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The News Gallery

April 2007

POETRY WITH POISE - 900 Students Fill the Education Center During Annual Three-Day Poetry & Prose On Stage Festival

News Gallery - April 2007 Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Christine Chapman, Marlene Moreno-Woods, Priscilla Gomez, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Marsha Ingrao, Nancy Bellin, Julie Joseph, Danni Franklin, and Maria Ortiz.

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.

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Poetry and Prose Melds Performance and Verse
Over 900 Students Build Recitation Skills at Three-Day Event

Poetry and Prose Festival William Henry Davies wrote in the poem Leisure, "What is life, if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare." To students, this simple verse may evoke memories of Saturday afternoons or summer days. To busy educators, it might serve as a reminder to make time to appreciate the wonders of our world and, perhaps, the beauty found in poetry.

Poetry and Prose Festival Poetry and Prose Onstage is a 24-year-old tradition at the Tulare County Office of Education, designed to develop meaningful experiences for students who participate in the art of oral interpretation. Each spring, busloads of students arrive at the Education Center to recite in front of a judge and an appreciative audience. Once inside, students receive instructions and then follow their judges to smaller rooms for their presentations. "To participate in our event, the only prerequisites are enthusiasm and a willingness to experiment with words," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Children who have an enthusiastic introduction to poetry can come to love it for the rest of their lives."

Poetry and Prose Festival Following each performance, judges  who are veteran teachers and administrators from throughout the county  rate the students' performances in ten categories ranging from pronunciation and posture to gestures and eye contact. At the end of the session, judges offer plenty of praise along with helpful suggestions for improvement. Students then reassemble in the Education Center for encore performances before the entire group and parents. At the end of the event, each participant receives a personalized certificate and a copy of the judge's comments.

"Poetry cannot be taught in the sense that math is taught," says Special Events Coordinator Nancy Bellin. "But students can be guided toward an aesthetic awareness so that they can truly enjoy the poetry they hear and read."

Photos above:
~ Buena Vista students Joann Abad and Elizabeth Mederos give an encore presentation of their poem in the Education Center.
~ Nancy Bellin coordinates the annual event involving 900 students from nearly 70 schools.
~ Judges, like Tulare County Superintendent Jim Vidak, provide positive critiques of each student's performance.

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Super Bowl Emphasizes Math Creativity
Event Tests Students' Individual and Team Problem-Solving Skills

Math Super Bowl Students wandering into the cavernous Exhibit Hall of the Visalia Convention Center may not have had mathematics on their minds, at first. "When they walk into our Math Super Bowl event in the morning they find themselves a little intimidated by the size of the competition, but by the end of the day they find that they have enjoyed the experience and feel good about what they have been able to accomplish," says Instructional Consultant and Math Super Bowl Coordinator Julie Joseph.

The mathematical problem-solving abilities of approximately 800 middle school students were tested during the 34th Annual Math Super Bowl on March 14, 2007, at the Visalia Convention Center. Over 130 five-member teams from 37 schools competed for ribbons and trophies. The event includes three main segments: the Pro Bowl, the Team Bowl and the Power Bowl. The Pro Bowl segment involves students from different schools working as a team on one challenging problem. "I love to watch students as they participate in the Pro Bowl solve a common problem," says Ms. Joseph. "When they get started, they are often quiet and reserved while interacting with their group, but as time progresses they begin to have lively conversations about the mathematics involved in the problem."

Math Super Bowl During the Team Bowl, members from a school team work together to solve 20 multiple-step problems, while the Power Bowl challenges students to work individually on 30 multiple-choice problems. At the conclusion of the event, scores are tallied and ribbons given to individuals and trophies given to school teams.

"The Math Super Bowl is a great event because it gives students the opportunity to showcase their math skills," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Perhaps more importantly, students develop their creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills, working alongside students they have never met before. That is a skill that will serve them for the rest of their lives."

For a complete list of individual and team award winners, visit

Photos above:
~ Students from Sierra View Junior Academy in Exeter work together during the Team Bowl section of the competition.
~ Instructional Consultant Julie Joseph, Nariman Ajluni and Judi Boston-shedd calculate and double-check results prior to the awards ceremony.

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Over 5,000 Have Visited TRC Since Opening
ERS' Teacher Resource Center has Grown to Serve Teachers' Needs

Teacher Resource Center Debbie Iriye-Correa was completely surprised when told, earlier this year, that she was the 5,000th customer to visit the Educational Resource Services' Teacher Resource Center (TRC) in Visalia. "I've never won anything like this," said the kindergarten teacher from Sunnyside Elementary in Strathmore. Debbie  who received a gift certificate to the TRC  is one of hundreds of teachers utilizing the center for instructional ideas and classroom supplies. "The TRC is like a giant teacher workroom," says Library Media Specialist Danni Franklin. "Since we opened six years ago, we have been able to expand our array of supplies and ideas to teachers and the general public, while keeping the prices low."

Anyone visiting the TRC can utilize a wide variety of equipment and supplies available in the center. "Teachers enjoy our color copy machine, our banner maker, all the specialty papers and, of course, the die-cut machine," says Library Media Specialist Maria Ortiz. "We also have extended hours during the week and on Saturdays to accommodate their schedules." For more information on the Teacher Resource Center, including hours and services available, call (559) 651-3031.

Photos above:
~ Debbie Iriye-Correa utilizes one of nearly 700 dies available to create an art assignment for her classroom.
~ TRC staff Danni Franklin and Maria Ortiz pose with Debbie, the center's 5,000th customer, by a bulletin board created from materials available to visitors.
~ Teachers find the "ready to go" packs convenient for instructional needs.
~ Each month, TRC staff create displays to give teachers ideas for their classrooms, like the Dr. Seuss display designed for the "Read Across America" event.

