go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage go to Tulare County Office of Education HomePage

The News Gallery

June 2011

A FITTING TRIBUTE - Students gain an appreciation for trees and the environment at Arbor Day Celebration.

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

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Priscilla Soliz, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Paula Terrill, Scott Aldrich, Ron Koop, Mary Enevoldsen, Linda Horsting, Norma Erwin and Jill Santivanez.

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.

to Top of Page

Arbor Day celebrates the importance of trees
Annual event provides hands-on science lessons and a trip to the County History Museum

Arbor Day Celebration Nancy Hawkins engaged students visiting the annual Arbor Day Celebration in a bit of vaudeville-style theatre. Ms. Hawkins, a member of the local U.C. Master Gardeners organization, elicited “boos” and “hisses” from the students as she introduced the villains of the insect world – aphids, tomato worms and slugs. At her session, entitled Backyard Buddies, students learned about harmful and helpful insects and their relationship with agriculture. Backyard Buddies was one of many activities students enjoyed at the event in Mooney Grove Park on May 19.

Arbor Day Celebration
“We very much appreciate our partnership with the U.C. Master Gardeners,” says Instructional Consultant Dr. Glenn Willliams. “They are a big part of the reason we can offer this program to so many students each year.” Other partners included Tulare County Parks and Recreation, the Army Corps of Engineers, the County History Museum and SCICON. Over 250 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students attended to participate in standards-based lessons on trees, seeds, mulch, planting and the use of acorns by area Native Americans. Students also had the opportunity to tour the County History Museum, including the new History of Farm Labor and Agriculture Museum.

Arbor Day Celebration
“Fruit and nut trees certainly contribute to our county’s ranking as one of the nation’s largest agricultural producers,” says Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools. “Arbor Day is a great way for students to appreciate the trees they see all around them.”

Photos above:
~ Students found insects that help break down leaves and wood into mulch.
~ U.C. Master Gardener Nancy Hawkins led a session on harmful pests.
~ Students ground acorns utilizing traditional Native American tools.
~ Students also enjoyed a scavenger hunt in the new Farm Labor and Agriculture Museum.
~ A display of branches helped students recognize different tree species.

to Top of Page

Special Services recognizes teacher, parent
Silveira receives Brent Rast Award, Rocha honored with Linda Hess Award

Special Services awards From the time she was a student at Tulare Western High School, Manuela Silveira knew that she wanted to help children with special needs. As part of her community service class at Tulare Western, Manuela would walk across the street to Maple Learning Center to serve as an intern for the Severely Handicapped Program. A few years later, Mrs. Silveira received a teaching degree at Fresno State and immediately began working for the Severely Handicapped Program in Tulare. “Manuela is an exemplary teacher,” says Program Manager Jill Santivanez. “Not only is she outstanding in the classroom, but she is exceptional at uniting her students’ families with the Tulare community and TCOE services.”

Special Services awards Last month, the 24-year veteran was surprised to receive the Brent Rast Award at the annual Community Advisory Council (CAC) luncheon. The award is the highest honor the Special Services Division gives to a teachers of the severely handicapped. “My reward is seeing students progress,” she says. “Watching (former student) Ernie Guzman — who was once pretty shy — perform with confidence at the luncheon was a special treat.”

Special Services awards The annual Linda Hess Award, which recognizes an exceptional parent, was also presented at the CAC luncheon. This year’s recipient was Filomena Rocha of Garden School in Tulare. Mrs. Rocha was nominated by the Tulare City School District. One of her children, Joseph, has an orthopedic disability. She has not only devoted herself to finding resources to assist him, but helped other parents find appropriate assistance with their children’s medical issues. She even took special classes so she could help other parents understand the Special Education process and IEP development.

Photos above:
~ Teacher of the Severely Handicapped and Brent Rast Award winner Manuela Silveira enjoys seeing the progress her students make at Maple Elementary in Tulare.
~ Filomena Rocha receives the annual Linda Hess Award from Linda Hess. Mrs. Rocha is the parent of students at Garden School in Tulare.
~ Ernie Guzman, who provided entertainment at the CAC luncheon, was a student of Manuela Silveira when he attended Maple Elementary.

to Top of Page

Battle of the Books launched this year
Eleanor Roosevelt teams capture top two awards in new annual competition

Battle of the Books For two teams from Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center in Visalia, the preparation paid off. As the dust settled and the scores were tallied at the first annual Tulare County Battle of the Books competition, the students learned they had won both first and second places overall.

For months, the Eleanor Roosevelt teams prepared — reading and discussing 30 books on a list given to them and the 15 other Tulare County teams that competed. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Flipped, and Silent to the Bone were a few of the titles popular with the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade participants.

Battle of the Books Although the event was new to Tulare County, Battle of the Books is held in schools and counties throughout the nation. At the event, participants competed in teams of six, testing their knowledge of the books in several game show-style events. The final event, the Grand Battle Relay, brought all teams together for a written relay competition.

“To have middle school students energized about reading and discussing books is an important reason we introduced this event,” says Beth Olshewsky, Educational Resources Services’ Library Media Supervisor. “It’s also an important reason we want to expand it next year.” Dates for the 2012 event have already been selected. Middle school teams will compete on March 7. For 2012, Battle of the Books will also include teams from Tulare County high schools, scheduled to compete March 8.

