go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage

The News Gallery

March 2016

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, Kelley Petty, Anna León, Shantal Porchia, Tammy Bradford, Kate Stover, Christine Glass, Aubrey Zigler 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.

Migrant Education Journalism Project

Migrant Education Journalism Project puts out newspaper
Project designed to build confidence and transition students to English language proficiency

Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade Migrant Education students in an after school class at Maple Elementary in Tulare describe their experience as journalists who helped to write the first edition of The Migrant Voice last month in terms of the fun they had. Students Gregorio, Yadira, Alexander, Dalia, Edwin, Danna and Natalia recount their exciting trip to Fresno State to speak to Mr. Sarge Green with the university’s Water and Energy Technology Incubator and how they visited various campus areas, including the student center and the cafeteria. They talked about how they enjoyed interviewing people like Tulare City School District Superintendent Dr. Clare Gist and Mrs. Muller, a teacher at Maple Elementary who owns a farm. The Maple students contributed several articles to a full-size, six-page newspaper focused on the effects of California’s drought.

The students’ teachers describe the experience in very different ways. “Maple teachers noticed the confidence the Journalism Project brought our Migrant Education students,” said teacher Vicki Stewart. “Perhaps the best thing that I’ve heard is that the kids came to school already talking about what they were doing after school. It really has been a great way to teach them 21st century skills.” Teachers throughout the county also noted students using more academic vocabulary; being bold, enthusiastic and generous with their writing; and, showing great care for their work.

Migrant Education Journalism Project

Migrant Education students from Maple Elementary and third, fourth and fifth graders from other Tulare, Tipton, Pixley and Earlimart schools published a total of 20 articles for the inaugural edition of The Migrant Voice as part of the new Migrant Journalism Project. The students worked alone or in groups to research, interview and write the articles on the drought and its impact on Tulare County.

The Migrant Journalism Project was envisioned by Migrant Education administrators and instructional leaders from TCOE’s Educational Resource Services. Migrant Education Program Administrator Tony Velásquez credits Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Charlene Stringham for helping to envision the project designed to assist students in transitioning from being English learners to proficient in the English language.

“With all our programs, we work to overcome the factors that inhibit our students’ ability to do well in school and to prepare them to make a successful transition to postsecondary education or employment,” said Mr. Velásquez. “With this goal in mind, we designed the Migrant Journalism Project with four outcomes.” Mr. Velásquez reports that students (1) experienced the role of a journalist by gathering information, interviewing people and writing articles; (2) practiced listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in English; (3) learned about the language features of journalism as an expository genre; and (4) increased ownership and self-awareness of learning skills and strategies.

Migrant Education Journalism Project Last year, Migrant administrators began working with staff from Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL). CEEL administrators Drs. Magaly Lavadenz, Gisela O’Brien and Elvira Armas helped design the curriculum and conduct the trainings for the Tulare County teachers who would lead the project. Lead by Migrant Program Managers Anna León and Shantall Porchia and teachers in the four districts, students began researching their topics, and interviewing and writing their articles last fall.

On February 2, students attended a special unveiling of the newspaper at the TCOE Planetarium & Science Center. Over 50 students attended to celebrate and share their stories about their trips to Fresno State and Friant Dam and their interviews with local educators and farmers, including citrus giant Paramount Farms. The result of the Migrant Journalism Project is a beautiful newspaper full of articles that helped to advance students in developing listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in meaningful ways.

Students in Vicki Stewart and Anthony Calvillo’s class at Maple Elementary are already beginning their next journalism project – the sports section of a newspaper they hope to complete with other Migrant Education students. Using the classic “5 Ws” of who, what, when, where and why, Maple students are asking lots of questions to prepare stories about basketball, baseball and, just in time for the Summer Olympics, track and field. As students research the history of each sport, Ms. Stewart and Mr. Calvillo are lining up interviews and demonstrations with athletes and coaches from neighboring Tulare Western High School – making this project a real-world, relevant and confidence-building experience for each young writer.

For more information on the Migrant Journalism Project, call Anna León or Shantall Porchia at (559) 651-3035.

