The News Gallery
October 2006FIRST HAND PHYSICS - Middle School students find the perfect Physics laboratory at the Tulare County Fair
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
Contributors to this issue:
Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, Priscilla Gomez, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Tom Byars, Jonathan Janzen, Kelley Petty, Sheli Silva, Vera Rodriguez, Pam Gomes-Pulford, 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 email@example.com or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.
Physics Day Combines Technology and Fun
Event Gives Students Real World Test of Physical Concepts
Middle School students and midway rides — the perfect combination of energy and motion. Last month during the Tulare County Fair, over 125 eighth-grade students participated in the first Tulare County Physics Day. The students were at the fair to learn about Physics concepts and to collect data on velocity, acceleration and force. After a brief explanation of the event by Science Instructional Consultant Jonathan Janzen, students donned bright orange vests outfitted with data-collecting devices and bolted for the rides.
The event is modeled after Paramount's Great America "Physics Day" – an event visited last year by Mike Milanesi, science coordinator for Tulare City Elementary School District. Mr. Milanesi and Mr. Janzen said that the response from Tulare County schools to the creation of Physics Day at the Fair was hugely positive. "Based on the interest from science teachers who wanted to bring their entire eighth-grade class, this event could grow substantially in future years," says Jonathan Janzen.
Following each ride, students with the orange vests visited Mr. Milanesi, who downloaded the data to laptops for teachers to use in the classroom. The vests were then reset and given to other students to use. Back in the classroom, the data collected can be used by teachers with school curriculum, such as graphing and science/math questions related to real-life student experiences.
Besides data gathering, students were able to attend a demonstration station run by students and Professor Larry Owens from the College of the Sequoias. Participants also had the opportunity to test their skills at constructing devices to prevent eggs from breaking when dropped from the top of a ladder. "Physics Day at the Fair is a fun way for students to see science at work, and to understand the effect it has on so many aspects of modern transportation and manufacturing," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak.
For more information on future Physics Day events, contact Jonathan Janzen at (559) 651-3043.
~ Students didn't have to wait in line as the Tulare County Fair opened select midway rides prior to the public opening. The rides were chosen to give students a variety of experiences in motion.
~ Tulare City Elementary science coordinator, Mike Milanesi, demonstrates the vests containing LabPro probes for collecting data.
CHARACTER COUNTS! Enters New Decade
Schools Take Time to Honor Students and Make Plans to Enhance Character Programs
CHARACTER COUNTS! Week (October 15-21) begins a new decade for the program in Tulare County. Each year during this week, schools, parents and community members recognize students they have observed exhibiting one of the six pillars of good character — Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. This year, the Tulare County Office of Education anticipates thousands of students will be nominated as "Kids of Character." Every student whose nomination is accepted will receive a Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! T-shirt and certificate.
Dozens of these students will receive further recognition by appearing in the Visalia Times-Delta, either in a feature story, or as part of a huge display ad sponsored by the Tulare County Office of Education. "The partnership we have with the Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register is unique in the nation," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Together, we have a strong community voice saying that we value good character in Tulare County."
While the event is a great time for schools to recognize students for exemplary character, it's also an opportunity for teachers and administrators to assess the state of their program. "Districts may have placed new teachers or administrators who have never received CHARACTER COUNTS! training," says CHARACTER COUNTS! Coordinator Kelley Petty. "As a support to all Tulare County schools, we continue to assist with various levels of training and implementation." This service supports the California Education Code 233.5 which reads: "Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood…"
Trainings, which address the academic foundations of CHARACTER COUNTS!, are available at no charge to teachers, parents and community groups. For more information, contact Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.
~ Tipton students (left to right) Elizabeth Soto, Michelle Muratalla, Catalina Martin, Kapri Shoenhair, Crescencio Sanchez, Monserrat Munoz and Karen Rivera were on hand at the Tulare County Fair to promote CHARACTER COUNTS! Week.
~ National CHARACTER COUNTS! Trainer, John Forenti, and Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! Coordinator, Kelley Petty, conduct free trainings on implementing the program throughout the year.
Youth Summit Designed to Empower
Middle School Students Trained in Leadership Skills Take Lessons Back to School
The approach to teaching 60 middle school students leadership skills over the course of a day should involve a lot of energy and a good amount of humor. Participants in the annual Youth Leadership Summit got just that at the event organized by the CHOICES program held on September 14. The conference, entitled "Discover the Leader in You," was designed for potential leaders identified by school administrators. "The skills students gain through this leadership event can easily be applied on their own campuses," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "It's wonderful to see how our CHOICES program works to empower young people for leadership and the promotion of healthy lifestyles."
CHOICES Program Manager, Tom Byars, says: "The purpose of the event was to develop young people's leadership abilities." Students from 11 Tulare County middle schools attended a full day of development activities including: leadership qualities; action plan development; event planning; bullying prevention; drug awareness; and CHARACTER COUNTS!. "Since the conference, we've heard reports from participating schools of their students' continued excitement for the concepts presented at the summit and for their plans to implement events at their schools."
