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The News Gallery

February 2015

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, Paula Terrill, Jared Marr, Kathy Johnston and Dianne Shew.

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.

Tulare County Mock Trial

Mock Trial competition continues this month
Redwood High School battles to retain its championship title at annual event

This month, Redwood High School students are in court to defend their title as 2014 Tulare County Mock Trial champions. Last year, a team from Redwood captured the title and represented Tulare County at the state finals in San Jose. This year, Redwood is competing against teams from Dinuba High School, El Diamante High School (Visalia), Exeter High School, Lindsay High School, Mission Oak High School (Tulare), Mt. Whitney High School (Visalia), Orosi High School, Tulare Union High School and Tulare Western High School.

Tulare County Mock Trial The Mock Trial teams are comprised of 10 to 20 students who take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, court clerks and bailiffs. All teams must make their presentations based on identical hypothetical case materials. Each team, coached by local attorneys and school personnel, presents the case for both the prosecution and defense twice during the course of the competition.

This year, the case involves the theft of an abstract painting from a wealthy art collector and art professor, Marty McCulloch. The case involves the trial of Evan Shem, who is studying for a masters of fine arts degree at Hamiltonia University where Ms. McCulloch teaches. Shem faces one felony count for the theft of Treason, a painting by Fletcher Yazoo.

The prosecution alleges that Shem, McCulloch's intern, stole the painting during a Fourth of July party at McCulloch's mansion. During the festivities, Shem served as a docent in McCulloch's art gallery. The prosecution alleges that Shem, a talented artist with a knack for recreating famous works of art, stole the painting, replaced it with a fake, and intended to sell the original to pay off substantial school debt.

Tulare County Mock Trial On the stand for the prosecution, Redwood student Rhonda Neal plays the role of a seemingly sweet girl named Charlie Gibbons, Evan Shem's childhood friend. Charlie incriminates her friend when she talks about how Evan could masterfully copy any painting, and that she overheard Evan make a phone call to an art dealer asking about the value of the Fletcher Yazoo painting. When the defense cross examines Ms. Neal's character, the audience learns that she has a criminal past and that she was seen near the gallery wearing a trench coat around the time that the painting was stolen.

"The Mock Trial competition is as exciting to watch as any courtroom drama," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Our students do an incredible amount of preparation to understand the case law affecting their trial before taking on the roles of attorneys, witnesses and clerks. The public is welcome to attend any of the trials to appreciate the extraordinary work the students have done to prepare for the competition."

All teams will present their cases before actual judges and attorneys, with three attorneys scoring each trial. The champions from the final round of the Tulare County Mock Trial competition on February 19 will be eligible to compete in the state finals in Riverside, March 20-22. For more information on the Mock Trial competition, call Scott Pierce at (559) 651-3014.

The public is invited to attend the 2015 Tulare County Mock Trial competition, which continues February 3 and 5, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Tulare County Courthouse, Visalia (third floor). The semi-final rounds will be held February 12, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Tulare County Courthouse. The final round will be held February 19, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the El Diamante High School Theater, Visalia.

Photos above:
~ Redwood's Rhonda Neal portrays the character of Charlie Gibbons in the larceny trial of Evan Shem.
~ Redwood prosecutor Sophia Stetson questions a witness during the preliminary rounds of the Mock Trial competition.
~ Redwood's Anthony Trujillo plays the role of Detective Reese Barron in the case. Observing the competition between Redwood and Exeter on January 27 was Tulare County Superior Court Judge Gary Johnson.

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Annual Science Fair becomes STEM Expo
Event to feature science exhibits, plus science-based entertainment and demonstrations

On March 14, Tulare County will come together to celebrate everything about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Parents, students, teachers, local businesses and community organizations will converge on the Lindsay High School campus for the inaugural STEM Expo. Educational Resource Services (ERS) has reimagined the long-running Tulare County Science & Engineering Fair as a free, one-day event where students can exhibit their science projects alongside science-based entertainment and learning opportunities for the whole family.

A student entry in STEM Expo is often the first step leading to recognition as one of the top young scientists in California. With six project categories to choose from, students are able to focus on their interests and talents. The student science exhibits will be judged and winners selected to represent Tulare County at the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles. Additionally this year, families and friends can develop science projects of their own and bring them to display in a non-competitive category.

Elsewhere, visitors can enjoy a robotics workshop and exhibitions, a coding workshop and a Makerspace, where participants can learn to build working items out of ordinary materials. The Expo will also feature a STEM speakers series, vendors and exhibitors.

