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News Gallery Week

Welcome to News Gallery Week

Welcome to News Gallery Week

On behalf of Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire, welcome to News Gallery Week – the new weekly version of Tulare County Office of Education’s long-running newsletter. For nearly 40 years, the News Gallery has been the publication for employees, district personnel and community members to learn about TCOE events, programs and staff achievements. Over the years, it has won a national and several state awards. In shifting to a weekly publication, our goal is to provide readers with the same quality information in an easier-to-read format. “The move to a weekly News Gallery is another component of our communication efforts to share information in a timely manner,” said Mr. Hire. “News Gallery Week, together with Facebook, will be used to communicate the latest program developments, celebrate awards and staff accomplishments, and share results from student events and information about upcoming activies.

I invite TCOE program managers and staff members to send newsworthy events to me. If you’re aware that your students will participate in a significant activity or complete an amazing project, or your staff will be receiving a special commendation, or your program has been selected to receive a new grant, I’d love to hear about it. We like to cover events within 24 hours, so please notify me by email with the details of your newsworthy event so that I can consider placing it in an upcoming edition of News Gallery Week, or posting it on Facebook.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to share all the amazing students, staff and events at TCOE – California’s best county office of education. I look forward to working with you!

Robert Herman, Editor

Students participate in first UC Merced/SCICON Field Station internship

UC Merced/SCICON Field Station Internships

Loaded with GPS devices, stakes, fence post drivers, ropes, tape measures and clipboards, 16 Tulare County high school students trekked deep into the Circle J-Norris Ranch last week as part of the new UC Merced/SCICON Field Station internship program. The interns were on site June 25-27 to participate in the first phase of an ongoing tree survey project in conjunction with the new field station.

UC Merced/SCICON Field Station Internships

Before beginning their tree survey work, the interns received a lesson on geographic information systems (GIS) from a woman who utilizes the tool in her job every day. Patty Rueger, GIS analyst for The Wonderful Company in Delano, demonstrated how she uses satellite and aerial maps to analyze the health of her company’s citrus groves. Mrs. Rueger then showed students a map of Circle J-Norris Ranch and explained that they would be surveying 26 circles, each one-tenth of an acre in size. Within the circular sites, which were randomly chosen with a mapping application, students were to count, tag and record information on each tree as part of an ongoing oak mortality research project.

UC Merced/SCICON Field Station Internships

In the field, students used the coordinates on their hand-held GPS to find the center of the first survey site. Nancy Bruce, lead teacher at Circle J-Norris Ranch, and Amanda Driver, pathway lead at Monache High School’s Environmental Science Academy, helped students determine the boundaries of their survey site and to count and tag the trees within it. Dr. Jessica Blois, faculty director of UC Merced’s Natural Reserves, helped students understand how to correctly record their data and how it would be used by future researchers.

UC Merced/SCICON Field Station Internships

At the conclusion of the three-day internship, students collected data and prepared short presentations for Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire and SCICON Director Dianne Shew. “We hope that this internship program will lead more Tulare County students to see UC Merced as a place for them to continue their studies, particularly if they’re interested in environmental sciences,” said Mr. Hire.

UC Merced/SCICON Field Station Internships

Through the vision of former Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak, the Tulare County Office of Education and UC Merced created a much-needed research site in the Sierra Nevada foothills which will expose students to higher education learning and environmental science career opportunities.

The second phase of the internship will be held at Circle J-Norris Ranch on October 26. High school students and teachers interested in participating in the UC Merced/SCICON Field Station internship program in the future are encouraged to contact Dianne Shew at (559) 539-2642.

Photos above:
~ Patty Rueger, a GIS analyst with The Wonderful Company in Delano, talks to the UC Merced/SCICON Field Station interns about how satellite and aerial images can be used in field science research.
~ Amanda Driver, the pathway lead for Monache High School’s Environmental Science Academy, shows students how to program a GPS device to locate research sites.
~ At the research site, students mark off an area one-tenth of an acre in size and measured the diameter of all trees, living or dead, within the area.
~ Dr. Jessica Blois, director of UC Merced’s Natural Reserves, talks to students about their survey work and how it will be utilized by future university researchers.
~ Nancy Bruce, lead teacher at Circle J-Norris Ranch, demonstrates how to create numbered tree tags utilizing a stamping kit and a hammer.

