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The News Gallery

October 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, Sara Torabi, Gene Mendes, Mike Franco, Denise Cifuentiz, Virginia Sepeda, Donna Glassman-Sommer and Paula Terrill.

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.

CHOICES After School Program

Quality instruction at the heart of After School
CHOICES After School program hits 12 quality standards for expanded learning programs

Kristen Taylor has the challenging task of providing meaningful instruction to students in the after school program at Kohn Elementary in Tulare. Late one Friday afternoon, Mrs. Taylor involves them in a fun and engaging “how to” writing exercise about bubble gum. Anxious to chew the forbidden treat, the second- and third-grade students take turns standing at the head of the class to demonstrate their bubble-blowing skills. Mrs. Taylor records their performance. A little more than half the students can blow a bubble; the other half – not quite yet.

The students then write a “how-to” paper on the process of blowing a bubble. Mrs. Taylor and her students discuss each step in the exercise – unwrapping the gum, chewing it until soft, attempting to blow a bubble, counting the number of students who were successful and, finally, wrapping the gum back up in its paper and throwing it away. By contributing to the conversation, students begin to understand how details, clear instruction and the sequencing of ideas help in communicating with others – all important skills in learning. The final portion of the assignment involves the completion of a self-portrait art project with a pink balloon blown up and affixed to the piece to represent their bubble. “This assignment is always a hit with the students,” said Mrs. Taylor. “The great thing about it is that it ties writing with math and art.”

CHOICES After School Program Intentional instruction is being conducted on a daily basis at the 33 CHOICES After School Program sites throughout Tulare County – a practice administrators plan to expand every year. Each day, the sites serve over 2,400 elementary and middle school students from Dinuba in the north part of the county to Alpaugh in the south.

Mrs. Taylor’s lesson is an example of high quality instruction the California Department of Education (CDE) wants to see in after school programs statewide. Earlier this year, the CDE After School Division partnered with the California AfterSchool Network Quality Committee to develop 12 Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs, along with descriptions of what each standard should look like in action. With the development of the 12 quality standards, it is anticipated that after school programs will be formally assessed in the future.

CHOICES After School Program

For the CHOICES After School Program, quality instruction is designed according to the unique needs of each school site. “We incorporate input from our site leads and teams, and invite the district superintendents and principals to weigh in on what instruction and support their students need most,” said Project Coordinator Virginia Sepeda. The After School Program offers districts a menu of services with a wide range of academic support, enrichment and youth development activities. “In addition to homework assistance, we offer a variety of evidence-based prevention curricula, nutrition education, STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics), physical fitness and various online coursework. Each site administrator is invited to choose the programs that best meet the needs of their students.”

Ms. Sepeda reports that regular staff development trainings and the support of a network of internal and external partners keep the program on a path of continual improvement. In addition to the instructional support of TCOE’s Educational Resource Services, the CHOICES After School Program benefits from a partnership with the California Teaching Fellows Foundation. The Foundation places undergraduate students from local valley colleges and universities to work in the After School Program and supports them with teacher mentors and professional development trainings. This supports their career pathways, leading several of them to pursue careers as teachers, counselors or school psychologists.

CHOICES After School Program

“It’s reassuring to look at the quality standards and validate the good work that is happening in our After School Program,” said County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “I believe that the standards will be a valuable tool as we look to make improvements and to share our best practices among the programs in our region.” CHOICES Prevention Program’s Extended Learning Director Adam Valencia serves as the regional lead for the After School Programs, Region VII. His office regularly supports after school agencies with professional development trainings and technical assistance.

CHOICES After School Program

Ultimately, the new state quality standards are designed to benefit the students in after school programs. “Each student has a story that reminds us how important our commitment is every day,” said Ms. Sepeda. “It’s a privilege to work alongside our CHOICES team, school districts and parents to support students in ways that meet them right where they are - socially, emotionally and academically.”

