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The News Gallery

April 2003

GRAND OPENING - The Tule River Day Care Center Recently Celebrated its Grand Opening at the Tule Indian Reservation

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

Contributors to this issue:
Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, Lorena White, Mark Martinez, John Wilborn, Nancy Bellin, and Cheryl Lehn.

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:
~ Children enrolled at Tule River Day Care Center play happily in the outdoor activity area.



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TCOE Partners with Tule River Tribal Council to Open Day Care Center

It is not often that the grand opening of a Tulare County Office of Education Child Care Center includes beating drums, traditional Native American songs and prayers, and a tribal blessing, but it isn't every day that the Tulare County Office of Education and the Tule River Tribal Council partner to build a child development center.

Tule River Day Care Center Nestled in the foothills on the Tule River Indian Reservation at Reservation and Cow Mountain Roads, the Tule Child Development Center is a state-of-the-art facility. Classrooms are brightly colored, well-lit rooms with designated areas for activities such as dramatic play, art work, and story time. Additionally, the buildings have large offices for supervisors, nurses, teachers and staff, as well as a fully-operational kitchen and custodial area.

The grand opening ceremony was held on March 20 at the new center. It began with a traditional ribbon cutting, in which County Superintendent Jim Vidak shared the honors with Tribal Council Chairman Neil Peyron..

Tule River Day Care Center "It is an honor to be here today," said Vidak. "On behalf of the Tulare County Office of Education, I want to thank the tribal council for working with us on this very important project."

Once the ribbon was cut, the Tule River Tribal council and members were introduced, made remarks, and the ceremony began in earnest with the beating drum, traditional song, and blessing of the grounds and facilities. The blessing involved three tribal council members performing a ritual that included smoke purification and ceremonial waving of an eagle's wing. At the conclusion of the blessing, Maria Trevino introduced her staff members and the children gathered to perform songs about ducks and gumdrops.

While it may sound like an interesting sequence of events, the opening ceremony is analogous to the plan for day-to-day operations at the center. Modern-day philosophies and practices for operating child development centers will be melded with traditions of the Tule River Indian tribe. In doing so, tribal children will learn skills necessary to succeed in school and life, along with an understanding of traditions and teachings which are consistent with their Native American heritage.

"I am so happy with this center and the way it's turned out," said Maria Trevino, Site Supervisor. "It is really beautiful. I feel so fortunate to be here," Trevino said happily at the grand opening.

Photos above:
~ Philip Hunter and other members of the Tribal Council bless the grounds and facilities of the Tule River Day Care Center, while Maria Trevino, Site Supervisor, follows behind.
~ Nestled within the beautiful landscape of the foothills, children run and play in outdoor activity areas at the day care facility.



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11th Annual TCOE Support Staff Conference Features Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield The Tulare County Office of Education hosted the 11th Annual Support Staff Conference March 21 at the Visalia Convention Center. The conference, which is held annually, was designed to provide unique opportunities for professional development for classified and confidential management employees. Nearly 500 staff members from Tulare County and throughout the state attended the conference.

This year's conference, entitled "Chicken Soup for the Support Employee's Soul," featured renowned author, speaker, and personal development expert, Jack Canfield, the founder and co-creator of the New York Times #1 best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Canfield is also the founder of the Foundation for Self-Esteem and of Self-Esteem Seminars, both of which are located in Santa Barbara, California. Through these organizations, Canfield trains entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders and employees how to accelerate the achievement of their personal and professional goals.

Jack Canfield Over his 25-year career, Jack Canfield has developed the specific methodology and results-oriented activities required to help participants take on challenges and begin living a richer, more fulfilling life. His Ten-Step Action Plan shows exactly how to plan for and create greater achievements a blueprint for how to live a life of results, impact and peak performance.

In both sessions conducted at the support conference, Canfield presented his most popular program, "Self-Esteem and Peak Performance: The Ten Steps to Success." In addition, Canfield taught audience members ways to improve their self-esteem and form habits for positive self-development.

"I thought this was one of the best ever," said TCOE's Dorcus Mayben, describing the conference, "The speaker was absolutely fantastic!" Mayben said excitedly.

"Tulare County Office of Education is pleased to host this conference for our hard-working employees out in our schools," says Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools. "Staff development is especially crucial in difficult times like these. Participants will take away lessons from the conference that will allow them to more effectively serve students and their families."
Support Staff Conference

Photos above:
~ Jack Canfield, co-creator of the New York Times #1 best-seller, Chicken Soup for the Soul, pauses to allow audience members to visualize what Canfield refers to as "a winning moment." The exercise was part of Canfield's presentation to teach ten steps to success.
~ Canfield autographs Judy Peterson's book and materials while other conference attendees wait in line.
~ To warm up for the conference, board members Pat Hillman, Chris Reed, and Dr. Edward Peterson, are joined by Mrs. Rudy Campos, and County Superintendent Jim Vidak in "The Chicken Dance."
~ Conference organizer, Darlynn Billingsley, and special guest, "Chicky Noodle" (also known as Nancy Bellin), lead the warm-up session for the audience.



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Casey Goodwin Remembered Fondly by TCOE, Family and Friends

Casey Goodwin Hundreds of friends and family members attended a memorial service on March 17 to mourn the loss and honor the memory of Casey Goodwin. Casey, a former member of the California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) California Youth Council (CYC), and current CYC alumni and Teenwork board member, was killed in an automobile accident.

