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The News Gallery

April 2002

WHAT'S COOKING? - Porterville SEE & Co. Completes Kitchen and Restaurant in Latest Phase of Renovations

News Gallery - April 2002 Editor: Rob Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Cherí Barnes, Gary Biggs, Darlynn Billingsley, Esmeralda Cano, Veronica Carmona, Christine Chapman, Vicky Contreras, Jeanne Croson, Randy Elzig, Frank Escobar, Linda Hamilton, Margaret Ibarra, LouAnn King, Donna Martin, Rick Mitchell and Donna Orozco.

The News Gallery is published monthly with the exception of double issues printed for July/August and December/January. If you would like to receive the News Gallery, please contact Christine Chapman at (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.

Cover Photo:
~ Instructor Ruth Brown advises a program participant in Porterville SEE's new kitchen.

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SEE & Co. Expands Porterville Facility

The Services for Education and Employment (SEE) office in Porterville will soon start a Culinary and Hospitality Training Program, patterned after the successful programs in Visalia. The "Birdhouse Restaurant" is scheduled to begin about April 1, featuring food cooked and prepared by SEE participants and served by aspiring food servers seeking careers in the fast-growing restaurant industry. A brand new kitchen and dining room have been built by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants referred to SEE by Tulare County.

Porterville SEE & Co. "Our Porterville restaurant is a sister to our Apple's Restaurant in Visalia which teaches culinary and cooking skills to welfare participants, and also trains individuals to become professional waiters and waitresses," says SEE Administrator Dr. Lorene Valentino. "Even though Tulare County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, the restaurant and food industry continues to grow and hire people. We have been extremely successful in finding jobs for our culinary and hospitality graduates."

The Birdhouse Restaurant will feature a standard menu of hot meals, cold sandwiches and a "special of the day," giving the trainees an opportunity to fix different dishes. Trainees will learn the basics of preparing food, cooking, safety and sanitation. The food servers will learn how to set tables, take beverage and food orders, deliver the orders, refresh drinks and prepare the final bill. Experienced instructors will train an average of ten trainees in each class. The Culinary course takes six months of training, while the Hospitality class takes three months. SEE Job Developers will assist each graduate to find a job in their career field.

Porterville SEE & Co. "While we train for restaurant cooks, many of our graduates take jobs with institutions, such as schools, hospitals, prisons and large senior home facilities," explains Valentino. "These jobs are stable, provide employee benefits and have opportunities for advancement. Our food servers can earn an average of $10 an hour in many of the local restaurants. These are good wages for individuals who have been stuck on welfare for years." Ruth Brown has been promoted to the position of Education Specialist/Culinary Instructor and Olivia Jaramillo is now the Education Specialist/Hospitality Instructor in Porterville. The Birdhouse Restaurant will be open to participants, students, SEE and TCOE staff and guests.

"The restaurant is just a part of a major renovation we have completed over the past year to a vacant building in Porterville," says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "This is the second time we have used our own participants to remodel an existing building with fantastic results!" The SEE Program took over the vacant 12,000-square-foot FISCO building, 1414 W. Olive St., and completely remodeled the interior similar to the Visalia (Fairway Market) facility. SEE operates a TulareWORKS, Welfare-to-Work, Youth, MOVE, child care and other training programs in the Porterville office. Frank Escobar was recently transferred to the Porterville office as the Employment Supervisor.

Porterville SEE & Co. will host an open house on April 17, 2002, from 3:00 - 5:00pm. Visit 1414 West Olive or call 782-4748 for more information. For reservations for the Birdhouse Restaurant, call Olivia at 782-4748.

Photos above:
~ Program participants learn a variety of vocational skills ranging from hospitality to construction trades.

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Recruitment Center Plans Pathways for Future Teachers

Central California Regional Teacher Recruitment Center staff The best way to predict the future is . . . to create it! Regional education and community leaders recognize that education is one of our top priorities. With class size reduction, "baby boomer" teachers nearing retirement and restrictions on emergency teaching permits, the need to attract people to the profession early has never been more important. Central California Teacher Recruitment Center staff is exploring the idea of developing teacher/professional pathways to inspire and attract the young, talented and interested students. "We need to attract our best and brightest students as well as promote a positive image of the teaching profession," says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "The current teacher shortage extends ten or more years into the future. By working now to create these opportunities and streamline the process, we can meet the demands."