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Celia Maldonado-Arroyo Appointed to Board
New Trustee Brings Higher Education Experience to Exceptional Board

Celia Maldonado-Arroyo On March 14, the Tulare County Board of Education appointed Celia Maldonado-Arroyo of Kingsburg to fill the board vacancy in Trustee Area 1. Ms. Maldonado-Arroyo fills the seat left by long-time trustee Ruth Stouffer, who resigned from the board last month to move closer to her family in the Bay Area. Ms. Maldonado-Arroyo will serve as trustee for Area 1 - which primarily includes Cutler-Orosi Unified, Dinuba Unified, Kings River Union, Monson-Sultana Joint Union, Stone Corral, and a portion of Visalia Unified  until the Board's next regularly scheduled election in November 2008.

During open session, the Tulare County Board of Education interviewed four applicants for the position. Following the interviews, the board discussed the candidates at length. Dr. Edward Peterson, who has over 47 years of service on the Tulare County Board of Education said, "In all the years I have been with the Board of Education, I can't think of another time when we have had four such well-qualified candidates."

"We're delighted to have Celia on the Board of Education," said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak, who administered the oath of office during the regular board meeting later the same day. "With her many years of experience in higher education, she brings a new set of skills and experiences to an already exceptional board." Ms. Maldonado-Arroyo is retired from her position as Associate Dean of the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) at College of the Sequoias. She has also held positions with Fresno City College and Fresno Unified School District. Additionally, she has served as the State President of the Association of Mexican American Educators, and a board member of Radio Bilingue, the Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Fresno.

Photo above:
~ Celia Maldonado-Arroyo was appointed to the Tulare County Board of Education for Trustee Area 1.

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History Day Looks at Triumphs, Tragedies
Students Present Research on Local, National and International Topics

History Day Intermediate, middle and high school students representing seven Tulare County school districts participated in the 2007 Tulare County History Day competition. This year's event took place at Sundale Elementary School. Projects included exhibits, documentaries, videos, PowerPoint presentations, an outstanding website and posters.

Students chose a wide range of topics to address this year's theme: "Triumph and Tragedy in History." History Day Coordinator Marsha Ingrao says, "Some students began with ideas that related to their lives or started with a relationship. Along the way, they developed poise while elaborating on their learning process through an interview in front of three judges and an audience. The skills and knowledge they gained will bring students success in their futures far beyond the medals and certificates they earned on March 17." For a list of winners, visit

Photo above:
~ Student dramatizations were part of the History Day presentations.

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On People in Service and Support

Spelling Bee Champion Eighth-grader Chris Wong was crowned 2007 Tulare County Spelling Champion at the eighth-annual event February 27. Chris, a student at St. Paul's School in Visalia, is pictured with David Britter, marketing manager for the Visalia Times-Delta. The newspaper is a copartner in the event. Chris was one of a record 155 spellers in grades 4 - 8 to compete. He will travel to Washington, D.C. for the Scripps National Spelling Bee beginning May 30. Kayla Seffing, a sixth-grader from Pinkham Elementary in Visalia was the event's runner-up.

Laurie Melton bench Last month, Ron and Janice Walters attended the dedication of a bench installed in front of the Tulare County Office of Education. The bench was given locally by the California School Employees Association (CSEA) in memory of Janice's sister, Laurie Melton, the organization's long-serving president. Laurie, who passed away last fall, was an instructional aide for the severely handicapped at the L.B. Hill Learning Center in Porterville.

Louie Gravance Walt Disney Company veteran Louie Gravance will speak at the 15th Annual Tulare County Support Staff Conference on April 20, 2007. Mr. Gravance will highlight how companies like Disney maintain "service excellence" on a daily basis. Conference information is available at

Sara Sutton Last month, Sara Sutton was named Impact Center Supervisor. She oversees the multi-media programs offered and developed for the Peña Planetarium and the Impact Theater. Previously, she had served as Impact Center Media Specialist.

Marlene Moreno-Woods and Christine Chapman Christine Chapman was promoted to Administrative Assistant for Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. Marlene Moreno-Woods was chosen to fill Christine's former role as Mr. Vidak's Administrative Secretary.

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Gallery Notes

Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools, and Elainea Scott, program manager for Educational Resource Services have been nominated by the Visalia PTA Council to be inducted into their Education Hall of Fame. This annual event honors individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to the youth in the community. The dinner and awards ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on April 27, 2007 at the L.J. Williams Theatre. If you are interested in attending, contact Christine Chapman at 733-6302 for more details.

Green Acres Middle School's Blue Team and Redwood High School's Sky Blue Team captured the first place honors in the 2007 Science Olympiad Competition Divisions B and C, respectively. The top three teams will compete in the 2007 NorCal State Science Competition April 21, 2007, at University of California, Merced. Complete results are available at

Finalist in the Mock Trial Competition were Woodlake, Tulare Union, Tulare Western and Redwood High Schools. For the fourth year in a row, Redwood High School won the competition and competed in the State Finals in Oakland March 23-25, 2007.

The 2007-2008 Farm Bureau Student Art Calendar was presented to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, March 20, 2007, in celebration of National Agriculture Week. The calendar features 14 winners, plus 24 honorees relating to the Nutrition Network's Harvest of the Month. Cecilia Espinoza, a seventh-grade student at Mulcahy Middle School in Tulare produced the art featured on the cover. While supplies last, copies of the calendar are available at the Tulare County Office of Education's Burrel Avenue office.

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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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