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The News Gallery

April 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, Shelley Chappell, Sara Torabi, Kate Stover, Charlotte Garcia Da Rosa, Nicole Zweifel and Vicky Contreras.

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.



STEM Expo

New STEM Expo, a non-stop learning experience
Science Fair reimagined as celebration of science, technology, engineering & mathematics

Inside the gym at Lindsay High School on Saturday, March 14, students earnestly presented their science fair projects to judges just as Tulare County students had done for the past 30 years. Outside the quiet gym, the campus was abuzz with science activities. Students were programming robots, learning about computer coding, marveling at the Tulare County Sheriff's remote-controlled bomb retrieval vehicle, building track cars and having fun. This year, the Tulare County Science & Engineering Fair was reimagined by the Educational Resource Services staff as the STEM Expo - an engaging, nonstop learning experience. STEM is an educational approach that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a hands-on way.

STEM Expo

In addition to the bomb retrieval vehicle, the Tulare County Sheriff's Office also brought its new mobile crime lab to show students the science behind crime investigations. Students were fascinated with the technology within the vehicle to help investigators quickly collect and analyze crime scene evidence. The SAM Academy (Science, Art & Music) from Sanger also attended to help students build their own cars and horns out of ordinary items. The event even included an old fashioned pie-eating contest in recognition of "Pi Day." "We are so thankful for all of the community partners and presenters who attended the first annual STEM Expo to help students not only get excited about STEM, but to see the career possibilities within these fields," said ERS's Michelle French, a STEM/Project Based Learning staff development/curriculum specialist with Educational Resource Services.

STEM Expo

One of the highlights of the event was a presentation by NASA scientist Dr. Michael Gunson - a humorous British-born scientist and manager of the Global Change & Energy Program and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Pasadena area. Dr. Gunson used his enthusiasm and some of the data collected at JPL to show the audience the weather patterns that bring rain to the Central Valley. He also presented evidence of the valley's shrinking snow levels and sinking land elevations as the result of the recent drought. Following Dr. Gunson's presentation, Mrs. French announced the winners of the science fair portion of the STEM Expo, including the six top projects that will represent Tulare County at the California State Science Fair May 18-19 in Los Angeles. For a complete list of winners, visit tcoe.org/STEMExpo.

STEM Expo

For more information about the STEM Expo, contact Michelle French at (559) 651-3003.

Photos above:
~ Students at the first annual STEM Expo enjoyed plenty of hands-on activities, including robotics programming.
~ Ryan Ruesch of Westfield Elementary in Porterville reviews his award-winning project, “DIY Fuel Cells” with judges during the science fair portion of STEM Expo.
~ Student enjoy racing track cars they built at the maker space hosted by Sanger’s mobile SAM Academy (Science, Art & Music).
~ Dr. Michael Gunson from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California shared with the audience the work his agency is doing to track weather and the effects of the drought on the San Joaquin Valley.
~ Members of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office were on hand to demonstrate their remote-controlled bomb retrieval vehicle.
~ Kimberly Martino of Three Rivers Union smiles as she wins the pie-eating contest, held to celebrate “Pi” Day. Kimberly also won second place in the Junior Behavioral and Social Sciences division of the science fair competition.
~ Lt. Chris Douglass of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office shares a laugh with a student visiting the new mobile crime scene laboratory.



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Library & Media Center see useage rates triple
ERS collection recataloged for improved access, services added

This past year has seen a number of updates and improvements to the services offered at Educational Resource Services' Library and Multimedia Center. The center supports teachers and students with a robust collection of digital, print, and multimedia resources, along with training on accessing and using the materials and building digital literacy skills.

To facilitate the improvements, Library Media Supervisor Shelley Chappell reports that the staff recataloged the entire collection in order to increase accessibility and search capabilities. "With the library's One Search feature, users can now locate books, videos, websites and databases with a single search term," she said. The entire library staff also became trainers, traveling throughout the service area to demonstrate how to use these resources. Overall usage statistics have more than tripled because of this focus on supporting teachers.

