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The News Gallery

March 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, Stephanie Caldera, Tiffany Owens-Stark, Dawn Padilla, Joy Soares, Elvira Barron and Randy Wallace.

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.

Early Childhood Education and Special Services team to target challenging behavior

First 5 funds program for social emotional health
Early Childhood Education and Special Services team to target challenging behavior

Each day, teacher Linda Contreras uses circle time at the Senaida Garcia Child Development Center to engage her preschoolers in discussions. Through books, puppets, art projects or other classroom objects, she draws them into simple conversations that have a deeper purpose. Recently, she led them to talk about the characters in a book. It's clear from Ms. Contreras' questions that she is looking for answers that involve the characters' emotions and actions. "When Katie didn't want to play with Jasmine, what could Nathan have done to help Jasmine?" Some of the children answer, "He could have played with her." Ms. Contreras smiles, "Yes, he could have played with Jasmine!"

The curriculum Linda Contreras is using to help the children understand appropriate behavior is called Second Step and it is part of a new partnership between the Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP) and Special Services, with funding from First 5 Tulare County. First 5's Early Intervention Partnership Project grant is making possible one-on-one behavior intervention in the classroom and at home. Children are learning coping mechanisms, how to identify their feelings and how to manage their behaviors to build social skills.

In addition to supporting the child, trained behavioral staff support ECEP classroom teachers, helping them learn new behavioral approaches. Over the course of the three-year grant, staff in all of ECEP's centers will be trained. Through in-home visits, the parents also learn intervention techniques so the child experiences consistency at school and home.

Early Childhood Education and Special Services team to target challenging behavior

The behavioral intervention techniques are simple and are centered on providing positive reinforcement, structure and routine. For example, a child may be given a token each time he responds appropriately, knowing that when he collects a certain number of tokens he earns the Ninja Turtle stickers he values. Or a student may be given a piece to a puzzle each time she follows an instruction during a classroom activity. Once the puzzle is complete, she earns a small reward. The staff member's follow-through on each intervention strategy builds trust, while the student begins to understand the program.

Rather than relying on time-outs, this approach allows the child to make his or her own choices. Children learn to ask appropriately for what they want rather than throwing a tantrum. These simple steps are resulting in change on many fronts. Teachers are clamoring for more information about the approach and parents are eagerly participating in training. The children are better able to engage in the preschool curriculum and become ready for kindergarten.

Preschoolers are expelled at four times the rate of students in kindergarten through grade 12. Their expulsion is the result of behaviors such as screaming, kicking, biting and refusing to listen, as well as self-injurious behavior. "Preschoolers act out for various reasons," said Tiffany Owens-Stark, program specialist for the Special Services Division. "Behaviors can be for attention, to avoid something they do not want to do, or to get things they want." With safety as the priority of schools, student's aggressive and inappropriate behavior can lead to immediate expulsion. When student's first educational experience results in failure, it sets the stage for further challenges in school.

Mark is a child who has been provided one-on-one behavior intervention at his preschool. He is a charming four-year-old who ran for the door at every opportunity and even tried to climb the fence. Additionally, he exhibited aggressive behaviors toward his peers who, in response, chose not to be around him. He then became upset that he had no friends. Ms. Owens-Stark reports that Mark's behavior tutor has worked with him and now his teacher sees an absolute change in behavior. He has learned to control his impulses, ask for permission and work for prizes that he gets to choose.

The overall goal of this innovative project is to address the problem behavior early and prevent the need for more intensive services later. Over the life of the grant, data is being collected to monitor students' success and improved skills. Giving students the necessary skills to better prepare them for kindergarten is the primary goal of the Early Childhood Education Program and First 5 Tulare County - a partnership making the difference in many young lives.

Photos above:
~ Preschooler Logan Padilla finds success academically by incorporating play into his day at the Clinite Child Development Center.
~ Teacher Linda Contreras uses the Second Step curriculum to engage children in learning appropriate behavior thanks to a First 5 Tulare County Early Intervention Partnership Project grant.

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Tulare County to send 20 projects to state
Students look at "Leadership and Legacy" in National History Day - Tulare County event

"Leadership and Legacy in History" was the theme of National History Day - Tulare County held February 24. Tulare County students participating in the event applied the theme to an impressive array of projects celebrating men and women who, through their leadership, changed history.

