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The News Gallery

October 2001

FINISHING TOUCHES - SCICON Completes Large Renovation Projects Including Dining Hall Expansion

News Gallery - October 2001 Editor: Rob Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

M.J. Alms, Cherí Barnes, Gary Biggs, Darlynn Billingsley, Esmeralda Cano, Veronica Carmona, Christine Chapman, Vicky Contreras, Jeanne Croson, Randy Elzig, Frank Escobar, Linda Hamilton, Margaret Ibarra, LouAnn King, Donna Martin, Rick Mitchell and Donna Orozco.

The News Gallery is published monthly with the exception of double issues printed for July/August and December/January. If you would like to receive the News Gallery, please contact Christine Chapman at (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.

On the cover above: SCICON nears completion on its Dining Lodge expansion.

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SCICON Cabins and Dining Hall Receive Renovation

As summer arrived, the Clemmie Gill School of Science and Conservation (SCICON) was already gearing up to complete the expansion and remodel of its landmark dining facility and several student cabins. The window of opportunity for this type of reconstruction was small. Thanks to the efforts of the Tulare County Board of Education in approving the project and the work of Mangini & Associates Architects and contractors Webb & Son, visitors to the outdoor education program will now enjoy more room for dining and special programs, plus the first-time comfort of air conditioning and glass windows.

In three short months, the construction crews framed in an additional 1854 square feet of dining space, and added central air conditioning and heating, new windows, interior lighting and a river rock fireplace. Wintertime indoor activities such as campfire programs and folk dances can now be held in the new extension of the dining lodge.

Workers are now putting the finishing touches on the SCICON Dining Hall as the new school year begins.

"This remodel is really the best of everything," states County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "We have been able to add this much-needed square footage and increase the building's energy efficiency, while enhancing its rustic charm. The new river rock fireplace and the complementing course of river rock that surrounds the base of the building, really adds to the building's appeal."

SCICON Director Rick Mitchell praises the ongoing cabin renovations. "Among the many things we were able to do was replace the old wood siding on several cabins with the new composite concrete siding. It's more durable and will be less maintenance for the staff. The only ones upset by the change seem to be our tenacious woodpeckers."

The cabins renovated include those in the "girl's village" — the Cutler-Orosi, Dinuba, Visalia and Lindsay cabins. Work on the cabins also included new electrical wiring, insulation, new windows and paint. The SCICON office and the firehouse received similar renovations. "Be sure to check out all the recent renovations at our annual barbecue April 21, 2002," concludes Mr. Mitchell.

Photos above:
~ SCICON students Hillary Mendoza, Jessica Brents, and Megan Carlsen watch for birds from their newly renovated cabin.

~ Abby Dikes, Andrea Marsh and Anne Baker discuss their day's activities on the trails.

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Teacher Recruitment Center Connects District and Teacher Over 2,000 Miles Away

It was the second week of school and the 19 fourth-grade students were settled into reading and language arts stations working independently and in groups. From somewhere in the room a timer sounded, and with muffled conversation and a few stray giggles, they stowed their materials and set off to their next stations. Orderly, focused, and well-behaved, these students might have been crowded into other fourth grade classes, had it not been for the efforts of a few people whose role it is to put quality teachers into California classrooms.

A few weeks before, Wayne Clark, superintendent of Pixley Union Schools, returned from vacation to discover he needed a new fourth grade teacher. The first day of school was one week away and small schools have limited sources for new teachers. Mr. Clark attended the Teacher Fair at California State University, Fresno that week, hoping to find someone. He was not successful. He did, however, run across Donna Glassman-Sommer, director of the newly established Central California Regional Teacher Recruitment Center and mentioned his dilemma. The wheels began to turn.

On the other side of the country, Lisa Hesse, a fourth grade teacher, found herself stranded in Cleveland, Ohio, in a job that had recently changed, and not for the better. She had been living in Ohio for the past three years, relocating from California to care for her ailing mother at what turned out to be the end of her life. Now, after moving east, caring for her mom, and paying for her funeral, she found herself financially unable to move back to California, where she dreamed of hiking in Yosemite once again. Driving home from a Literacy Conference one afternoon, she was partly listening to the National Public Radio station when she heard an advertisement about the CalTeach Road Scholars and California needing 11,000 new teachers this year. Lisa thought, "Let's hope they need me!"

The following day at the advertised recruitment event in Cleveland, the CalTeach staff provided Lisa a number of resources, including the phone number of the Central California Teacher Recruitment Center. They also did a short video interview with her, which was ultimately helpful in the hiring process. From the moment she called and spoke with the Central California Regional Teacher Recruitment Center staff on Thursday, August 2, things quickly fell into place. After having talked at length to Lisa in Ohio, and Mr. Clark in Pixley, Ms. Glassman-Sommer was convinced they were a good match. Lisa's background in literacy and her language arts skills were just what Pixley was looking for, and she had experience with most of the programs used in their schools. After a telephone interview, reference checks and a few phone calls to Donna, Wayne and his committee were ready to offer Lisa a job.