TCOE welcomes Fernie Marroquin

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Fernie Marroquin

This week, Dr. Fernie Marroquin joined the Tulare County Office of Education as assistant superintendent of Business Services. The former superintendent of Oak Valley Union School District, Dr. Marroquin will oversee the Business Services Programs, Information Systems and General Services. Prior to his four-year superintendency with Oak Valley Union, Dr. Marroquin served Visalia Unified as administrator for Human Resources and principal at Redwood High School. He began his career in the Tulare Joint Union High School District as a social science teacher before pursuing his administrative credential. In Tulare, Dr. Marroquin served as assistant superintendent of Business/Human Resources. At the same time, he earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from a joint program of CSU Fresno and UC Davis. Dr. Craig Wheaton, who oversaw Business Services since February 2016, has retired.

Tulare County athletes compete at Special Olympics Northern California

Tulare County students at Special Olympics Northern California

Tulare County students at Special Olympics Northern California On June 21, 34 athletes from Tulare County Office of Education Community Based Instruction (CBI) and various adult programs participated in the annual Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games at UC Davis. In total, the Tulare County athletes brought home 70 gold, silver, and bronze medals and 20 ribbons in various track and field and swimming competitions.

Photo above:
~ Emoni Wright was one of 34 Tulare County athletes to compete in the Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games. She is a student in TCOE's CBI North class in Tulare. She received a gold medal in the shot put event.

Photo right:
~ Sean Brennan, also a student in the CBI North class in Tulare, won a gold medal in the 200 meter race.

La Sierra holds basic training for new cadets

La Sierra Military Academy basic training

La Sierra Military Academy basic training Last week, new La Sierra Military Academy cadets completed their annual basic training, learning how to salute, stand in formation, march, and show proper respect to commanding officers. Over 50 middle and high school students attended the two-week training to learn the military traditions of the school. Principal Anjelica Zermeño reports that while basic training has concluded, enrollment for La Sierra Military Academy is currently open to all incoming middle and high school students. Parents and students interested in attending the school, which builds leadership, discipline, physical fitness, and college and career preparedness, are encouraged to contact the school office at (559) 733-6963.

Photos above:
~ Last week, incoming cadets at the La Sierra Military Academy completed a two-week Basic Training to learn the military traditions of the school. Upper classman helped the new cadets learn about saluting, standing in formation, marching, exercising and proper respect for commanding officers.

Congratulations TCOE program graduates

TCOE Graduations 2019

Last month, Tulare County Office of Education programs concluded their annual graduation ceremonies. This year, Special Services Community Based Instruction and AcCEL Programs, La Sierra Charter School, University Preparatory High School, and Court/Community Schools graduated nearly 140 students with diplomas or certificates. To see more photos of these graduation ceremonies, visit TCOE’s Facebook page at @TulareCountyOfficeOfEducation or online at

Photo above:
~ Carina Castro was one of 38 seniors to graduate from La Sierra Charter School on June 6. Graduates included students from the school’s independent study and military academy programs.

Coming Up!

  • Newsies tickets on sale
    Tickets are available at TCOE offices on Mooney Blvd. and Doe Ave. for Theatre Company's summer musical, playing July 19-27.
  • Learning and Leadership Forum registration is open
    for Instructional Services' four-session 2019-2020 event featuring Dr. Pat Greco. The first session is September 13. View the flyer for more information. Register online to attend.
  • July 3
    Visalia Freedom Celebration - 4:00-10:00pm, Recreation Park
    Stop by the CHARACTER COUNTS! booth and the celebrity dunk tank.

View more events at

Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Nancy Bruce, Dianne Shew, Anjelica Zermeño, Anne Clifford, and Fernie Marroquin.

To receive News Gallery Week, visit, or contact Jennifer Fisher at or (559) 733-6172.