For more information about the CHOICES After School Program or the new quality standards, please contact Virginia Sepeda at (559) 651-0155, or virginias@tcoe.org.

Photos above:
~ Second- and third-grade students in Kristen Taylor’s CHOICES After School class at Kohn Elementary in Tulare enjoy a writing project that combines art and math.
~ Mya and Matthew share a laugh during snack time at the Wilson Elementary CHOICES After School Program.
~ The CHOICES After School Program serves over 2,400 Tulare County K-8 students each day on 33 school sites. The program addresses the state’s new Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs with intentional instruction, whether it is academic in nature or part of an enrichment program. Lessons may include various evidence-based prevention curricula, nutrition education and STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics).
~ Physical education is also a component of the after school program. Second-grade students at Alila Elementary in Earlimart enjoy a game of “duck, duck, goose,” ...
~ ... while Mr. Ochoa instructs upper grade students in the fundamentals of football.

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Students prepare for Cardboard Challenge
First annual community event celebrating children's creativity set for October 10

Cardboard Challenge

Shannon Ranch Elementary students Aubrey, Kailee, Lily and Bella have a dilemma. The tower of their Golden Gate Bridge is not standing. The girls remember that they need an additional layer of cardboard applied to the tower to stiffen it. As the other girls hold the tower in place, Bella heads over to her teacher Jessica Malmsten, who is busy cutting and hot-gluing custom-ordered pieces for various student teams. “We love San Francisco,” said the girls. “It’s our favorite city. We were inspired to represent it and our Golden State with this bridge.”

Cardboard Challenge Aubrey, Kailee, Lily and Bella are preparing their Golden Gate Bridge for display at the Tulare County Office of Education’s first annual Cardboard Challenge October 10 at the Doe Avenue complex. Their classmates are also busy creating their own projects, ranging from dogs and doghouses to Shrek’s Swamp and a 1970 Dodge Charger, modeled after the car from the movie Furious 7.

The Global Cardboard Challenge was inspired by the short film Caine's Arcade and is a worldwide celebration of childhood creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it. During the summer of 2011, nine-year-old Caine Monroy utilized discarded boxes from his father’s East Los Angeles auto parts store to create an onsite gaming arcade. Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick stumbled on the arcade when he visited the store to buy a door handle. The documentary was filmed after Mullick organized a flash mob to visit the arcade and celebrate Caine’s entrepreneurial accomplishment. Since the filming of Caine’s Arcade, Mullick has created the Imagination Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children, as well as the Global Cardboard Challenge organization.

Cardboard Challenge

In Ms. Malmsten’s classroom, Antonio, Nathan and Avery envision their 1970 Dodge Charger equipped with hydraulics – devices to raise the car up to reveal the underside of the chassis. They were challenged to create the angles needed to lift the car. “This year, I’ve been introducing students to the STEM standards and talking about how we use them to create,” said Ms. Malmsten. “The students were inspired by the Caine’s Arcade video and immediately began to build their own designs through trial and error, using math and engineering principles.”

Cardboard Challenge

“We are looking forward to seeing dozens of projects from Tulare County students at the first annual Cardboard Challenge,” said County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “We invite the community to join us for this event celebrating the creativity of Tulare County young people.”

Cardboard Challenge

The Cardboard Challenge will be held at the 7000 Doe Avenue Complex from 8:00 a.m. until noon on October 10. For more information, call Paula Terrill at (559) 651-0565.

Photos above:
~ Students at Shannon Ranch Elementary in Visalia prepare creations for the first annual Cardboard Challenge scheduled for Saturday, October 10 at the TCOE Doe Avenue Complex (photos 1 and 2).
~ Teacher Jessica Malmsten appreciates how the Cardboard Challenge fosters student creativity and encourages the use of STEM concepts.
~ Shannon Ranch Elementary sixth graders work to secure one of the towers on their replica of the Golden Gate Bridge.
~ Cables in place, Aubrey, Bella, Lily and Kailee show off their work.