The major obstacle was that Lisa needed some financial assistance to move back to California this year. "No problem," said Mr. Clark. "Our district applied for TAP (Teachers as a Priority) funds and I can assist Lisa with moving expenses." The following Tuesday, Lisa was on a plane to California. Wayne Clark's wife, Sandra, picked her up at the airport and invited her home that night. On Wednesday morning, Sandra Clark brought Lisa to the Tulare County Office of Education, where the wheels began turning again. Credentials were analyzed, fingerprints sent off and Lisa was whisked away to look for housing. Wednesday afternoon, Lisa spent time setting up her classroom, where she began teaching Thursday morning!

Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak shares Wayne Clark's enthusiasm for the work done by the Central California Regional Teacher Recruitment Center. "We have some very talented and resourceful people working to solve the teacher shortage problem in our 19-county region," says Mr. Vidak. "I appreciate the work that was done for the Pixley district in finding a qualified teacher and in arranging for her relocation. Now that's problem solving!" Ms. Glassman-Sommer agrees, "We're here to connect school districts, that might not have the time or resources, with qualified candidates from outside the area or even the state, as we did in this case."

If you would like more information about the Regional Teacher Recruitment Center, visit www.teachcentralcal.org.

Photo above:
~ Recruitment Specialist Gail Kaulfuss (left) welcomes Lisa Hesse to the Central California Regional Teacher Recruitment Center. Ms. Hesse, a teacher living in Ohio, was hired by Pixley Union.

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CHARACTER COUNTS! Reaches New Audience on Radio

Fall is an important time of the year for CHARACTER COUNTS!, for with it comes National CHARACTER COUNTS! week, held during the third full week of October. The beginning of CHARACTER COUNTS! week will be signaled, as it has been since 1998, when the California Water Service Company displays the massive "CHARACTER COUNTS! in Tulare County" banner from its water tower adjacent to the Mineral King Bowl.

This will also be the sixth consecutive year the Tulare County Office of Education and the Visalia Times-Delta have sponsored the "Kids of Character" award that is presented during CHARACTER COUNTS! week. Since 1996, the names of approximately 1500 "Kids of Character" have appeared in the newspaper.

This fall is also important as it marks the debut of CHARACTER COUNTS! messages on Central Valley radio. The Tulare County Office of Education has been working with ESPN 1430 AM radio to air a series of daily, sports-related, 90- second messages recorded by CHARACTER COUNTS! Founder Michael Josephson. "I'm delighted we can bring these messages to listeners in the Valley," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Listeners will be challenged by his stories of character on and off the field. These are some of the same messages enjoyed by radio listeners in major metropolitan areas across the country. Regardless of whether you are a sports fan, or not, there is a message in them for everyone."

CHARACTER COUNTS! has been enormously successful in Tulare County since it was first used in our community school program in 1994, having spread throughout schools in Tulare County. It has also become a national model program for schools implementing CHARACTER COUNTS!

Photo above:
~ CHARACTER COUNTS! Founder Michael Josephson questions his audience about some of the ethics of athletic competition at the summer CHARACTER COUNTS! Sports Summit.

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Instructional Services Creates New Program to Support Teachers

Some familiar faces within the Educational Resource Services unit have been selected to form an entirely new program. For the past two years, instructional consultants Anita Bailey, Rachel Katz and Cathleen Rogers have had the added responsibility of developing and implementing programs that serve new teachers — Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA), Intern and Pre-Intern programs. The Teacher Induction Programs unit (TIPs) was formed in response to the need for a fully-dedicated team of teacher training personnel. "We are committed to providing new Tulare County teachers and those we see through the Regional Teacher Recruitment Center the best support needed to remain in the profession and become effective educators," says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. The new program is included within the Instructional Services Division, under the direction of Assistant Superintendent Sally Bakke.

The work of the TIPs unit, lead by Ms. Bailey, Ms. Katz and Ms. Rogers, is supported by Betty Parker, Kim Roth and Karen Phillips. In addition, TIPs will share the services of Gail Kaulfuss and Rhonda Sousa, recruitment specialists with the Central California Teacher Recruitment Center, who will evaluate teachers' transcripts and make recommendations regarding alternative teacher credentialing programs.

Beginning teachers enter one of the three programs designed to help them meet state-required competency standards, depending on the type of education obtained and past work experience. Pre-Intern Program Director Anita Bailey explains: "A Pre-Intern is usually someone who has earned a bachelor degree in something other than education, or someone who is entering the field from another profession who has passed their California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). Utilizing one-on-one peer coaches, we work with the new teacher to pass California's Single Subject Assessment for Teachers (SSAT) or Multiple Subject Assessment for Teachers (MSAT) tests."

Once a teacher has satisfied the requirements of the Pre-Intern program, an intern credential is granted. Often, the next step is to enroll in the Intern program, under the direction of Cathleen Rogers. Its purpose is to add to the training gained in the Pre-Intern program. According to Ms. Rogers: "An Intern is someone who has passed the SSAT or MSAT test and cleared a background check. We offer this program, because these individuals often lack required teacher preparation courses." In the program, teachers are enrolled in an accredited university to complete required coursework.