National History Day - Tulare County

With the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide approaching, Kings River Union School students Alison Meza, Destiny Meza and Sophia Perez chose to create a group performance on the work of Jakob and Elizabeth Künzler in saving orphans during the genocide. Entitled "The Legacy of Papa and Mama Künzler and the Armenian Orphan Rug," the girls told the story of how the Künzlers and the Near East Foundation, an American-led relief organization, worked to save thousands of Armenian orphans. With vocational skills training provided at an orphanage in Ghazar, Lebanon, 400 orphaned girls wove a carpet over the course of 18 months and presented it as a gift to U.S. President Calvin Coolidge in appreciation for the nation's relief support. For their work on the performance, the Kings River students were selected as one of 20 finalists in the competition, making them eligible to compete in the National History Day - California competition May 8-9 at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California. They also received a $250 scholarship from the Tulare County Historical Society.

This year, National History Day - Tulare County received nearly 70 entries from students in grades 4-12. Students chose topics in local, national or world history and explored their significance relative to the annual theme. Students competed in three grade categories: 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Students in grades 4-5 competed in the two-dimensional category only. Students in the two upper-grade categories presented findings through one of the following categories: historical paper, exhibit, performance, documentary or historical website. At the event, presentations were evaluated by local historians and educators who looked for a balance of perspectives in the project.

National History Day - Tulare County Following their presentations, students heard from Fresno State's Dr. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, who spoke on the 1915 Armenian genocide, which is being commemorated locally and internationally this year. Dr. Der Mugrdechian, who is the coordinator of the Armenian Studies Program and Director of the Center for Armenian Studies at Fresno State University, also told students about the impact Armenian immigrants have had on Central Valley history. Following Dr. Der Mugrdechian's presentation, the finalists and alternates were announced and the Tulare County Historical Society awarded six scholarships totaling $2,000. The scholarships are given to help students with the cost of entering their projects in the state competition.

National History Day - Tulare County

"National History Day is 21st century learning at its finest," said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "Through this event, students are learning skills they can apply in college and career." During the opening of the event, Gay Atmajian, National History Day - Tulare County coordinator, presented Mr. Vidak with a plaque honoring him for his "leadership and legacy" in service as Tulare County Superintendent of Schools since 1991.

For a complete list of 2015 National History Day - Tulare County winning projects, visit tcoe.org/HistoryDay.

Photos above:
~ (l-r) Kings River students Destiny Meza and Sophia Perez portray Armenian orphans in their award-winning presentation.
~ Fresno Stateís Dr. Der Mugrdechian speaks to the students about the Armenian genocide.
~ Sequoia Unionís Kiran Dillion presents her junior division individual web site on the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

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27th Annual Child Care Conference April 25
Conference to focus on helping children develop lifelong healthy lifestyle choices

ECE Conference This month, registration will open for the 27th Annual Child Care Conference. The theme of the conference, which annually attracts hundreds of early childhood educators, is "Healthy Lifestyle Choices." Patricia A. Kimbrell, M. A. will be the conference's keynote speaker. She will also present several breakout sessions.

Ms. Kimbrell has been working in education for over 32 years. Currently, she serves as a faculty member at San Diego State and Alliant University in San Diego, as well as an educational consultant for numerous agencies, including The Office of Head Start, New York State Department of Health (WIC), California State Department of Health Services (WIC), California Department of Education and California Preschool Instructional Network.

Ms. Kimbrell also serves as an expert in the field of physical development for the California Department of Education. She has written and directed several award-winning physical activity videos and authored early childhood physical activity programs, including Smart Moves!, Quick Play, and S.P.A.R.K. Early Childhood Physical Activity Program. Ms. Kimbrell advocates for exploration activities that help young children develop movement skills and strengthen early brain development. She says, "If an appreciation for movement and healthful eating is developed at an early age, it may continue for a lifetime of wellness!"

Throughout the conference, participants may attend numerous breakout sessions relating to the theme of healthy lifestyle choices. The deadline to register for the April 25 event is April 13. The cost is just $60 per person. For more details on conference presenters, activities and registration, call Elvira Barron at (559) 651-0185.

