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The News Gallery

July / August 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, Ermelinda Ozuna, Tony Velásquez, Myrna Garcia, Brian Roberts, Conan Palmer, Travis Walters 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.



Theatre Company Summer Musical

Peter Pan soars back into Tulare County July 17
Theatre Company prepares a reprise of its popular 2000 production

Fifteen years ago, the Theatre Company performed Peter Pan, an ambitious production for the then two-year-old program. This year, the beloved musical returns to Tulare County, complete with elaborate sets and costumes and an audience favorite - flying actors. "While this is the first show we have ever repeated, we felt like our current students would benefit greatly from being around this classic material," said Theatre Company Director Brian Roberts. "The biggest difference this time around is that we are creating our own sets from scratch instead of renting the pieces. Our shop folks have worked tirelessly to create the most intricate sets we have ever constructed."

Another advantage for this production of Peter Pan is the quality of the performers. "We now have the great pleasure of working with and training many of our students starting at a much younger age," explained Mr. Roberts. "As a result, their skills are at a much higher level overall and their level of professionalism is startling! You don't have to look any further than our two lead characters, who have been stars in many of our recent productions."

In the role of Peter Pan is Theatre Company veteran Carly Caviglia, a senior at Golden West High School. To prepare for the role of the boy who never grows up, Carly reports that she began a regimen of pushups and abdominal crunches in January, before she was even cast in the lead. "The role takes so much stamina," she said. "I've learned to do handstands and cartwheels, and roll around on the ground like boys do. It has been a challenge, but I think I'm getting the hang of it!"

In the role of the villainous Captain Hook is Redwood High School senior Jack O'Leary. "Captain Hook is by far my favorite villain," he said. "I think it's because he's full of contrasts. Hook is a posh British aristocrat with the kind of etiquette pirates never have. At times, he can be bloodthirsty and egotistical, while at others, indecisive and childlike. It has been fun playing him, although learning to act with just one hand and a hook has taken some getting used to."

Peter Pan is based on J.M. Barrie's classic tale and is one of the most frequently performed family musicals of all time. This high-flying Tony Award-winning musical has been delighting audiences since its Broadway debut 61 years ago. In the production, Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick Tinkerbell visit the home of the Darling children late one night to begin a magical journey across the stars that none of them will ever forget. In the adventure of a lifetime, the travelers come face-to-face with a crocodile, a fierce Indian tribe, a band of bungling pirates, and Captain Hook. The production, which features the iconic songs "I'm Flying," "I've Gotta Crow," and "I Won't Grow Up," will be performed seven times beginning July 17. For this show, the Theatre Company has created a special backstage event for children who would like to meet the characters before the show. Tickets to the backstage "Neverland Experience" are an additional $10 per child and include a special gift from Peter Pan.

PETER PAN
L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 West Main Street, Visalia

Show Times
Evening Shows (7:30 p.m.): July 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25
Matinee Shows (2:00 p.m.): July 18 and 25

Neverland Experience
Children can meet the characters backstage before each show.
Tickets: $10 per child, includes a gift from Peter.
One adult permitted per family.

Show Ticket Information
$15 general admission / $25 VIP tickets available at Visalia TCOE locations:
7000 Doe Avenue, Suite A and 2637 West Burrel Avenue
Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
Cash or check only.
For information, call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

Principal Characters
Peter, Carly Caviglia, Golden West High School
Captain Hook, Jack O'Leary, Redwood High School
Wendy, Kaley McConnaughey, Redwood High School
John, Jack Ploegstra, Home School
Michael, Katie Peters, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center
Tiger Lily, Jackie Lopez-Prado, Redwood High School

Photo above:
~ Old nemeses Peter Pan and Captain Hook return to Tulare County in July. Peter is being played by Golden West High School senior Carly Caviglia with Hook played by Redwood High School senior Jack O'Leary.



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McKean leaves legacy of cooperation, efficiency
Special Services' Linda McKean retires, having boosted Behavioral Health Services

More than 30 men and women retired from the Tulare County Office of Education during the 2014-15 school year. Chief among them was Linda McKean, assistant superintendent of the Special Services Division. "In her role as assistant superintendent, I have appreciated her warm, collaborative approach to working with districts and parents," said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "She brought a 'can-do' attitude to serving students with special needs that will always be remembered."

Retired Special Services Assistant Superintendent Linda McKean In 2000, Linda McKean joined the Tulare County Office of Education as manager for Special Services Mild to Moderate Program. In 2012, she was promoted to assistant superintendent of the division. In the three years she has served as assistant superintendent, Mrs. McKean has worked hard to consolidate Special Services' itinerant staff to the TCOE Liberty Center, the former site of the Liberty School District acquired in 2013. "The advantages of consolidating our programs to the Liberty Center were many," said Mrs. McKean. "It certainly has been a cost savings for our division not having to rent facilities. More importantly though, we have been able to assess our equipment and resources, and create greater collaboration between the programs that serve kids with special needs."

