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The News Gallery

March 2003

JOB SHADOWING - TCOE Welcomed La Sierra Students to Shadow Employees on National Groundhog Job Shadow Day

News Gallery - March 2003 Editor: Pamela Kunze
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, Lorena White, Priscilla Gomez, Rick Mitchell, Randy Wallace, Nancy Bellin, and Maria Gaston.

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.

Cover Photo:
~ Maria Flores demonstrates one facet of her job as the TCOE Fingerprint Assistant.

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TCOE Employees Get "Shadowed" for a Day

Last January 31, more than one million young people began their journey into workplaces across the country as part of the National Groundhog Job Shadow Kickoff 2003. The Tulare County Office of Education and its local School-to-Career partners have long been a part of this national initiative.

More than 1500 students participate in Job Shadow programs annually throughout Tulare County. In addition to traditional short-term job shadow activities through local school and community-based projects, hundreds more students participate in longer-term mentoring, internship, and work experience programs. These long-term programs help students develop an understanding for the opportunities and expectations of today's workplace.

"Career development is a life-long process that begins well before young adults set out to find their first job," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "The Tulare County Office of Education's School-to-Career project helps match students with mentors who will introduce them to some of today's exciting career possibilities. Shadowing a workplace mentor can be an important first step for any student on the road to discovering his or her ultimate career," says Vidak.

Thanks to Vidak's support of job shadowing initiatives, several La Sierra students were invited to shadow TCOE employees in the Education Building. The students gained a better understanding of many different career fields ranging from information systems management, shipping and receiving, construction oversight, administration, accounting, and human resources.

Randy Wallace, the School-to-Career project coordinator for Tulare County Office of Education believes the La Sierra students who shadowed TCOE employees had a particularly successful shadowing experience. In addition, Wallace points out that TCOE also benefits from the experience.

"From a business standpoint, we tend to think of students as our clients, rather than potential colleagues here at the Office of Education," says Wallace.

"Job shadowing allows us a prime opportunity to showcase some of our more than 1400 job opportunities for students who may desire a career in education but are interested in careers beyond teaching," Wallace added.

Photos above:
~ Rick Moynahan, Information Systems Director for Tulare County Office of Education, explains his job responsibilities to La Sierra students who were participating in Groundhog Job Shadow Day activities. Moynahan also gave a tour of his high-tech spaces and equipment to the students.
~ Gail Kaulfuss explains some of the intricacies of her job as a Recruitment Specialist in the Teacher Recruitment Center to visiting La Sierra student, Alfie Rico.

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Board of Education Holds its February Meeting at Maple Learning Complex

The Tulare County Board of Education's February meeting was held off site at the Maple Learning Complex in Tulare. Prior to convening the meeting, board members and staff were given in-depth tours of the Maple Learning complex by Dr. Michael Stephens, TCOE's Administrator of Severely Handicapped Programs, and Donna Martin, program manager for the Maple Learning Complex.

The orientation visit began with brief discussions of the complex and its programs for severely handicapped students age 3 through 22. Throughout the course of the tours, board members were taken into various classrooms where they met students, teachers and staff and observed classes in session. Additionally, therapeutic equipment and techniques were demonstrated and explained. By the end of the hour-long tour, participants gained a greater appreciation for the services offered by the Maple Learning Complex and similar facilities operated by the Tulare County Office of Education.

"This is great," remarked board president Chris Reed during the tour. "It really gives you an appreciation of what they do here…and an appreciation of what you have," she said insightfully.

One program that was explained as part of the tours was the Movement Opportunities Via Education or "MOVE" program. MOVE is an integral part of the Severely Handicapped Programs in Tulare County that help children and young adults with severe disabilities acquire increased independence in sitting, standing, and walking. As a result, they gain greater mobility, better health, and enhanced personal dignity.

With increased abilities to sit, stand, and walk, the burden of care for families and other care providers is decreased, thereby bringing new opportunities for fuller participation and involvement in family life, as well as integration and inclusion in the wider community.

Students who are enrolled at the Maple Learning Complex and similar facilities operated by TCOE receive the benefit of small classes and close supervision along with specialized equipment and technology needed. Leisure and life skills may be taught in the classroom as well as various locations in the community. For more able students, vocational planning starts at age 14 and individual education programs can include work experience, on-the-job training and supported work.

Education programs focus on life skills, academic, language development, vocational and leisure education. Important daily living skills are emphasized. The instruction program is based on functional and age-appropriate tasks, materials, and activities to the maximum extent appropriate.

"I am very proud of the great work done by the staff of the Maple Learning Complex and that of all of our Special Education professionals," said County Superintendent Jim Vidak. "This was an ideal opportunity for our board members to personally see some of that great work," said Vidak.

Photos above:
~ Two examples of students' daily "schedules." Students' tasks are represented pictorially. As students complete scheduled tasks, the picture representing that task is placed in the designated "finished" area, giving students a sense of job completion.
~ Jessie Avola, an instructional aide at the Maple Learning Center, works with a young student to improve her sitting ability. The therapy is a component of the Movement Opportunities Via Education (MOVE)® program and is designed to help special needs students to gain greater mobility, better health, and enhanced personal dignity.

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Sierra Corps Crew Constructs a New Trail at SCICON

A crew of students and supervisors from the Sierra Corps arrived at SCICON on Monday, February 3. The students had come to the SCICON campus for a trail building work project, but more importantly they were starting a nine-week journey with the Sierra Corps to learn important values in life about teamwork and service above self.

Upon arrival, the Sierra Corps students' crew supervisors, Tyler Parker and Jeff Pierce, gave an introduction to trail building and handling of trail tools. Rick Mitchell, SCICON Administrator, gave the students an overview of the trails that would be their project for the week.

