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The News Gallery

October 2003

TCOE Goes to the Fair

News Gallery - October 2003 Editor: Pamela Kunze
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Leslie Converse, Rich Graham, Faye Johnson, Kathy Johnston, John Forenti, Elainea Scott, Rick Moynahan, Gary Biggs, Darlynn Billingsley, Christine Chapman, and Lorena White.

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 chrisc@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.

Cover Photo:
~ Students from TCOE's Severely Handicapped programs enjoy the fair rides.

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TCOE's Programs and Students Take Part in the Tulare County Fair

For many years, the Tulare County Fair has been a major attraction for thousands of visitors from throughout the Valley and beyond, so it should come as no surprise that the Tulare County Office of Education has a long history of involvement with the fair. Programs like SCICON and CHARACTER COUNTS! have become fixtures at the Tulare County Fair with a CHARACTER COUNTS! booth every year since 1997 and SCICON having been there even longer.

SCICON at the Fair As children, teachers, parents and community members pass by the CHARACTER COUNTS! area in the Junior 4H exhibit hall, volunteers distribute stickers, bookmarks and flyers which advocate the importance of character development and the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

According to John Forenti, CHARACTER COUNTS! coordinator, the booth plays an important role in introducing CHARACTER COUNTS! to schools, teachers, citizens, civic groups and businesses. This year's volunteers included members of the community, the Tulare County Office of Education and students from Kaweah High in Exeter and Pixley Elementary School.

CHARACTER COUNTS! at the Fair SCICON coordinator, Rick Mitchell, gives credit to SCICON's support organization, the Friends of SCICON, for helping their display grow from a small table top booth to a mini-museum and a beautifully-landscaped outdoor nature walk. Mitchell believes one reason the SCICON display has become a fair favorite is that it allows adults a chance to remember their childhood trip to SCICON. He says, "For parents, it's a time to introduce their children to the exciting experience that awaits them at SCICON."

In addition to being a venue to feature TCOE's programs, the fair also offers students the opportunity to see educational exhibits, art displays, farm animals and agricultural items. Recently, on "Very Special People's Day," many students from TCOE's severely handicapped programs visited the fair where they viewed exhibits, listened to music, enjoyed the rides and were treated to a hotdog lunch and ice cream dessert.

Gary Biggs, TCOE's program manager for the Severely Handicapped (SH) Occupational Training Program, says there are many benefits for the SH students who attend the fair. Students practice community skills, proper conduct, talking with their voices down and making purchases. Biggs says one of the greatest benefits is obvious as you look at the students at the fair. "You could see by their faces that they enjoyed the whole experience. They are always excited and talk about how much fun they're having," says Biggs.

Biggs seems to sum up TCOE's long-standing relationship with the fair when he adds, "It's neat that there are people and agencies out there that are looking out for, and taking care of, our kids. It brings a lot of happiness to our students for the day."

Photos above:
~ The entrance to the SCICON display and nature walk.
~ Volunteers from Pixley Union School District's student council distribute CHARACTER COUNTS! stickers to visiting students.

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TCOE's Annual College Night Attracts More Than 3500 Students

The Tulare County Office of Education recently sponsored another extremely successful College Night with an estimated 3500 students and their parents and representatives from more than 70 colleges and post-graduation institutions in attendance.

Throughout the evening, presentations and panel discussions allowed visitors to learn about financial aid opportunities, college admissions and transfers, and student campus life. Some of the most popular sessions included: "Writing the College Essay," "Funding Your College Education," and a student panel presenting "What I Wish I'd Known Before Going Off to College." Parents and students seemed especially interested in panels discussing recent changes to college requirements including "The New SAT Test," "The UC Personal Statement," and "New Rules for Athletes." Additionally, computers with Internet connections were available for students and parents wishing to access links to university, financial aid, and test preparation sites.

College Night For many families, College Night offers an outstanding opportunity for parents and students to learn about college and other post-graduation opportunities and discuss options with representatives in a more relaxed environment. Many in attendance commented that they appreciated the presence of so many out-of-state representatives including technical, art, military, and special interest institutions of higher learning.

According to Elainea Scott, event coordinator, "The representatives commented on the preparedness of the students, their great questions, and general wonderful behavior. It was surprising to many that the exhibit hall was filled with parents as well as students." Scott continues, "Many of the parents had an opportunity to visit one of the break-out sessions and hear about financial aid, scholarships, on-campus activities, and the ACT and SAT tests, as well as the application process and how to help teens succeed in college."

