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The News Gallery

June 2003

BRING YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER TO WORK - TCOE Employees Give Sons and Daughters a Firsthand Look at TCOE and Health care Professions

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

Contributors to this issue:
Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, Leslie Converse, Nancy Bellin, Rich Graham, Jonathon Janzen, Linda Hess, Janet Hettinger and Jeanne Croson.

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:
~ Jennifer Hall, a student nurse from College of Sequoias, administers a Snellen vision test.



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Sons and Daughters Come to Work for the Day at TCOE

For several years now, the Tulare County Office of Education has taken part in the national "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" in which employees were encouraged to bring their daughters, nieces or other school-age girls to work with them so that the young women would gain an appreciation of the work environment as well as learning about available career opportunities. This year was no exception for TCOE, however there was an obvious change to the guest list -- sons, nephews, and other school age boys were also invited to spend the day at work.

Sons and Daughters to Work Day The Ms. Foundation, organizers of the event nationwide for the last decade, made the change to include men and boys in the program partly because they felt if girls and women were "to be able to achieve their full potential, whether it is in the home, workplace, or community, boys also must be encouraged to reach their potential by participating fully in family, work, and community."

According to Jeanne Croson, Administrative Secretary for TCOE's Human Resources, and one of the event organizers, TCOE staff members seemed happy to invite their sons and other young men to participate in the event. "We had over fifty TCOE employees bring a guest to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. We had nearly as many boys as guests as we did girls."

Croson said that guests "were treated to a continental breakfast and the School Health programs were featured. Our school nurses set up stations where students could check their blood pressure, vision, hearing, heartbeat, take quizzes, etc. Guests then spent the rest of the day with their hosts at their work station."

Sons and Daughters to Work Day One such guest, Remy Converse (daughter of Special Services Department's graphic designer Leslie Converse) used the day to learn more about what her mother and others do at work. Remy got some hands-on experience in design and production. She also helped her mom to clean and organize her work area. Remy said that she enjoyed the experience and thought that TCOE and her mom's job were both "neat." When the day was done, both mother and daughter agreed that it was a worthwhile experience. Albeit, a bit of a long day.

County Superintendent Jim Vidak encouraged TCOE employees and guests to make the most of the day by using it not as a "vacation" day away from school, but rather as a day of off-site learning about potential careers and gaining of valuable workplace experiences. Lesson plans and learning activities were furnished to assist with this. By featuring School Health programs this year, Vidak gave guests an opportunity to learn more about developing positive health practices as well as gaining an appreciation for the School Health field and some of the unique opportunities it offers.

"It is always exciting for me to see our young guests working and learning side-by-side with their parents or adult hosts," says Vidak. "It is important for our youth to know how the adults in their lives spend their time away from home," remarks Vidak.

Photos above:
~ Kathy Johnston, R.N., of TCOE's School Health Programs, uses a training aid that is routinely referred to as "Mr. Gross Mouth" to explain the importance of proper brushing and flossing techniques for maintaining dental hygiene and overall health.
~ Nan Arnold, R.N., shows employees and their guests how to take a pulse using a pulse oximeter.



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Arbor Day Activities at Mooney Grove are "Tree-ific"

The Tulare County Office of Education invited students in grades three through five and their teachers to participate in Arbor Day celebrations at Mooney Grove Park on May 8. Along with TCOE, the Tulare County Parks and Recreation Department and the Master Gardeners presented a fun-filled educational event for 370 students from eight Tulare County schools.

Arbor Day Celebration Traditionally, National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. Today, all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day, although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate and best tree planting times (in California, Arbor Day generally falls between March 7 -14). This year, Tulare County schools celebrated Arbor Day on May 8, so that the day's events occured near Mother's Day and allowed students and teachers to unwind following a rigorous STAR testing schedule.

In addition to hands-on environmental lessons, tours and a scavenger hunt, each student was offered a tree seedling to take home and plant in celebration of Mother's Day. These tree seedlings were grown by students at TCOE's very own Clemmie Gill School of Science and Conservation (SCICON) for the purpose of replenishing the trees in our local environment.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care. "In Tulare County you don't have to look far to see the importance of trees to our region - aesthetically, agriculturally, and economically," said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak.

Arbor Day Celebration "Students attending our Arbor Day celebration gained hands-on experience in caring for, and planting of, trees. What's really great for the students is that they will be able to share that knowledge with their families when they plant their seedlings at home," Vidak remarked.