"The event is designed to engage students and families in learning about many of the educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said ERS's Michelle French, a STEM/Project Based Learning staff development/curriculum specialist.

Event organizers are seeking exhibitors and vendors in STEM-related fields to join the Central Valley Science Project (a program of the School of Education and Human Development at California State University, Fresno), which will be leading the Makerspace. "Agencies and businesses working in STEM are welcome to come and share their expertise with our audience," said Mrs. French. For more information on participating in the STEM Expo as an exhibitor or vendor, call Paula Terrill at (559) 651-0565.

The Expo is a free event scheduled to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 14. Lindsay High School is located at 1849 E. Tulare Road in Lindsay. For more information, visit tcoe.org/STEMExpo.

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School Health Programs to offer support training
Safe Health Practices workshop offered for school secretaries, health clerks, registrars, LVNs

School Health Programs This month, School Health Programs is offering its full-day Safe Health Practices workshop for school secretaries, health clerks, registrars and LVNs. TCOE credentialed school nurses will be sharing their expertise on immunization requirements, legal issues, medications, anaphylaxis, seizures, asthma, diabetes and other commonly seen health conditions.

"School support staff responsible for assisting students with medications, providing first aid, reviewing immunizations and responding to emergency situations are encouraged to attend," said Kathy Johnston, program manager for School Health Programs. "The workshop will also cover emergency situations, such as allergic reactions, seizures, asthmatic episodes, bee stings and rashes."

The Safe Health Practices Workshop will be held on Friday, February 27, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Sequoia Room at the Doe Avenue Complex. To register, visit tulare.k12oms.org/174-94027. A $40.00 registration fee is due by Friday, February 20, to cover the cost of all in-service materials and lunch. For more information, please call Margarita Quintana at (559) 651-0130.

Photo above:
~ School nurse Cindy Bartlett demonstrates the use of an EpiPen to treat allergic reactions.

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Jim Vidak begins historic seventh term
County Superintendent enters new term at time of building and expansion

County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak

January 5 was an historic day for Jim Vidak and the Tulare County Office of Education. In the presence of dozens of witnesses at the Tulare County Courthouse, Mr. Vidak took the oath of office for his seventh elected term. The oath of office was administered by Mr. Vidak's son, California State Senator Andy Vidak, who also swore in Roland Hill, Tulare County assessor and clerk-recorder, and Rita Woodard, Tulare County auditor-controller, treasurer-tax collector and registrar of voters.

In the 160-year history of the office of the Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, no other superintendent has been elected to seven four-year terms. According to Tulare County Schools: 100 Years and other records, the next longest-serving superintendent was J.E. Buckman, who served six terms from 1911 to 1934.

Following the oath of office ceremony, Mr. Vidak told staff members that he was looking forward to a new term with them. "We have a lot to look forward to with the construction of our new administration building and the new Planetarium and Science Center," he said. "It's because of you that we are able to accomplish so much for the students of Tulare County. You are the reason that we are the best county office of education in California."

Photo above:
~ Jim Vidak (l) is pictured with Rita Woodard and Roland Hill at an oath of office ceremony for county officials on January 5. California State Senator Andy Vidak (far right) administered the oath of office for the three elected officials.

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SCICON invites community support for summer program
Program seeks to expand scholarship opportunities for students to attend Adventure Camp

SCICON is expanding its annual summer program with the hope that more students can attend. SCICON Administrator Dianne Shew explained that last year teachers and administrators appreciated the availability of scholarships for deserving students. "Working with Tulare County districts, we were able to award a number of scholarships to students to cover the cost of their registration," she said. This month, SCICON is reaching out to community organizations, school districts and foundations for support to send students to the 2015 SCICON Summer Adventure Camp, June 14-19.

Registration for the Summer Adventure Camp is $400 per student, which covers the cost of all lodging, materials and meals. "Donors can support students in a particular school or district, or let us match their donations with nominations from teachers," said Mrs. Shew. The SCICON Summer Adventure Camp is a week-long outdoor experience where students have a day full of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, mountain bike riding, archery and fishing. During the afternoon, students may choose from various technology activities and wildlife studies.

To attend the Summer Adventure Camp, families can pay privately or teachers may nominate students for scholarship consideration. Children or grandchildren of TCOE employees are eligible for a $50 discount. To nominate a student, teachers should complete the form found at tcoe.org/SCICONSummerCamp. Community organizations, school districts and foundations interested in providing scholarships for students entering grades 6-8 to attend the Summer Adventure Camp should call Dianne Shew at (559) 539-2642.

