The News Gallery
July/August 2014View and print a pdf version of this News Gallery.
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Shelly DiCenzo, Tammy Bradford, Will Kimbley, Brian Roberts and Tiffany Owens-Stark.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 733-6172.
Fiddler on the Roof coming to Tulare County
Theatre Company celebrates 50th anniversary of classic musical with summer production
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof's debut Broadway production, the TCOE Theatre Company will perform the popular musical seven times this summer. "Fiddler is one of the most popular musicals ever written," says Brian Roberts, director of the Theatre Company. "We wanted our students to be familiar with the material because it is a classic and because they will certainly come across it again as they keep performing."
Fiddler on the Roof is based on the story of Tevye, a father of five daughters who struggles to maintain his family and their Jewish traditions in pre-revolutionary Russia. Tevye, who will be played by Redwood High School junior Jack O'Leary, must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters and the edict of Russia's czar to evict the Jews from their village.
"We try to select very different material from year to year," says Mr. Roberts. "So, after doing Shrek last summer, a classic like Fiddler seemed natural. Our students will be challenged by the deep characters and the cultural differences they encounter in this show. It's an actor's musical, demanding strong characterizations that are very different from what our students have experienced in the past."
The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, was the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler also won nine Tony Awards.
~ Redwood High School's Jack O'Leary will star in Fiddler on the Roof as Tevye, a poor dairyman and father of five daughters in pre-revolutionary Russia.
Retirees honored for service to students
Twenty-nine employees retire, including three key SCICON staffers
This year, 29 men and women retired from the Tulare County Office of Education. At the annual retirement reception in June, Human Resources Director John Rodriguez and County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak honored the teachers, administrators, and support staff for giving more than 650 years of service to the students and districts of Tulare County. Among the retirees were three key staff members from SCICON - Director Rick Mitchell, Nurse Randy Mitchell and Maintenance Supervisor Kevin Humann.
~ Candice Haas (l), an 18-year teacher retiring from Court/Community Schools, closes her eyes to listen to a rap poem her students created for her. Court/Community School teacher Cecelia Archuleta plays the piece for Candice on her phone.
~ Jim Vidak (r) praised retiring SCICON Administrator Rick Mitchell, saying that he was "the best director SCICON has ever had." Mr. Mitchell worked 28 years at SCICON, overseeing numerous projects, including the development of the Circle J-Norris Ranch field study site, the construction of the Eagle Point Village, the expansion of the Phyllis Wall Museum of Natural History and the John Muir Lodge, and the completion of two special education cabins.
~ SCICON Administrator Rick Mitchell (r) honored Kevin Humann, who is retiring as the program's maintenance supervisor after 37 years of service. Mr. Humann was credited for keeping the SCICON campus running smoothly "24/7" and for serving as an important liaison over the years as the program constructed numerous new projects and infrastructures.
~ School Health Programs' Kathy Johnston (r) spoke about retiring SCICON nurse, Randy Mitchell. Mrs. Mitchell is retiring after 27 years with the outdoor education program, having developed the systems and protocols to keep thousands of children safe and healthy each year.
~ Christine White was honored for 15 years of service to the Bright Start Parent/Infant Program. She was introduced by Program Manager LouAnn Lubben (l). Human Resources Director John Rodriguez (r) emceed the event.
First 5 Tulare County grant to benefit preschool children
Early Childhood Education, Behavioral Health Services partner on behavior intervention
TCOE's Behavioral Health Services (BHS) and Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs will soon team up to support preschool children throughout the county with behavioral intervention services. The Tulare County Office of Education recently received a three-year grant from First 5 to accomplish the goal of training ECE teachers and staff utilizing evidence-based intervention practices. According to Tiffany Owens-Stark, a program specialist with Behavioral Health Services, "The purpose of the program is to help students develop positive social skills, while preventing problematic behavior that can lead to their removal from school."
