through the distribution of activity packets and additional school supplies.

Early Childhood Education Program grants As directed by the California Department of Education, TCOE ECEP is working diligently to be the “matchmaker” between parents who are essential workers and child care providers who are operating. The state provided nearly $800,000 in additional funds to ECEP to help pay for child care for essential workers. The state also suspended the typical income requirements so that these families would be eligible for this support. “Parents who are essential workers are encouraged to email their contact information to,” said Dr. Alex Elliott, ECEP administrator. “Our staff will reach out to share information on open providers in their area.”

The state also provided $50 million to Resource & Referral Programs throughout California. The support provides Cleaning and Supplies for Childcare Providers (CSCP). Locally, the Tulare County Resource & Referral Program will allocate CSCP funds to open or soon-to-be-open providers operating childcare or early learning and care programs (ELC) for children of essential workers, at-risk populations, and children with disabilities or special health needs that receive ELC services as part of their individualized education plan or individualized family service plan. “This funding is critical to operating child care providers who are struggling to find the basic supplies they need,” said Dr. Elliott.

In addition to funds received to support families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, ECEP received a third grant from the Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program. This exciting $1.14 million grant will be used to completely renovate the program’s Fairview Center in Visalia. Included in the renovation is the installation of adaptive equipment for children and professional development training for all education staff regarding inclusive outdoor learning environments.

Photo above:
~ The Early Childhood Education Program received several grants recently – two of which support families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also continues to support children learning from home by providing activity packets and school supplies.

Theatre Company launches virtual Masterclass Series for students to connect with professionals working in the performing arts

Theatre Company alum Carly Caviglia This month, the Theatre Company launched its Masterclass Series. This ongoing series of Zoom-based presentations allows students to speak with TCOE Theatre Company alumni, staff, and guest speakers to see how they utilize their collegiate training, how they prepare for auditions, and what it’s like to work professionally on famous stages.

Next week, Carly Caviglia will lead a choreography workshop. The workshop will feature original choreography from the Broadway production of A Chorus Line. Carly is a Golden West High School graduate, star of the Theatre Company's 2015 summer musical Peter Pan, and recent graduate of Syracuse University.

Students must complete a waiver before attending a Masterclass. To register for the choreography workshop being held Wednesday, May 13, at 1:00 p.m., visit For more information on the Masterclass Series and upcoming speakers, visit

Photo above:
~ Theatre Company alumni Carly Caviglia will lead a Masterclass featuring choreography from the Broadway production of
A Chorus Line next week. The Zoom-based classes offer students the opportunity to discuss careers in the performing arts with alumni, Theatre Company staff, and special guests.

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

Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Tammy McKean, Jill Santivanez, Dianne Shew, Carly Innis, Conan Palmer, Julie Berk, Alex Elliott, Bethany Rader, and Ariel Barrios.

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