Library & Media Center

Also this year, the "Check This Out" subscription was introduced for teachers at contracting schools. This free service allows teachers to request materials online to be tailored to either a theme, reading level, genre, material type or subject area. Each month, the library team will put together a customized set of materials. Books, art, prints, videos, kits, and realia, along with lesson plans and digital resources are bundled and sent directly to the school, then picked up when it's time for the next delivery. Currently, over 100 Tulare and Kings County teachers are "Check This Out" subscribers receiving monthly kits.

The online Library and Multimedia Portal for digital resources features high-quality databases, ebooks and streaming video for research and educational support. These include Discovery Education, Education City, ProQuest SIRS Discoverer and eLibrary, Tumble Books and Tumble Readables, Teaching Books and World Book.

For more information on how your school can take advantage of these resources and support, please contact Shelley Chappell, Library Media Supervisor, at (559) 651-3042 or shelleyc@ers.tcoe.org.

Photo above:
~ One of the new services that grew out of the update to Educational Resource Services’ Library and Multimedia Center was the “Check This Out” service. Teachers in contracting schools can request materials online to be tailored to either a theme, reading level, genre, material type or subject area. Each month, the library team puts together books, prints, videos, and realia, along with lesson plans and digital resources for delivery to the school.



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Japanese Americans tell their stories
Living history training on the WWII internments offered to Tulare County teachers

Beginning this month, middle and high school teachers will have the opportunity to learn a piece of World War II history from a man and woman who experienced it themselves. Saburo and Marion Masada were among the 110,000 Japanese Americans interned in U.S. camps during World War II. The Masadas will be part of a history/social science training offered through a program entitled Legacy Voices: The World War II Japanese American Experience. The Tulare County Office of Education is a partner with the National Parks Service, the San Joaquin County Office of Education and the Fred T. Korematsu Institute in presenting three free workshops on April 11, June 13 and July 30.

Living History

During World War II, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States government enacted Executive Order 9066, leading to the forced internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans. These imprisonments took place without charges, trials, or convictions. Internment camps were located in harsh and desolate areas of the country, such as Manzanar, California. Two-thirds of the people imprisoned were U.S.-born citizens, denied the due process promised to them by the U.S. Constitution. Legacy Voices: The World War II Japanese American Experience will shed light on this often overlooked part of U.S. history.

The Masadas have traveled across California and around the country, teaching students and teachers about their experiences being interned and living in the camps. "We are so fortunate to have the Masadas joining us for this program," said project coordinator Kate Stover. "They are living, breathing primary sources with an important and powerful story Tulare County teachers should share with their students."

Along with the Masadas' personal stories, the workshops will feature a historical overview of Japanese American internment, information about local assembly centers in the Central Valley, and a synopsis of the landmark Supreme Court case, Fred Korematsu v. United States of America. The workshops will also provide teachers with free standards-aligned curriculum and lesson plans on Japanese American internment and civil rights.

Three free workshops will be offered to interested Tulare County teachers on April 11, June 13, or July 30 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the Doe Avenue Complex in Visalia. Teachers must register to attend (links below). For more information, call Kate Stover at (559) 651-1482, ext. 3648.

Teachers, select a date below to register to attend one of the three free workshops:
April 11, 2015 June 13, 2015 July 30, 2015

Photo above:
~ Marion Masada (left) and Saburo Masada (right) will be presenters in the
Legacy Voices: The World War II Japanese American Experience teacher trainings on the U.S. internment program.



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Theatre Company heads to The Woods
Popular children's storybook characters come to life in spring musical

Theatre Company

The Theatre Company is preparing its spring musical - a production full of familiar children's storybook characters. Beginning April 30, audiences can enjoy "two productions in one" with first- through sixth-grade students performing the adorable Winnie the Pooh Kids, while middle and high school students present Into the Woods. Over 110 students have spent the semester rehearsing for the production.

Production director Charlotte Garcia Da Rosa reports that Winnie the Pooh Kids was written by the same composers who wrote the music for Frozen. "It's a wonderful musical and we are fortunate to have phenomenally talented young leading actors playing the beloved animal friends of Christopher Robin."

Into the Woods is a Tony Award-winning musical that includes lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical intertwines several of Brothers Grimm fairy tales. The main characters are taken from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, as well as several others. The musical tells an original story involving a baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a witch who places a curse on them and their journey with other storybook characters.