The third program is BTSA, which is designed to bring new teachers into the profession and prepare them for the demands they will face in today's classrooms. The goal is to improve teaching skills and help them feel more successful. "Two of the key players are the Beginning Teacher and the Support Provider," says Program Director Rachel Katz. "Research is indicating that experienced teachers also benefit from participation in BTSA. Learning about new approaches helps them improve their teaching practice," Ms. Katz concludes.

Photo above:
~ Teacher Induction Programs (TIP) instructional consultants (left to right) Cathleen Rogers, Anita Bailey and Rachel Katz.

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Tulare County Cooks! Benefits TCOE Foundation

Tulare County Cooks! for the Holidays, premiering Saturday, November 10, 2001, at the Sequoia Mall, will be the first public fund-raising event for the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation. For the event, the mall will be transformed into a culinary bazaar with food, gift items and entertainment booths. The finest local chefs and their celebrity assistants will present seven sumptuous cooking demonstrations. Demonstrations will begin at 10:00 am with a cooking class for children, followed by hourly demonstrations with the featured chefs. Tickets, sold at $15 dollars each, will allow holders to attend a cooking class of their choice, with 100 percent of their donation going to the Foundation. In each class, the chef will answer questions and provide entertaining tips on food preparation, plus delicious samples!

Participating restaurants and their chefs include: Chef Mondo of The Depot, Chef David Vartanian of The Vintage Press, Chef Carl of Cafe 225, Chef Gabe of Sandoval’s in Dinuba, Chef Audrey of Gable's Visalia, Chef Warner of Harris Ranch, and Sonny Martin of The Urban Gourmet Marketplace. Tickets for Tulare County Cooks! are available through Darlynn Billingsley at 733-6301, or at the County Office of Education administrative building in Visalia. TCOE employees may register to win one of two pairs of tickets to be given away for each cooking demonstration by dropping a business card in boxes at the reception desk of the administration office or ERS office at the Doe Avenue facility.

Photo above:
~ What's Cooking? Tulare County's finest chefs join forces November 10 to benefit the TCOE Foundation.

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Gallery Notes

Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak held a reception welcoming National PTA President-Elect Linda Hodge and representatives from California State PTA and the 21st District PTA Friday, September 28, 2001 in the Education Center. Ms. Hodge was joined by representatives from the California State PTA including Jan Harp-Domene, President, Carla Nino, First Vice President and Nancy Adalian, Vice President. Ms. Hodge, who will serve the term 2001 - 2003, recently served as National PTA Vice President for Programs. She has also held offices with PTA in California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, South Carolina and Virginia. Her numerous awards include the California PTA Honorary Service Award, the California PTA Continuing Service Award, and the Vallejo School District Award Recognizing Outstanding Parent Volunteers.

On October 4, the Tulare County Office of Education will join the Chinese Cultural Center in honoring three individuals as part of the Eighth Annual Confucius' Birthday/ Educator of the Year Celebration. This year's honorees were: Judi Vaccaro, a GATE and enrichment teacher at Cutler Elementary; Wendy Jay, a history teacher at Steve Garvey Middle School in Lindsay; and Sharon Smith, a physical education teacher at Tulare High School.

Chairperson Christine Chapman announced that proceeds from this year's Red Ribbon Celebration will be donated to the New York bombing disaster relief effort. This year's Red Ribbon Week is scheduled for October 22 - 26. Tee-shirt orders may be placed through October 4. For information on the week's activities, contact Ms. Chapman at 733-6172.

Photo above:
~ A statue of Chinese teacher/philosopher Confucius stands watch over the Educator of the Year Awards October 4.

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Tulare County Office of Education NEWS

Reward Offered in the Disappearance of Bridget Colmore

Bridget Colmore, a Health and Records Clerk with School Health Programs at Doe Avenue, was last seen by family members Tuesday evening, September 11, 2001. The Visalia Police Department is currently investigating her disappearance as a missing persons case with suspicious circumstances.

Bridget is 5'2" tall and weighs approximately 110 pounds. She is the mother of four children. She was last seen driving her 1999 sage green Mercury Cougar, which has also been registered as missing.

Employees wishing to donate to the family of Bridget Colmore may do so by contacting Margaret Ibarra of School Health Programs at 651-0130. Also, the Visalia Police Department is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to her location. If you have any information in this case, please contact Sergeant Puder at 713-4234, or Detective Wightman at 713-4925.

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CAN Volunteer Angela Campos Dies

Angela Campos, a volunteer with the School Health Program's Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Prevention Program since 1999, was murdered Saturday, September 22. Following a memorial service earlier this week, Angela's body was returned to her family's home in Mexico. Last year, Angela received recognition from then President Clinton in Washington, D.C. She was recognized as one of the top ten AmeriCorps volunteers for 2000.

CAN Program Coordinator Betty Plumaker remembers Angela for her warmth, dedication and ability to connect with children. Employees wishing to donate to the CAN Program in memory of Angela Campos may do so by contacting Margaret Ibarra of School Health Programs at 651-0130.

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Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219

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