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The News Gallery

May 2011

TOUR OF HISTORY - The Impact Center develops a new program on all of the California Missions, including the La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima Mission in Lompoc. The Center also premieres its new panoramic projection system for the Multimedia Educational Theater.

News Gallery - May 2011 Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Christine Chapman, Marlene Moreno, Priscilla Soliz, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Paula Terrill, Sara Sutton, Conan Palmer, Haley White, Rick Mitchell, Charlotte Garcia and Kelley Petty.

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 Jennifer Fisher at jenniferf@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172 and provide your name and address.

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Impact Center to premiere new program
Multimedia Educational Theater benefits from new panoramic projection system

Impact Center Thanks to a new program created by the Impact Center, students can visit the California Mission sites through an engaging high-definition video shown on a stunning 33-foot-long panoramic screen. The program will be unveiled this month in the Multimedia Education Theater (MET), along with a new projection system developed especially to make the most of the video.

Impact Center The MET complements the Peña Planetarium in presenting social studies programs to thousands of visiting students each year. Since Fall 2007, the theater has operated a five-screen, digital projection system. While the set-up was a great advancement over the slide-based projectors previously used, Media Developer Conan Palmer felt there was room for improvement. “The idea was to convert the screen from five smaller images to one panoramic image,” Palmer explains. “This makes filming and editing much more efficient, and gives us more visual design freedom.”

The new projection system was developed just as Impact Center Media Technician Haley White began editing footage she captured from traveling to the 21 mission sites. The new format, created in-house by Mr. Palmer, uses three high-definition projectors working together to create a seamless panoramic image. Ms. White says, “I can have 56 pictures up at one time, three videos running simultaneously or a single wide shot that takes up the entire screen. That really helps keep the attention of students who are used to the action seen on television and in movies.”

Impact Center Impact Center Supervisor Sara Sutton invites staff and teachers to preview the video and projection system at an open house May 27 at 3:30 p.m. “We are very proud of our new video and the technology used to project it,” she says. The program, which covers many of the state fourth-grade history standards, will be available to classes visiting the Impact Center this fall. For more information, call (559) 733-6433.

Photos above:
~ Impact Center Supervisor Sara Sutton and Media Technician Haley White view footage from the new California Missions program.
~ Media Developer Conan Palmer reviews the software that controls the panoramic projector system.
~ Assistant Superintendent Dr. Pansy Ceballos rehearses
De Colores, which she will sing at the May 27 open house. A portion of the 33-foot screen shows Mission San Antonio de Padua.

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Superintendent's assistant Chapman to retire
Administrative office welcomes Jennifer Fisher; Marlene Moreno promoted

This month, Christine Chapman will retire as administrative assistant to County Superintendent Jim Vidak. Christine is heading back to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near Canada, to be with her family. She has served in her current role for over four years and has over 17 years with the office of education, primarily as Mr. Vidak’s administrative secretary.

“Christine has done a fantastic job of assisting me in the ever-changing work of our office, while polishing the many ongoing programs we offer such as Excellence in Education, the Support Staff Conference, the annual Central Valley Educational Coalition Meeting, the Fall Institute and the Summer Institute, to name just a few,” says Mr. Vidak. “We have all appreciated her thoroughness, her calm demeanor and her professionalism – she is truly a wonderful person.”

Administration Marlene Moreno, Mr. Vidak’s administrative secretary, has been promoted to administrative assistant. Filling the role of administrative secretary is Jennifer Fisher, the former recruitment/accounts specialist from the Tulare County Office of Education’s New Teacher Development Program.

“I feel very fortunate to have worked for the Tulare County Office of Education under the leadership and guidance of Jim Vidak,” says Christine Chapman. “I am excited to begin a new chapter in my life, but sad to leave behind some very special friends and co-workers.”

Photo above:
~ Newly appointed administrative assistant Marlene Moreno (left) and administrative secretary Jennifer Fisher support the office of the County Superintendent.