On March 20, the recruitment center cosponsored a teleconference with Dr. Anne Rothstein, professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Lehman College and director of the Walton-Lehman Urban Teacher Academy Project. Also included on the teleconference were staff members and students from Walton High School in the Bronx, New York. The teleconference was designed for local educators to learn from a successful program in New York. "We invited interested high school staff, Workforce Investment staff, school-to-career partners, Cal Teach, and other representatives," says Jeanne Nava, executive director of the Recruitment Center.

This vision grew from a group of interested educators who met to discuss how to develop and implement career pathways for future teachers. "Our mission is to develop collaborative partners to inspire "home grown" students from the community to become future teachers," says Donna Glassman-Sommer, recruitment director for the center. "We want to create teaching pathways that give students credit in high school that can be transferred to a two- or four-year college. We also want to explore a continuum of high school programs designed to give eligible students the opportunity to have hands-on teaching experience while receiving college credit," adds Ms. Glassman-Sommer.

To accomplish this mission, Kern County High School District has established and copyrighted the organization "CAFÉ" (California Association of Future Educators), which will help school districts and other partners in our region promote and attract students to teaching as a profession. Dr. Rothstein's program, which is a professional and teaching pathway, has grown tremendously in the last 17 years. "Many of our districts are very interested in modeling the components of the Lehman College/Walton High School program, as well as the Fresno Careers in Education program, which is articulated with Fresno State College and several community colleges.

The March 20 meeting culminated in local leaders and educators establishing four regional committees. "We are encouraged by the regional and statewide interest in participating in this concept and look forward to building local pathways for future teachers," says Ms. Glassman-Sommer.

Photo above:
~ Central California Regional Teacher Recruitment Center staff includes: Recruitment Director Donna Glassman-Sommer, Recruitment Specialist Gail Kaulfuss, Executive Director Jeanne Nava, and Recruitment Specialist Rhonda Souza.

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Foster Grandparent Program Pairs Older Adults and Children with Special Needs

The Foster Grandparent Program, a nationally recognized volunteer program, offers men and women, 60 years of age and older, the opportunity to serve their community by sharing their time, experience and love with children who have special needs. Foster Grandparents are caring individuals who devote 20 hours a week to helping these children lead a more independent and productive life. In improving the lives of the children they serve, Foster Grandparents greatly enrich their own lives.

Foster Grandparent Program One might ask why we need foster grandparents. The answer is simple. Everyone needs a grandma, grandpa or a friend who can provide that special kind of love and attention: a kind smile, a warm and caring voice or dedicated time. Foster Grandparents are active participants in the daily educational life of the students and are often instrumental in providing children with that special care and attention they need to learn a new skill or to generalize a previously acquired one. "There is a great need for volunteers in our classrooms," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "I appreciate the work of the Special Services Division and Visalia-area Program Manager Gary Biggs for tapping into this invaluable resource."

Foster Grandparent Program The Central Valley Regional Center joined with the Tulare County Office of Education last summer to assign the program's first Foster Grandparent to a Special Day Class at River Bend Elementary. On June 13, 2001, Beatrice Alonzo nervously entered Mr. Glenzter's preschool classroom at the side of Cathy Howard, the Foster Grandparent Program Coordinator. Despite her pleasant smile, it was easy to see that Bea was wondering if she was up to the job before her. Everyone assured her that she would do fine, but you could almost see the uncertainty in Bea's eyes. A moment later a student in a Rifton walker approached Bea. He stopped in front of her, studied her a moment and then smiled up at her. Bea beamed back a big smile and patted the student's hand. It was love at first sight. She looked at Cathy and smiled, as if to say: "It's all right. I'll be fine."

Doris Schertz began working with students in Mrs. Golonsky's preschool class at Union Elementary in September 2001. During a visit to Mrs. Golonsky's classroom, Doris expressed how much she appreciated the opportunity to be a volunteer and how much it meant to her to be able to help others. On her first day in class, Doris began interacting with the children immediately. It wasn't long before she was sitting among all of the students, helping them with a snack. Smiling brightly, Doris said, "This is so much fun! I should have been doing this years ago!"

Photos above:
~ Beatrice Alonzo volunteers at Golden Oak Elementary Special Day Class, while Doris Schertz helps at preschool class at Union Elementary in Visalia.