Casey was active in the CFNLP program throughout most of her school years. After graduating from Exeter High School, Casey continued her relationship with the Tulare County Friday Night Live (FNL) program by accepting an invitation to join the staff as a student intern. Casey always maintained her commitment to building healthy, positive partnerships for young people. To that end, Casey was an active member of the entertainment committee that was helping to plan the upcoming Teenwork conference.

"I feel honored to have known Casey," said County Superintendent Jim Vidak. "She was a shining star who will not soon be forgotten."


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It's tax time ... Have you thanked the Business Services Pros for your W-2?

While most of us would probably not consider "tax season" as one of our favorite times of the year, we would be remiss if we didn't take a moment to understand and appreciate the level of effort and attention to detail that goes into producing that ever-important little piece of paper known as your W-2 form.

Mark Martinez and Michelle Lowe This year alone, eight Business Services employees input data, tested changes and managed the process that produced more than 15,000 W-2s for employees and most county schools employees (except Visalia Unified and College of the Sequoias) for 2002. Those W-2s accounted for more than $300 million of taxable earnings that resulted in $60 million in total taxes owed.

"It's an extensive year-round, team effort of payroll staff, district employees, and the (Information Systems) staff," says Mark Martinez, TCOE's Accounting Officer. "We get to have a nice sigh of relief when it is all over ... and then it's on to the new year," says Martinez.

John Wilborn, director for TCOE's External Business Services, believes that producing W-2s is one of the most important processes and services that his department performs.

"It is important to districts and our employees," says Wilborn. We don't want to give employees a corrected W-2. It impacts their lives," Wilborn says.

Martinez explains the on-going process of data entry, input adjustments, balancing, reconciling and corrections -- then smiles and says, "There's always a little fear that we might miss something and Mr. Vidak's W-2 will be wrong." He adds, "IRS is the last agency you want to have problems with."

Thanks to the Business Services professionals, TCOE employees shouldn't need to worry about that.

Photo above:
~ Mark Martinez and Michelle Lowe, two key members of the TCOE Business Services team, review accounting information for W-2s.



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TCOE and Farm Bureau Present Winners of Calendar Art Contest to Board of Supervisors

District 5 Calendar Art Winners In recognition of National Ag Week, March 16 - 22, 2003, the Tulare County Farm Bureau and County Superintendent Jim Vidak, presented the 2003 Ag calendar and contest winners to the Board of Supervisors at their March 18 board meeting. The calendar, entitled Tulare County Agriculture #1 in the World, features 17 pieces of ag-themed winning artwork created by students in grades K - 12.In recognition of National Ag Week, March 16 - 22, 2003, the Tulare County Farm Bureau and County Superintendent Jim Vidak, presented the 2003 Ag calendar and contest winners to the Board of Supervisors at their March 18 board meeting. The calendar, entitled Tulare County Agriculture #1 in the World, features 17 pieces of ag-themed winning artwork created by students in grades K - 12.

Photo above:
~ Superintendent Jim Vidak and Tulare County Farm Bureau's Nancy Pitigliano are pictured with District 5's winning student artists. Elyse Borba (front row, third from left), daughter of TCOE's Ana Borba, is one of the calendar's featured artists.



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Rudy Campos Joins Board of Education as Area 5 Trustee

Following a special meeting of the Tulare County Board of Education held Wednesday, March 12, 2003, trustees voted unanimously during their regularly scheduled meeting to appoint Rudy Campos of Visalia to fill the board vacancy in Trustee Area No. 5. Mr. Campos will complete a term that expires in November 2004.

Rudy Campos received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science from Fresno State University. He is a credentialed teacher, administrator and pupil personnel services provider. A career educator and administrator, he currently teaches basic education to inmates at Corcoran State Prison. He has served as a chapter board member for the Association of California School Administrators and the Local Chapter President for the Title 1 -- Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Additionally, Campos has been an active proponent for migrant education opportunities and is affiliated with the Tulare County League of Mexican American Women, the Mariachi Heritage Foundation, and the Mexican American Golf Association.

The son of migrant farm workers, Rudy Campos is the oldest of five children, and the first in his family to complete high school and receive a college degree. Campos chose education for his career because he saw it as an opportunity to help and work with the youth of his community.


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Gallery Notes

Poetry and Prose This year marked the 19th year for the Tulare County Office of Education's Poetry and Prose Onstage. For three days, 798 students from 67 schools regaled audiences with their amazing recitations, grand gestures, perfect inflections and remarkable poise as they presented poetry of their choice.

At the closing session, Nancy Bellin, one of the event coordinators, told visitors, "It was hard for you to be here today. It would have been easy for you not to be here, but you were absolutely where you should have been. Your child will never forget that you were here today to support them."

Tulare County students, from incoming 7th graders through graduating seniors, are encouraged to audition for the Tulare County Office of Education's Theatre Company summer production of The King and I. Auditions will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, April 29 and 30, 2003, at the Tulare County Office of Education. Students selected for the cast will rehearse in Visalia June 9 - July 23 weekdays from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Performances of The King and I will be held in the L.J. Williams Theatre in Visalia, July 24 - 26, 2003. For more information, call the Theatre Company at 651-1482.

Soroptomist International of Visalia will recognize Lorene Valentino and Senaida Garcia as "Women of Distinction" for their outstanding contributions and exemplary character. Valentino and Garcia will be honored at a dinner on April 21.

Photo above:
~ Shannon O'Neill, a kindergartener from Earlimart Elementary, recites "Could Have Been Worse." In this picture, Shannon is gesturing and saying, "Ooh-la-la!"



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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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