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The News Gallery

October 2005

THE COLLEGE CROWD - 4,000 Plus Flock to Annual College Night Event

News Gallery - October 2005 Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, Garyalynn Wilhelm, Priscilla Gomez, Nani Rowland, Donna Glassman-Sommer, Tom Byars, Elainea Scott, Deana Craighead, and Kelley Petty.

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 chrisc@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.


Cover Photo:
~ A view of the crowd at College Night 2005.



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Information Flows for College Night Crowd
College Representation Grows From 75 to 95 Institutions


They came from large schools and small, in buses with chaperones and in cars with parents and grandparents. Within minutes of the doors opening at the Visalia Convention Center, thousands of students, parents and teachers streamed into the exhibit hall. They crowded around the tables of 95 college and university representatives, high school counselors and at the Index of Majors with questions about deadlines, course offerings and academic requirements. At the end of the evening, students left with stacks of brochures, handouts and a 60-page college planning handbook organized by the College Night Committee and printed at no charge by Jostens.

College Night
"Our fifth year as the organizers of Tulare County College Night was bigger than ever," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "And it continues to be that way because of the great foundation laid for us by Visalia Unified teachers and parents and community supporters who have contributed to the event since it began."

College Night Community support has always played an important role in College Night, with service clubs, schools and local businesses making donations and in-kind contributions. This year, the College Night Committee decided to use a portion of its contributions to support an ongoing scholarship fund for Tulare County students. At a dinner for college representatives, hosted by parent Jonna Schengel, Dr. Pansy Ceballos, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, announced the availability of the 2006 scholarship. The scholarship is designed to give one Tulare County student — attending an accredited college — $1,000 per year for up to four years. The first award will be made in March, 2006.

For more information about College Night and the new scholarship, call Elainea Scott at (559) 651-3042, or visit www.tcoe.org/collegenight.

Photos above:
~ Tulare County high schools send counselors to assist parents and students in understanding everything from admission requirements to possible career paths.
~ Representatives from both public and private universities attend, making Tulare County College Night one of the largest events of its type in California.
~ Volunteers from the Visalia County Center Rotary Club assist students with the "Index of Majors" – a publication listing courses of study and the colleges and universities offering them.



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Recruitment Center Grant Helps Rural Districts
Program Designed to Aid Underrepresented Men and Women Enter Teaching Profession


"I never saw myself as a college graduate when I was in school. I didn't see a face like mine in a teacher until I started taking classes here at COS. It's too late for my son in high school, but it isn't too late for my daughter. She's in the fourth grade and I want her to have Hispanic teachers. I want her to have her dreams and hopes validated." These are the sentiments of a recently divorced mother of two who is passionate about achieving her goal of graduating from college and has contemplated becoming a teacher. She is in her first year at College of the Sequoias. Throughout her elementary and high school education, even though Hispanic students were often a large percentage of the class, she had no Hispanic teachers.

Recruitment Center Team "A Face Like Mine," is a federal grant recently awarded to the IMPACT Intern/Teacher Recruitment Program at Tulare County Office of Education. The three-year, $2.6 million grant is intended to recruit, train and support minority teachers, closing the gap between the ethnic distribution of teachers and their students in high-need districts in the Central Valley.

"The need for our underrepresented youth to have a teacher who is also a role model is an important one," says recruitment director Donna Glassman-Sommer. "Students benefit from teachers who demonstrate that the path to higher education offers opportunities to honor and enrich their own heritage."

"Most of our rural districts in Tulare County are experiencing critical shortage areas in single subject math, science and special education teachers," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "This grant will not only help fill these vacancies, but also realize gains in academic performance afforded by staff with specialized training."

The combined resources of "A Face Like Mine" will specifically target the recruitment and professional development of underrepresented minority groups. This includes the use of technology in the classroom and subject-matter preparation in the content areas like math and science. The grant will also be used to recruit and train two cohorts of 35 teachers into an alternative certification program and support their professional development over their first four years of teaching. Further, it will support a pipeline that will nurture the development of teachers beginning in their junior and senior years of high school and will encourage paraprofessionals who complete their associate's degree and commit to becoming a teacher. For more information about the Recruitment Center, contact Donna Glassman-Sommer at 730-2549.

