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The News Gallery

October 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, Lynne Goodwin, Kellie Goodwin, Jim Kooler, Kate Stover, Kelley Petty, Rick Mitchell and Linda McKean.

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.

California Friday Night Live Partnership
Summit combines ideas, energy, empowerment
Students from across the state come together to help young drivers stay safe

Fired up! That is the expression both students and adults used to describe their experience at the Allstate Friday Night Live Youth Traffic Safety Summit in Anaheim last month. Almost 600 high school-age youth and adult allies were brought together by the California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) September 12-14, to learn, motivate and inspire one another to make a difference in lives of young drivers.

CFNLP Program Manager Lynne Goodwin says, "Traffic collisions remain the number one killer of young people and with technology elevating youth distractions, it is more important than ever that we address this issue. As the population most affected by this fact, engaging youth to help solve the problem is not just empowering – it makes good sense."

California Friday Night Live Partnership With funding from the Allstate Foundation, the California Office of Traffic Safety and leadership from the California Youth Council, CFNLP was able to convene youth from all over California to share the traffic safety campaigns they implemented over the past year, learn through a variety of workshop opportunities and plan the campaigns and initiatives that they will bring to their schools this year. Participants left the conference fired up, motivated and prepared to make a difference in their schools and communities.

"For over 15 years, the Partnership has convened statewide youth trainings, empowering young people to make differences in the health and safety of their communities," says Tulare County Superintendent of School Jim Vidak. "Their efforts have positively changed thousands of young people and our state." Housed at the Tulare County Office of Education, CFNLP is a statewide service provider, funded by the California Department of Health Care Services, to provide oversight and technical assistance to the 54 counties currently funded to implement Friday Night Live programs.

Photos above:
~ Members of the California Highway Patrol were among the key presenters at the Allstate Friday Night Live Youth Traffic Safety Summit last month.
~ Students from throughout the state also had an opportunity to share with summit attendees the campaigns they had developed in their counties.

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Coaches embrace Pursuing Victory with Honor
Seminar offers coaches and athletic directors practical sportsmanship strategies

Pursuing Victory with Honor On September 23, the Tulare County Office of Education sponsored a Pursuing Victory With Honor seminar in the Education Center. Pursuing Victory With Honor (PVWH) is the sports component of CHARACTER COUNTS! Coaches and athletic directors from four Central Valley counties attended the training to learn ways that they could build a culture of good sportsmanship on their campuses among student athletes, coaching staff, parents and spectators.

TCOE started its partnership with CHARACTER COUNTS! in 1994 and has been committed to PVWH since its inception in 1999. TCOE hosted its first PVWH seminar in 2001, which was attended by coaches, athletic directors and youth development agencies from throughout the Central San Joaquin Valley. Believing that sports presented a unique opportunity to carry the message of good character on and off the field, County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak has continued to offer PVWH seminars on a regular basis for coaches, youth developers and concerned community members.

At the most recent seminar, CHARACTER COUNTS! Coordinator Kelley Petty and Josephson Institute of Ethics faculty member John Forenti emphasized that while being victorious in an athletic contest is an honorable goal, the true potential of sport is more than having a good win/loss record. Mr. Forenti explains, "When working with coaches, who are often under considerable and sometimes unreasonable pressure to win, it's useful to remember an anecdote from Amos Alonzo Stagg, the great football coach at the University of Chicago. Coach Staff was once asked by a reporter after a particularly successful season, 'Coach, was this your most successful team?' Coach Staff replies, 'Well, I won't know that for another 20 or 30 years.' His response supports the belief that coaches have a great opportunity to improve the character of future generations."

At the close of the training, Mrs. Petty offered the coaches and athletic directors practical strategies for developing their own PVWH Game Plan. "Our office will support your efforts to build an intentional sportsmanship program," she said. "We have gathered best practices from coaches throughout the Valley, such as postgame sportsmanship recognitions, customized codes of conduct, game time spectator announcements and many other traditions. It is our intent to keep you on the field coaching while we work behind the scenes to provide support."

