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The News Gallery

March 2013

View and print a pdf version of this News Gallery.
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Shelly DiCenzo, Nani Rowland, Kelley Petty, Jim Beauchamp, Linda McKean, Paula Terrill, Tony Cavanagh and Kent McNatt.

The News Gallery is published monthly with the exception of double issues printed for July/August and December/January. To receive the News Gallery, visit www.tcoe.org/GetTheGallery, or contact Jennifer Fisher at jenniferf@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172.

Hearing and Speech Center
Center certified to test infants for hearing loss
Hearing & Speech Center expands services to children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing

The California Newborn Hearing Screening Program (NHSP) was created as a result of Assembly Bill 2780, Chapter 310, Statutes of 1996. This law requires the establishment of a comprehensive hearing screening program for early detection of hearing loss in newborns and infants. Hospitals with licensed perinatal services are required to screen all newborns born in hospitals with the goal to identify newborns with a hearing loss prior to three months of age and to implement audiological and early intervention services by six months of age.

Parents struggling with the news that their newborn baby may be deaf or hard-of-hearing now have a diagnostic resource in Tulare County. The TCOE Special Services Hearing and Speech Center has recently obtained a Medi-Cal/CCS (California Children's Services) certification – a required designation for all Type C Communication Disorders Centers testing infants for hearing loss. In the past, parents from Tulare County had to travel to Children's Hospital of Central California in Madera to have their infant tested. According to Dr. Jim Beauchamp, TCOE audiologist, "transportation to another county is a big hurdle for some of our parents and as a result, some infants weren't getting the treatment they needed which could impact their development and learning."

Hearing and Speech Center Dr. Beauchamp explains that when an infant fails the hearing test administered at birth in the hospital, a referral is made to a Type C Communication Disorders Center for a diagnostic hearing test. Families in Tulare County are referred to the TCOE Center which is located in Tulare. When diagnostic testing is positive for a hearing loss, the results are reported to California Children's Services and the child's primary physician who then notifies the parent and a provider of early intervention services. In Tulare County, Sarah Hamilton, program manager of the Special Services Bright Start Infant Program, is notified and contacts the parent to enroll the child in early intervention services.

Dr. Beauchamp has tested four infants since obtaining the state certification. The center uses a Vivosonic system to conduct the test, which takes about 30 minutes to administer. He explains that the test is best administered while the child sleeps, as it utilizes in-ear stimulation and monitors brainstem activity with electrodes attached to the child's head. The Vivosonic software measures Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR), comparing the child's results to hearing "norms" that are part of the software. "I usually perform the test twice, just to reassure the parents who are understandably anxious," says Dr. Beauchamp, a 30-year veteran of the Tulare County Office of Education.

For older students, advances in hearing aid technology have made "educational audiology the most exciting area of the field," says Dr. Beauchamp. He reports on the development of Bluetooth devices which can be programmed to route multiple signals into the hearing aids – a television, a cell phone, a computer and other devices – giving the student the ability to toggle back and forth between them.

"We are proud to expand our services to children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing," says Special Services Assistant Superintendent Linda McKean. "Most importantly, we are proud to offer parents the convenience of having a continuum of quality service for their child from birth to adulthood."

To learn about eligibility and hearing services, contact
Dr. Jim Beauchamp at (559) 685-2626.

Photos above:
~ Dr. Beauchamp fits a child with new ear molds. Children may wear a set of ear molds for up to six months before they outgrow them. Infants may need replacements every two months.
~ Dr. Beauchamp fits an FM receiver on a hearing aid. In a classroom setting, the teacher wears an FM transmitter around her neck. The transmitter broadcasts the teacher's voice to the receiver fitted to the hearing aid in the student's ear.

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TCOE Foundation receives boost for students
Fresno Coin Gallery to support education in Tulare County this month

For the month of March, the Fresno Coin Gallery is holding its annual Gold Buying Event to benefit local schools. This year, Tulare County students will benefit for the first time. For the past three years, the Foster Family, owners of the Fresno Coin Gallery, have donated 10% of every gold-buying transaction made during the month of March to the Fresno County Office of Education (FCOE) Foundation – a donation totaling over $216,000.