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Spotlight on People Kings and Tulare county school districts and charter schools are preparing to attend the annual Teacher Recruitment Fair March 21 at the Visalia Convention Center in search of teacher candidates for the 2015-16 school year. The Human Resources Division and the New Teacher & Leadership Development Program have been working with districts in the two-county area to host the event. Approximately 30-35 school districts are expected to participate. Interested teacher candidates should apply online by March 16. Online applications will be pre-screened by New Teacher & Leadership Development Program staff to determine eligibility to attend. To begin the process, visit tcoe.org/HR/TeacherRecruitmentFair. The Fair will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information, call Marvin Lopez at New Teacher & Leadership Development Program at (559) 624-1035. Pictured at the 2014 Teacher Recruitment Fair are Special Services' Linda McKean and Bob May.

Spotlight on People Prior to the winter school break, the Migrant Education Program worked with a number of donors to provide Christmas gifts for migrant students in the Tulare City School District. Together, donations from Pep Boys, Nuestro Estilo Car Club and International Paper Foodservice Business enabled the Migrant Education program to distribute nearly 200 toys to students.

Spotlight on People On January 24, nearly 80 high-school-aged foster youth from Tulare and Kings counties attended the annual Access to Higher Education Summit. Students met with representatives from local community colleges and universities, gathered information on the resources available to them as adults, and spoke to former foster youth now in college.

Spotlight on People Educational Resource Services' Joy Soares (pictured with students from Dinuba High School's engineering academy) has been named the Tulare County Office of Education's Director of College and Career Readiness (CCR). CCR is committed to supporting Tulare County districts in their efforts to provide a seamless continuum of strong foundational standards that transition to rigorous academics, career and technical education, industry connections and college completion. The connection to industry and postsecondary partners will be her key focus. Mrs. Soares will work closely with the Tulare Kings Linked Learning Consortium as one approach to CCR with a pathway from junior high through community college. The Linked Learning Consortium will be holding its work-based learning collaborative for districts on February 17 at the Visalia Convention Center. Partner districts Visalia Unified, Porterville Unified and Dinuba Unified will showcase their industry academy programs. For more information, contact Joy Soares at (559) 651-0501.

Spotlight on People

Construction on the new Planetarium & Science Center, located on TCOE's Liberty Center campus at 11535 Avenue 264 in Visalia, is progressing on schedule. Crews have nearly completed framing the 8,700-square-foot building and will begin roofing and finishing the interior this month. Construction is estimated to be completed in May. Once the building is finished, staff will relocate the planetarium dome and projection and sound systems from their current facility located at 2500 W. Burrel Ave. Visit tcoe.org/planetarium this summer for information on 2015-16 school year operations.

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Gallery Notes

Last month, the California Friday Night Live Partnership announced the award of a $400,000 grant to support the implementation of traffic safety and underage drinking prevention programs. The grant award comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The new grants will be used by Friday Night Live (FNL) programs across California to build upon Roadwatch, an annual observational and educational study. Last year, student researchers from 28 counties observed 8,378 incidents of distracted driving in a one-hour period. Noted behaviors ranged from talking and texting on cellphones to eating and drinking and personal grooming. Additionally, the grant will support the implementation of the statewide FNL Youth Traffic Safety Summit held in Anaheim. This two-day event draws 600 high-school-aged youth from across California to develop youth-led traffic safety campaigns to be implemented in their schools.

This month, the Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! Office will launch a series of Pursuing Victory with Honor Student Athlete Leadership workshops. The workshops build on the program's highly successful trainings offered to coaches and athletic directors. The Student Athlete Leadership workshops are designed to help upper grade students and team captains better prepare for their leadership role on and off the field. The first training will be held Monday, February 23 with a choice of two sessions: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. CHARACTER COUNTS! Coordinator Kelley Petty reports that additional workshops will be offered throughout the year. To register, or for more information, call Mrs. Petty at (559) 740-4303.

Educational Resource Services (ERS) is supporting districts throughout the region to integrate technology in their classrooms and science and engineering industry academies. This fall, ERS held two demonstration trainings, showcasing available laser cutters, milling machines and 3D printers. Students and teachers from Tulare and Kings county schools were able to preview the equipment and Solidworks, an industry standard software used to create 3D models. Beginning this month, ERS is offering two technology-related trainings: Introduction to 3D Modeling (February 10) and Minecraft in Education (February 12). These trainings will be repeated in future months. For details and registration information, contact Irma Cerrillos at (559) 651-1193.

Students have until February 13 to complete their artwork for the 2015-16 Tulare County Farm Bureau Calendar Art Contest. The theme for the calendar 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 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.

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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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