Photos above:
~ Students in the Migrant Education classroom at Maple Elementary in Tulare were among more than 50 migrant third, fourth and fifth graders involved in creating the inaugural edition of
The Migrant Voice.
~ (l-r) Migrant Education Program administrators Anna León, Tony Velásquez and Shantall Porchia look on proudly as Regina Toscano from Heritage School in Tulare reads her story at the unveiling of the newspaper February 2.
~ (l-r) Shantall Porchia and Anna León display a copy of
The Migrant Voice, which was a product of the new Migrant Education Journalism Project, a collaboration with four Tulare County school districts and Loyola Marymount University. The project was designed to bolster migrant students’ confidence and skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

to Top of Page

First annual Poetry Out Loud event held
Oral interpretation event provides high school students an outlet for expression

Poetry Out Loud Robert Frost. Lord Alfred Tennyson. Emily Dickenson. Maya Angelou. William Shakespeare. The works of these great poets and more were brought to life during the first annual Poetry Out Loud competition held February 3 at the TCOE Redwood Conference Center. The event, open to high school students throughout the county, is a natural progression of the Poetry & Prose event, which is open to students in grades kindergarten through eighth. “Poetry Out Loud expands our commitment to oral interpretation,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “This event allows high school students the same opportunities hundreds of elementary students have enjoyed through our Poetry & Prose program for more than 30 years.”

Poetry Out Loud

Nine students competed in the inaugural event by reciting sophisticated pieces of poetry in three rounds. Laura Lara, a senior at Mission Oak High School (MOHS) in Tulare, took first place, making her eligible to compete at the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals in Sacramento February 28 and 29. Ms. Lara’s coach, MOHS teacher Laurie Jones, noted, “Laura is the perfect student to represent us in the state competition. Her work ethic, paired with her artistry, created magic on stage!” Ms. Jones added, "Poetry Out Loud was a transformational experience for me in my 13th year of teaching. Over 100 of my Speech students competed and I can honestly say the act of reciting poetry showed me a side to some kids I had never seen before.”

TCOE event coordinator Kate Stover reports that students who participated in the contest chose from an anthology of over 900 classic and modern pieces compiled by the national Poetry Out Loud organization. Nationally, the competition is enjoyed by thousands of students each year, while the state finals featured winners from 40 California counties. Locally, Poetry Out Loud was co-sponsored by the Arts Consortium, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Poetry Foundation, and the California Arts Council.

For more information about upcoming Poetry Out Loud events, call Kate Stover at (559) 651-1482.

32nd Annual Poetry & Prose On Stage
To enjoy more student poetry performance this month, attend one of the Poetry & Prose sessions March 10-11, 15-17 at 9:00, 10:15 or 11:30 a.m. in the TCOE Redwood Conference Center at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia.

Photos above:
~ Laura Lara, a senior at Mission Oak High School (Tulare) won the first annual Poetry Out Loud competition. She competed at the state competition February 28-29.
~ The top three finishers in the competition were (l-r) third-place winner Lupita Lopez, a senior at Mission Oak High School; first-place winner, Laura Lara, a senior at Mission Oak High School; and, second-place winner Kaleigh Lawrence, a senior at Dinuba High School.

to Top of Page

The Lisa Project gets permanent home in Tulare County
New smaller, mobile version of powerful abuse prevention exhibition licensed for display in regional high schools

On February 25, the Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) unveiled its new The Lisa Project in 10 (TLP10), a more mobile version of the powerful abuse awareness exhibition which has been shown in Tulare County four times since 2010. Nearly 50 community leaders and members of the CAPC attended the presentation at the TCOE Redwood Conference Center. CAPC Coordinator Billie Shawl thanked the community partners for helping the CAPC to purchase the rights to show The Lisa Project in 10 in an eight-county region of Central California. “Our goal is to first get the exhibit shown at every high school in Tulare County,” she said. Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak is supporting TLP10 by committing Maintenance & Operations staff to store, transport and assemble the exhibition throughout the region. Additionally, TCOE College and Career Director Joy Soares is working to develop curriculum to support learning about the effects of child abuse on children, families and communities.

Developed by Gene Hardin and the CAPC of San Joaquin County, The Lisa Project is a unique multi-sensory exhibit allowing the visitor to hear, see and experience the reality of child abuse. The new TLP10 uses an audio tour recorded from a child’s perspective to guide students and visitors through five small rooms depicting scenarios of abuse. The new exhibition can be completed in just 10 minutes, yet fully immerses each guest in the world of abuse actual children face on a daily basis.

For area high schools interested in hosting TLP10 at their sites, Ms. Shawl will provide staff and student leaders with the training to operate the exhibition, which occupies less than 500 square feet of space. To make a reservation request, call Ms. Shawl at (559) 735-0456.

to Top of Page

24th Annual Support Staff Conference coming April 20
Fun and enriching event celebrates school support staff with intergalactic theme

Coming to a galaxy near you, the 24th Annual Support Staff Conference will be a conference of galactic proportions. Scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, the conference will celebrate educational support staff – “The Force in Education” who perform supernatural feats every day and help shape young lives to be moral citizens of the universe!

