The News Gallery
July/August 2005ON THE COURT OF LIFE - Students in SEE & Co. Summer Youth Program Gain Valuable Work Experience
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
Contributors to this issue:
Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, Garyalynn Wilhelm, Jeanne Croson, Brian Roberts, Jeanne Nava, Pansy Ceballos, Priscilla Gomez, Martha Falcon, Joe Garza, LouAnn Lubben, Kathy Jordan and Randy Wallace.
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 email@example.com or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.
~ Mt. Whitney student Chris Cabarloc at the Boys and Girls Club.
Summer Jobs Earn Credit, Pay and Experience
Hundreds of Students Fill Public Agency Positions
Mt. Whitney student Chris Cabarloc sets up a half-court basketball game for a group of students at the Visalia Boys and Girls Club summer program, carefully balancing the teams. Today he's getting a taste of what it's like to be an activities director as part of the Services for Education and Employment (SEE) Youth Employment Program.
SEE enrolls approximately 600 students on an annual basis. The program provides career guidance, vocational counseling, job placement, follow-up services and educational tutoring, when necessary. The program is funded by the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board to assist low-income, Tulare County residents, ages 16-21. Students begin their day at high school campuses all over Tulare County or at one of SEE's programs in Visalia, Lindsay, Strathmore or Woodlake. "Our sites take some of the load off the crowded high school programs," says SEE Youth Employment Supervisor Martha Falcon.
Students at the SEE program in Visalia begin their days with classroom enrichment. Throughout the summer, youth counselors are available to provide information and advice about career goals, employment opportunities and post-secondary education. The major emphasis of these sessions is to provide support services for students who are experiencing difficulty remaining in school. "Students not only earn five credits for their participation in the program, but we help them stay academically focused, so that the transition back to full-time classwork is easier," says Ms. Falcon. Tutoring services and mentoring are provided to those students who wish to work part-time and improve their academic standing in school.
In the afternoon, students move to their work assignments with agencies ranging from the American Cancer Society and Goodwill to school districts, county administrative offices and various parks departments. Over the course of the summer, most students receive 150 hours of work experience and earn approximately $1,000 at minimum wage. "We appreciate the program's many partners — public sector and non-profit agencies who give the students "real world" job experience and exposure to career possibilities of their own," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak.
~ Mt. Whitney student Joe Barrera at the Visalia Learning Center.
~ Students at SEE's morning enrichment class.
~ Ashley Manzi at Goodwill Industries.
Life Skills Serve Special Services Graduate
Bright Start Parent/Infant Program Benefits From Former Workability Student
Pedro Monreal cleans the Bright Start Parent/Infant offices in Visalia with speed and accuracy — moving from trash collection to kitchen to bathrooms to vacuuming like a professional. He has to — there's a schedule to keep. Pedro is a recent graduate of Special Service's post-high school program at the College of the Sequoias Farm for students with developmental disabilities. There, under the direction of Rod Ahlmeyer, he learned how to work hard, drive the farm's tractor, load hay, clean the barn and feed the animals.
Now, Pedro works for the building maintenance company, Service Master, that cleans the Hyde Park office buildings on Mineral King where Bright Start is located. Pedro was hired by Service Master at the urging of Bright Start Program Manager LouAnn Lubben. "When we began looking for a new building maintenance company, I asked Ron Hellstern, the owner of Service Master, if he would consider hiring Pedro," says Ms. Lubben. "I have known Pedro since he was in my Workability class at Mt. Whitney High School eight years ago. There, he was in charge of distributing the mail and photo copies throughout the campus, which he did amazingly well," says Ms. Lubben. Workability is a program that teaches older special needs students work and life skills that will help with their independence as adults.
Pedro works for Service Master five evenings a week, cleaning the Bright Start offices. He takes the bus to work from his parents' home, sometimes bringing his bike along. He has done so well that Mr. Hellstern gave him the responsibility of ten additional restrooms in the Hyde Park complex. Ron says: "Pedro is a dependable, task-oriented person. When I give him a job to do, he does it to a T."
"There is a great continuity of service in our Special Services programs," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "This enables program staff to observe students for many years and identify those who would make fine employees. I appreciate companies like Service Master who step out and hire young people like Pedro," says Mr. Vidak.
Pedro enjoys seeing his former teacher LouAnn Lubben again. "And I'm glad to have him here," she says. "He's a great worker and like so many of our other students, he makes an excellent employee for companies like Service Master." For more information on Workability Programs and employment opportunities for students with developmental disabilities, contact Dr. Mike Stephens at (559) 730-9917.
~ Pedro Monreal learned many of his work skills in Special Services classes during high school and later at the COS Farm program. He now works approximately 25 hours per week for a building maintenance company.
Teachers Head to Summer Classes
Instructional Consultants Lead Professional Development Training
State and federal regulations are placing greater demands on teacher training, certification and on-going professional development. Instructional Consultants, under the direction of Dr. Guadalupe Solis at Education Resource Services (ERS), are at work throughout the summer conducting courses for Tulare County teachers ranging from state mathematics and reading curriculum to instruction for teachers of English Language Learners (ELL).
One example of new state regulations is the legislation resulting from the Williams Case (profiled in the June 2005 issue of The News Gallery). The new laws gave California County Superintendents greater authority in monitoring and reporting schools that lack qualified teachers, as well as those that may have improperly assigned teachers to classrooms with a high concentration of English Language Learners. Teachers must have proper ELL certification if they are assigned to a classroom where 20 percent of the students are English Language Learners. Instructional Consultant Connie Smith conducts several courses that help teachers meet state requirements, either through the Crosscultural Language Academic Development (CLAD), Bilingual Crosscultural Academic Language Development (BCLAD) certification, or the AB2913 courses for teachers with years of prior instructional experience.