"The challenge for students in Into the Woods was to re-imagine famous fairy tale characters as real life people with real life problems," says Ms. Garcia Da Rosa. "The kids have done an amazing job interpreting Stephen Sondheim's challenging musical score. It's also very exciting that the Disney-produced film version of the musical has added to the popularity and love of the show!"

Three evening performances will be held at 7:00 p.m. April 30, May 1 and May 2. A 2:00 p.m. matinee will also be performed on May 2. Tickets for the production, which will be held at the Rotary Theater (330 S. Dollner St., Visalia), will be available for purchase beginning April 6 at the Burrel Avenue office (2637 W. Burrel Ave., Visalia) or the Educational Resource Services office (7000 Doe Ave., Visalia) during normal business hours. Tickets are $10 per person for general admission seating.

Photo above:
~ (l-r) Familiar storybook characters sharing the stage in the Theatre Company’s spring production include Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk), played by Andrew Cantelmi of Green Acres Middle School; Cinderella, played by Kaley McConnaughey of Redwood High School; Tigger, played by Tessa Hemphill of Hurley Elementary School; and Pooh, played by Anu Perry of Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center.



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Spotlight

Spotlight on People Last month, 34 middle and high school teams participated in the annual Science Olympiad for a chance to represent Tulare County at the NorCal Science Olympiad competition April 18 at California State University, Stanislaus. The middle school teams that qualified for the state competition include Palo Verde Union School (Tulare), Green Acres Middle School (Visalia), St. Aloysius School (Tulare) and Live Oak Middle School (Tulare). The high school teams advancing to NorCal include Exeter Union High School, University Preparatory High School (Visalia), Tulare Western High School and Tulare Union High School. Tulare Western's Kassie Reynolds and Jakeb Light built a mechanical time-keeping device for the "It's About Time" competition segment.

Spotlight on People The CHOICES Prevention Programs' Anti-Tobacco Challenge Bowl was held March 3 with a record number 29 sixth-grade teams competing. Students prepared for the competition by studying a curriculum which, in addition to tobacco facts, this year included a greater number of facts about the dangers of marijuana use. Perennial champions from Kohn Elementary in Tulare returned to capture the top two trophies, with first place going to Kohn Team A. The winning team included (l-r) Seth Borba, Gwendalynn Peck, Aaron Bales, Emma Woodward and Christopher Wilson. The team's coach was Jennifer Orr.

Spotlight on People Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak proudly poses with students from his high school alma mater, Orosi High School. The school had the most winners in the annual Farm Bureau Student Art Calendar contest. Pictured (l-r) are Karina Arenivaz (11th grade), Janette Madrigal (11th grade), Jessica Ostrea (12th grade), Jim Vidak, Cutler-Orosi Superintendent Yolanda Valdez, Francisco Fernandez (12th grade), Orosi High School art teacher Elise Whited, and Gabriella Adame (11th grade). Copies of the calendar are available at the front desk of TCOE's Burrel Avenue office while supplies last.

Spotlight on People This year, 670 seventh- and eighth-grade students from public and private schools in Tulare and Kings Counties competed in the annual Math Super Bowl. Pictured are members of the seventh-grade Sundale Union School team working together on the Team Bowl portion of the competition. The team, which included Chastine Grant, Jaci Maze, Sarah Mancebo, Jacob Fernandes and Paige Cross, earned a superior ribbon for their efforts. For a complete list of competition winners in the three event categories, visit tcoe.org/MathSuperBowl.

Spotlight on People Last month, the CHOICES Prevention Programs hosted its Friday Night Live Lip Sync Competition. Over 30 elementary and middle school acts performed in the dance, lip sync, novelty and showcase categories. The top prize in the lip sync category was won by Serena Gonzalez (center), Alexa Garibay, Michelle Gonzalez and Joaquin Davila from the CHOICES After School Program at Wilson Elementary in Dinuba for their rendition of I Will Survive. The group has been invited to perform their rendition of the Gloria Gaynor disco hit at the Step Up Youth Challenge next month.