This year, in the hope of increasing the 2013 donation, Fresno Coin Gallery expanded the geographic area of the event by inviting County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak and the TCOE Foundation to participate. For the month of March, community members may sell their gold at Fresno Coin Gallery’s new Visalia Jewelry & Loan at 1615 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia. The Coin Gallery will in turn donate 10% of the transaction to the TCOE Foundation. “We appreciate the Foster Family – a family with hearts for education,” says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “We look forward to working with the Fresno Coin Gallery through their new Visalia Jewelry & Loan to bring this wonderful support to Tulare County students.”

The funds donated in previous years to the FCOE Foundation were used to support numerous academic competitions, expand arts education offerings, support student physical wellness and more. In Tulare County, donations will be made available to countywide student events ranging from Academic Decathlon and Science Olympiad to Mock Trial and History Day. Additionally, the funds may support the SCICON outdoor education program, the Theatre Company, the Peña Planetarium/History Theater, and the CHARACTER COUNTS!/Pursuing Victory with Honor Programs.

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Schools invited to join Adopt-a-Player program
Visalia Rawhide and CHARACTER COUNTS! partner to promote good sportsmanship

Visalia Rawhide and CHARACTER COUNTS! This spring, the Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!) Program will partner with the Visalia Rawhide Baseball Team to promote good sportsmanship in Tulare County schools. Together, the Rawhide and CC! have created an “Adopt-a-Player” program to carry the message of Pursuing Victory with Honor, a sportsmanship program created by the founders of CHARACTER COUNTS!

CC! Coordinator Kelley Petty reports that 25 Tulare County schools may participate in the program this year. She will work with the selected schools to coordinate visits from Rawhide team members who will talk to students about the importance of good sportsmanship. “We look forward to supporting character education programs in Tulare County schools, on and off the field,” she says. “Visits from the players can be tailored to individual school needs – ranging from school-wide assemblies to small-group meetings with athletic teams.” She also reports that the CC! office is available to provide ongoing PVWH trainings and materials.

“We are always delighted to see the community support grow for CHARACTER COUNTS! and the increasingly popular Pursuing Victory with Honor program,” says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “We are particularly excited that the Rawhide chose to help us create a character education program through their “Adopt-a-Player” program to reinforce the message that CHARACTER COUNTS! on and off the field.” To participate in the program, or for more information, contact Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.

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Grant aids in changing health of rural residents
Network for a Healthy California partners with Tulare County Public Health Department

Emy Blankenship, a project specialist with the new Community Transformation Grant (CTG), has a powerful visual aid in the war against childhood obesity. Her “Rethink Your Drink” display contains photos of popular beverages students enjoy along with small plastic bags containing the equivalent amount of sugar in each drink. Seemingly healthy beverages such as a bottle of orange juice or a sports drink have 9-11 teaspoons of sugar each. The eye-opening display is a part of presentations she is making to community groups, school board members and students in the Alpaugh, Orosi, Dinuba, Palo Verde, Richgrove, Pleasant View and Goshen areas.

Rethink Your Drink
Ms. Blankenship’s presentations are part of a larger effort to improve the health and safety of adults and children living in these communities. The CTG is a program being lead by Tulare County Public Health Department in partnership with TCOE’s School Health Program and the Network for a Healthy California. Tulare County was one of only 12 counties in the state to receive the federal award funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Network coordinator Nani Rowland reports that obesity rates for Tulare County children ages 2-18 is a staggering 44 percent. A major emphasis of the Network’s work under the CTG is to foster active living and healthy eating, and to promote safe and healthy physical environments. The efforts being conducted in schools entail the development of strong school wellness policies that address physical activity and nutrition, and will bring about positive changes in student health. The Choices After School Program has been a key partner in providing an avenue for nutrition education in after school programs in the targeted communities.

The Network has also been working in the seven communities to provide school districts the technical assistance they need to create safe routes to school. Two other strategic directions being covered by the County of Tulare are a tobacco-free living campaign designed for smoke-free multi-unit housing and community prevention services addressing the self-management of chronic diseases. “While our efforts are focused on implementing two of the four strategic directions, we are looking for opportunities to integrate these efforts to create a comprehensive and sustainable model of community-based prevention that maximizes health outcomes for students and their families,” says Nani Rowland.

To learn more about the Community Transformation Grant and the resources available, visit
www.tcoe.org/CTG. Resources such as the Parent Lesson Plans include lessons on the wellness policy, foods and beverages on campus, physical activity on campus, sugary beverages, and support for parents taking action in schools.