Photo above:
~ Patricia Kimbrell will be the keynote speaker at the 27th Annual Child Care Conference at the Visalia Convention Center April 25.

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Career academies preparing for future growth
High schools within Tulare Kings Linked Learning Consortium plan and share resources

Work Based Learning "By 2020, 67% of jobs in California will require a career certificate or a college degree," said Joy Soares, TCOE's new College and Career Readiness director in an address to over 150 educators attending the Work-based Learning in Action! Conference February 17. "Our challenge is to overcome the current 31% gap in educational attainment by preparing students to advance to college and career and qualify to apply for those jobs." According to a 2013 Georgetown Center on Education study, only 36% of California adults currently have an associate's degree or higher. The difference between the current state of adult educational attainment and the projected certificate or degree requirement is the 31% gap Mrs. Soares cited.

Mrs. Soares also shared from a 2013 study of the National Center for Education Statistics that nationwide, only 59% of students complete a four-year degree within a six-year window, while only 31% complete a two-year associate's degree or certificate in a three-year window. "As educators, it is our responsibility to affect change in our schools, to ensure that students are prepared for a real world concern - that is the skills gap that is occurring in our workforce," she said.

Work Based Learning

Attendees at the conference included teachers and administrators from high schools within the Tulare Kings Linked Learning Consortium (TKLLC) who came together to address the attainment gap and to create foundational Work-Based Learning (WBL) plans for their industry sector academies. In the 11 member districts of the TKLLC, there are 23 high schools and 43 industry academies, making the regional consortium the largest of its kind now working with the National Academy Foundation. Mrs. Soares reports that the majority of the academies within the TKLLC are working toward National Academy Foundation model and/or distinguished program status.

Work Based Learning

At the conference, three Tulare County districts shared their WBL resources with attendees. Visalia Unified presented their model for building student career awareness and accessibility through a portfolio of industry tours, guest speakers and industry partner interactions. Dinuba Unified shared their experiences with student exploration through tools that include job shadowing, mock interviews and informative events such as their mentor breakfasts, which connect medical academy students to medical industry partners for conversations about careers in that sector. Finally, Porterville Unified continued the conversation about student exploration by presenting their successful sophomore mentor conference. At the event, which is organized by former Porterville career pathways students, sophomores are treated to a business conference complete with a keynote speaker and breakout sessions on topics ranging from job interviews and résumé building to office attire and workplace motivation.

INNOVATE Tulare-Kings, the employer-driven intermediary that is promoting education and workforce partnerships in the two-county area, was a co-sponsor of the WBL conference. "INNOVATE Tulare-Kings is working hard to ensure businesses and communities participate in developing meaningful work-based experiences for students," said Randy Wallace, executive director for INNOVATE Tulare-Kings. "Our driving goal is to create 2,500 high quality internships for our students by 2020."

For more information about Tulare Kings Linked Learning Consortium, call Joy Soares at (559) 651-0501.

Photos above:
~ Visalia Unifiedís Bill Davis and Theresa Polich share their districtís resources at Work-based Learning in Action Conference February 17.
~ Conference attendees worked to complete Work-Based Learning plans for their high school career academies. Exeter Unifiedís Linked Learning Director George Eddy consults with members of the high school agriculture academy, while ...
~ ... Kris Costa (standing), Visalia Unified academy coach, works with members of El Diamante High Schoolís career academies.

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Spotlight on People For the first time in 14 years, a school outside the Porterville Unified School District captured the championship title in the Tulare County Academic Decathlon. El Diamante High School (Visalia) earned the most points in the ten-event contest to advance to the state competition which begins March 19 in Sacramento. El Diamante was also the large school division champion and winner of the Super Quiz Relay. Academic Decathlon teams include two to three members from the following grade point groups: Varsity (0-2.99 GPA), Scholastic (3-3.74 GPA) and Honors (3.75-4 GPA). Students are tested in art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, and social science. In addition, each team member delivered a planned four-minute speech, a two-minute impromptu speech, participated in a seven-minute interview, and wrote an expository essay. The El Diamante team, coached by Mikk Jolly, includes Michael Ngo, Jack Perez, Daniel Seyedbrahimi, Joyce Achazo, Kiley Greenwood, Forrest Johnson, Cristian Mascorro, Julia Rodriguez and Mathew Jacobs. The small school division title went to Orosi High School.

