The News Gallery
November 2010LEARNING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM - Choices After School Program bolsters classroom academics and connects students with college and careers
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
Contributors to this issue:
Christine Chapman, Marlene Moreno, Priscilla Gomez, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Rick Mitchell, Donna Glassman-Sommer, Jennifer Fisher, Kate Stover, Catherine Diaz, Virginia Sepeda, Nicole Zweifel, Jim Kooler 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 Marlene Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.
~ Gus Ramirez leads students from Pleasant View School on a tour of Porterville College.
Students benefit from instruction, enrichment
Choices After School Programs to strengthen academic support to students, schools
"So even though we’re in college, we still get to have fun?” Pleasant View student Alicia Bravo asked tentatively during a recent tour of the Porterville College (PC) campus. Alicia’s question was in response to the presentation by Associated Students of Porterville College President Phillip Duncan who described all the fun activities PC students enjoy and the personal freedom college affords. Alicia and 19 of her seventh- and eighth-grade classmates were at the college as part of an enrichment activity through their campus’ Choices After School Program.
The day before the tour, Choices After School site coordinator Gus Ramirez talked to the Pleasant View students about preparing for college, including the types of high school classes they should take and the lifetime earning potential of various degrees. The students report that the lesson contained a lot of new information. So, did the campus tour make the thought of college less scary? “Yes!" they exclaimed.
The campus tour is just one of many activities the 25 Choices After School sites offer to complement and enrich the instruction students experience during their regular day schedule. These activities are designed to connect students to higher education and careers. Students also receive homework support in areas identified by the school’s teaching staff.
This fall, Dr. Guadalupe Solis, administrator at Educational Resource Services assumed oversight for the Choices After School Program. Dr. Solis and instructional consultant Carole Wiley are working with After School coordinator Virginia Sepeda and her staff to strengthen academic support to the students. “In the three years since the program opened, many fine instructional practices have developed,” says Dr. Solis. “We will be working to model these practices throughout the sites, customizing them to meet the academic needs of each school.”
~ Mulcahy site coordinator Lisa Analla (l) discusses the school’s calendar with sixth-grade teacher Cindy Breedlove, who serves as academic support for the program.
~ Mulcahy students get time and extra support for homework.
~ Students enjoy physical activities such as a flag football game and visits from community organizations such as the Porterville Police Department which brought a police cruiser to Pleasant View School during safety month.
Teachers receive autism training locally
Program gives teachers in regular and special day classrooms instructional tools
Mariana beams as she enters her classroom at the Lindsay Unified preschool center. The happy preschooler is greeted by teacher Brooke Clark-Parbst who directs her to a picture schedule where she selects a card with a diagram for the first activity of the day. Mariana has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Ms. Clark-Parbst is an intern teacher who works with her and three other children with ASD at the center. Ms. Clark-Parbst, who is working on her Education Specialist Instruction Credential for students with mild/moderate disabilities, received training this summer on teaching children with autism.
“The training has been very helpful,” says Brooke. “I learned a great deal about the visual supports students with ASD often need. I also appreciated the emphasis on data collection.” For example, Brooke explains that she can collect data on the number of times Mariana and other students remain on task and use that information to adjust her instruction.
For teachers with an Education Specialist Instruction Credential who have a student with ASD, the state requires that they complete the autism authorization training now offered by the Tulare County Office of Education. “Our IMPACT Intern Program was one of the first in the state to offer the training this year,” reports New Teacher Development program manager Donna Glassman-Sommer. “The training has become embedded in the Intern Program and is now available to veteran teachers in Tulare, Kings, Fresno and northern Kern counties who are required to obtain the authorization.” The program typically includes an overview of the disorder, strategies for working with students with ASD, behavior and communication techniques, and a practicum. “We evaluate each participant’s experience and can often grant equivalencies for past class work and trainings,” says Ms. Glassman-Sommer. This summer, 92 teachers completed the training. Classes continue throughout the fall and spring semesters during evenings and on Saturdays. Ms. Glassman-Sommer reports that a hybrid on-line program, which combines on-line studies with face-to-face classroom learning, is now available. The hybrid on-line program was collaboratively developed by the directors of the IMPACT Intern Program located in Tulare, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and San Joaquin counties. Traditional classroom curriculum was developed by administrators from the Special Services Divison, including Dr. Eileen Wright and Ron Pekarak from the Bright Future Program.