BHS and ECE administrators have envisioned a program that includes monthly trainings along with consultations, presentation of teaching models, and direct services provided at both preschool sites and home settings. "We greatly appreciate that First 5 Tulare County has chosen to support our vision of preparing students for success in school," said Connie Smith, administrator for Early Childhood Education. "Our partnership with Behavioral Health Services will be a key element in providing students with the positive behavior tools they need to be ready to learn in kindergarten."
Tulare-Kings Linked Learning gets big boost
Award will link employers and schools, creating pathways to college and career
On May 30, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that Tulare-Kings Pathways Project was awarded a grant from the California Career Pathways Trust (CPT) in the top funding category - "up to $15 million." The Tulare-Kings Pathways Project, which was one of just 12 programs statewide funded at this level, will receive nearly $14.8 million over a five-year period to expand Linked Learning opportunities for students throughout the area. The CPT funding will help the Tulare-Kings Pathways Project develop the infrastructure needed to link the region's employer base with schools, enabling work-based learning for more students and delivering on Linked Learning's promise of equity, quality and rigor.
"We're excited to be leading Linked Learning efforts in our region," says Jim Vidak, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. "Linked Learning has already made a huge impact for our students. We've seen tremendous gains in student outcomes as a result of Linked Learning and this funding will help ensure that our students get the resources they need to thrive in college and in the professional world."
In Kings and Tulare counties, the Tulare County Office of Education, the Porterville Unified School District and INNOVATE Tulare Kings are working together to coordinate school districts, community colleges, nonprofit partners and employers in a research-proven approach to increase attendance, graduation rates and post-secondary degree completion. Eleven districts are participating in the Tulare-Kings Pathways Project: Corcoran Unified, Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified, Dinuba Unified, Exeter Unified, Hanford Joint Union High School District, Lemoore Union High School, Lindsay Unified, Porterville Unified, Tulare Joint Union High School District, Visalia Unified, and Woodlake Unified.
Randy Wallace, the Tulare-Kings Linked Learning Consortium director, reports that the CPT grant will help to create or enhance 45 pathways in the participating districts, including pathways in agriculture, health sciences, engineering, information technology, law and justice, digital communication, and education. By the 2017-18 school year, the partner districts expect to serve over 10,000 high school students and involve nearly 450 employer and community partners in the Tulare and Kings county area.
Linked Learning is a proven education approach that integrates rigorous academics with work-based learning opportunities that address the most challenging, but necessary, education reforms: Common Core State Standards, a-g college prep coursework, and 21st century skills. Research shows that Linked Learning students have higher graduation rates, higher test scores and are more likely to enroll in a postsecondary degree program than their peers at traditional high schools.
Dianne Shew named SCICON administrator
Lead teacher selected as administrator; Rick Mitchell retires after 28 years with program
In July, Dianne Shew will succeed Rick Mitchell as the administrator for Tulare County Office of Education's SCICON outdoor education program. Ms. Shew has been an employee of SCICON for 13 years. She began her career with the program as the Forestry Specialist and was promoted to Program Specialist in 2012. Working under the guidance of Rick Mitchell, Dianne oversaw all naturalists, interns and specialists. During her time as Forestry Specialist, she expanded the nursery program, reaching out to the community and supporting Arbor Day by providing tree seedlings for students who attend. "Dianne has a long history with SCICON and has had great success with the staff and expanding the program's services," says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Although she has big shoes to fill, we are confident Dianne will continue SCICON's excellent educational programming with her great enthusiasm and energy."
Ms. Shew is very active in the Springville community with the annual rodeo and the Women's Club. She is a member of the Springville Union School Board and is currently serving as President. Following in the footsteps of her mentor Rick Mitchell, Dianne's goal is to maintain the standards and traditions that have made SCICON the premier outdoor school in the West. "It is a testament to Rick's work that people say to me, 'How are you going to make sure SCICON stays the same?' instead of 'What are you going to do to make SCICON better?'"
