go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage

The News Gallery

September 2010

BACK TO SCHOOL - Teachers head back to classrooms with supplemental training through the VPSS Program

News Gallery - September 2010 Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Christine Chapman, Marlene Moreno, Priscilla Gomez, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Rich McMullen, Donna Glassman-Sommer, Gerald Arellano, Jennifer Fisher, Norma Lovelace, and Elena Hawley.

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 Marlene Moreno at marlenem@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.

to Top of Page

Training put to good use in new school year
Teachers receive core subject instruction this summer to better serve students

VPSS A week after school began at Kaweah Continuation High School in Exeter, students were immersed in curriculum on the Earth’s composition. Their teacher, Joseph Hachee, utilized a multimedia presentation on our planet’s inner and outer cores, mantle and crust. To illustrate the lesson, he then engaged students in a hands-on activity. Moving from station to station, students built a cross-section of Earth by proportionally layering Jell-o pudding and cookie crumbs.

VPSS The simple lesson was inspired by training Mr. Hachee received this summer through the Tulare County Office of Education’s Verification Process for Special Settings (VPSS) Program. Mr. Hachee and 75 other teachers received standards-based training in Science, English, Math or Social Science so that they could comply with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law that requires they have subject-matter competency if they are teaching outside their curriculum specialty. At Kaweah, Joe Hachee uses his single-subject credential in Social Science to teach history. He is also the school’s science teacher.

VPSS “In larger, traditional high schools, teachers usually have single-subject credentials and teach only within their curriculum specialty,” explains New Teacher Development Program Manager Donna Glassman-Sommer. “However, in rural, continuation or special education programs, teachers often have to teach multiple core subjects. By completing the two tiers of the VPSS trainings, middle and high school teachers in these special settings can earn the advanced certification required under NCLB.” Each tier requires 32 hours of instruction. TCOE is licensed to provide English and Math VPSS classes for teachers in Kings and Tulare counties. TCOE is also licensed to provide Science and Social Science VPSS trainings for Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. For a schedule of year-round VPSS trainings, visit

Photos above:
~ Veteran science educators Dean Miller of Palo Verde Union Elementary, Tulare (top photo) and Jeff Brown of Green Acres Middle School, Visalia (middle photo) provided the VPSS science instruction this summer.
~ Eno Perez of Golden West High School (Visalia) admires his water-powered rocket.

to Top of Page

Powerful abuse prevention exhibition coming
Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council brings The Lisa Project in October

The Lisa Project The Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council (TCCAPC) is bringing The Lisa Project to Tulare County in October as a community outreach program focused on the issue of child abuse and neglect. The Lisa Project is an interactive exhibition with rooms recreated from the lives of abused children. Visitors move through the exhibition with the use of an audio tour narrated by a young woman named Lisa. The audio tour will be available in English and Spanish.

As visitors travel through The Lisa Project, they learn about different kinds of child abuse and neglect beginning with Lisa’s own story. A portion of the terrifying 911 call Lisa made while her drunken stepfather beat her mother gives visitors a glimpse into her world.

The Lisa Project “The exhibit is not meant to shock visitors, but educate them on the real dangers to children,” says TCCAPC coordinator Billie Shawl. “Because it is so compelling, The Lisa Project moves the viewer far beyond any awareness that can be achieved with words. We hope the community touring the exhibit responds to what they see in a variety of ways, including volunteering to be mentors and foster parents.”

Everyone viewing the exhibit will end in the Reflection Room where they can post a comment on the wall and then fill out a questionnaire about their response to the exhibit. Visitors will also receive materials from participating agencies and TCCAPC. Experienced mental health providers will be available in the event that the exhibit triggers the need for an attendee to talk to someone.

The Lisa Project The Lisa Project, developed by the San Joaquin County Child Abuse Prevention Council, made a powerful impression when it opened in Stockton in April. Most of the stories in the exhibition come from actual case files of children in San Joaquin County. Tulare County is the second county in the nation to receive The Lisa Project. This free exhibition will be on display in downtown Visalia at the corner of Acequia and Court Streets (west of the Convention Center) October 1-29. It will be open Thursday and Friday evenings from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. It will also be open Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Private tours can be arranged during weekdays.

“I hope Tulare County educators will come to see this exhibition and reflect on ways we all can better support children in need,” says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. To arrange a private tour for your program, call Cheryl Lennon-Armas at the Tulare Youth Service Bureau at (559) 686-9772. Due to the sensitive PG-13 nature of the exhibit experience, no one under the age of 13 will be admitted. If you are interested in being a volunteer for the exhibition, contact Anna Ferreira at the same number. For more information, visit

Photos above:
~ The Lisa Project is an exhibition narrated by a girl named Lisa who tells of her own abuse and the stories of other children.
~ Visitors to The Lisa Project tour rooms recreated from the lives of abused children and hear their stories via audio tour.

C.A.N. Program seeks classroom volunteers
The Child Abuse and Neglect (C.A.N.) Prevention Program – operated by the Tulare County Office of Education – is seeking volunteers. C.A.N. is a preventive program designed to help reduce the incidence of neglect, as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The program is seeking people who are comfortable in the classroom setting, available a few hours each month during the school year, and committed to child safety. Elena Hawley is the Project Coordinator for C.A.N. She and a team of volunteers help keep children safe from abuse by making classroom presentations to first- and fifth-grade children in Tulare County. The team presents to an average of 2,800 children per year.

The C.A.N. Program has established a training session for new volunteers on September 16 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The training will be held at the Tulare County Office of Education complex at 7000 Doe Avenue in Visalia. The program pays for volunteers to be screened, fingerprinted and tested for tuberculosis.