Linda McKean has also been a strong proponent of behavioral intervention services. Linda helped to secure a three-year First 5 grant for Special Services and TCOE's Early Childhood Education Program to work together serving children with behavioral needs. Linda also helped increase the Intervention Resource Classroom programs throughout the County and facilitate the full-time employment for all Bright Start teachers. "The fact that Behavioral Health Services has blossomed during my tenure is greatly rewarding," she said. "I'm proud to know that so many students are receiving quality behavioral support services to be successful in school."

Linda McKean retired on June 26 to travel and enjoy time with her family and friends. "The greatest reward of working for TCOE has been the staff," she said. "They are phenomenal people working in education for all the right reasons. I have appreciated that Mr. Vidak has created a work atmosphere where we can all work together as a family."

TCOE Retirees

Photos above:
~ Retired assistant superintendent Linda McKean poses in the Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy room at TCOE's Liberty Center. Prior to the acquisition of the former Liberty School site, Special Services' itinerant staff and their equipment were spread throughout the county in classrooms or rented facilities.
~ In addition to Linda McKean, several other key staff members retired this year. Among them was former University Preparatory High School principal John Kelly, pictured speaking at the school's commencement ceremony in May.
~ At the annual retirees' reception, hosted by the Human Resources Division on June 10, Dr. Guadalupe Solis (r) speaks about Kathy Johnston, who retired last month as administrator of School Health Programs.



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Staff prepares to move into new planetarium
Planetarium and Science Center building nearing completion, fall grand opening expected

Planetarium and Science Center Construction on TCOE's colorful new Planetarium and Science Center, located on the Liberty Center campus at 11535 Avenue 264 in south Visalia, is substantially complete. In late June, crews from the building's contractor, Oral E. Micham, relocated the planetarium's 80-piece dome and theater seats from the current facility to the new site. This month, planetarium supervisor Conan Palmer and his staff will begin the process of relocating all of the equipment and sound systems.

Once open this fall, the new planetarium will feature a roomier 70-seat theater which will utilize the program's latest full-dome digital projector for greatly enhanced clarity. The building will also feature a gift shop, a recording studio, a workshop and the science center. Initially, the science center will be used to show programs from the former History Theater, including the popular What is America? and The First Americans. Mr. Palmer reports that he and his staff will begin work to design and build the interactive science exhibits that will be featured in the science center.

Planetarium and Science Center "We are delighted that the project has come together so beautifully and so quickly," said County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "We appreciate the extraordinary work of architects Mangini & Associates and contractors Oral Micham in making this project a success. We look forward to inviting students, educators and parents to see all that the new Planetarium and Science Center has to offer at an open house this fall."

Visit tcoe.org/planetarium for updates on the grand opening events.

Photos above:
~ Planetarium Supervisor Conan Palmer (r) and Media Developer Travis Walters discuss potential positions for the digital projection system in the new planetarium theater. The program's 40-year-old star projector has been retired, but will remain on exhibition in the theater.
~ On the catwalk that surrounds the planetarium dome, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Walters discuss the placement of the theater's new sound system.



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Stars, birds come into view this fall at Circle J
Outdoor education program invites parents, students to astronomy, bird-watching programs

Beginning in August, students and their families are invited to view some spectacular celestial objects as part of the astronomy field trip program at Circle J-Norris Ranch. Under the supervision of a team of local amateur astronomers, visitors will learn to work the telescopes and guide them to view planets, star clusters and distant galaxies. Visitors will also learn the ancient mythologies of the constellations and how to identify the stars that they contain. "We are excited to launch our popular astronomy program for 2015," said Circle J-Norris Ranch lead teacher Nancy Bruce. "In Tulare County's night skies this fall, families will enjoy seeing the summer triangle, the Milky Way, star clusters and the Andromeda Galaxy. On certain nights, the moon, its craters and highlands are also visible."

Various family/student astronomy events are offered on select nights, August through November - each designed for a specific student grade level.

August 21, 2015, Grades 3 - 5 Family Astronomy Night, 7:00 p.m.
September 4, 2015, Grade 5 Family Astronomy Night, 7:00 p.m.
September 18, 2015, High School Astronomy Night, 7:00 p.m.
October 9, 2015, Middle School Astronomy Night, 6:30 p.m.
November 20, 2015, Grade 3 Family Astronomy Night, 4:30 p.m.