“Our IMPACT Program is a state leader in the field of teacher training,” says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “We are delighted that the program offers teachers in the region access to experts in education for students with autism and the ability to obtain their authorization training locally.”
~ Intern teacher Brooke Clark-Parbst, who obtained her autism authorization training this summer through IMPACT Intern Program, works on a number recognition exercise with students Mariana and Manuel at the Lindsay Unified special education preschool center.
~ Monique Bekeschus of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (center) served as a trainer for the program at a session at Visalia Unified. For information on the autism authorization program, contact Donna Glassman-Sommer at (559) 730-2549.
Students to perform Meet Me in St. Louis
Theatre Company production includes special school performance of classic musical
Set over 100 years ago in the shadow of the St. Louis World’s Fair, the romantic story of beautiful Esther Smith and boy-next-door John Truitt is the centerpiece of the classic musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Audiences may know the musical as the movie made famous by actress Judy Garland, who played Miss Smith. Tulare County junior Sarah Stricklin and El Diamante High School junior James Yokley play Esther and John in a production that includes four public performances (see calendar for details). The production also includes a special performance for schools on November 19 at 9:00 a.m. at L.J. Williams Theater. Call (559) 901-5557 for school reservation information.
~ Sarah Stricklin and James Yokley star in "Meet Me in St. Louis".
COOL Night brings students to campuses
Event for middle school students redesigned for smaller groups and multiple sites
Last month, a panel of university, community college and high school students stood before an auditorium full of middle school students attending COOL Night (College Offers Opportunities for Life) at the College of the Sequoias. The students talked about the importance of getting involved in high school activities, taking college requisite classes, applying for financial aid and remaining focused on graduation. During the question-and-answer portion of the presentation, one student asked, “What is financial aid?”
The seemingly simple question signaled to the event organizers that they had hit on the right formula for COOL Night. This year, the event was redesigned to bring students to high school and community college campuses in smaller numbers than before. “The goal of the program is to create forums where middle school students experience high school and college environments and interact with older students,” said School-to-Career Project Director Randy Wallace.
Last month, nearly 200 middle school students from Woodlake, Orosi and Farmersville visited the college for a tour and to attend a breakout session about college readiness. Early next year, students from Tulare and Porterville will visit high schools in their area to become familiar with the campuses, academics and activities. To learn how to create a COOL Night event for middle school students in your community, call Randy Wallace at (559) 733-6101.
~ Middle school students enjoyed meeting high school and college students to learn from their experiences.
~ Students also toured the College of the Sequoias campus and attended a session on preparing for college.
Students enjoy lessons taught by troupe
Assistance League Visalia's The Kids on the Block provides free school performances
In a performance of The Kids on the Block (KOB), when presumptuous little Melody meets wheelchair-bound Mark, the questions begin to fly. Melody wants to know all about his condition, which she learns is called Cerebral Palsy. Mark and Melody are characters in a puppet troupe operated by Assistance League Visalia. Taking cues from Melody, students at Goshen Elementary soon feel equally comfortable asking Mark questions such as, “How do you go upstairs?” and “How do you take a bath?”
The Kids on the Block troupe performs in the Japanese bunraku style. While the talented puppeteers from Assistance League Visalia are visible to the audience, they seem to disappear from the stage as students become engrossed in the story. Mark and Melody are part of a performance vignette called “Making New Friends,” which carries a message about accepting people who have physical disabilities.
