The News Gallery
December 2014/ January 2015View 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, Paula Terrill, Carole Wiley, Charlene Stringham, Jeanne Croson, Shelley Chappell, Helen Milliorn-Feller, Susan Wendt.
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.
University Prep collects over 5,000 food items
Students initiate food drive, promoting it using Hunger Games-style videos, activities
Jazmine Morfin, a University Preparatory High School (UPHS) junior and Leadership Club President, saw something online that inspired her to make a difference in Tulare County. "Jazmine is always looking for a project," said UPHS Lead Teacher Helen Milliorn-Feller. "She has the ambition and the compassion to initiate projects that can make a difference in the community, asking the staff 'can we do this here?'" What Jazmine found was the DoSomething.org website, which challenges young people to take action in their communities to solve a problem. There, among the dozens of community engagement ideas, was a Hunger Games-themed food drive.
Jazmine and her classmates seized on the idea of creating their own food drive and modeling it after the popular book and movie series. The leadership club organized homerooms into "districts" like those in the films. Each district was represented by a pair of seniors, who served as "tributes" to compete in a variety of fun events. Together, Jazmine and classmate Mackenzie Mitchell recorded four promotional broadcasts in the style of The Hunger Games. The weekly broadcasts were shown in homerooms and designed to build excitement and participation in the food drive. The videos also served as a project for Mrs. Milliorn-Feller's journalism class.
To encourage the students, UPHS's Parent Support Organization (PSO) pledged to rent out a movie auditorium for a private screening of the newly released The Hunger Games: Mockingjay movie for all UPHS students to attend if they were successful in raising 5,000 or more food items. At the end of the drive, which concluded November 18, faculty and students counted all the cans and food items - 5,055 total! The PSO was delighted to honor their promise and to help take the collected items to the Visalia Rescue Mission and Bethlehem Center food shelters.
Jazmine, who one day hopes to work in international business helping people throughout the world, said, "As part of our campaign, we worked to educate each other about hunger in our county and globally. I learned that as many as 17,000 Tulare County children go hungry each day. It was something that many of us didn't realize." The Hunger Games-themed food drive and the upcoming jeans and coat drive mesh well with UPHS's mission to provide leadership and service learning opportunities to each student. To learn more about supporting UPHS's coat and jeans drive planned for December, call Helen Milliorn-Feller at (559) 730-2529.
~ Jazmine Morfin (holding sign) celebrates the completion of the UPHS food drive.
~ Each homeroom at the school competed to collect the most food items.
~ Mackenzie Mitchell and Jazmine Morfin are pictured recording a promotional video for the food drive. Through the use of a green screen, Mackenzie was able to integrate Hunger Games-style backgrounds for the version that was shown to students each week.
Employee milestone anniversaries celebrated
Annual Longevity Award Dinner recognizes 72 employees for nearly 1,200 years of service
The annual TCOE Longevity Awards Dinner was held on Wednesday, November 12 at the Visalia Convention Center. The dinner was hosted by the Human Resources Division, with Director John Rodriguez serving as emcee. This year, 72 employees were honored for service milestones of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 40 years. Among them was 40-year veteran Fran Coelho, an external business services technician with the Business Services Division. John Wilborn, director for External Business Services, said, "Fran is an extremely meticulous employee who makes a great effort to ensure her work is correct. She does everything humanly possible to support our districts and their employees. She does not want any district to ever have to pay any penalties nor any of their employees to lose out on what they are entitled to."
John Rodriguez shared with the audience at the Longevity Awards that the 72 employees had contributed a total of 1,180 years of service to the students of Tulare County.
Earlier this fall, the Early Childhood Education Program recognized its employees who had achieved similar service milestones. In total, 77 employees had served a total of 1,295 years with the program.
~ Fran Coelho receives recognition from County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak for her 40 years of service to External Business Services.