Support Staff Conference The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Roger Crawford. Sports Illustrated called Mr. Crawford “one of the most accomplished physically-challenged athletes in the world.” His upbeat and humorous delivery positively influences audiences worldwide as he shares the principles he has lived – adaptability, possibility thinking, and eliminating self-imposed obstacles. His remarkable life story is a powerful example that “Challenges are inevitable, defeat is optional!” Mr. Crawford has been a guest on Larry King Live, Good Morning America and CNBC, and profiled in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Men’s Fitness. An Emmy Award-winning NBC-TV movie entitled In a New Light was based upon Roger’s incredible life story. Mr. Crawford is also a best-selling author whose books help readers embrace change, improve their mindset and achieve breakthrough performance.

Following Mr. Crawford’s presentation, support staff will enjoy inspiring breakout sessions filled with timely information on topics ranging from fashion and well-being to job skills and personal hobby development. The conference will also feature great food, lively entertainment and more than 20 vendors providing products and services chosen especially for the audience. Attendees are encouraged to join in the fun and dress in school-appropriate, intergalactic attire.

Registration information is available at

Photo above:
~ Athlete and author Roger Crawford will be the keynote speaker at the 24th Annual Tulare County Support Staff Conference.

to Top of Page

Early Childhood Education employees celebrate service milestones
62 employees contribute over 1,000 years of service to the children of Tulare County

This fall, 62 staff members of the Tulare County Early Childhood Education Program (TCECEP) celebrated service milestones of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years. The TCECEP is the Head Start and State Preschool agency that coordinates early childhood education services to low-income families in Tulare County.

The longest-serving employee this year was Maria Alvarado who celebrated her 40th anniversary with the program. Ms. Alvarado is a teacher assistant in the Woodlake #1 Child Development Center.

40 Years
Maria Alvarado

35 Years
Maria Cadena
Angelica Mares
Angie Rodriguez-Angeles
Sandra White

30 Years
Jovita Carranza
Cecelia Christman

25 Years
Catherine Johnson
Carla Pacheco
Celeste Rodriguez

20 Years
Carmen Aguilera
Elvira Barron
Guillermina Cary
Melissa Cruz
Claudia Guerrero
Concepcion Magana
Pa Vang
Rosalie Velazco

15 Years
Consuelo Avina
Maria Ayala
Guadalupe Casas
Marisela Chavez
Cristina Espino
Margarita Flores
Graciela Garibay
Ninfa Guerrero
Demetria Gutierrez
15 Years (cont.)
Mumtaz Lakhani
Frances Madrigal
Letty Mendez
Josie Ontiveroz
Ramona Salcedo-Canchola
Justina Sanchez
Mercedes Sanchez Lopez
Virginia Tucker
Rosa Villegas
Shannon Younger

10 Years
Elizabeth Aguilera
David Alfaro
Laura Banuelos
Maria Barcenas
Marcelina Basurto
Georgina Carreno
Hector Coronel
Rosa Esquivel
Ernestina Fernandez
Maria Garcia
Maria Garcia
Emilia Garibay
Diana Gonzalez
Maria Guerrero
Criselia Guzman
Maria Ledesma
Juana Lopez de Chaidez
Maria Magana Gutierrez
Beatriz Martinez
Erminia Martinez
Beatriz Rodriguez Anguiano
Rosa Romero
Rosa Sanchez
Guadalupe Venegas
Diana Zapata

to Top of Page


Spotlight on People On February 24, Sameera Hussain, a seventh-grade student at Sequoia Middle School in Porterville, retained her title as the Tulare County Spelling Champion for the second year. In the competition's 17-year history, Sameera remains the only champion from Porterville. As part of the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register sponsorship of the competition, Sameera is eligible to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee beginning May 22 in National Harbor, Maryland. Pictured (l-r) are Donald McBath, third-place winner from Cherry Avenue Middle School, Tulare; Yasoda Satpathy, second-place winner from Sequoia Middle School, Porterville; and Sameera Hussein.

Spotlight on People Beth Wilshire recently joined the Special Services Division as the new Foster Youth Services Coordinator. Previously, Ms. Wilshire worked 20 years for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Tulare County where she supported foster youth through the probation and courts systems and the Child Welfare Services agency. Ms. Wilshire will work to implement the new state-funded Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program, a program designed to enhance collaboration and build the capacity of local educational agencies to serve foster youth.