For more information on PVWH, contact Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.

Photo above:
~ Mark Beyer, athletic director for Chowchilla High School, was one of nearly 30 coaches and athletic directors from four Central Valley counties to attend the PVWH training. Attendees received practical strategies for developing good sportsmanship with their student athletes.

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Annual Red Ribbon event coming October 26
Choices Prevention Programs teams with Tulare County HHSA for huge family event

Red Ribbon event For the fourth consecutive year, the Choices Prevention Programs will host the county’s largest Red Ribbon Week event. Through a partnership with the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Choices will celebrate Red Ribbon Week on Saturday, October 26, from noon until 4:00 p.m. at the International Agri-Center in Tulare.

Featuring youth performances, hands-on art activities and community resource information booths, the free, all-ages event will have something for everyone. From local singers and dancers to martial artists and military cadets, the celebration will showcase the wide variety of clubs, sports and organizations in Tulare County that provide youth with a healthy alternative to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. “The theme of the 2013 Red Ribbon Week Celebration is ‘A Healthy Me is Drug Free,’” said event co-chair Al Rodriguez. “Our hope is that students and families will discover ways to make positive choices and stay drug free, not just for a week, but for life.” For more information, contact Al Rodriguez at (559) 651-0155.

Photo above:
~ Choices School Community Liaison Gus Ramirez tosses a ball to a student at the 2012 Red Ribbon Celebration. The student is wearing “Fatal Vision” goggles to simulate the effects of alcohol on vision while driving.

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SCICON museum expansion completed
Addition adds 1,500 square feet of much-needed natural history exhibition space

SCICON museum expansion Opened in 1971, the Phyllis Wall Museum at SCICON houses one of the finest natural history collections in Central California. The 40-year-old museum has served hundreds of thousands of visitors with its outstanding collections of wildlife, geology and natural history. SCICON Administrator Rick Mitchell reports that the growth in the number of visitors attending SCICON each year has made it difficult for students to access the museum. “As the number of student visitors rose, it became very apparent that additional exhibition space was needed,” he said. “Thanks to funding from the Tulare County Office of Education and a generous contribution from the Breakfast Rotary Club of Porterville, we were able to expand to accommodate new exhibits and additional groups of students.”

The addition adds 1,500 square feet of area and will feature displays of wildlife, Native American exhibits and natural resource displays. An enlarged Discovery Room will house live reptiles, amphibians and unusual insects, while the new Fluorescent Rock Room will greatly enhance the display of SCICON’s impressive rock collection.

Photo above:
~ SCICON Museum Specialist Mary Eberle has begun moving exhibits into the new gallery space, which will be ready for public viewing during the annual Barbecue & Widlflower Festival, April 13, 2014.

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Registration open for Expanding Your Horizons
Hands-on science and engineering event welcomes young women in grades 4-10

Expanding Your Horizons The 14th annual Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) conference is scheduled for Saturday, October 26, at the Visalia campus of College of the Sequoias. The student event is designed to encourage young women in grades 4 through 10 to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The conference showcases math- and science-related fields in interesting, hands-on ways. It also helps young women form personal contacts with women working in professions traditionally held by men.

Shannamar Dewey, a chemistry professor at COS will be the featured speaker, followed by dozens of breakout presentations conducted by women working in engineering, medical and scientific professions. Attendees will enjoy sessions on fingerprinting, rocket propulsion, solar energy, chemistry, physics and more. "We encourage young Tulare County women to register for this exciting learning opportunity,” says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “It’s important that they not only hear about careers based in math and science, but also identify with women who are leading the way in these fields. EYH presents outstanding opportunities for both."

The cost to attend Expanding Your Horizons is $20 per student and includes a hot dog lunch. To register, visit
www.tcoe.org/eyh before October 12. For additional information, call Julie Joseph at (559) 651-3641.