~ Employees who were honored for 25 years of service included (l-r) Tony Cavanagh, CHOICES Prevention Programs; Elaine Grande, School Health Programs; Sherri Rocha, External Business Services; and Bea Humann, SCICON.
TCOE wins prestigious Golden Bell Award
Educational Resource Services honored for 21st Century learning model
For its work in developing a program to promote, integrate and support 21st Century learning into all areas of education both locally and outside the county, Educational Resource Services (ERS) will receive a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association (CSBA) this month in San Francisco. The prestigious award, now in its 35th year, is being given to ERS for its Common Core Implementation & Support program, along with programs in 60 other districts and county offices of education this year.
"The ERS Common Core Implementation & Support program was an intentional investment in the future of our students," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "The result is the creation of an innovative instructional culture that is getting a lot of attention statewide."
According to Charlene Stringham, assistant superintendent of Instructional Services, ERS's Common Core Implementation & Support program provides multi-faceted services to educators. "Our program includes extensive professional development offerings, on-site mentoring partnerships in 57 districts, interdepartmental CCSS collaborative efforts, a wide array of relevant, engaging, CCSS-aligned student events, and a popular CCSS resource website," she said. "The ERS Common Core Implementation & Support program is directly impacting student learning by providing educators, parents, community members, and all stakeholders with exemplary services and resources to promote 21st Century shifts in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and most importantly, student achievement."
ERS built its Common Core Implementation & Support program in less than four years, beginning with the State Board of Education's adoption of the Common Core State Standards in August 2010. One of the key elements to the program was the development of a comprehensive, multi-topic Common Core State Standards professional development series. Today, the ERS Professional Development Catalog includes over 150 courses, which last year were attended by over 8,000 educators, locally and throughout the region.
The expansion of ERS's site-based professional development, coaching, and consulting services was another important component of the ERS Common Core Implementation & Support effort. To date, ERS team members are contracted to provide customized support, including instructional planning, model lesson demonstration, and data analysis, in 57 districts and seven programs throughout the region for a total of over 2,500 days, or 14 years, of staff time.
Internally, ERS has worked to guide the alignment of other Tulare County Office of Education Instructional Services and Special Services programs to incorporate 21st Century learning. The program also created the popular Common Core Connect website, which serves as a repository of resources and tools that have been developed or vetted, indexed and catalogued into a searchable database. The site also contains TCOE-developed resources which are freely shared with educators who wish to adopt them to align with their local initiatives. Website analytics reveal that during a recent 30-day time period, 12,480 site pages were viewed by 4,353 visitors, many of whom are from other regions and states. Jacqueline Cardenas, director of Curriculum & Instruction for Los Nietos School District in Los Angeles County, said, "Rolling out the Common Core is a daunting task. If I were to select one high quality website in California that I can turn to for exceptional 'download and use today' planning tools and instructional resources for our teachers and administrators, it would be the Common Core Connect on the TCOE website."
For more information on ERS's Common Core Implementation & Support program, call Charlene Stringham at (559) 651-3831.
National Teacher of the Year to visit the county
Sarah Wessling and the Teaching Channel coming to Tulare County for conference
Educators who have watched lessons on the Teaching Channel have probably seen Sarah Brown Wessling. The 2010 National Teacher of the Year and host of the PBS show Teaching Channel Presents is a regular host and presenter on the web-based resource. In February, Ms. Wessling and a production crew from the Teaching Channel will be in Tulare County for a work session with select teachers and a conference being hosted by the Tulare-Kings Linked Learning Consortium and the Tulare County Office of Education, as part of Educational Resource Services (ERS) Literacy Speaker Series.
Sarah Brown Wessling is a 17-year veteran of the high school English classroom. While a member of the faculty at Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa, she has taught classes for at-risk as well as Advanced Placement students and has served the district in a variety of leadership roles. As a past National Teacher of the Year, Ms. Wessling has worked as an ambassador for education, giving over 250 talks and workshops in 39 states, as well as in Japan and Finland. Currently, she teaches high school classes in the mornings and works for the non-profit Teaching Channel in the afternoons. She is an author of Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards and frequently blogs on teaching and learning.