Photo above:
~ The Teacher Recruitment Team has grown to accommodate the demands of the new grant. Pictured above are Recruitment Director Donna Glassman-Sommer (seated) and her team (left to right) Marvin Lopez, Jennifer Fisher, Karen Phillips and Gail Kaulfuss.



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Red Ribbon Week October 24 - 28
Proceeds from Tulare County Event Will Benefit Local Needs


Red Ribbon Week is an annual opportunity for schools to make a visible stand against drugs and to show their commitment to a drug-free lifestyle through the symbol of the red ribbon. This year, committee members Faye Bishop, Tony Cavanagh, Christine Chapman, Gwen Coughran, Priscilla Gomez, Rita Jahnke, Gail Kaulfuss, Janis Killion, Adela Ramos, Shirley Ready, Elizabeth Rivas and Lorena White have chosen a theme in honor of the 10th anniversary of CHARACTER COUNTS! in Tulare County — "Show Good Character, Be Drug Free!"

Proceeds from the sale of t-shirts and other items will benefit local charities. In addition, the committee has planned a week of fun activities. TCOE employees will find a t-shirt order form with their September paycheck. Additional copies of the form, a schedule of the week's events and a list of those benefitting from the proceeds are available at www.tcoe.org/redribbon.


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Foundations for Life Ideal for Classroom
Maxim-Based Essay Program Available for Middle and High School Teachers


Beginning this month, Tulare County teachers can participate in a new national program entitled Foundations for Life. The program — designed by the creators of CHARACTER COUNTS! — is a maxim-based essay and recognition program designed to enhance reading, critical thinking and composition skills required by the new SAT exam, state and federal standards, and No Child Left Behind proficiency testing.

"Foundations for Life can be used as part of classroom discussion, as a writing assignment, or as part of the new Tulare County essay contest," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. In February 2006, the Tulare County Office of Education will hold its first Foundations for Life competition. Middle and high schools from throughout Tulare County are invited to submit their top essays for judging. Five top Tulare County winners will be selected from each of grades 7 - 12 and submitted to the national contest in March.

Foundations for Life The foundations of the program are more than 200 maxims - quotes attributed to men and women from throughout time. Students use these maxims as a starting point for essays that are designed to reflect their understanding of the world and their own lives in it, and express ways they can incorporate the quotation’s wisdom into a long-term life strategy.

Teachers interested in participating in the Foundations for Life program will receive a comprehensive teacher's resource, handouts for students, a contest manual, reproducible student certificates and other aids. The program easily integrates into existing activities and curricula. For more information on the Foundations for Life program or for copies of the materials, contact Instructional Consultant Marsha Ingrao at 651-0680.

Photo above:
~ Students participating in the Foundations for Life program use maxims - or timeless truths - like the quote from Sir Winston Churchhill to form the basis for essays or classroom discussions.



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Teachers Honored at Chinese Cultural Center
12th Annual Event Celebrates Elementary, Middle and High School Educators


A large bronze statue of China's great educator, Confucius, stands serenely in the courtyard of the Central California Chinese Cultural Center. Just below Confucius' stoic gaze, over 200 teachers, friends and community members gathered September 22, to celebrate his birthday and the life work of three Tulare County teachers. For the past 12 years, the board of the Chinese Cultural Center and the Tulare County Office of Education have honored an outstanding elementary, middle and high school teacher.

Guests at the event get to know the honorees through a short video about their teaching philosophy. "The film really brings out the extraordinary talents and personalities of each winner," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Our winners all exhibit the traits of a great teacher - a love for their students that drives them everyday to challenge, dream, listen, inspire and create."