Rick Mitchell joined the SCICON program as lead teacher in 1986. He was promoted to administrator in 1990. He oversaw the program's growth and expansion, including the construction of numerous projects and the development of the Circle J-Norris Ranch field study program. He says, "I have been fortunate to discover early on the power of teaching science in a 'hands-on' way. I have been extremely fortunate to find a program like SCICON where I could combine the teaching of science with introducing students to the wonders of the natural world."
~ Dianne Shew, SCICON's new administrator
Special Services Program Manager Tammy Bradford was recently selected as the Special Education Administrator of the Year for the Association of California School Administrators Tulare County Charter. Ms. Bradford oversees the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, the Occupational & Physical Therapy Program, and Student Support Services for the Special Services division.
Gloria Martinez, a student served by Special Services program for the visually impaired (VI), is pictured crossing a small creek at SCICON as teacher Irene Zavala looks on. VI staff members, who brought Gloria and a small group of Tulare county students to experience the challenges of the outdoor education program, hope to make the trip an annual event.
This year, 120 students graduated from Tulare County Office of Education's two charter high schools and programs for the severely handicapped. (top photo) Uriel Saldivar, valedictorian for University Preparatory High School, is pictured preparing to address the crowd of nearly 1,300 at the graduation ceremony held in the Porter Field House on the College of the Sequoias Visalia campus. Uriel will be attending University of California, Berkeley this fall. (middle photo) Angel Anthony Andrews graduated from the Community Based Instruction (CBI) class in Porterville. He smiles as his teacher Jan Owens shares some of his artwork with the audience. As part of his CBI instruction, Anthony obtained a part-time janitorial position at Porterville's Olive Street Elementary School. He plans to enter Porterville's Sheltered Workshop program in the fall. (lower photo) Jose Arzate, valedictorian for La Sierra Military Academy, acknowledges his brother who was watching the graduation ceremony via Skype from his assignment with the U.S. Army deployed at Okinawa, Japan. Jose has elected to join the National Guard this summer.
Will Kimbley, technology staff development & curriculum specialist with Educational Resource Services, helped to organize a CUE Rock Star Teacher Camp in June. Mr. Kimbley serves as the president of the board of Central Valley CUE (Computer Using Educators), a not-for-profit educational group organized to support technology usage in the classroom. The Central Valley Rock Star Teacher Camp was one of nine similar events held primarily in California this summer. Approximately 120 teachers from Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties learned from Apple Distinguished Educators, Google Certified Teachers and Microsoft Innovative Educators from throughout the state. Teachers learned how to engage students through a variety of technologies, including robotics and various applications. For more information on CUE or technology trainings, call Will Kimbley at (559) 651-3008.
In June, two Instructional Services Division administrators received promotions: Dr. Guadalupe Solis has been named Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services, while Charlene Stringham was named Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services.
In July, Jodi Fortney, TCOE's teacher of the severely handicapped at Mt. Whitney High School, will present at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Project Directors' Conference in Washington, D.C. Ms. Fortney and teachers across California worked on developing the National and Center State Collaborative (NCSC) comprehensive system which includes curriculum, professional development material and an alternate assessment aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Administrators at the California Department of Education praised Ms. Fortney for the countless hours she spent in creating curriculum that reaches all students with severe cognitive disabilities. As a result of her hard work, she has been recognized nationally by NCSC partners and the OSEP.
Many of the dates for the Tulare County Office of Education's 2014-2015 student events have been set. Visit www.tcoe.org/CalendarOfEvents to see event dates, contact information and any available flyers.
Last month, the Instructional Services Division honored 22 Tulare County schools as part of its annual Torch Academic Achievement Awards program. The schools receiving the award have demonstrated effective instructional practices that are making a difference in improving student achievement. Additionally, 31 schools received the Sustaining the Flame Award. These past Torch Award recipients have continued to show, year-after-year, significant gains in academic performance. Alice G. Mulcahy Middle School in Tulare is the longest running Sustaining the Flame Award recipient, having received the honor for four consecutive years. A list of the award winners is available at www.tcoe.org/TorchAward.
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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