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The News Gallery

July/August 2011

Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Priscilla Soliz, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Anne Clifford, Steve Tellez, Jamie Burnitski, René Moncada and Marilyn Willers.

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 Jennifer Fisher at jenniferf@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.

Theatre Company Theatre Company readies lively July show

The cast of the Theatre Company’s summer musical, Hairspray, is enjoying rehearsals of the high energy, Tony Award-winning show. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Hairspray centers around the lives of teens who dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV program. “The musical is a dance- and song-intensive production, full of lively, early-60s inspired numbers,” says Theatre Company Director Brian Roberts.

Theatre Company Karen Burley (above left), a nine-year veteran of the Encore Theatre in Tulare and a senior at Tulare Union High School plays the infectious Tracy Turnblad, a girl who changes the dance show forever. “There’s a lot of energy and a lot of love in this show,” she says. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show with African American friends.

Hairspray has a good message,” says Golden West High School’s Mikey Hamilton (above right), who plays teen heartthrob Link Larkin. “The characters don’t let the way they look get in the way of their dreams.” TCOE Theatre Company veteran and Redwood High School senior Steven Braswell (left) plays dance show host Corny Collins.

For a list of performances, refer to the Upcoming Events section.

Photos above:
~ Karen Burley from Tulare Union High School plays Tracy Turnblad, while Mikey Hamilton from Golden West High School in Visalia plays Link Larkin.
~ Steven Braswell of Redwood High School in Visalia plays Corny Collins.

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Special Services graduates 48 this year
WorkAbility programs provide some students the work skills to find employment

Special ServicesGraduation is a special transition time for many of the students in Special Services Community Based Instruction (CBI) classes. At age 21, students have learned life skills such as navigating their city’s bus system and managing a checking account. They have also picked up many marketable job skills through their WorkAbility assignments. While many transition into adult programs such as ABLE Industries or the Creative Center, students in Anne Clifford’s Tulare CBI class want to “get a job!” Based on their work experience and the excellent character development training (utilizing the CHARACTER COUNTS! Program) infused in daily instruction, several of them were well on their way to meeting that goal.

Special Services Lupe Fernandez has worked at Smart & Final in Tulare for the last three years through the WorkAbility Program, specifically on the manager’s request. He has done an outstanding job and was always rated ‘excellent’ on his bi-monthly time cards. “His supervisor tells me that Lupe starts working the minute he walks through the doors,” says Ms. Clifford. “We are hoping that this fall, Lupe may be hired to work at that store.” Ms. Clifford also reports that Lupe is an excellent role model. “He knows what the Pillars of Character stand for and he practices each one on a daily basis. He can often be heard telling another student to do the right thing.”

Special Services For two years, Kevin Valdez worked at Little Caesar’s Pizza in Tulare, performing many different job duties in the kitchen. His supervisors soon discovered Kevin was good at almost any job he was given. This past school year, Kevin worked in the kitchen at Chili’s. His supervisor said that Kevin is one of the best workers they have because he, “stays focused until the job is done.”

“Congratulations to the 48 Special Services program graduates,” says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “And congratulations to the teachers and aides who helped these young people become successes. We are proud of you!”

Photos above:
~ Tulare County Board of Education trustee Debby Holguin places a medal on Isabel Alvarado at the recent Visalia-area graduation ceremony as Program Manager Donna Martin and Superintendent Vidak look on.
~ Lupe Fernandez at work at Smart & Final.
~ Kevin Valdez in the kitchen at Chili’s.

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Careers of 32 celebrated at annual reception
Retirees served Tulare County Office of Education for a combined 750 years

This year, 32 men and women retired from the Tulare County Office of Education. At the annual retirement reception in June, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jeanne Nava and County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak honored the teachers, administrators, and support staff for giving more than 750 years of service to the students and districts of Tulare County. Mrs. Nava noted that 12 of the retirees had served 30 or more years. Following are additional photos and a complete list of retirees.

Photos above:
~ Assistant Superintendent Jeanne Nava highlights the career of Alice Castello (r), who served for 30 years as an instructional assistant for the severely handicapped within the Special Services Division.
~ Linda McKean, Program Manager for the Mild to Moderate Programs introduces Mary Jo Lichty (r), who retired after 34 years of service. Ms. Lichty was a Mild/Moderate Program special education teacher for several Tulare County school districts. In 1996, Ms. Lichty was selected Teacher of the Year through the countywide Excellence in Education Awards Program.

2010/2011 Retirees
Soledad Abella - 16 years
Rosa Aceves - 15 years
Diana Bean - 30 years
Guadalupe Burell - 8 years
Emilia Burns - 36 years
Rosemary Calvo - 24 years
Alice Castello - 30 years
Christine Chapman - 17 years
Pasqual Fernandez - 17 years
Idolina Gaitan - 20 years
Tina Golbek - 16 years
Maria Gutierrez - 25 years
Mary Jo Lichty - 34 years
Susan Licking - 35 years
Josephine Martinez - 25 years
Dan Maxey - 37 years
Joe Mendoza - 25 years
Margaret Moholt - 16 years
Diana Moore - 33 years
Maria Navarrete - 10 years
Beatriz Nino - 18 years
Linda Noel - 20 years
Yolanda Oviedo - 17 years
Linda Paez - 12 years
Louie Perez - 42 years
Virginia Ramirez - 10 years
Angela Rast - 21 years
Robert Romero - 34 years
Mariana Stevens - 8 years
Eugene Trevino - 35 years
Adelita White - 31 years
Jeff Willers - 40 years

Retirees at 2011 Reception (front row l-r): Margaret Moholt, California Friday Night Live Partnership; Tina Golbeck, Child Care Educational Program; Linda Noel, Child Care Educational Program; Maria E. Navarrete, Child Care Educational Program; Robert Romero, SCICON.
(back row l-r): Joe Mendoza, Court/Community Schools; Rosemary Caso, Services for Education & Employment (SEE); Alice Castello, Special Services; Jeff Willers, Special Services; Mary Jo Lichty, Special Services.

