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Registration now open for Expanding Your Horizons, presenters also sought

Expanding Your Horizons logo Registration is now open for Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), the popular STEM-based conference for young women. The conference is designed for young women in grades 4-10 to enlighten and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. EYH helps attendees discover how interesting and fun math and science can be, form personal contacts with women working in STEM occupations, and dream big to follow career paths traditionally pursued by men.

EYH will be held November 2 at College of the Sequoias in Visalia and include dozens of interactive breakout sessions lead by women working in STEM fields. Attendees will enjoy sessions on engineering a bridge, robotics, forensics, and more. Registration is just $10 per student and open through October 8. Group and individual registration forms can be found at

Expanding Your Horizons breakout session from 2018

Student events coordinator Paula Terrill reports that EYH organizers are looking for female presenters to share a little about their work in the math, engineering, or science fields and to guide students through four hands-on sessions. Interested presenters should contact Ms. Terrill at

Photo above:
~ Girls attending the annual Expanding Your Horizons event attend four fun and interactive breakout sessions led by women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professions.

Hundreds attend Anti-Bullying Symposium, return to their campuses to create positive school cultures

Last week, nearly 300 students from throughout Tulare County attended the 2019 Anti-Bullying Youth Symposium at the Visalia Convention Center. Attendees learned ways to build strong, positive school cultures where all students are supported and included. The symposium was organized by TCOE’s CHOICES Prevention Programs for middle and high school students to address state requirements that all school districts adopt a plan to prevent acts of bullying, including cyberbullying, by the end of the year. Sharing on Facebook, Wilson Middle School teacher Yesenia Rojas-Gomez said of her students, “They all came back so inspired to put into place all that they learned.”

Anti-Bullying Symposium

Jeremy Bates (aka the Hope Dealer) was the keynote speaker. Following his presentation, students attended breakout sessions on leadership development, mindfulness, signs of suicide, and the “Dude, Be Nice” program, led by Tulare Western High School ASB students and advisor Stephen Amundson. The work of Mr. Amundson and his students captured the attention of ABC30, which will feature the “Dude, Be Nice” program in an upcoming Children First half-hour special focusing on kindness. At the symposium, students highlighted numerous programs the club organizes on campus, on other Tulare campuses, and in the community throughout the year, including a shoe campaign for elementary children, a freshman teambuilding activities week, a homeless outreach campaign, and “Wish Week” for students with special needs to participate in campus activities.

Anti-Bullying Symposium

Also at the symposium was the leadership team from Sundale Union School in Tulare. The students have chosen to focus on teambuilding for the 2019-20 school year with an emphasis on strengthening bonds between all students. “It’s important to lift people up rather than put them down,” said leadership class member Max Benson. Students have already developed three presentations for students in third, fourth, and fifth grades. The leadership team delivers their message about the importance of getting to know one another and supporting one another to the younger students through a series of games. The Sundale leadership team will also be featured on the upcoming Children First special, scheduled to air Sunday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on anti-bullying programs, contact Gene Mendes at (559) 651-0155.

Photos above:
~ Students from Tulare Western High School shared many of the successful outreach programs they've developed on campus. Tulare Western High School's ASB is led by Stephen Amundson. The students’ work will be featured on an upcoming
Children First special scheduled to air Sunday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m. on ABC30.
~ Karly Aguilar, a leadership student from Sundale Union School, conducts a teambuilding exercise with third-grade students. Sundale Union leadership students also attended the Anti-Bullying Symposium and will be featured on the upcoming
Children First special, which focuses on kindness. The Sundale students have developed a year-long teambuilding program to unite Sundale students as a family.

The Dream Center opens with reception attended by representatives from 25 agencies

TCOE's Dream Center for foster youth

Over 160 community members representing 25 organizations attended the opening of TCOE's Dream Center August 29 in Visalia. The Dream Center is a collaboration of several agencies serving foster youth. In addition to TCOE’s Foster Youth Services/Homeless Education staff, the center is now home to staff from Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council, three social workers from Tulare County Child Welfare Services (CWS), and an eligibility worker from TulareWORKS.

TCOE's Dream Center for foster youth

At the event, foster youth led tours of the facility for attendees, which included judges, school district administrators, local city and county representatives, and leaders from youth resource agencies.

“While the concept for this program has been discussed for several years, the work in developing the Dream Center came together in a remarkable six month period thanks to the support from all of our partnering agencies,” said Tim Hire, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. "Being here together is already making a difference in the lives of the young people we serve!"

For more information on the Dream Center, contact Beth Wilshire at (559) 730-2910, extension 5131.

Photos above:
~ Tulare County Judge Juliet Boccone (left) was an early advocate for collaboration between agencies serving foster youth. She is pictured with TCOE Foster Youth Services Coordinator Beth Wilshire, Assistant Superintendent Tammy McKean, and CWS Deputy Director Anita Ortiz (left to right).
~ Foster youth were on hand at the opening of TCOE's new Dream Center to give community members tours and explain all the services available.

CHOICES holds first Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response Forum of the year, two additional forums planned

Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response Forum

On August 30, the TCOE CHOICES Prevention Program held its first Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response (CPPR) Forum for the 2019-20 school year. Over 130 educators and first responders attended the meeting to participate in crisis scenarios, discuss best practices, and hear from Trent Lovett, superintendent of Marshall County Schools in Kentucky. Mr. Lovett shared with the group the events and aftermath of the January 23, 2018 school shooting at Marshall County High School.

Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response Forum

Upcoming CPPR Forums will be held Monday, November 18, 2019, and Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Educators who are interested in participating in the forums or discussing how their school can work more closely with law enforcement and first responders are encouraged to contact Frank Silveira at (559) 651-0155.

Photos above:
~ Over 30 Tulare County first responders pose with Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire (left) and CHOICES Program staff at the Crisis Preparation, Prevention, Response Forum held August 30.
~ Trent Lovett, superintendent of Marshall County Schools in Kentucky, shared the events and aftermath of a 2018 school shooting in his county.

Coming Up!

  • September 5
    Step Up Youth Challenge Advisor Training
    4:00-7:00pm, TCOE Conference Center
    More information.
  • September 10
    Tulare County College Night
    5:30-8:00pm, International Agri-Center, Tulare
    More information.
  • September 15
    SCICON Open House
    for 6th grade students and their families
    11:00am-4:00pm, SCICON Campus, Springville
    More information.
  • September 18
    Friday Night Live T.U.P.E. Leadership Training
    9:00am-3:00pm, Wyndham Visalia, 9000 W. Airport Dr.
    More information.
  • September 19
    Step Up Youth Challenge Youth Summit
    8:30am-1:30pm, Visalia Rawhide Ballpark, 300 N. Giddings St.
    For more information, contact Kelley Petty at or (559) 740-4303.

View more events at

Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Paula Terrill, Gene Mendes, Beth Wilshire, and Frank Silveira.

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