Photo above:
~ Emy Blankenship discusses the “Rethink your Drink” campaign with a group of district food service administrators recently. The campaign is part of a larger Community Transformation Grant designed to improve the health of Tulare County residents in rural communities.

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Spotlight For the second year in a row, Harmony Magnet Academy captured the overall title in the Tulare County Academic Decathlon. After winning the small school division title, the Strathmore-based high school emerged victorious over large school champion Redwood High School. As the overall winner, Harmony Magnet earned the right to compete in the state finals this month in Sacramento. Harmony Magnet team members include Andreas Arreola, David Dunn, Matthew Jones, Andrew Lewis, Matthew Nguyen, Brandon Olmos, Kisha Thayapran, Lorena Vargas and Lorenzo Vargas.

Spotlight Choices supervisor Adam Valencia congratulates members of the Frank Kohn School (Tulare) Team 2 as they take top prize in the 15th Annual Anti-Tobacco Challenge Bowl. The Kohn Team narrowly defeated past champion Earlimart Middle School. The game show-style competition, which attracted 22 teams, tests the sixth-grade participants’ knowledge of the tobacco industry and the harmful effects of tobacco use. Earlimart Team 1 and Team 2 took second and third place respectively.

Spotlight After 11 grueling rounds and 236 tough competitors, Mitchell Miya, an eighth-grade student at Pioneer Middle School in Hanford, earned the top speller honors at the annual Tulare County Spelling Championship February 27. Mitchell successfully spelled the word “facticide” to defeat Ikonkar Khalsa, a seventh-grade student from Washington Elementary in Lindsay. Mitchell will compete in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. beginning May 28.

Spotlight Sitting before Tulare County Superior Court Presiding Judge Lloyd Hicks at the Mock Trial finals last month, the Redwood High School team successfully defeated challenger El Diamante High School to earn a spot at the state competition this month in Riverside. The Redwood prosecutors pictured are (l-r) Zackery Michaelson, Jade Hayes (standing) and Marizabel Magallan.

Spotlight Visitors to the Burrel Avenue office in Visalia this month can enjoy over 100 drawings, paintings and sculptures in the “Best of Show” Student Art Exhibition. One of the pieces featured in the show is a wonderful watercolor entitled Elephant by Kendall McGovran, a senior at Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia. The exhibition is open Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. A public reception honoring the student artists will be held in the Education Center 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. on March 15.

Spotlight Last month, La Sierra Military Academy held a flag retirement ceremony in partnership with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. For information on the school’s flag retirement ceremony or other forms of community service, contact Principal Anjelica Zermeño at (559) 733-6963.

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Gallery Notes

Educational Resource Services is preparing for its first annual Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros event scheduled for April 27 in Mooney Grove Park. Día is a free community event promoting literacy and connecting young people and families to books. The Día celebration will include book giveaways and presentations featuring authors Margarita Engle, Virginia Pilegard, Harjot Singh and Thien Pham, plus hands-on activities and community cultural performances from local mariachi, roping, guitar, and Ballet Folklorico groups. Partners in the Día event include Visalia Parks and Recreation, Tulare County Public Library and the County of Tulare, which has generously agreed to provide its Loop Buses from Visalia, Tulare and outlying areas. For information, contact Beth Olshewsky at (559) 651-3042.

SCICON will hold its annual Barbecue & Wildflower Festival on Sunday, April 21, from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Barbecue is organized by Friends of SCICON to benefit the outdoor education program. SCICON is also pleased to announce that its Summer Academies will return for students entering grades 6-8. The weeklong summer camp and academic experience will be offered June 16-21 and June 23-28. Students can select from outdoor activities, including archery, mountain biking, rock climbing and nature studies. Academic options include technology, engineering and museum wildlife studies. For information on the Barbecue or the Summer Academies, call (559) 539-2642.

Next month, the Theatre Company will perform Britain on Broadway, its spring workshop production based on selections from classic musicals including Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Oliver! and Jekyll and Hyde. Four performances will be offered April 25-27 at the El Diamante High School Theater in Visalia. For ticket information, call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

University Preparatory High School has partnered with local athletic merchant Sole 2 Soul to hold the first annual Totally Wicked Neon 5K Run to benefit the school. The run will be held May 25 in Mooney Grove Park. For information on entry fees, call Stacy Hanson at (559) 730-2529.

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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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