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Tule River Tribe Dedicates New Site for Child Care Center

During the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Tule Child Care Center on March 8 three hawks turned lazy circles in the clear skies above, as leaders from the Tule River Tribal Council performed a traditional Native American blessing of the land. The center is a collaborative effort between the Tulare County Office of Education's Child Care program and the Tule River Tribal Council.

Tule Child Care Center The land and half of the building costs have been donated by the tribal council. The Child Care program is funding the rest of the building and will operate the program. The new center, which is planned to open late in the fall, will replace the present center. Currently, it is housed in an old adobe building, originally used as the home of the tribal chairman.

Tule Child Care Center "We have operated the existing child care center for quite some time," says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "It's an older facility that is now too small for the growing population on the reservation. We needed a new facility and a new site, and the tribal council has been magnificent to work with."

The Child Care program operates 41 centers throughout the county and will be opening six new sites in the next year. The center will serve the residents of the Tule River reservation, which includes over 800 individuals, as well as employees of the Eagle Mountain Casino; the casino is located on the reservation.

Photos above:
~ Tule Child Care staff and students.
~ Students practice clearing the site of one of its many rocks.

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TCOE to Host Regional Science Olympiad Competition

Thirty-six teams of future scientists from Tulare, Fresno, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sacramento and Shasta Counties will converge on the College of the Sequoias Saturday, April 13. Students will be competing in the annual NorCal Science Olympiad in events such as: Bridge Building, Egg Drop, Robot Ramble, Water Quality, Chemistry Lab, Polymer Detectives, Science of Fitness, Cell Biology, Rocks & Minerals and Reach for the Stars. Representing Tulare County in the Middle School division are: El Monte Middle School in Cutler-Orosi, La Joya Middle School in Visalia and Palo Verde Middle School in Tulare. Tulare County High School teams include: Golden West High School, Mt. Whitney High School and Tulare Western High School.

The Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education. The Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous academic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events. Students prepare for the event during the year. "One of the goals of the Science Olympiad is to elevate science learning to a level of enthusiasm and support normally reserved for varsity sports programs," says Science Instructional Consultant Jon Janzen.

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TCOE-Designed Comic Published by Josephson Institute

Last fall, Michael Josephson, president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and founder of the national CHARACTER COUNTS! program, mentioned to County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak his need for material for students in a program operated by the State of Arizona. "As Michael described what he wanted, I thought about all the talent we have in this organization," says Mr. Vidak. "It was easy to tell him that we could help and know that it would be a first-rate publication!"

TCOE-Designed Comic Published by Josephson Institute The resulting 16-page comic book contains three short strips based on stories of students who participate in the Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! program. The book also contains a number of puzzles and word games. "Each story is designed to point the reader back to the core ethical values taught in the CHARACTER COUNTS! program," says Mr. Vidak. "Yet, they're done in a fun way that young people will learn from and enjoy." Mr. Vidak provided the concept and story direction, while CHARACTER COUNTS! coordinator John Forenti and Court and Community School Program Manager Angel Vazquez did the writing.

The comic strips were illustrated and rendered by talented artist and Impact Center Supervisor Sam Pena. Public Information Officer Rob Herman provided the layout. Court and Community School teacher Randy Conn developed the word games and puzzles.

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Gallery Notes

Jared Sadoian Jared Sadoian, an eighth grader from Washington Intermediate in Dinuba, is the 2002 Tulare County Spelling Champion. Jared will advance to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., May 29-30, 2002.  Rebekah Klint, an eighth grader from Divisadero Middle School in Visalia, and Timothy Gruchacz, a sixth grader from Lighthouse Christian in Visalia, took second and third place, respectively. The competition, held February 28, was completed in 12 rounds.

Two Tulare County Office of Education employees were recently selected for "Administrator of the Year 2002" honors through the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Tulare County Charter. Christine Chapman and Elainea Scott will be recognized for their achievements at the June 12 Summer Institute for School Administrators in Tulare.

Christine Chapman Classified Employee of the Year Christine Chapman is the administrative secretary for County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. She assists with many of the events hosted by Mr. Vidak in addition to coordinating the FoodLink food drive and Red Ribbon Week.

Elainea Scott Central Office Administrator of the Year Elainea Scott is the program manager for Educational Resource Services (ERS). She administers the program that provides library and media services to Tulare County school districts and directs events such as Tulare County College Night.

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Tim A. Hire, 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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