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Career Technical Education credential offered
Professionals from various fields can earn credential to teach career technical classes

The IMPACT Program within the New Teacher and Leadership Development (NTLD) program has recently been authorized by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing to provide the coursework and credential for working professionals from a variety of fields who want to teach specific subjects in the region’s high schools or adult schools. The NTLD program can now offer Preliminary and Clear Designated Subjects Career Technical Education (CTE) Credentials based on a candidate’s work experience and undergraduate coursework in 15 industry sectors. This credential will enable its holder to provide career technical, trade, and vocational instruction.

NTLD Administrator Donna Glassman-Sommer says that the CTE credential is becoming increasingly valuable to high schools as they build their career academies as part of the regional Linked Learning initiative. “Professionals who have had careers in medicine, engineering, business, manufacturing and a host of other fields can find opportunities in teaching by obtaining a CTE credential,” she said. “Ultimately, our students benefit from the instruction of career professionals with real-world experience.”

If a professional has at least three years of combined undergraduate coursework and work experience, he or she may be eligible to enter the CTE Credential program. Ms. Glassman-Sommer reports that a requirement of 10 units of pre-service coursework, which can be completed in approximately two months, allows the candidate to apply for a preliminary CTE Credential. The NTLD Program will be offering the coursework several times throughout the year. To obtain a Clear CTE Credential, the candidate will need to complete additional units of coursework and two years of successful teaching on his or her Preliminary CTE Credential in the designated industry sector.

For more information about the program requirements and costs, contact Donna Glassman-Sommer at (559) 730-2549, or donnags@tcoe.org. More information is also available at tcoe.org/NTLD.

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TCOE Foundation makes grants available
Grants designed to increase student access to TCOE programs and special events

Since 2000, the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation has served as a nonprofit organization receiving donations from employees, community members and other foundations in support of TCOE programs and special events. This month, the Foundation announces the availability of grants to support student access to TCOE events and programs. Beginning October 1, Tulare County Office of Education program managers and Tulare County school district site administrators are invited to submit their grant requests to the TCOE Foundation. All requests must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1.

The Foundation board has envisioned a two-tier grant application process. For grants up to $500 (Tier 1), applicants should send a cover letter and complete a one-page request form explaining how funds will be used. For amounts over $500 and up to $2,500 (Tier 2), the Foundation has created a more comprehensive application form.

“The Foundation board is excited about annually funding worthy projects,” said County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “The board is open to requests from within the Tulare County Office of Education and from schools within Tulare County.” Applications must describe how funds will be used to increase student participation in any of the Tulare County Office of Education’s 50 student events and programs, including SCICON, Circle J-Norris Ranch, Theatre Company and the Planetarium & Science Center. “For example, grant awards in the Tier 1 category could be used to help with the cost of registration for a student event, such as Science Olympiad or Mock Trial. Larger grant awards could be used to help fund a special field science research project at Circle J-Norris Ranch or a community service project at one of the CHOICES After School sites,” said Mr. Vidak. “The board is looking forward to receiving some creative grant applications.”

TCOE employees are reminded that they can support the work of the Foundation by completing the voluntary deduction form found at tcoe.org/FoundationVolDed. Employees can establish an amount – large or small – to be deducted monthly from their paycheck. Funds will be transferred directly into the Foundation.

For more information on applying for a grant from the TCOE Foundation, including copies of the guidelines and the application packets, contact Marlene Moreno at (559) 733-6302, or marlenem@tcoe.org.

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Spotlight on People On September 24, the 2015 Educators of the Year were honored at the Central California Chinese Cultural Center. Now in its 22nd year, the Confucius’ Birthday/Educators of the Year program is a partnership between the Chinese Cultural Center and the Tulare County Office of Education to honor an outstanding elementary, middle and high school teacher. Pictured (l-r) are Dennis Bettencourt, band director for Redwood High School in Visalia; Krystal Poloka, an eighth-grade science and seventh- and eighth-grade STEM teacher at El Monte Middle School in Orosi; and Vicky Kusnierek, a fifth-grade teacher at Pleasant View West School in Porterville. A tribute video featuring the three Educators of the Year can be viewed online at tcoe.org/EOTY.