Master Gardeners presented three different workshops throughout the day for the students. Each one of the workshops; IPM (Integrated Pest Management), Seed Propagation, and Tree/Leaf Identification, helped the students understand their relationship with nature and allowed the students to become more aware of environmental issues.

"Not only were the students involved in the environmental educational sessions with the Master Gardeners, they also participated in a scavenger hunt in the Tulare County History Museum." The scavenger hunt related the importance of trees to some of the historical artifacts found in the museum.

"The climax of the day was when each school, under the tutelage of a Master Gardener, planted a tree in the park," said Science Instructional Consultant Jonathan Janzen, who coordinated the event. "The event was successful on so many levels. We were able to provide students with hands-on experiences that enabled them to have an appreciation for our environment, as well as making our communities a little better through the tree plantings."

The day culminated with students from each school in attendance planting a tree within the park.

Photos above:
~ As part of the Seed Propagation workshop, students learned proper planting techniques and then put their newly-learned skills to the test by planting their own seeds.
~ One of the high points of the day for many students was the opportunity to be a part of planting a tree that will remain at Mooney Grove Park for future generations to see and enjoy. Students from each school in attendance selected a site (with the help of a Master Gardener) for their tree.



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Special Services Department Hosts Annual Awards Luncheon

The Annual Luncheon Meeting of the Tulare County Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, the Directors of Special Education Committee and the Superintendents Governance Committee was held on May 21, 2003.

The purpose of this annual event is for these working committees to review the past school year and to honor individuals and groups who have made exemplary contributions to special education.

Special Services Luncheon Lunch servers are assisted by students enrolled in special education programs and entertainment is provided by Tulare County students. This year's "headliner" performance by "Sonny and Cher" (otherwise known as Michael Jackson and Danielle Dever who are students in the TCOE satellite special day class at Divisadero Middle School (in Visalia) was a crowd pleaser.

A medley of songs ranging from "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" to "God Bless America" was performed by the third grade choir from Los Robles Elementary School in Porterville along with students from Dorothy Wagy's satellite class, also located at Los Robles. By all accounts, both performances were show stoppers.

Special Services Luncheon The final award of the afternoon is the Brent Rast Award for Excellence in Special Education, which is given each year to a teacher of the severely handicapped. This year's recipient was Susan Licking. Susan has worked in special education for more than 30 years. She is a TCOE employee who has taught in the resource specialist program as well as programs for severely handicapped students. Currently, she teaches in TCOE's Bright Start Parent Infant Program and coordinates the transition process for children who are approaching age three and ready for preschool. Susan works with 14 Bright Start teachers in placing children with special needs into one of 47 different school districts or other preschool programs located throughout the county.

Susan is known for her tenacity in pursuing appropriate services for students, for her mentoring of less-experienced teachers, for her talent in designing curriculum, for her upbeat cheerfulness, and for her exemplary work ethic.

"This event is always so positive and uplifting," says County Superintendent Jim Vidak. "Seeing the performances by students and giving awards to people who have contributed in such meaningful ways to special education students is always a highlight for me," Vidak continues.

"Remembering and celebrating good things and the people who make them happen is a great way to end the school year," remarks Vidak.

Photos above:
~ Sonny (Michael Jackson) and Cher (Danielle Dever) perform "I got You, Babe" for their adoring audience.
~ Third grade students from the Los Robles Combined Chorus perform a medley of songs and keep the beat going with rhythm sticks.



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Excellence in Education Award Winners Named; TCOE's Senaida Garcia Wins Administrator of the Year Honors

A selection committee of 18 Tulare County business, community and educational leaders met recently and chose the Tulare County Administrator/Manager of the Year, Teacher of the Year and School Employee of the Year for 2003. The Excellence in Education Awards, now in their ninth year, are used to recognize Tulare County's "the best of the best" in each of three categories.

"Because the nominees representing school districts throughout the county and the College of the Sequoias were so highly qualified, selecting the award winners was not an easy task," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak.

Once the difficult task of selecting winners was completed and rating scores were verified, Superintendent Vidak personally delivered the good news to the winners. "It's wonderful to be the first to congratulate them and to thank the winners for all that they do for our students and their families," said Vidak.

TCOE's own, Senaida Garcia, the project director for the Child Care Educational Program, was selected as the county's Administrator/Manager of the Year. Throughout Garcia's more than 36 years as director, the Tulare County Office of Education Child Care Educational Program has flourished. Considered by many as a "pioneer" in the field of early childhood education programs, Senaida Garcia worked to create the first program that utilized a variety of funding sources to meet the needs of parents beginning in 1967.