Photo above:
~ Last year, Dr. Judy Johnson, a research entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture in Parlier, introduced EYH participants to some insects in her presentation “What’s Bugging You?” Dr. Johnson talked about her career fighting pests that damage the area’s agricultural products.

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Spotlight Representatives from 77 colleges and universities, including Fresno State, were on hand to meet with Tulare County high school students at the annual College Night event in September. Thousands of students visited the event to meet with college representatives, attend various information sessions and to receive a copy of the College Planning Guide, published by Educational Resource Services. Copies of the guide are available at

Spotlight Lorena Lopez has been selected as the new coordinator for the Tulare County Council on Child and Youth Development. The council, which is jointly appointed by County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak and the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, serves to assess the child care needs in Tulare County and coordinate with agencies to create and implement programs to help children succeed. A Tulare County native, Ms. Lopez was the past academic counselor and trainer with DeVry University in Fresno.

Spotlight Past National Teacher of the Year Rafe Esquith visited Tulare County to speak at a dinner event for the Tulare County Teachers’ Association and at an administrators' luncheon at the County Office of Education. The 30-year teaching veteran, who has received international recognition for his work with a fifth-grade class in an immigrant area of Los Angeles plagued by crime and gangs, spoke of how he creates a learning sanctuary for his students, where they take responsibility for their own education and moral development. Mr. Esquith’s class of “Hobart Shakespeareans” annually perform works modernized with rock and roll tunes. The actors have been profiled by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and recognized by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Spotlight This fall, the La Sierra Military Academy drill and ceremony class has been practicing for community performances in the upcoming Veterans Day celebration and the Candy Cane Lane parade in Visalia. Juan DeOchoa, one of the newest members of the class, is deaf. He is pictured receiving instructions from his interpreter Kym King (in blue) with class instructor Chief Joe Andrade (far right).

Spotlight Fifth-grade student Jazemine Molina from West Putnam Elementary in Porterville (left photo) puts the finishing touches on her tiny tacos recipe at the 6th Annual Kids’ Cook-Off as part of the Visalia Home EXPO. Jazemine was the winner in the category for students ages 6-10. Students ages 11-16 also competed. Students were challenged to submit two creative, healthy recipes in advance of the event. The finalists then had to make their recipes for the judges, which included Network for a Healthy California program coordinator Nani Rowland (right photo, seated center).

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Gallery Notes

The Child Abuse and Neglect (C.A.N.) Prevention Program is seeking adult volunteers to help make presentations at Tulare County schools. C.A.N. is a classroom-based prevention program designed to help reduce the incidence of neglect, as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The program educates children, in first and fifth grades, to recognize and effectively deal with potentially dangerous situations. Last year, the team made over 800 presentations locally. The program has established a training session for new volunteers on October 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the School Health Programs office at 7000 Doe Avenue in Visalia. Volunteers interested in attending the training must complete an application by October 11. The application can be found at
www.tcoe.org/CAN. For more information, call Kathy Johnston, at (559) 651-0130, ext. 3710.

The TCOE Human Resources Division has developed a new “Employee Benefits” tab on its webpage containing important information on Health Benefits, Prescription Benefits, Dental Benefits, Vision Benefits, Basic Life/Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance, Long Term Disability and the Employee Assistance Program. Also included is basic information about the new Marketplace and employment-based health coverage offered. The intent of the new tab is to provide employees easy access to benefit information, telephone numbers and forms. Learn more at www.tcoe.org/HR.

The Tulare County Council on Child and Youth Development is holding its annual Inclusion Collaborative Training Breakfast on November 15. The training will be held in the Sequoia Room at 7000 Doe Avenue in Visalia from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an update on the School Readiness Improvement Program, to review the Executive Summary of the Special Needs Planning Grant completed through the Inclusion Committee and funded by First 5 Tulare County and to obtain feedback and input in prioritizing the next steps to improve services to children with special needs. For more information, call Lorena Lopez at (559) 651-1723.

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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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