Circle J-Norris Ranch

Beginning in October, families can also choose from three bird-watching events. These Saturday programs introduce visitors to the basics of bird-watching and help them identify up to 20 native species.

October 24, 2015, Birding 101, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
December 5, 2015, Kids Bird Count, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
December 19, 2015, SCICON / Circle J Christmas Bird Count, 8:00 a.m.


Circle J-Norris Ranch is the beautiful 620-acre field trip site in the Sierra foothills that is part of the SCICON program. The program offers all grade levels a wide variety of field study experiences that enrich and extend classroom learning. Programs conducted on the property are designed to expand the appreciation of the environmental and aesthetic values of the outdoors, and increase understanding of the relationship between humans and nature.

Teachers in all grade levels are invited to call Circle J-Norris Ranch lead teacher Nancy Bruce at (559) 539-2263 to discuss field study opportunities.

Photo above:
~ In addition to family astronomy field trips, Circle J will offer three bird-watching events this fall. Students and parents will learn the basics of bird-watching and how to identify 20 native species.



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Spotlight

Spotlight on People This summer, Lisa Veenendaal joined TCOE's Educational Resource Services (ERS) as a mathematics staff development & curriculum specialist. Ms. Veenendaal comes to ERS from the Tulare City School District where she was a math instructor and a member of the district's math standards writing team responsible for creating a curriculum guide and units of study based on California's standards. In addition to assisting with ERS professional development trainings, Ms. Veenendaal will support instruction at Alta Vista, Buena Vista, Ducor, Fowler, Richgrove, Waukena, Woodlake, and Woodville school districts.

Spotlight on People
In June, Migrant Education wrapped up its nationally-recognized Summer STEM Program at school sites throughout Kings and Tulare counties. The program served over 800 students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lessons for students in grades K-8. ERS STEM curriculum specialists Michelle French and Jared Marr provided migrant teachers with training and helped develop assessments that will be utilized to measure the effectiveness of the summer program. Kindergarten, first- and second-grade students in the Woodville program (left photo) learned about various bridge types and tested the strength of their own bridge designs using weights. Students in grades 3-5 (right photo) learned some principles of electrical system design and are shown building a simple alarm system. For more information on Migrant's Summer STEM Program, call Tony Velásquez at (559) 651-3035.

Spotlight on People
May and June were busy months for La Sierra Military Academy, University Preparatory High School (UPHS) and Special Services programs as combined the programs graduated more than 130 students this year. Amber Kenison, La Sierra's valedictorian, (left photo) addresses the audience during the graduation ceremony, reflecting on her life-changing experiences at the school. Marisa Williams, a UPHS graduate, (right photo) leads the school's choir in a song during the commencement ceremony. Marisa was the first UPHS graduate to simultaneously earn her high school diploma and an associates degree from College of the Sequoias through the school's dual enrollment program.

Spotlight on People Jeanne Croson, the longtime administrative assistant for the Human Resources Division, retired last month with 23 years of service to the Tulare County Office of Education. In addition to her day-to-day duties supporting the Human Resources director, Mrs. Croson was instrumental in organizing the division's teacher recruitment fairs, longevity dinners, and retirement receptions.


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Gallery Notes

The Calendar of Student Events for the 2015-16 school year will soon be online at tcoe.org/StudentEvents. The booklet contains dates and information on nearly 50 student events and programs, including several new ones. This year, the Instructional Services Division is introducing three new events: Cardboard Challenge (October 10), Poetry Out Loud (February 10) and FIRST LEGO League (date to be announced).

In June, the Special Services Division announced staff promotions and other personnel changes. As Linda McKean retired June 26, Tammy Bradford became the divisionís new assistant superintendent. Sarah Hamilton, former administrator for Severely Handicapped Programs in Tulare has been promoted to administrator of Severely Handicapped Services, with responsibility for overseeing all programs that provide services to students with severe needs. Within the divisionís Severely Handicapped Program, Jill Santivanez became administrator for the Visalia-area programs, as Dr. Mike Stephens retired. Bob May remains in his role as administrator for Porterville-area Severely Handicapped Programs. Carrie Stephens joins the Special Services Division as program manager for the North County Severely Handicapped Programs. Ms. Stephens comes to the Tulare County Office of Education from Visalia Unified, where she has been a teacher and, most recently, a program specialist. Cathy Machado was named the program manager of Tulare-area Severely Handicapped Programs. Ms. Machado comes to Special Services from the Sutter County Office of Education. Previously, she had been the principal for Shelly Baird School, a program for students with special needs in Kings County. Bright Future director Ron Pekarek gained responsibility for overseeing the Bright Start Parent/Infant program due to the retirement of program manager Lou Ann Lubben.


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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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