These classes are also supported by a program known as OLE — a high intensity Spanish language immersion course. It is designed for anyone interested in sharpening their conversational Spanish skills, whether beginner, intermediate or advanced. It is particularly useful for teachers seeking their BCLAD certification.
Instructional Consultant Julie Joseph leads the AB466 Mathematics Professional Development Program. Select schools are required to send teachers through its intensive 40-hour institute and the 80 hours of follow-up professional development. The program focuses on teaching the underlying mathematics content needed to instruct students in the California Mathematics Standards, as well as assisting teachers in utilizing state-adopted textbooks. AB466 also has a Reading/Language Arts component designed to teach students the California Reading Standards. This program is also facilitated by Connie Smith.
"Professional development is critical to staying current with state and federal instructional requirements," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "The asset we have in meeting these requirements — and the demands of our English Language Learners — lies in the talent and accessibility of the instructional consultant team."
~ Instructional Consultant Connie Smith leads AB2913 classes for teachers seeking the proper certification to instruct English Language Learners.
Retirees Honored for Years of Service
June 8 Event Hosted by Human Resources
On June 8, friends, families and employees of the Tulare County Office of Education gathered in the Education Center to wish 35 individuals a long and happy retirement. County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jeanne Nava presented gifts as co-workers and managers spoke about each person. In total, these men and women dedicated over nearly 700 years to the students of Tulare County. Below is a list of those honored, the years they served and their programs.
~ Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak (left) presents Information Systems Director Rick Moynahan with a certificate of appreciation for his 18 years of service. Mr. Vidak commended him for his leadership in developing the web-based business software used by many of the districts in Tulare County.
School-to-Career Recognition Event July 13
Program Honors Employers and Teachers Who Help Young People With Careers
On July 13, the Tulare County Office of Education School-to-Career Project in coordination with the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board Youth Council and the Tulare County Youth Coalition will recognize outstanding contributions of area business, education, and community leaders or organizations at the annual Partner Recognition event. Each year, local youth-serving programs identify individuals, companies, agencies and schools whose exemplary efforts have advanced career development, educational achievement, support services, leadership and development for area students or young adults.
2005 marks the ninth year of the event where nearly 200 individuals and organizations have been recognized for their special contributions. This year’s nominations include representation from non-profit organizations, school sites, small and large businesses and community volunteers who spend many hours helping the young people of Tulare County reach their potential. This year’s program will also highlight young professionals from the area who participated and received benefit from one of the many nominating organizations. "This presentation will be especially rewarding as we hear how young men and women who now serve in our communities benefitted when they were younger," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. One of the featured speakers is Tulare County Office of Education's Adam Valencia, who coordinates the Reconnecting Youth program for the CHOICES office.
The Partner Recognition Luncheon will begin at 11:30 am on July 13 at the Visalia Convention Center. Tickets are $25 each and available through the School-to-Career office by calling (559) 733-6101.
Beauty Opens July 22 with Seven Shows
Special Opening Night and Children's Teas Offered in Conjunction with Production
Perhaps the only thing ever missing from an annual Theatre Company musical is a big premiere reception. That will all change this summer at the opening night of Disney's Beauty And The Beast, Friday, July 22. The Theatre Company will host a tented party complete with gourmet hors d'oeuvres, desserts and refreshments on the lawn of the L.J. Williams Theatre in downtown Visalia. Guests at the party will also receive a backstage tour of the production prior to the show and VIP seats.
The idea for the premiere was that of Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak and Theatre Company Director Brian Roberts. "We want to create an event following Independence Day that the community looks forward to attending every year," says Mr. Vidak. "The event also serves to draw the public's attention to the remarkable student talent and our efforts to provide them with the best musical theatre opportunities in the region," adds Mr. Roberts. Tickets for the premiere are $40 per person. Two children's tea parties will also be offered prior to the Saturday matinees on July 23 and July 30. Participants will partake of tea or lemonade with finger foods and receive an autographed color picture as they enjoy tea with Mrs. Potts and Chip. Tea Party tickets cost $25 and include a VIP ticket to the matinee performance.
Tickets to the opening night premiere and the children's tea parties are available by calling the Tulare County Office of Education at (559) 733-6172. General admission tickets to the performances listed in the calendar section are available for $8 per person or $20 per person for a reserved VIP seat by calling the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.
The Friends of SCICON held its annual Awards Dinner on June 10 on the SCICON campus. Awards of Merit were presented to several individuals and organizations including Chris Reed, retired board member for Tulare County Board of Education, for her many years of support of the SCICON program. Diane Cahill, SCICON Lead Teacher, was also honored. The Laurel Leaf Awards are given to high school cabin leaders who are exemplary role models for the sixth-grade students visiting SCICON. Selected from 850 high school students were Dysharra Romero and Marvin Lopez of Redwood High School and Amanda Bosman and Ezequiel Acinagua of Golden West High School. In addition to the award, they also received a scholarship from the Friends of SCICON and Association of California School Administrators Region XI (ACSA). For a complete list of winners, visit www.tcoe.org/pressroom.
CHOICES staff members recently completed the Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Training offered by the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies. The training was developed to cover the emerging discipline of prevention and discusses pertinent prevention issues. As part of the training, staff learned in-depth information on science-based prevention research; Center for Substance Abuse Prevention strategies, planning, assessment, and evaluation; and building a successful prevention program. Instruction also centered on defining culture, elements of culture, characteristics of culture, and how to adapt prevention programs to specific cultural populations.
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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