On February 24, Ms. Wessling will conduct lessons in Dinuba High School's career academies, followed by a debriefing with participating teachers. She will repeat the activities at an elementary school in the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District. "We are thrilled that Sarah is coming to Tulare County to demonstrate strategies for Common Core lesson implementation," said Carole Wiley, English Language Arts staff development & curriculum specialist for ERS. "We're equally excited that the Teaching Channel has chosen to film Sarah's work for conference attendees to preview the next day."
On Wednesday, February 25, Ms. Wessling will conduct a full-day seminar for educators at the Holiday Inn in Visalia. Ms. Wessling will share with attendees some of the video shot during her work sessions in Dinuba and Cutler-Orosi. "Based on her high school teaching career, this conference should have special value to educators in the region, particularly those in the numerous career academies," said Mrs. Wiley.
The ERS Literacy Speaker Series also features Carol Jago on December 1 and Dr. Douglas Fisher on April 14. Organizers expect the sessions featuring Sarah Brown Wessling and Dr. Douglas Fisher to fill quickly. To register to attend, visit tulare.k12oms.org/147-83582 (Sarah Brown Wessling on February 25) or tulare.k12oms.org/147-83583 (Dr. Douglas Fisher on April 14).
~ Sarah Brown Wessling, a former National Teacher of the Year and host of Teaching Channel Presents, will conduct Common Core implementation strategies for several districts in Tulare County, followed by a full-day conference on February 25. For registration information on attending the conference featuring Sarah Brown Wessling, (a part of Educational Resource Services Literacy Speaker Series), visit tulare.k12oms.org.
In November, library staff members from Educational Resource Services began shipping over 3,000 books donated by Read for Life of Visalia to elementary schools and the Early Childhood Education Program. Library Media Technician Maria Ortiz is pictured preparing a shipment of books Read for Life received last March as part of the ABC30/Disney Company community book drive.
Students from Susan Wendt's Community Based Instruction Classroom (CBIC) at College of the Sequoias are pictured in Halloween costumes with their collection of food items for COS's first annual food drive, held in late October. The two CBICs at COS joined together to collect over 100 pounds of food items during the drive, making them one of the largest contributors. Teachers Susan Wendt and Shirley Gowett used the drive as a CHARACTER COUNTS! lesson on citizenship.
On Saturday, January 24, high school-aged foster youth from Tulare and Kings counties will attend the annual Access to Higher Education Summit. The conference will feature a variety of speakers sharing financial resources available to foster youth who plan to attend college. The event will also feature a motivational presentation from author Kevin L. Brown. As a child born to poverty and abuse, Mr. Brown became involved in gangs and was later convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to prison at the age of 18. Despite his misfortunes and emotional battles, Kevin promised to redeem himself once he was released from prison. His inspirational journey from dismal beginnings to being recognized as one of the most prolific students to ever attend Wayne State University will encourage foster youth in attendance to pursue their dreams, passions and purpose without doubts.
Visitors to the Burrel Avenue office in Visalia this month can enjoy a display of artwork as part of the annual Student Art Exhibition. One of the pieces featured is a graphite portrait entitled "17" by Orosi High School senior Jessica Ostrea. In March, pieces selected as "Best of Show" from the current exhibition and the January-February exhibition will be displayed. A public reception honoring the student artists will be held 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. on March 27 in the Education Center.
The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is pleased to announce that its annual "Meeting Challenges" calendar is available at no cost at the Burrel Avenue office, while supplies last. This year, the organization has chosen to highlight the work of middle school, high school and adult programs in building life skills in students with special needs, including personal responsibility, social competence, independent living, goal setting and work habits.