Spotlight on People Sitting before Tulare County Superior Court Judge Gary Paden at the Mock Trial finals February 18, El Diamante High School successfully defeated challenger Exeter Union High School to earn a spot at the state competition March 18. This is the first time in 11 years of competing that El Diamante has won the Mock Trial event. The students were coached by Rachel Wilson, Katie Wilson and Carla Moore. The El Diamante defense attorneys pictured are (l-r) Madison Soltesz, Gwen Atherton and Lisa Glasgow, with Morgan Zapasnik portraying the defendant. Other team members included Mariana Alvarez, Sarah Arroyo, Morgan Britter, Amy Buratovich, Sebastian Culver, Melanie Eastman, Evan Loftin, Esmeralda Molina, Amna Qamer, Kyla Rodriguez, Merett Saad, Sarah Seyedebrahimi, Samaria Tamao and Jaden Van Groningen. Morgan Britter of El Diamante High School entered the winning courtroom artwork. Brenda Payan from Tulare Union High School wrote the winning journalism entry.

Spotlight on People On February 6, the Tulare County Academic Decathlon championship title returned to Porterville's Granite Hills High School after five years. The previous eight-time champion, Granite Hills held the title from 2003 to 2010. This year, they earned the large school and overall honors in the 10-event contest and the opportunity to compete in the state finals beginning March 17 in Sacramento. The Granite Hills team, which is coached by Elissa Lombardi, includes Savannah Banuelos, Celeste Castro, Isaac Flores, Adrian Gonzales, Aileen Herrera, Erica Huerta, Michaela Perez and Seth Phillips. Orosi High School captured the small school division title for a second year in a row and also won the event’s Super Quiz competition. For a complete list of results, visit

Spotlight on People On February 2, Dr. Craig Wheaton joined the Tulare County Office of Education leadership team as deputy superintendent of Administrative Services. Dr. Wheaton comes to TCOE having served as superintendent of the Visalia Unified School District since 2010. In his 37 years of service to education, Dr. Wheaton has had a very wide range of teaching and administrative experience at both large and small districts. He joined the Visalia Unified School District in 2002 as director of state and federal projects, before being promoted to area administrator and finally district superintendent.

Spotlight on People On February 16, the 43rd Annual Math Super Bowl took place with over 650 middle school students testing their mathematical skills. Students from 43 Tulare and Kings County schools, both public and private, competed for ribbons and trophies in three main events – Power Bowl, Pro Bowl and Team Bowl. Pictured (l-r) are eighth-grade large school Pro Bowl winners Ryan Hemphill (first place) and Spencer Lawton (fourth place) from Green Acres Middle School. For complete results, visit tcoe.org/mathsuperbowl.

to Top of Page

Gallery Notes

Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak and members of the Tulare County Board of Education will hold a dedication ceremony for the Tulare County Office of Education’s new Administration Building and Conference Center Wednesday, March 9 at 1:00 p.m. Open to the public, the ceremony will be conducted in front of the new building located at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia – just north of the WWII Mural.

In March, visitors to the new Administration Building and Conference Center can enjoy over 100 drawings, paintings and sculptures in the "Best of Show" Student Art Exhibition. The exhibition, featuring student works from throughout the county, is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A public reception honoring the artists will be held in the lobby of the new building from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 10.

Coaches, athletic directors, administrators, officials and other youth leaders are invited to register for the Tulare County Office of Education's Pursuing Victory With Honor sportsmanship workshop. This in-service will help attendees build better character through their coaching efforts. The workshop takes place on March 7 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the new Redwood Conference Center. To register, please visit
tulare.k12oms.org/1530-110139, or call Kelley Petty, CHARACTER COUNTS! program coordinator, at (559) 740-4303.

Student athletes are invited to apply for the annual Pursuing Victory with Honor (PVWH) Senior Scholarships. Each year, the CHARACTER COUNTS! program awards four $500 scholarships to graduating seniors who best exemplify sportsmanship, leadership and school and community service. Applications, which are due by March 31, can be found at tcoe.org/pvwhscholarship.

Essays for the annual Foundations for Life competition are due April 5. Foundations for Life is a national, maxim-based essay contest for middle and high school students to reflect upon, express, and commit to profound and enduring truths. Locally, schools enter their student's best essays in the annual Tulare County competition. One Tulare County student in each grade level will receive a cash prize. For more information on the competition, contact Tim Budz, English Language Arts/ELD staff development and curriculum specialist, at (559) 651-3046.

to Top of Page

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

| Home Page | Site Index |

Please direct web site problems or comments to tcoeweb@tcoe.org.

Copyright © 2018, Tulare County Office of Education