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SCICON launches virtual lessons for classes unable to visit the outdoor education school this fall

Virtual lessons at SCICON

Last week marked the beginning of SCICON’s virtual tours for students in schools scheduled to visit the outdoor education program this fall. While the campus remained closed to visitors for the latter half of the spring semester, SCICON connected with students through fun and educational videos. As the new school year begins and the campus remains closed due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SCICON naturalists are expanding outreach with virtual tools to cover key NGSS standards, SCICON traditions and songs, and the exciting world of the school’s Raptor Center and Discovery Room.

Virtual lessons at SCICON

SCICON Director Dianne Shew reports that, through custom Zoom sessions, students are introduced to the outdoors with lessons in aquatics, ecology, forestry, and geology, and visits to the Phyllis Wall Museum. Last week’s virtual participants included students at Olive Street School in Porterville and Charter Home School Academy in Visalia. September participants include classes from Porterville, Visalia, and Traver.

Virtual lessons at SCICON Illustrating the successes and challenges of the new distance-learning program, one student said it best, “First we learned about aquatics and the animals that live in water. Next we learned about trees and different animal skulls. Then we got to see the museum and we also got to see Charlie the vulture. Lastly, we went on a trail, but the wifi internet wasn't working.”

Porterville teacher Eve Conway added, “Even virtually, the students learned vocabulary and made connections to the Earth. Thank you so much for bringing SCICON to us!”

Fifth- and sixth-grade classes interested in receiving virtual lessons from SCICON naturalists are encouraged to contact Dianne Shew at

Photos above:
~ SCICON naturalists have created Zoom lessons for classes unable to visit the campus this fall.
~ Virtual classroom presentations include lessons on aquatics and animals living near the outdoor education school.

Improvement science expert Dr. Pat Greco returns as featured speaker of Learning and Leadership Forum

Dr. Pat Greco, featured speaker at TCOE's Learning and Leadership Forum

District and school leadership teams are invited to register for the 2020-21 Learning and Leadership Forum. The three-session forum will feature improvement science expert Dr. Pat Greco, returning for a second year. Dr. Greco will build upon last year's sessions and share tools and approaches for developing culture, leadership, and strategies for organizational improvement.

This year, Dr. Greco will support Tulare County leadership teams as they reflect on their organization's core values and design the organizational pillars aligned to the focus of their work. She will also demonstrate how to bring the improvement process full circle through the creation and use of department scorecards to measure individual and collective progress toward organizational pillars.

Dr. Greco is a senior director with Studer Education, a national consulting organization. As the former superintendent of Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin) Schools, Dr. Greco successfully used improvement science to accelerate system, school, and student learning. Under her leadership, the district adopted a problem-solving mindset which yielded an impressive array of impacts, including transforming Menomonee Falls High School from a federal designation of “in need of improvement” in 2011 to a U.S. News & World Report “top high school in the nation.”

The Learning and Leadership Forum will be held virtually November 13, January 29, and March 12 from 9:00 until 11:00 a.m. To register for the forum, visit Each session will be recorded for those who are unable to attend.

For additional information, contact Martin Frolli at

Distance Learning Resources

Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Dianne Shew, and Martin Frolli.

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