Spotlight on People On February 25, Sameera Hussain, a sixth-grade student at Westfield Elementary in Porterville, became the Tulare County Spelling Champion. Sameera is the first champion from Porterville in the competition's 16-year history. The second and third place finishers were also from Porterville. Pictured with Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak are (l-r) Meera Kashyap, a seventh-grade student from Sequoia Middle School who finished third, Sameera Hussain, and second place winner Rojeny Guillermo, a sixth-grade student from Jim Maples Academy in the Burton School district. As part of the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register's sponsorship of the competition, Sameera is eligible to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee beginning May 24 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Spotlight on People On January 30, the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) hosted a special education equipment donation day event. CAC Chairperson Amy McMahon (l) and Parent/School Liaison Stephanie Caldera pose outside the Visalia Elks Lodge which served as a receiving location for the community to bring in equipment that was no longer needed. The CAC reports that they received 14 boxes of medical supplies, along with various pieces of equipment, including a wheelchair. Plans are being formed to host another special education equipment donation day in Porterville this summer. For more information, call Stephanie Caldera at (559) 740-4321, ext. 6528.

Spotlight on People On February 13, staff members gathered for the annual Jim's Luncheon event to celebrate the talents of TCOE employees who shared personal hobbies and interests. Among the highlights of the event, was a hilarious performance by Theatre Company Director Brian Roberts (l) and County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. Assisting with ballet arm movements behind the scene were Human Resources Director John Rodriguez (for Brian Roberts) and Impact Center Supervisor Conan Palmer (for Jim Vidak).

Spotlight on People
For the third year in a row, Redwood High School has won the Tulare County Mock Trial competition and has earned a spot at the state contest to be held later this month in Riverside. The Redwood team and coach Nancy Nauman (center) pose with attorney coach Andre Gaston (front). In the past 12 years, Redwood has produced nine championships teams.

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Gallery Notes

Video entries for the 2015 Slick Rock Student Film Festival are due before midnight March 30. Middle and high school students living in Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced or Mariposa counties may enter videos in a total of 24 categories. Visit www.slickrockfestival.org for information on film categories, deadlines and the awards ceremony.

Participation in the annual Young Authors' Faire has reached a record high this year as 325 print and digital books have been produced by 675 Tulare County students. The books will be on display March 2-6 in the Elderwood Room of TCOE's Doe Avenue Complex. Teachers, parents and members of the public are invited to read and comment on the books daily from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. A reception honoring the young authors will be held Wednesday, March 4 from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m. in the Elderwood Room.

Four TCOE administrators recently received Administrator of the Year Awards from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). ERS Mathematics Instructional Consultant Julie Joseph was honored in the category of Curriculum and Instruction Leader, La Sierra Military Academy Administrator Anjelica Zermeño received the top award in the Continuation/Educational Options Administrator category, Credentials and Retirement Analyst Jeanette McDonald was selected in the Classified Leader category, and CHARACTER COUNTS! and CHOICES Prevention Programs Project Coordinator Kathleen Green-Martins was chosen in the Confidential Employee category. The award winners, who were recognized at both the local and regional levels, will represent Inyo, Kern, Kings, Mono and Tulare Counties at the state ACSA Administrator of the Year competition this month.

The 23rd Annual Support Staff Conference is scheduled for Friday, May 8. The conference celebrates the role of school support staff members in shaping the good character of students and coworkers. As an added feature this year, attendees have the opportunity to nominate a colleague for the first Champions for Character Award. At the conference, six individuals will be recognized for exemplifying one of the six CHARACTER COUNTS! Pillars of Character. Nominations will be accepted until April 10. To register for the conference and to make a nomination, visit tcoe.org/Support.

Brian Roberts and the Region VII visual and performing arts administrators will hold their annual arts education conference Friday, March 6 from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Fresno Convention Center. The conference, entitled Full STEAM Ahead, will focus on integrating the arts with science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Registration information for the conference, which is open to teachers, administrators and community members dedicated to helping arts education thrive in Central California, can be found at www.teacharts.org.

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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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