Assistance League Visalia has provided its free KOB shows to third- and fourth-grade classes for over a decade. The shows, which address social issues such as bullying, drugs, divorce, graffiti and respect, have been developed by teachers, psychologists, and occupational, physical and speech therapists. “I encourage schools to take advantage of this fine resource from a very talented group of citizens,” says County Superintendent Jim Vidak. To schedule a presentation, contact Assistance League member Kay Link at (559) 732-9628.
~ Puppets Mark and Melody are operated (l-r) by Judy Shuman and Donna Nottingham.
~ Students at Goshen Elementary quickly connect with the characters and want to ask questions.
~ Between performances, Judy Fitzgerald leads students in a song about personal differences.
On People in Service and Support
Mr. René Moncada (r), administrator for Services for Education & Employment and the La Sierra Military Academy since 2007, poses with staff from the Migrant Education program. Mr. Moncada has been selected as the new administrator for Migrant Education Region VIII (Kings and Tulare counties). He will transition into his new role this month.
Dr. Jim Kooler, administrator for the California Friday Night Live Partnership headquartered at the Tulare County Office of Education, recently received the Directors Award from the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. Dr. Kooler was nominated by County Superintendent Jim Vidak for the award, which recognizes his statewide leadership in the field of drug and alcohol prevention.
Last month, the Network for a Healthy California program distributed over 13,000 pumpkins to pumpkin patch events at 33 Tulare County school sites. Students enjoyed tasting pumpkin seeds, testing their knowledge of winter squash and participating in physical activities.
Attendance at the 2010 MyForest Summit, held at SCICON September 24-25, increased by nearly 50 percent over last year. The MyForest Summit, hosted by 3 Forests Interpretive Association, is designed to introduce students in grades 7-9 to careers in environmental science. Students attending the event worked alongside scientists and national parks personnel on several conservation projects.
This fall, the Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!) program partnered with the California Interscholastic Federation Central Section to honor student athletes for good sportsmanship during area football, volleyball and basketball games. CC! coordinator Kelley Petty has been working with officials to promote the Pursuing Victory with Honor Program (PVWH), which was developed by the creators of CHARACTER COUNTS! As part of the campaign, officials make note of players’ conduct on the field. A member from each team who best exhibits good sportsmanship is awarded a PVWH lapel pin. Players receiving the honor at a recent game between Orange Cove and Farmersville High Schools were Jesse Perez (#21) and Nick Salazar (#7). Officials pictured are (l-r) Rene Flores, Kerry Udell, Randy Mayabb, Juan de Santiago and Dave Johnson. For more information on PVWH, call Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.
This month, County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak will be honored by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) as the statewide Superintendent of the Year. He will receive the honor at ACSA’s Leadership Summit in San Diego November 5. Mr. Vidak has also received the 2010 Executive Leadership Award from the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA). This award is made annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to support public education through their leadership and vision. He was chosen for his exceptional work as Tulare County Superintendent of Schools and as 2009 President of CCSESA. As the state recipient, his name was forwarded to the Association of Educational Service Agencies for consideration for the national Justus A. Prentice Award. The Tulare County Hispanic Round Table has also selected Mr. Vidak for their Hall of Fame for his contributions to the community.
Last month, History Instructional Consultant Marsha Ingrao coordinated the visit of 27 Tulare County high school students to Fresno to watch the California Supreme Court argue cases of statewide importance, including one which involved the admissibility of evidence found on a cell phone. The goal of the event was to inspire students to learn more about the state’s justice system and to provide a rare view of how the court works.
Tulare County school board members, administrators and members of the County Committee on School District Organization have been invited to the Annual Fall Institute. The event, which will be held November 8, will provide attendees timely information on school legal, safety, curricular and budget issues. Attendees will also hear an address from California School Boards Association Chief Deputy Director Jeff Vaca. For information on the Fall Institute, call Christine Chapman at (559) 733-6302.
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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