One of the highlights of the event was a video presentation on seat belt safety made by high school students who attended the Friday Night Live Teenwork Conference. The younger students had the opportunity to see how students — just a few years older — could develop a powerful, positive tool for others. The video was developed locally through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. It will be available for viewing later this month at www.tcoe.org/choices.
For information on this event, call Tom Byars at (559) 651-0155.
~ CHOICES School Liaison, Tony Cavanagh, shares with students a light moment on the serious subject of bullying.
~ CHOICES School Liaison, Gene Mendes, leads students in a rapid-fire communications exercise. The sessions were two of six offered throughout the day.
Three Honored at Annual Teachers' Event
Chinese Cultural Center Partners to Celebrate Teaching Excellence
Colleagues, family members and dignitaries at the Thirteenth Annual Confucius' Birthday/Educators of the Year Celebration, September 28, joined in honoring three of Tulare County's best teachers. The ceremony held at the Chinese Cultural Center, continues the long tradition of celebrating teachers on the birthday of China's great educator — Confucius. "Each year, we have the privilege of recognizing three outstanding teachers for their compassion, creativity and dedication," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "This year's honorees have these traits and more, and have earned a place along with the past recipients reserved for great teachers."
Through a heartwarming video tribute, guests got a glimpse into the careers and teaching styles of honorees: Nona Wilson from Earlimart Middle School; William "Bill" Fulmer of Monson-Sultana Elementary; and Carol Tuttle-Pilling from Farmersville High School. Each spoke of the high value they have for students and their drive to see that they succeed.
Nona Wilson, a sixth-grade science teacher at Earlimart Middle School, graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Music and earned a teaching credential from California State University, Fresno. An employee of the Earlimart Elementary School District for the past 12 years, Nona also taught at Lincoln School in Tulare, in Tulare City School District's GATE program and served as director of Children's Ministries at Tulare's First Baptist Church. Mrs. Wilson strives to respect and honor every student and make the learning process fun. One student told her after working on a science task: "Mrs. Wilson, you mean it's time to go home? Boy, time sure flies when you're having fun."
An employee of the Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary School District since 1977, Bill Fulmer currently teaches in a seventh- and eighth-grade self-contained classroom, but has also taught fifth and sixth grades plus served in an administrative role as vice principal and principal. Attending Visalia schools during his early years, Bill graduated from College of the Sequoias with an Associate of Arts degree in 1963 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science from California State University, Fresno in 1972. He also holds a Masters degree in School Administration from Fresno Pacific University. Mr. Fulmer proudly served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, and before pursuing a career in education, flew helicopters in several states, including Alaska.
Carol Tuttle-Pilling is a mathematics teacher at Farmersville High School who also teaches courses in Computer Technology, Webpage Design and is the high school's Technology Coordinator. She holds two Masters degrees from Fresno Pacific University – one in Mathematics and the other in Technology. She believes that a teacher's job is to provide guidance, encouragement and support and that helping students find their strengths and setting high expectations gives them the ability to reach their goals. She says that students must have good role models to help them prepare for the real world they will soon enter.
On People in Service and Support
At the annual Migrant Education staff pre-service day, several individuals were honored for their service to the program. Mr. Jesus Quevedo (pictured with Migrant Education Administrator Sheli Silva) has been involved in the Migrant Education Program for many years. He participated as a parent representative for the Tulare County Regional Advisory Committee and went on to serve on the State Parent Advisory Council (SPAC), including service as the organization's president. Mr. Quevedo was commended for his skill in advocating for the program and for volunteering in the children's classrooms. He continues to be involved in other groups in his community and throughout Tulare County. Others honored at the event included Jim Vidak, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, and Rob Herman, TCOE Public Information Officer.
Chad Bellin is a new school/community liaison with the CHOICES prevention program. Prior to joining the Tulare County Office of Education, Mr. Bellin was coordinator of the Friday Night Live Kids programs for the Los Angeles County Office of Education — which included 50 chapters in Los Angeles elementary schools alone.
Jeanne Nava, TCOE Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, was selected as the first "Star" among personnel administrators in the state by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) for her leadership and expertise in the field. This is the first year that CCSESA has recognized an outstanding individual from the personnel administrators state steering committee. Mrs. Nava will receive her award at the quarterly CCSESA meeting this month.
The Tulare County Office of Education has been awarded a grant from First 5 of California to develop the Early Childhood System of Services project. The planning grant will be used to build a coalition of children's services leaders to develop a plan for an integrated early childhood service delivery system with enhanced capacity. The system will be designed so that children, ages birth to five, who receive services will be better prepared physically, emotionally and cognitively for school. Partners in the system include United Way and Family Health Care Network.
The California Friday Night Live Partnership has received a $2.69 million contract from the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs to continue its work supporting Friday Night Live programs, which operate in 56 counties across the state. The partnership is the largest youth development program in California and has been housed in the Tulare County Office of Education since 1996. It provides leadership and support for Friday Night Live, Friday Night Live Kids, Club Live and Friday Night Live Mentoring programs.
The Human Resources Division will hold its semi-annual Blood Drive at the Burrel Avenue building, October 24. For information and registration, contact Jeanne Croson at (559) 733-6322, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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