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Math Super Bowl celebrates problem-solving
Over 660 middle school students compete in 38th annual event

Math Super Bowl Math Super Bowl is more than just numbers. Sure, the program just completed its 38th year and hosted over 660 seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Visalia Convention Center from 41 Tulare and Kings county schools. At the heart of the long-running event is a celebration of problem-solving, as students are challenged individually, in teams with their classmates, or with students from other schools.

For the 2011 competition, the seventh-grade teams that received Superior Blue Ribbons were: Live Oak Middle School, Tulare - Team A; St. Paul's School, Visalia - Team A; and La Joya Middle School, Visalia - Team A. The eighth-grade teams receiving Superior Blue Ribbons were Green Acres Middle School, Visalia - Team B; and Sequoia Middle School, Porterville - Team A. For a complete list of winners, including individual awards, visit

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New exhibition highlights Mexican laborers
Hands of Harvest - Manos de la Cosecha opens May 14 at County Museum

History of Tulare County Farm Labor and Agriculture Museum This month, the History of Tulare County Farm Labor and Agriculture Museum will premiere a new exhibition exploring the contributions to Tulare County agriculture made by Mexican farm workers. The exhibition will open with a reception at the museum in Mooney Grove Park on Saturday, May 14 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

One of the highlights of the new show is a video created by the TCOE Impact Center team entitled Mexican Farm Worker Experiences in Tulare County. The production is part of the Office of Education’s ongoing commitment to support the museum’s educational programs and its theater. “The video illuminates the experiences of those who have enhanced our rich agriculture heritage,” says Impact Center Supervisor Sara Sutton. “We are so fortunate to include interviews with community members who worked in the Bracero Program.” The federal Bracero Program began during World War II to bring Mexican laborers to work in the U.S. The video will be shown multiple times during the reception. Teachers can also schedule showings and exhibition tours by calling museum curator Amy King at (559) 733-6616.

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Musicals bring much-loved characters to life
Theatre Company students to perform moments from popular shows May 19-21

Theater Company Some of America’s favorite canines will share the Visalia Rotary Theater stage this month in the Theatre Company’s spring production, “Theatre Goes to the Dogs.” The four-show performance includes moments from two popular productions, Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

“Both shows offer great music, challenging performance opportunities and beloved childhood characters like Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Pongo, Perdita and of course, Cruella de Vil,” says Theatre Company vocal coach Charlotte Garcia. “The audience will surely relive some wonderful memories as they watch these cartoons come to life on stage!”

Please check the calendar listings for dates and ticket information, or call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

Photo above:
~ While Cruella de Vil (played by Haley Nelson) looks to add to her fur collection, Charlie Brown (Jeffrey Webb) and Snoopy (Steven Braswell) stand in her way. Perdita, the Dalmatian puppy, is played by Kaley McConnaughey.

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SCICON announces Summer Academy
School will welcome students for week-long outdoor education/academic camp

SCICON Summer Academy The Clemmie Gill School of Science and Conservation (SCICON) has unveiled a new summer program for students in grades 6-8. The program, entitled the SCICON Summer Academy, will be a combination summer camp and academic experience. Planned as two week-long sessions, students will participate in outdoor recreational activities each morning and then work on academic projects in the afternoon.

For outdoor activities, students will be able to choose from backpacking and camping, outdoor adventure sports, nature studies and arts and crafts. In the afternoon, under the supervision of credentialed teachers, students will choose to work in one of four different academic pathways: Artists & Authors, Technology, Engineering and Museum Curators. Depending on the pathway selected, students will be involved in creating web designs, video productions, art and literature projects, robotics or wildlife research.

SCICON Summer Academy “This is a wonderful opportunity for students to experience in-depth academic studies in art, literature, science or technology, combined with all the wonderful outdoor activities SCICON has to offer,” says SCICON Director Rick Mitchell. “It’s a great combination of physical activity and academic enrichment.” The Summer Academy includes lodging in SCICON’s student cabins, all meals, plus evening activities such as campfire, astronomy, skit night and a talent show.