College Night began 21 years ago with a few concerned parents in a living room. Parents have always played a large part in our local College Night and this year was no exception. The 80-90 volunteers that helped with College Night included parents, students, and staff from TCOE and surrounding high schools and colleges. The parents single-handedly organized a dinner for the college representatives and they staffed areas in the exhibit hall including the Index of Majors and hospitality tables. The committee for College Night 2004 will begin meeting in the spring and volunteers are always welcome. If you're interested, please call Elainea Scott at 651-3031.

Photo above:
~ One of the many services available to students and parents who attended TCOE's college night was access to computers with Internet connections. Above, College Night attendees view university, financial aid and test preparation sites.

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Teachers and Students Reap the Benefits of School Supply Stock-up Day

On Saturday, September 6, over 1200 teachers in Tulare County took advantage of the opportunity to stock up on free supplies for their classrooms. Thanks to the efforts of a community partnership that included over 120 volunteers, every teacher who attended left with hundreds (and in many cases, thousands) of dollars worth of binders, pencils, tape, markers, labels, specialty papers, computer and other supplies.

School Supply Stock-up Day The Tulare County Office of Education and the TCOE Foundation partnered with the sponsoring agency, Tulare County Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC), after being contacted by Bob Shipman, Love INC's executive director. Envisioned as a one-day community event designed to help teachers stretch their budgets and augment their classroom supplies, the special day was part of the "Kids in Need" program.

Love INC started assembling school items in July from its many outlets across the nation. Shipman knew he needed help distributing the materials to Tulare County teachers. He contacted TCOE and asked, "If we get the supplies, will you help us organize it and get the teachers?"

Although it was a bit unconventional, County Superintendent Jim Vidak knew this was an outstanding opportunity for teachers and decided to take Shipman up on his offer. Love INC assembled the supplies in the parking lot of their Lindsay warehouse and TCOE recruited volunteers and made certain all 5000 public and private K-12 teachers throughout the county were notified of the special one-day event through posters, flyers and letters.

On the day of the event, the Love INC parking lot and supply area had been organized into 20 "zones," each with specific tasks and at least four volunteers to carry them out. Tasks included everything from checking people in, to guiding them to the exit from the parking lot, to keeping people and vehicles steadily moving through the area in a one-way direction. Limits were set to make sure teachers scheduled for later in the day would have plenty of supplies to choose from when they arrived.

Thanks to the hard work of the 120 volunteers including 80 teachers (several from TCOE), twenty CSET Youth Corps participants and others from local churches, the event started ten minutes early and was "on time" for the entire day.

According to TCOE's event coordinator, Faye Johnson, "At 7:30 in the morning, the volunteers were 120 strangers wondering what they were getting into. By 9:30, in the midst of the first wave of teachers, they had become a high performance team determined to make the day successful."

Johnson continues, "The only word to describe it is awesome! It was awesome to be able to get a million dollars worth of great supplies to our teachers and students, awesome to work with such a great team of volunteers and awesome to live in a community that cares!"

Photo above:
~ One of more than 1200 teachers who came to TCOE's School Supply Stock-up Day with empty carts, wagons, suitcases and mini-tractors and left with more school supplies than they could carry.

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TCOE's VTC Capability Expands to Meet Broadening Needs

On September 3, sixteen Tulare County teachers in the Bright Start program became the first group to take advantage of TCOE's enhanced video conferencing capability. Seated around a large screen monitor in the Media Center, they participated in the first session of a semester-long course broadcast from San Diego State University. Joining them were others from Madera County, although that group was physically located at the Madera County Office of Education. This format allowed each group to see whoever was speaking at the time on the large screen, no matter where they were located, while viewing themselves on a smaller "picture within a picture" on the same screen. Each attendee had only to turn on their microphone in order to speak to and be seen by the entire group.

TCOE has had video conferencing capability since 1999. However, the original equipment linked neighboring county offices of education, with some limited contact outside of the region provided by a dedicated phone service and communication bridge from California State University, Fresno.

Video Conferencing Now video conferencing at TCOE has gone Internet. Besides the Bright Start group, other sessions are being scheduled. An assessment of a special education student from Visalia by psychologists with the Diagnostic Center in Fresno will take place via video conferencing. The TCOE Court/Community Schools staff is also planning a meeting with a group from Sacramento.