After hearing about the two and one half miles of trails to be built, Parker asked Mitchell, "What did you want us to do tomorrow?"

Thus started an amazing week at SCICON of hard work and positive attitude displayed by the Sierra Corps crew members and supervisors.

"The Sierra Corps accomplished the various trail projects with vigor and astonished the SCICON staff with the speed with which they worked," said Mitchell. "The supervisors always sent the crew members back to walk the trails and add finishing touches. A trail was not finished until it had the Sierra Corps stamp of approval," Mitchell added.

By Thursday, after several days of exhausting trail building, the Sierra Corps had the pleasure of watching SCICON sixth-grade students hiking the trails the crew had just built. That evening, the Sierra Corps crew was recognized in front of two hundred sixth-grade students in the John Muir Lodge. Rick Mitchell praised the crew, stating that more than 13,000 students per year would be hiking the trails that the Sierra Corps had built that week.

In addition to classroom instruction, the Sierra Corps crew will be going on additional work service outings to Morro Bay State Park, Sequoia Lake and a backpack trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains before their graduation from the Sierra Corps on March 21.

"Our hats are off to these fine young men and the dedicated S.E.E. program staff that works with them," praised Mitchell.

Photos above:
~ A trail crew from the Sierra Corps puts the finishing touches on a new trail to Soda Springs at the SCICON campus. This year alone more than seven thousand sixth-grade children will make use of the new trail completed by corps members and supervisors.
~ A group of students climbs a section of new trail that leads to a popular hiking destination at the SCICON campus known as "Dead Man's Falls!"

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Children of Children Exhibit Creator Attends Opening, Speaks to TCOE Students

The Children of Children interactive photography exhibit opened at the Sequoia Mall on February 4. A select group of Tulare County students, who were fortunate enough to attend the low-key opening, were in for a real treat -- exhibit creator Michael Nye was on hand to speak with them about the art of capturing stories and "moments" through photography, the "Children of Children" Exhibit, and even his philosophies for living.

Many of the students in the audience were aspiring photographers -- there as part of the "Literacy Through Photography" program -- so Nye shared a few photography pointers with them. The artist explained one "trick" for effective photographic storytelling is to be aware of your subject's routine movements or gestures and then pose the person in such a way as to reflect those gestures. The result will likely be a photo that will appear natural and effectively capture the subject's essence.

While discussing the exhibit, Nye stressed to his audience -- many of whom were teen parents or soon-to-be teen parents themselves -- that the purpose of the Children of Children Exhibit was not to condemn or glorify teen parenting, but rather to portray the dramatic changes that occurred in the lives of the people whose photos are a part of the exhibit. Believing that the individuals were the best ones to accurately explain their personal situations, Nye recorded their stories using their own words and voices, and incorporated the audio as an important element of the Children of Children Exhibit.

Although Nye graduated law school, passed the bar exam and subsequently practiced law, he explained that he had always felt that photography was his true calling. Eventually, he quit practicing law to pursue his dream of photography full-time. Using his life as an example, Nye stressed to his student audience that they must each find something in which they are interested, and then hold tight to that dream. Keeping their dreams alive, Nye explained, will ultimately change their lives.

Photos above:
~ The Children of Children Exhibit opened at Sequoia Mall on February 4. Exhibit creator Michael Nye speaks to his audience about the importance of finding something that fulfills you and holding on to it.
~ Students enrolled in TCOE's TAPP hear Nye's message.

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TCOE Celebrates Team Building "Straight From the Heart"

Most people think of St Valentine's Day as a lovers' holiday. At Tulare County Office of Education, St. Valentine's Day is an opportunity to learn more about members of the TCOE team and in the process, strengthen the ties of work and friendship that bind us together.

Photos above:
Marji Denham and her dance partner, Charlie Ramos, demonstrate east and west coast swing dancing.

Photos below (left to right):
Barbara Ellis and Scott Horton perform a patriotic medley; employee displays of embroidery, painting and photos; Nancy Bellin arranges flowers in preparation for the event.

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Gallery Notes

February was a busy month for TCOE, chock-full of hugely successful events and activities for students of all ages.

The month began with the Academic Decathlon, a countywide student event for grades nine through twelve. Part of the National Academic Decathlon competition, area schools fielded teams of up to nine members that were divided by thirds into Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity categories. Students competed in a series of 10 academic events including written examinations, speech, interview and Super Quiz. In describing the event, coordinator Carmen Friesen said, "This event is very interesting because it is almost always decided by which team has the strongest Varsity members." This year was no exception, with Granite Hills narrowly beating Monache High to advance to the state competition.

For three days, the Education Center was filled with excited elementary school students from across the county who came to hear storytellers from different cultures sharing traditional and contemporary stories. Storytellers used songs, dances, musical instruments and other props to enliven their tales and entertain the children with their age-old art.

Months of preparation and weeks of intense competition culminated with the finals for Tulare County Mock Trial Competition being held at Visalia's Rotary Theatre on February 13. Although the competition began with teams from 12 schools throughout Tulare County, it ultimately came down to Tulare Union competing against Lindsay High School in the final round. After a hard-fought case that was decided in Lindsay's favor, the Tulare Union team ultimately claimed first-place honors and the right to compete in the California Mock Trial competition in Riverside, March 28-30.

The 10- to 20-member mock trial teams were composed of students who took on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, court clerks and bailiffs. All teams made their presentations based on identical hypothetical case materials, gaining valuable experience along the way in public speaking and interpreting the law. Local lawyers served as judges and advisors. Event coordinator Marsha Ingrao said this year's competition was exciting and "very, very close."

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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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