Spotlight on People Over 1,400 students from 115 Tulare County schools participated this year in the annual Poetry & Prose On Stage event held over six days during March. The countywide oral interpretation event for students in grades K-8 provides an opportunity for participants to recite before an appreciative audience. Students, who prepare poems or dramatic readings, perform either individually or in small groups. Judges provide positive and instructional critiques of each student's performance. Third-grader Stefania Sesock from St. Paul's School in Visalia is pictured reciting "My Kitten Won't Stop Talking," by Kenn Nesbitt.

Spotlight on People CHARACTER COUNTS! and CHOICES Prevention Programs Project Coordinator Kathleen Green-Martins was chosen as the state Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Confidential Employee of the Year in the organization's annual Administrator of the Year Awards competition. Mrs. Green-Martins will be honored at ACSA's Leadership Summit in Sacramento on November 4.


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Gallery Notes

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.

Student-athletes who will be 2015 graduates of a Tulare County high school are invited to apply for the annual Pursuing Victory With Honor (PVWH) Scholarship. The PVWH Scholarship will provide up to four seniors with $500 in support as they attend an accredited college/university as a full-time student during the 2015-16 academic year. Applications are due April 17. For information, visit tcoe.org/pvwhscholarship, or call Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.

Last month, the Professional Latin American Association of Kings County presented TCOE's Deputy Superintendent Dr. Guadalupe Solis with its Educational Leadership Award. Dr. Solis is a member of the Lemoore Union High School Board of Trustees. The PLAA is an organization dedicated to raising scholarship funds for Kings County students and serving as mentors for the county's youth.

The CHOICES Prevention Programs has partnered with the Tulare County Sheriff's Office and other local law enforcement agencies on a new three-year, $2.1 million grant entitled Closing the Circle (CTC) to Reduce Crime and Delinquency. Other partners in the grant include the Tulare County Public Defender's Office, Exeter Police Department, Farmersville Police Department, and ProYouth HEART. CTC has two components: prevention and education which is geared toward youth, and crime suppression which focuses on young adults. The educational component will involve teaching two evidence-based curricula to middle school and court and community campuses. In the first year, the Second Step curriculum, which has been used successfully by Behavioral Health Services, will be taught in Exeter, Farmersville, Waukena and Earlimart middle school after-school programs. The Coping and Support Training (CAST) curriculum will be supplemented for more at-risk students in these sites as well as those at Mid-County Court and Community School in Visalia. The educational partners will work in synergy with the grant's law enforcement agencies. Any leads on crimes or planned criminal activity developed by law enforcement partners will be investigated by the crime task force or referred to other relevant law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the task force will refer youth encountered during enforcement actions to educational component classes. The project will expand to more schools and communities in Years 2 and 3 of the grant, particularly after-school programs in rural communities.

The fourth annual Central California Truancy Summit will be held May 6-8 at the Madera County Office of Education. The summit will feature speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions on strategies to address the root issues of truancy and chronic absenteeism. Law enforcement officers, teachers, school administrators, child welfare and attendance specialists, SARB coordinators and behavioral health professionals are invited to attend. To register, visit kings.k12oms.org/89-95898, or call Brian Gonzales, Kings County Office of Education, at (559) 589-2606.

Read for Life is conducting its annual book donation event on Friday, April 17. The public is invited to donate new or gently used children's books, particularly books for ages 0-5. Read for Life staff will be receiving books at the College of the Sequoias circle driveway on Mooney Blvd. from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Donors who are unable to bring their books to College of the Sequoias on April 17 should call George Pilling at (559) 901-6676 to arrange a pick-up.

The Gas Company Challenge for Student Entrepreneurs was held last month to give high school students the opportunity to present their plans for new businesses. The top prize in the competition and a $2,000 grant from The Gas Company went to Dinuba High School's Health Career Academy for their smart phone-based app designed to promote healthy lifestyles among local residents. Dinuba High School students Nick Villalobos and Elijah Alvarez were responsible for the project. Also at the event, two students received $1,000 scholarships from TUCOEMAS Federal Credit Union for their science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) business ideas. The recipients were Kayla Carlisle of Redwood High School and Audrey Waddle of University Preparatory High School.


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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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