The News Gallery
December 2006 / January 2007READY FOR THEIR BIG MOMENT - Theatre Company Draws Support from a Growing Community Volunteer Group to Prepare Productions for the Stage
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
Contributors to this issue:
Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, Priscilla Gomez, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Jeanne Croson, Juani Rubio, Kelley Petty, Jane Mitchell, Brian Roberts and Nicole Zweifel.
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.
Community Supports Annual Productions
During Rehearsal and Behind the Scenes, Volunteers Help Make Productions Successful
Peek behind the curtain of the recent Theatre Company fall recital and you would have seen a team of parents helping with the details of the show — placement, costumes and props. As the program has grown over the years, so has the base of creative and energetic adults ready to sew a hem, paint a mask or build a specialized prop or set piece. This fall's recital production of Jungle Fever was certainly no exception.
Now entering its tenth year, the Theatre Company continues to be graced with parents and community volunteers committed to supporting the young people involved in various productions. "I continue to be amazed and delighted by the variety of support and services our volunteers provide, particularly with our recital," says Theatre Company Director Brian Roberts.
Choreographer Nicole Zweifel utilizes many parent volunteers for her spring and fall recitals, which conclude the program's two after-school workshops. Brian Roberts reports that he often has Theatre Company alumni volunteer to help behind the scenes with set movement, special effects and hair and makeup during the full-scale summer productions.
"Our adult volunteers compliment the training and resources of our TCOE staff," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Their work contributes to the complete education of our students when they see adults invested in their program. Our adult volunteers also get to see first-hand just how hard our students work to put together a quality production. The environment is one of mutual respect." For more information on the Theatre Company, call (559) 651-1482.
~ The Theatre Company's fall recital — Jungle Fever — included selections from Disney's Lion King and Jungle Book Kids. Trevor Ludlow, as Simba, and recital cast members often benefit from costumes assembled by the Theatre Company's parent volunteers.
~ As the audience delights in the tiny pachyderms from Jungle Book Kids, off stage, parent volunteers ready the next group of students.
Fall Institute Provides Timely Training
School Board Members and District Administrators Gather for Annual Inservice
Last month, over 180 school board members, district administrators and members of the County Committee on School District Organization gathered at the Visalia Convention Center for an evening full of timely information and networking opportunities.
The dinner event is hosted annually by Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak, the Tulare County Board of Education and Tulare County School Boards Association (TCSBA). "Our Fall Institute is held each year following local elections so that we can provide new school board members and district administrators information on topics that concern them most," says Mr. Vidak.
The event begins with two breakout sessions. This year's topics ranged from Ethics Training for School Officials — presented by Gary de Malignon and Kathleen Bales-Lange from Tulare County Counsel — to after-school education and safety programs, instructional strategies for English learners, gang prevention and intervention, and school boards' role in labor negotiations and collective bargaining.
Following the intensive breakout sessions, guests had an opportunity to relax over dinner and enjoy entertainment provided by the Tulare Western High School Steel Drum Band. Guests also had the opportunity to hear a report from Teresa Garcia, president of TCSBA, who expressed appreciation to member districts for contributing to the success of the organization's annual scholarship program. Since the program's founding, TCSBA has given over $30,000 in support to Tulare County graduates. The evening concluded with a keynote address by Jeff Vaca from the California School Boards' Association. Mr. Vaca addressed the crowd with updates on current legislation and statewide educational issues.
~ Dr. Guadalupe Solis, TCOE's student academic services administrator, spoke to a packed room about instructional techniques and data concerning Tulare County's English learner population.
~ Kathleen Bales-Lange (standing) and Gary de Malignon (seated at right) from Tulare County Counsel's office chat with board members and administrators following their two-part session entitled "Ethics Training for School Officials."
Foundations for Life Ready for New Year
Maxim-Based Essay Program Expanded to Elementary Schools
This month, Tulare County teachers can get involved in the national Foundations for Life essay program introduced locally last year. 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. This year, teachers with students in grades three through six are also welcome to participate.
The foundation of the program is over 200 maxims — quotes attributed to famous men and women throughout time. Students in grades 3 - 12 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.