Spotlight on People Last month, middle school students from 18 Tulare County schools attended the annual T.U.P.E. (Tobacco Use Prevention Education) Leadership Training, hosted by the CHOICES Prevention Programs. CHOICES staff worked with students in small groups on lessons in leadership and character development, building confidence among team members, and the myths and dangers of vaping. Among the participants’ favorite activities was the team-building exercise at the rock climbing wall.

Spotlight on People This year, thousands of high school students from throughout Tulare County attended the 33rd Annual College Night event for the opportunity to meet with college and university representatives from more than 70 institutions, including Fresno Pacific University. The supply of 2,500 free College Night Planning Guides, generously donated by Jostens, was quickly exhausted. The Planning Guide contains a wealth of information students need to prepare for and apply to colleges and universities. For students and parents who were unable to obtain a copy of the Planning Guide, visit tcoe.org/CollegeNight to print a copy.

Spotlight on People In September, the La Sierra Military Academy leadership class kicked off its “Pay It Forward” campaign by collecting toiletries, personal items and snacks for firefighters battling fires in the Sierras. The leadership class presented over 100 relief packages to firefighters, including representatives from Cal Fire, Visalia Fire Department and U.S. Department of Forestry. Afterwards, cadets met with representatives to hear about fire safety and career opportunities.

Spotlight on People Last month, Dr. Ross Gentry was named interim deputy superintendent of Business Services, replacing John Caudle who retired in August. Dr. Gentry served the Tulare Joint Union High School District for 38 years as a teacher, counselor, coach and assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Most recently, Dr. Gentry served as superintendent/principal for the Allensworth School District. In addition to his work for Tulare County school districts, Dr. Gentry remains involved in United Way of Tulare County’s college access initiative. He is also a project facilitator for the California State University Chancellor’s California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), working regionally with grant recipients Kern High School District and La Sierra Military Academy to improve the preparation of their students for college.

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Gallery Notes

The Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council (TCCAPC) will host its 10th Annual Cynthia Lockhart Mummery Conference at 8:00 a.m. on October 29 at the Wyndham Visalia (formerly the Holiday Inn). The conference, entitled “Behind Closed Doors - the Hidden Victims of Domestic Violence,” will feature Carol Redding, a member of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study since 2003. Ms. Redding is an author and a popular presenter, and has been a Fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She identifies herself as a survivor and includes her own experiences in her presentations. Conference registration is $50 per person and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Continuing education units are available for therapists and nurses. For information, contact TCCAPC at (559) 735-0456 or (559) 730-9117.

A dedication ceremony will be held for the Tulare County Office of Education’s new Planetarium & Science Center building on Wednesday, October 14 at 1:00 p.m. The building, located on TCOE’s Liberty Center campus at the corner of Mooney Boulevard and Avenue 264, will welcome student groups beginning in November for showings of popular planetarium and history programs. Supervisor Conan Palmer reports that the program will host a series of open house events for teachers during the week of October 26. Public evening shows will be held on Friday, October 30. For more information on grand opening events, visit tcoe.org/Planetarium. To book a school tour at the new facility, call (559) 737-6334.

The Child Abuse and Neglect (C.A.N.) Prevention Program is seeking adult volunteers to help make presentations at Tulare County schools. C.A.N. is a classroom-based prevention program designed to help reduce the incidence of neglect, as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The program educates children in first and fifth grades to recognize and effectively deal with potentially dangerous situations. Last year, the team made over 800 presentations locally. An application for volunteers interested in serving the C.A.N. Prevention Program is available at tcoe.org/CAN. For more information, call Linda Cemo at (559) 651-0130.

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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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