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CHOICES receives STOP grant to continue work with law enforcement and school districts on Common Map Structure

CHOICES STOP grant The CHOICES Program recently received a two-year School Violence Grant Program (STOP) from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a division within the U.S. Department of Justice. In Tulare County, the STOP grant will be used to support the continued development of the school-based emergency response system introduced last year and known as the Common Map Structure. The grant supports the work of developing Common Map Structures at 11 Tulare County school districts.

Last summer, Tulare County school district administrators and law enforcement officers convened at Kings River Union School to watch a mock armed-intruder exercise and test the effectiveness of the Common Map Structure developed by the CHOICES Program. The web-based system enabled law enforcement dispatchers running the exercise to access the school’s camera system, maps of its campus, and 360-degree images of classrooms. Following the exercise, law enforcement partners shared with Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire that they were able to apprehend the intruder faster than they imagined because the dispatcher was able to give them precise details on his whereabouts.

The Common Map Structure was developed out of discussions with law enforcement agencies held at CHOICES’ Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response (CPPR) Forums which began in 2018. City and county first responders and law enforcement agencies have given both their support and input into the project’s development.


Frank Silveira, CHOICES Program administrator, reports that staff members are now working with partner school districts to develop a consistent system of building, campus access, and utilities identification. Staff members are also collecting photos and video of the structures and classrooms on each campus to build the on-line Common Map Structure to share with law enforcement.


“We appreciate that the BJA supports the enormous potential of this system,” said Mr. Hire. “It is rewarding to see that work is now being done to implement a valuable school safety tool that gives administrators and law enforcement the ability to recognize and respond quickly to threats and help safeguard students and staff.”

For more information on the Common Map Structure system, contact Frank Silveira at

Photos above:
~ Last summer, CHOICES staff debuted the Common Map Structure system, a web-based interface for law enforcement to access school cameras and campus maps in the event of an emergency. System developer Daniel Cordeniz (r) is shown assisting Phil Cox, dispatcher for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, in locating a mock intruder during a crisis response drill held in July at Kings River Union School. California Assemblyman Devon Mathis looks on.
~ CHOICES staff have begun working to develop Common Map Structure systems at 11 Tulare County schools as part of funding from a federal STOP grant. Staff are working with school administration to develop a consistent system of building, campus access, and utilities identification. Staff members are also collecting photos and video of the structures and classrooms on each campus.

Students produce artwork, presentations for virtual Reading Revolution event

Reading Revolution During the month of May, the Tulare County Office of Education’s Redwood Conference Center is typically brimming with students excited to demonstrate their shared knowledge of books they have read throughout the school year. The students in grades 4-8 come in teams to compete in separate elementary and middle school Reading Revolution events, held over two days.

Each fall, Educational Resource Services releases an elementary and middle school list of books students should read in order to compete in the event. Reading Revolution is a fun event designed to promote literacy and the joy of reading found in quality fiction and nonfiction literature. The event is also designed to increase reading comprehension and promote teamwork and collaboration.

Prior to the closure of schools, the competition had 40 middle school teams and 57 elementary school teams registered. Rather than cancel the event, coordinators created two virtual elements of Reading Revolution so that previously registered teams could participate. The modified activities included Cover That! and RR Book Chats. With projects due May 21, students shared their images and presentations with the student events team.

For the virtual Cover That! event, students chose their favorite book from the official list and designed an alternative book cover that differed from the original using knowledge gained while reading the book. The competition received several submissions, with Blended by Sharon M. Draper being the most popular title. “The students did a fabulous job drawing new book covers,” said Debra Lockwood, ERS Library/Media supervisor. “They paid a lot of attention to details and re-envisioned some of the most important elements of the books.”

For the virtual RR Book Chats event, students chose one of the titles from the official book list and created a two-minute presentation describing the book and convincing the viewer to read it themselves.

To see the submissions received in the virtual Reading Revolution event, visit Next year’s Reading Revolution for elementary teams will be held Thursday, May 6, 2021, followed by the middle school competition on Friday, May 14, 2021. Both events will be held at the TCOE Redwood Conference Center, where the student events team and the ERS Library team look forward to hosting students once again.

Photo above:
~ As part of this year’s virtual Reading Revolution, Riley Brantley of Frank Kohn Elementary in Tulare created an alternative cover design to the book
Pay Attention Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt.

State creates new food assistance plan for children affected by COVID pandemic

Pandemic EBT program

Through a new food assistance program known as Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, families can receive up to $365 per child to spend on groceries. The benefit is extended to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and their school is closed due to COVID-19. This benefit is in addition to meals families may already be picking up from their children’s schools.

Last month, the state began distributing P-EBT cards, which can be used like a debit card, to families with children who receive CalFresh or Medi-Cal benefits. Families with children who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals and who did not receive their P-EBT card in the mail by May 22, are encouraged to apply online at before June 30, 2020.

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, Frank Silveira, Paula Terrill, and Debra Lockwood.

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