Additionally, the California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) recently met with their counterparts in San Joaquin County, successfully linking seven counties from throughout the state. "We were able to meet with representatives from across the county and beyond to talk about drug and alcohol issues that are relevant to all of us," says CFNLP administrator Jim Kooler. "Without the technology and support provided by TCOE, this would not have been possible," Kooler continues.

In an era of tight budget constraints, participants are happy to avoid expensive out-of-town travel while still reaping the benefits of meeting "face-to-face." Costs charged to groups for use of the equipment and Media Center are minimal. "This is just one of many ways TCOE is meeting the challenges of operating successfully in a difficult fiscal climate," says County Superintendent Jim Vidak.

For more information and reservations, contact Rick Moynahan, Director of Information Systems at TCOE. The Media Center can accommodate up to 30 participants.

Photo above:
~ California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) administrator Jim Kooler (left) and Evaluation, Management and Training (EMT) consultant Michael Browning recently used TCOE's Media Center to participate in a VTC with San Joaquin County Office of Education representatives (on the television screen in the background).

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Employee Safety Update

It is the goal of the Tulare County Office of Education to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees and to eliminate occupational injuries and illnesses. The priority of workplace safety and health is of such importance that it is placed above operating efficiency and productivity whenever necessary. This Employee Safety Update is provided to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for all employees of the Tulare County Office of Education.
  • The Tulare County Office of Education has an adopted Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Rich Graham, Administrator for General Services, is responsible for implementation of the program.
  • All TCOE employees are responsible for compliance with established safe, healthy, and common sense work practices.
  • Employee safety concerns should be brought to the attention of the employee's immediate supervisor when first noticed.
  • An Employee Safety Manual is provided all current and new employees. Check with your supervisor if you do not have a copy of this document.
  • A form titled Supervisor's First Report of Injury/Illness/Accident is provided to employees injured while at work. This form should be completed the same day as the injury occurred.
  • The Tulare County Office of Education conducts quarterly Safety Committee meetings. Safety Committee members include representatives from each division who are responsible for distributing Safety Committee meeting information to their respective groups.
Safety Committee Members for the 2003-04 school year:
Susan Scott Personnel 733-6053
Theresa Porter Migrant 651-3035
Donna Martin Special Services 781-0843
John Sanchez Child Care 627-5230
Roger Beavers Maintenance 749-4601
Candy Hilvers School Health 651-0130
Rich Graham General Services 733-6601
Kelly Forney Buckman-Mitchell 635-3585
Marv Cunningham JPA 730-7538
Breck Klawitter Keenan and Assoc. 635-3585

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Red Ribbon Week T-Shirts now on Sale

Red Ribbon Logo Red Ribbon Week t-shirts are now on sale. The deadline to order is October 8. Red Ribbon Week will be observed this year from October 27 - 31. During that time, TCOE employees are encouraged to wear their Red Ribbon Week t-shirts to show their support of drug-free living. For more information and t-shirt order forms, contact Christine Chapman at chrisc@tcoe.org or 733-6172.

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Gallery Notes

Dr. Jim Beauchamp, Au.D. Jim Beauchamp began working for TCOE in October 1983 as the sole audiologist in our program for the hearing impaired. When Jim started, eight deaf and hard of hearing students from school districts throughout the county were wearing an auditory trainer provided through our program. Thanks largely to Jim's facilitation of this valuable service, we now have 72 district students wearing an auditory training device.

In addition to his outstanding work for the hearing impaired program, Jim began studying for his Doctorate of Audiology (Au. D.) in the spring of 2000. Although he was enrolled at Central Michigan University, Jim received his course work via the Internet and completed tests by having them proctored by the Tulare Public Library. On August 2, 2003, Jim received his doctorate and is now known as James A. Beauchamp, Au.D.

Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak says, "I know I can speak for all of TCOE in congratulating Dr. Jim Beauchamp and thanking him for the outstanding job he does for students and parents."

If you are someone who is committed to bettering the lives of children, an extraordinary opportunity awaits you. The Child Abuse & Neglect (C.A.N.) Prevention Program sponsored by the Tulare County Office of Education is seeking volunteers. Volunteers are needed to make presentations to kindergarten and fifth-grade students at Tulare County schools, both public and private.

Two volunteers work together in each classroom. They speak from a prepared script in order to insure that all of the information is covered. The presentations are non-threatening and age-appropriate. Volunteers receive a total of 14 hours training on two separate days. The next training classes are scheduled for October 15 and 17, 2003. Volunteers serve two to four hours a month.

For more information please contact Kathy Johnston at School Health Programs (559) 651-0130.

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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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