"Senaida Garcia is a role model to us all. Senaida's belief in the importance of each person attaining their educational goals to create change in the community is apparent in the way she lives her life and encourages others to do the same," says Superintendent Vidak.

Martha Karjala, a fifth-grade teacher at Rocky Hill Elementary School in Exeter was selected as the Teacher of the Year. Karjala began her career in education more than 30 years ago. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree, teaching credential and Master of Arts degree from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, before taking her first teaching assignment at Flagstaff Elementary School. Martha taught there for two years before accepting a teaching position at Conyer Elementary School in Visalia. For the last 20 years, Karjala has been employed by the Exeter Union Elementary School District and has taught many elementary grade levels - including third- and fourth-grades.

Rocky Hill Principal Pam Canby says, "Mrs. Karjala is an outstanding teacher who provides a rigorous academic program that does not recognize categories of students; all students excel in her classroom. It is always an incredible experience to watch Mrs. Karjala teach; she is such a master!"

Martha Flores, School Employee of the Year for 2003, has been employed by the Porterville Unified School District for 22 years, with 19 at her present position as Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services.

Porterville Unified Superintendent Dr. John Snavely says, "While Martha has maintained an incredible work ethic for the school district, she has also made significant contributions to the welfare of the community."

"We wish to thank our longstanding partners in this Excellence in Education employee recognition program, the Educational Employee Credit Union, its President/CEO Bruce Barnett, and board of directors," says Jim Vidak. "Throughout the years, they've been instrumental in helping us to honor these fine, well-deserving people with this award."

Award recipients and finalists will be honored at a recognition breakfast later this year.

In addition to Senaida Garcia, two Tulare County Office of Education employees were selected by our office to compete at the county level for the Excellence in Education Award honors.

Those employees are: TCOE Teacher of the Year, Al Wiley, Court/Community Schools and TCOE Employee of the Year, San Juana Garza, Severely Handicapped Instructional Assistant at Divisadero Middle School.

Congratulations to all on their selection and for representing TCOE so well in this competition.



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TCOE Friends and Family Bid a Fond Farewell to Bill Douglas at his Retirement Lunch

When guests at Bill Douglas' retirement lunch walked into the Education Center and were immediately met by Rich Graham in his full fishing and hunting regalia, they knew they were in for a treat. Graham explained away his outdoorsman gear by simply saying, "Some of you might have noticed that my attire is special. I just wanted you to see what Bill will look like every day for the rest of his life." Bill Douglas
Photos above:
~ Master of Ceremony Rich Graham and honoree Bill Douglas.
~ Dr. Marilyn Rankin explains proper dusting techniques to Bill.
~ The contents of the money bag are proudly displayed to friends and family members.



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Gallery Notes

Since the last "Gallery Notes," several TCOE employees have been recognized for their contributions to education and the local community. May 1, County Superintendent Jim Vidak was honored by the Tulare County Bar Association and the Tulare County Grand Jury with the prestigious Liberty Bell Award. The award is presented annually, as part of the county's observance of "Law Day," to a member of the community who, although not a lawyer, has made significant contributions to the justice system.

Jim Vidak receives Liberty Bell Award Following the District Attorney's presentation of the Victim Award and the Grand Jury's passing of a resolution honoring deceased attorneys, Glenn Stanton presented the "Liberty Bell Award" to Superintendent Vidak in the Superior Court. Stanton recognized Mr. Vidak for his unfailing support to student events such as Mock Trial and production of educational resources such as "Street Gangs in Tulare County" and "The Grand Jury Handbook."

Elainea Scott, program manager for TCOE's Educational Resource Services (ERS), can now add "published author" to her long list of credentials. Scott's article, "Making the Standards a 'Hit' with Teachers" was recently featured in the January/February 2003 issue of TechTrends For Leaders in Education and Training, the magazine of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

In the article, Scott details the process by which she and the ERS department developed a system to connect teachers to materials using a simple, straightforward approach that would be quick, easy, and save them time. Scott also highlights the ERS website and explains how library and audio visual materials are cataloged by grade level and the associated California Academic Content Standard.

Scott, a librarian for more than 30 years, says, "I enjoy working with visionary people, staying ahead of the wave, and trying to predict and deliver services to our clients before they realize that they need them!"

Photo above:
~ County Superintendent Vidak is honored by Tulare County's Bar Association and Grand Jury with the "Liberty Bell Award."



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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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