Educators of the Year The winner of the Elementary Educator of the Year Award is Janet Kelly, a fourth/fifth-grade teacher at Kings River Elementary. A former Kingsburg preschool owner, Ms. Kelly holds both a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree from Fresno Pacific. She has worked for the district since 1986, while remaining involved as the Educational Outreach Director for the Valley Performing Arts Council where she writes standards-based study guides for the organization. Ms. Kelly has a love of history and travel, which she brings alive for her students through projects like the Civil War Time Travelers - an event sponsored by the Tulare County Office of Education.

Gail Grasmick, a 7th grade language arts/mathematics teacher at Strathmore Middle School, is the 2005 Middle School Educator of the Year. Ms. Grasmick received a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fresno and multiple subject teaching credential from Fresno Pacific University. She joined the Strathmore faculty in 1987 after serving three years with the Delano Union Elementary School District. Gail is an active member of the community, a soccer coach and member of the Strathmore Middle School Site Council and Parent Teacher Organization.

Lawrence Chan, the High School Educator of the Year, is the Redwood High School Business teacher and photography instructor with almost 30 years teaching experience at Visalia Unifed. A 1964 Redwood High graduate, Mr. Chan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from San Francisco State College and his teaching credential from the University of San Francisco. Born and raised in Visalia, he worked at his family’s business, Chan's Market on Locust Street, until he left for San Francisco to attend college. He recently received an Education Foundation grant to publish a student art and literary magazine at Redwood High School.

Photo above:
~ 2005 Educators of the Year are (left to right) Janet Kelly from Kings River Elementary, Gail Grasmick from Strathmore Middle School and Lawrence Chan from Redwood High School.



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Spotlight
On People in Service and Support


A California Christmas
The Tulare County Office of Education Foundation will host a musical extravaganza at the Fox Theatre in downtown Visalia December 21 - 23, 2005. This Broadway-style show is being produced for the Foundation by Harlan Hutson Entertainment, the producer of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Forever Plaid and Godspell. Hutson has also been the presenter for events like Anne Murray, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues and others. Entitled "A California Christmas," the holiday show is an adaptation of an annual production performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Pops. It will feature Visalia native Betsy Wolfe and a cast of local talent, plus scenes constructed by the TCOE Theatre Company’s Stagecraft class. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Foundation. Ticket information is available by calling GorillaTix at 559-627-TIXS (8497).

Sheli Silva and Roberto Dansie, Ph.D. Migrant Education Administrator Sheli Silva welcomes Roberto Dansie, Ph.D. to the annual Migrant Preservice Conference September 19. Dr. Dansie is widely regarded as an authority on cultural diversity. An author, speaker and trainer, he has received the 2005 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the International Center For Psychosocial Trauma at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine.


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Gallery Notes

The Nutrition Network is sponsoring a student recipe contest in conjunction with the annual Tulare County Kids Fest. Tulare County students ages 5-14 are encouraged to submit their favorite fruit and/or vegetable recipe no later than October 28, for possible inclusion in a cookbook to be distributed free of charge at Kids Fest November 19.

The contest is designed to develop students' knowledge and understanding of the wide variety of fruits and vegetables that are available in the Central Valley. The Nutrition Network's goal is to promote healthier lifestyles for Tulare County families by eating more fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity. For entry forms and complete contest instructions, please contact Nutrition Network Coordinator Nani Rowland at (559) 651-0130.

This fall, CHOICES Program Manager Tom Byars has been training five Tulare County schools in the Olweus Bullying Prevention program. The program, pioneered in Norway 20 years ago, is becoming widely used in the U.S. and Europe. Byars - one of a few certified trainers in Central California - reports that the program helps school administrators conduct an anonymous survey of students to determine where and how frequently incidences of bullying are occuring. Administrators also receive instruction on the establishment of a coordinating committee, the training of teachers and staff, the development of supervision systems, student and parent interventions, and regular reinforcement sessions. For more information on the Olweus program, call Tom Byars (559) 651-0155.


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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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