"Foundations for Life can be used as part of a classroom discussion, as a writing assignment, or as part of the annual Tulare County essay contest," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. Schools and school districts may hold their own essay contests and send their top winners on to the Tulare County Office of Education for judging in the countywide competition on March 12, 2007. Up to five top Tulare County winners will be selected from each grade level and submitted to the national contest in March. The writers whose essays are selected to go on to the national contest will receive a $100 prize from the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation.
Last year, Tulare County produced a winner at the national contest. Former La Sierra High School student Jamie Belcher chose the maxim: "The day you quit school, you condemn yourself to a future of poverty." This maxim is attributed to retired Los Angeles educator, Jaime Escalante. For her essay, which received a perfect score in the tenth-grade category, Jamie received a $1,000 scholarship from Foundations for Life.
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 Language Arts curricula.
Jane Mitchell, Educational Resource Services' new English/Language Arts instructional consultant is available to make presentations to schools and districts about this powerful teaching program. For more information on the Foundations for Life program or for copies of the materials, contact Ms. Mitchell at (559) 651-0680.
~ Foundations for Life uses over 200 maxims like the one attributed to U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, as the basis for student essays. The program easily integrates into Language Arts curricula for grades 3 - 12.
Longevity Awards Honor Years of Service
74 Employees Reach Milestone Anniversaries
Co-workers and family members gathered for a dinner honoring the service of 74 TCOE employees November 8. The event — hosted annually by the Human Resources Division, under the direction of Assistant Superintendent Jeanne Nava — marked the employment anniversaries of those who served 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years. The number of years achieved by the honorees totalled nearly 1,400 years, with nearly 70 percent of them accumulated by employees within the Special Services Division in positions ranging from aides of learning handicapped or severely handicapped students to instructional assistants and Court/Community School teachers. County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak expressed his appreciation to the employees saying: "The milestones we celebrate today are a reflection of your commitment to one another — the kind of commitment that makes our organization a big family."
~ Honorees in attendance at the Annual Longevity Awards Dinner with 35 years of service included Dr. Mike Stephens, administrator of Severely Handicapped Services and Jeff Willers, Special Services resource specialist.
~ Honorees with 15 years of service present included (left to right) Darlynn Billingsley, Russell Dahler, Margarita Quintana, County Superintendent Jim Vidak and Kaye van Gilluwe.
On People in Service and Support
Cheryl Silva, resource specialist for the Nutrition Network, was on hand at the annual Kids Festival, passing out information to parents and children, encouraging students to eat fruits and vegetables and remain active. Silva was joined by Rita Janke, resource library technician with Child Care's Resource & Referral Lending Library who was distributing information about child care services in Tulare County. Gonzalo Jimenez and partners on the "Wildlife Survivors" team from Pixley Elementary rehearse prior to their presentation at the ninth annual CyberQuest competition November 18. The Pixley and Three Rivers Elementary teams were two of nearly 100 teams competing. TCOE's Graduation Day statue hovers over the new base created for it in front of the Education Building. While the base was being constructed, the statue was cleaned.
The Services for Education and Employment (SEE) program recently received grants totaling $250,000 from The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) and the Community Technology Foundation of California (CTFC). The grants will be used to support SEE's Ticket to Work program, which assists people on Social Security Disability who want to return to the workplace. The California Wellness Foundation awarded SEE a grant of $150,000 for technical assistance and hands-on training to other Ticket to Work Employment Networks in California. The Community Technology Foundation of California grant of $100,000 will supplement the TCWF grant in providing technical support for the training of other California employment networks. A portion of the two-year grant will be used to build an interactive community website.
The Red Ribbon committee appreciates those who participated in the fundraising efforts during Red Ribbon Week 2006. The committee reports $900 was forwarded to the trust fund established for Wil and Libbie Stone, children of CDF Battalion Chief Robert Stone who died in a plane crash fighting a forest fire in our local foothills in September.
Program Accounting Specialist Randy Elzig recently received an award of appreciation from the H.E.A.R.T. After-School Programs. The Tulare County Office of Education provides fiscal oversight for the H.E.A.R.T. program. Mr. Elzig's award was one of five given to "behind the scenes people who help them get their job done."
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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