Mr. Mitchell reports that parents will be able to register students through an online process at
www.tcoe.org/SCICON/SummerAcademy. The Summer Academy will be offered twice: July 10–15 and July 17–22. Registration is limited to 80 students per session. For more information on the academy, including registration fees, e-mail Mr. Mitchell at rickmit@tcoe.org or call the SCICON office at (559) 539-2642.

Photos above:
~ Students enrolled in the SCICON Summer Academy will enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, plus a wide variety of academic studies and projects.

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On People in Service and Support

Spotlight of People in Service and Support Last month, hundreds of elementary school students participated in the annual Science Olympiad Division A competition at El Diamante High School. The competition, which is open to students in grades 3-6, attracted 24 teams from throughout the county. Students applied science and engineering principles in dozens of team competitions. Hurley Elementary (Visalia) team members Koby and Sarah are pictured competing in the Can Race event. Hurley’s red team and white team placed third and fourth respectively overall. The first and second place winners were the black team and the yellow team respectively from Annie R. Mitchell Elementary (Visalia). Deanna Lopez from Jefferson Elementary in Lindsay is shown in the Write It/Do It competition. In this technical writing exercise, students work in pairs. The first student writes detailed instructions on how to build a project. The second student attempts to recreate it using only the written description provided by his or her teammate. Deanna’s team from Jefferson Elementary finished in eighth place. For a complete list of awards, visit

Last month, students in the leadership class at Divisadero Middle School (Visalia) performed skits showing examples of student bullying. The reenactments were pulled from the new CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!) Anti-Bullying Training provided to administrators at Divisadero and other Tulare County schools by Kelley Petty, CC! Coordinator. The demonstrations were captured for television in ABC/30’s Children First series on bullying. In this segment, Divisadero student Emily Dooms receives a hostile reception at a lunch table where the “popular” students sit. This vignette demonstrated how exclusion is a form of bullying. In another segment, Josiah Adame (r) threatens Josiah Alter to keep him from telling the teacher that he cheated on a test. For information on the Children First segment, or the CC! Anti-Bullying Program, contact Mrs. Petty at (559) 740-4303.
Spotlight on People in Service and Support

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Gallery Notes

On April 8, The Bonner Center for Character Education at CSU Fresno recognized 12 middle schools for their exemplary character education programs. Among them were: Green Acres Middle School, Visalia; and Live Oak Middle School, Los Tules Middle School and Alice G. Mulcahy Middle School, Tulare. To be considered for the award, each school underwent a rigorous evaluation process, including a site validation visit by members of the Bonner Center committee.

Kyle Eastman, son of Marlene Moreno, recently received the Student of the Year Award at the annual California Conference on American Indian Education. Kyle is a senior at Redwood High School and has been involved in FBLA, tennis, band and volunteer work. He will graduate with a 4.4 GPA and plans to attend Pepperdine University to study psychology.

In March, students submitted 186 projects to the Tulare County Science & Engineering Fair. Over 75 scientists, engineers, educators, and physicians judged the entries to determine winners in each of the 10 categories and the top 30 “sweepstakes” winners. From the sweepstakes winners, six projects were selected to compete at the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles May 2-3. The students headed to the state competition are: Steven Higginbotham of Grace Christian School, George Caratan and Sarane Caratan of Columbine School, Gunnar Little and Terran Brown of Three Rivers Union, Madison Meredith of Burton Middle School, and Heidi Van Beek of Sundale Union. For a complete list of winners, visit

The Tulare County College Night Scholarship committee reviewed 69 applications this year before selecting Renan De Lima of Tulare Union High School as the winner of the four-year award. Renan’s future goals are to attend Fresno State in the fall and eventually pursue a law degree.

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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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