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Meeting migrant family needs in two counties
Program offers a wide variety of instruction to students and parents this summer

Migrant Education As instructional activities wind down for the summer in most school districts, Migrant Education has a full slate of programs for the students it serves in Tulare and Kings counties. In June, Migrant staff established a USDA Summer Food Program site at the Linnell Farm Labor Center near Visalia (photo). The Linnell Center is one of 22 Summer Food Programs operated by various organizations in the county. The Migrant program will open another site in Ducor this month. Migrant Account Clerk Carol Maldonado reports the Linnell center will serve 30-40 children a healthy lunch weekdays for nine weeks while they are home for the summer.

In neighboring Kings county, Migrant Education is offering its annual science camp at Burris Park. Migrant students are learning science principles through hands-on activities such as rocket building. In the Porterville area, Migrant tutors are supporting math and English instruction through intensive intervention programs, so that students return to school performing at a higher level than the previous year. “Migrant parents are also going to be served,” says Administrator René Moncada. “In July, we will offer a nine-week Parent Institute for Quality Education (or PIQE) training to give parents the skills they’ll need to further their own children’s academic success. We are fortunate to have so many excellent partners in the districts we serve to make all of this happen!”

Photo above:
~ Children enjoy a meal at the Linnell Farm Labor Center.

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Spotlight The administration team from Lindsay Unified recently visited the SEE Challenge Course as part of a staff development retreat. The course includes a series of activities designed to create a positive team-building experience. Participants enjoyed the experience, saying that it was “non-threatening” and that it “required us to really work together and support each other.” Pictured on the low ropes course is Cheri Doria, supported by Stephanie McDaniel and Debbie Warner (l-r). To schedule a visit to the SEE Challenge Course, call Steve Tellez at 733-6730, ext. 206.

Spotlight Enid Brinkman (r), credentials and retirement supervisor for Human Resources, was honored with the Lyda Smiley Award from the California School Nurses Organization, Central Valley Section. The award is given annually to a person not actively engaged in school nursing who has made significant contributions to the practice. The CSNO praised Ms. Brinkman for sharing the practices developed by Central Valley school nurses with credentials supervisors throughout the state and for her diligence in monitoring licenses and credentials. Ms. Brinkman is pictured with Candy Hilvers from School Health Programs.

Spotlight Rob Chism, technology specialist with the Special Services’ Assistive Technology Center, recently received the Personal Achievement Award from the regional Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Mr. Chism will be a guest on the local portion of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon produced by KMPH and broadcast over the Labor Day weekend. Mr. Chism works to connect students with special needs to the latest in assistive technologies – from sophisticated electronic speech devices to simple writing tools.

Spotlight In June, the La Sierra Military Academy held its graduation ceremonies, awarding diplomas to 29 cadets from the Military Academy and independent studies programs. Rafael Cazares, class valedictorian for the Military Academy, is preparing to enter the Air Force. Principal Anjelica Zermeño reports that 23 graduates will be attending community college in the fall, two have enrolled in vocational training programs and four have enlisted in the military.

Spotlight Last month, local school administrators attended the annual Summer Institute. The conference provided information on topics ranging from cyberbullying and student discipline to curriculum and civil rights. The keynote speaker was five-time Olympic medal winner John Naber, who shared principles Olympic champions use to set and meet personal goals.

Spotlight In May, the Consulate of Mexico, based in Fresno, presented the Migrant Education Region VIII Program with 5,000 history and literature books. Administrator René Moncada (l) poses with Claudia Delgado and Daniel Alvarez from the consulate’s office. The books will be distributed to students throughout Kings and Tulare counties.

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Gallery Notes

Students, ages 6-14, may be chosen to compete in the annual Central Valley Kids Cook-Off at the Visalia Home Expo on September 24 by submitting a nutritious lunch recipe. From entries submitted online by August 26, organizers will select 10 finalists to prepare their recipes before a live audience at the Visalia Convention Center. Highlights from the event will be featured on the Valley PBS television program Hey Kids, Let’s Cook! Visit
visaliahomeshows.com/kidscookoff for details.

In May, County Superintendent Jim Vidak hosted a Rachel’s Challenge school assembly for nearly 1,000 students at El Monte Middle School in Orosi. Rachel Scott was the first person killed during the tragic Columbine High School shootings of 1999. Her acts of kindness coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for a life-changing school program. Following the assembly, staff from Rachel’s Challenge trained student leaders on sustaining the momentum created by the presentation. For information on Rachel’s Challenge presentations, call Choices Program Supervisor Adam Valencia at (559) 651-0155, ext. 3611.

The Tulare County Gang Prevention Task Force is seeking student teams for the Step Up Junior High Challenge. The challenge, which is open to 25 middle/junior high teams, is designed to engage students in project-based learning over the 2011-12 school year. Teams will have the opportunity to show how their projects made a positive difference at school or in the community in a competition for cash prizes totaling $15,000. For details, contact Jed Chernabaeff at (559) 636-5000.

The California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) was one of 14 organizations to recently receive a $10,000 grant from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. CFNLP’s Youth Council will apply the grant to a project entitled Telling the Story: What the Numbers Say About the Underage Drinking Problem utilizing data available through kidsdata.org.

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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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