All presentations are given by teams of two people. First-grade children see a 10-minute video called My Body Belongs to Me and meet a hand puppet named Safety Sam. The fifth-grade presentations are more interactive. Following a video called Better Safe than Sorry, students discuss why the situations presented in the film were dangerous and how they can keep themselves safe. Both presentations have a similar message: children in a dangerous situation should say “NO!,” then get away and tell someone they trust.

“If you are someone committed to improving the lives of at-risk children, this is an extraordinary opportunity,” says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. To become a volunteer, contact Elena Hawley for an application and an interview. She can be reached at (559) 651-0130, ext. 3712.

to Top of Page

Migrant Education partners with SCICON
Students engage in outdoor learning, bolstering science and history education

Migrant Education and SCICON One of the summer highlights for 61 Kings and Tulare county migrant education students was the four days they spent learning and enjoying the SCICON campus in July. For this new program, Migrant Education resource coordinators selected fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students from Avenal, Stratford, Lemoore, Exeter, Tulare, Porterville and Strathmore who indicated an interest in learning in the outdoor setting.

Migrant Education partnered with the California Mini-Corps Program to support the summer SCICON program. The Mini-Corps Program is a statewide initiative which provides tutoring to migrant students, giving them the academic and social support they need to succeed in their course work and stay in school. The tutors come from a migrant family background and are full-time college students who are pursuing teaching credentials. The Mini-Corps Program is currently preparing a report on the academic progress students made by participating in the summer SCICON program.

Migrant Education and SCICON While at SCICON, students enjoyed many activities, including bird watching and studying reptiles and various aquatic creatures in the stream. “SCICON is a wonderful place for students,” says Migrant Education Resource Coordinator Rich McMullen. “It’s a great thing to be educated within a classroom, but learning from the kind of hands-on, real-life experience SCICON offers takes student engagement to the next level.” Mr. McMullen reports that Migrant Education hopes to replicate and expand the program for more students next summer.

Photos above:
~ Migrant education students enjoyed four days of hands-on science learning while at SCICON this summer. The students attending the outdoor education program were from Kings and Tulare counties.

to Top of Page

On People in Service and Support

Spotlight on People in Service and Support This summer, Diane Wilcock joined the Tulare County Office of Education as Region VII Lead for After School Programs. In this position, Ms. Wilcock will provide technical assistance to 564+ elementary, middle and high schools with after school programs in Fresno, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties, and support their efforts to close the achievement gap and raise student achievement. Ms. Wilcock is one of 11 regional after school leads in California.

Spotlight on People in Service and Support In July, the Theatre Company performed an original production entitled Rancho Tesoro. The new musical, which was written by Theatre Company director Brian Roberts, received critical and audience acclaim and was seen by over 2,200 people. Mr. Roberts reports that plans are being made to make the production available to other theater groups.

Spotlight on People in Service and Support The Roots Conference is a national-quality youth development program for educators, public health officials and mental health providers. The conference will feature sought-after speakers including Dr. Pedro Noguera, a professor and author with New York University, whose research focuses on various social and economic impacts on education. The conference, originally scheduled for October 14-15, has been changed to February 17-18, 2011 at the Visalia Convention Center. Visit
www.rootsconference.org for more information.

Spotlight on People in Service and Support
On September 23, three educators will be honored at the 17th Annual Confucius’ Birthday/Educators of the Year Awards dinner. The event, which is a partnership between the Tulare County Office of Education and the Central California Chinese Cultural Center, celebrates the careers of an extraordinary elementary, middle and high school teacher and commemorates China’s great philosopher and advocate for universal education — Confucius. This year’s winners are: Colleen Berry, a third-grade teacher at Palm Elementary (Cutler-Orosi Unified), Jacqueline Pennell-Meredith, a fine arts teacher at Burton Middle School (Burton School District), and Jim Fitzpatrick, an English teacher at Redwood High School (Visalia Unified).

to Top of Page

Gallery Notes

This month, the Child Care Educational Program celebrates its 45th anniversary as a provider of federal Head Start services. Also this month, the Visalia Times-Delta is focusing on the issue of child care in Tulare County through its 210 Connect program – a monthly forum organized by the newspaper and 210, the community center in downtown Visalia. Child Care Administrator Ray Chavez will serve on a panel to discuss the issue on September 13 at 210 (210 Center St.) at 7:00 p.m.

In July, Adam Valencia was selected as the new program supervisor for Choices – the youth development and prevention program that offers Friday Night Live, Reconnecting Youth and high school after school programs. The Choices After School Program, which operates at 21 Tulare County school sites, gains additional instructional support and administration from Educational Resource Services under the direction of Dr. Lupe Solis, administrator for student support and academic services.

Teachers visiting the Peña Planetarium this fall can enjoy two new programs, both which utilize the theater’s full-dome projection system. Saturn: Jewel of the Heavens, explores the once mysterious, ringed planet, while Earth, Moon and Sun explains how the three bodies work together. The public can also see these programs September 24 and October 29 at 7:00 p.m., respectively.

Kate Kinsella, Ed.D. will visit Tulare County October 9 to present a seminar entitled Targeted Oral Language Development to Accelerate English Learners. An award-winning educator and author, Dr. Kinsella is a faculty member at San Francisco State University and a consultant to school districts nationally regarding instruction of adolescent English learners. For information on attending her seminar, call (559) 651-3046.

to Top of Page

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

| Home Page | Site Index |

Please direct web site problems or comments to tcoeweb@tcoe.org.

Copyright © 2018, Tulare County Office of Education