Seventh-grade students Isabel Sutherland, Addison Sampietro, Lucas Wilkinson and Izabella Baez (l-r) competed in the 17th Annual CyberQuest competition to win first place in the seventh-grade category. The students, who competed as the Green Team, represented St. Anne's School in Porterville. This year, CyberQuest attracted 37 teams from schools in Tulare and Fresno counties. The teams compete by preparing multimedia presentations on pre-assigned topics. View the complete list of CyberQuest competition results.
On February 10, the California Department of Education, in partnership with the Tulare County Office of Education, will host a Central California conference entitled Launching the 2014 English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework. Charlene Stringham, assistant superintendent, Instructional Services, will co-present a session on implementing content instruction for students in grades K-5. The full-day conference will begin at 8:45 a.m. at the Fresno Hotel and Conference Center, located at 2233 Ventura Street in downtown Fresno. Educators who register before December 10, can attend at the discounted rate of $125 per person. To register, visit www.cde.ca.gov and search for "ELA/ELD Framework Launch Events." For more information, call Charlene Stringham at (559) 651-3831.
The 2014 Red Ribbon committee is pleased to report that $4,200 in donations was received from activities held during the annual event in October. Red Ribbon Committee chairperson Jennifer Fisher would like to thank the hard-working committee members, generous donors and staff who participated in the week's activities. TCOE programs donated 30 wonderful prizes for a raffle drawing. The proceeds from the week's events will be given to CASA of Tulare County, which advocates for abused, neglected, and abandoned children. More information, including a list of raffle winners, can be found at www.tcoe.org/RedRibbon.
Reproductions of the three urban art-style murals recently completed at Taste the Arts Festival to represent the spirit of the CHOICES Prevention Programs will tour the county beginning in January. The exhibition tour will begin with a reception at the Tulare County Library in Visalia from 6:00 - 6:30 p.m. on January 14. The library is located at 200 West Oak Street. Each week, the pieces will move to a new city or county facility.
View the artwork.
The Tulare County Grand Jury has announced its Annual Report Art Contest. The contest, which is open to Tulare County high school students in grades 9-12, is an opportunity for students to use their graphic arts skills to create designs for the annual report cover and various committee reports. Students are also invited to submit essays on the function and responsibilities of the Grand Jury. Artwork and essay submissions are due to the Grand Jury by March 1. For more information, call (559) 624-7295, or view the flyer.
The Instructional Services Division will be hosting the annual Holiday Social event this year at the Doe Avenue Complex. Scheduled for December 9 at Educational Resource Services (ERS), the event will feature a variety of holiday foods and refreshments. To attend, employees should bring a new or gently-used coat for donation to the Visalia Rescue Mission. The event will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in ERS's new Willow Room. For more information, call Brook Killingsworth at (559) 733-6326.
The Region VII After School Programs will host its annual Winter Conference in Fresno on January 6. This annual one-day conference is expected to draw over 500 learning professionals who work with children in after school programs. The conference, entitled "Mission Possible: Quality in Action," will focus on addressing the CDE's new quality standards and include a special presentation by Michael Funk, director of the After School Division (ASD) at the California Department of Education. Conference organizers are accepting applications until December 8 from educators who want to give a 90-minute breakout presentation in the areas of academics, enrichment, summer learning, school safety or student mental health. To submit a presentation proposal, visit goo.gl/forms/xKp68VpL82. For questions about the conference, please contact Therese Arnold at (559) 651-0155 or email@example.com, or Kim Boyer at (559) 801-2758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The theme for the Tulare County Farm Bureau Calendar Art Contest (for students in grades K-12) is "Tulare County Agriculture, First in Food and Fiber", celebrating Tulare County's ranking as the largest ag-producing county in the nation. Details of the competition, including the February 13 deadline, are posted on the Bulletin Board section of www.tulcofb.org. The contest is annually sponsored by the Tulare County Farm Bureau and the Tulare County Office of Education.
For a list of upcoming events,
visit our Calendar of Events web page.
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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