Battle of the Books “We’re delighted with the success of the event” says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “Our hope is that it continues to grow, igniting a love of reading across the county.” For more information about the 2012 competition, including the list of books students should read, call Beth Olshewsky at (559) 651-3031.

Photos above:
~ During the Whiz Kids portion of the event, students answer questions about the books they’ve read without consulting their teammates.
~ ERS’s Jonathan Janzen waits for an answer from the Wilson Middle School (Exeter) team competing in the Friendly Family Feud.
~ Members of the Ham and Eggs team from Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center took home the event’s first-place trophy.

to Top of Page

Excellence in Education Awards announced
Top administrator, teacher and school employee of the year chosen for 2011

Selections were made last month in the 17th annual Excellence in Education Awards program. A committee of 20 Tulare County business and educational leaders chose the Tulare County Administrator/Manager of the Year, Teacher of the Year and School Employee of the Year for 2011. “The winners are people who are committed to educating the whole child — academically, socially and emotionally,” says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “Their dedication extends well into their respective communities.”

Excellence in Education Awards Sue Ann Hillman, Director of Curriculum for the Tulare City School District, was chosen as the administrator of the year. A former classroom teacher herself, Mrs. Hillman supports teachers with training in the latest curriculum and instructional methods and is credited with the district’s academic growth. She also leads many of the district’s student programs, including Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT), in addition to supporting numerous Tulare community organizations.

Excellence in Education Awards Richard Lambie, a coach and physical education teacher at Granite Hills High School in Porterville, was selected as the teacher of the year. Coach Lambie was praised for teaching students to compete ethically and to give back to their community in tangible ways. Each season, he and the girls volleyball team launch a community service campaign. Last year, his players created “Knots of Love” and assembled over 200 hand-made quilts for children referred to Child Welfare Services.

Excellence in Education Awards The school employee of the year honors were won by Teresa Sharley, Child Welfare and Attendance Officer for the Tulare City School District. In her role with the district, Mrs. Sharley often sees students in the most heartbreaking situations —  homeless, in poverty or in the midst of an expulsion or a custody situation. Her nominators praised her tireless effort to help students and families through legal situations or with basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing and transportation.

Photos above:
~ Sue Ann Hillman of Tulare City School District was selelcted administrator of the year.
~ Granite Hills High School coach Rich Lambie is the teacher of the year and Teresa Sharley of Tulare City School District is the school employee of the year. The winners and nominees will be honored at a community breakfast October 19. For more information , call Marlene Moreno at (559) 733-6302.

to Top of Page

On People in Service and Support

Spotlight on People in Service and Support On May 2, Lynne Goodwin, program specialist with the California Friday Night Live Partnership, was awarded the District Attorney’s Justice Award as part of the Tulare County Bar Association’s annual Law Day Ceremony. Mrs. Goodwin, pictured with Tulare County District Attorney Phil Cline, was recognized for her work in developing the TRACE Program (Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies) — a statewide notification system which alerts the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to investigate any death or serious injury involving underage drinking.

Spotlight on People in Service and Support The Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program (BTSA) has selected its annual Support Providers of the Year. Kayla Ketelhut (right in top photo) is pictured with Michelle Efseaff of Sequoia Middle School in Porterville. Based on Ms. Ketelhut’s nomination, Ms. Efseaff was selected as the BTSA Support Provider of the Year for first-year teachers. Ms. Ketelhut says, “...Michelle has not missed a single opportunity to meet with me, check on me, support me, comfort me, council me, etc. In the midst of her own turmoil, she was able to focus on me and be an unfailing provider of anything and everything I have needed...” Shevonne Swanson (center in lower photo) is pictured with Mario Rodriguez and Chayla Lambert of Golden Valley Elementary School in Orosi. Based on their nomination, Mrs. Swanson was selected the BTSA Support Provider of the Year for second-year teachers. Mr. Rodriguez said of Shevonne, “Her love for the youth of our schools drives her and leaves in her path a wake of rejuvenation, a reminder why we chose this career in the first place.” For a complete copy of the nomination letters, visit

Spotlight on People in Service and Support Scott Aldrich, program manager for Speech and Language Services, has begun conducting on-line speech therapy sessions. He is pictured during a recent session with a student from Alpaugh Unified. Mr. Aldrich reports the benefits to on-line speech and language therapy include improved service delivery and the elimination of travel time to schools in the county’s outlying areas. On-line therapy can also increase collaboration between the therapist and teachers, parents and aides. Sessions can be recorded for review by parents and, with some coaching from the therapist, can be used to implement strategies to help the student reach his or her speech and/or language goals.

to Top of Page

Gallery Notes

Ann Marie Fernandez and Yareli Mendoza, students at Kings River Union School, won a special prize at the California History Day event May 1. The girls received the Conference of California Historical Societies Award for their project entitled, They Took It To Their Graves: Debates and Diplomatic Issues of the Chinese Immigrant “Paper Sons.”

On June 22, 51 interns from the IMPACT Intern Program will graduate, having completed all requirements to receive their teaching credentials. The interns have been with the program for two to three years while working in schools in Tulare, Kings, Kern and Fresno Counties. Between them, the graduates will hold 16 single subject, 5 multiple subject, 6 Moderate-to-Severe and 24 Mild-to-Moderate credentials. For more information about the program, call Donna Glassman-Sommer at (559) 730-2549.

On June 4, the Friends of SCICON will hold its annual Awards Dinner. Among the Tulare County Office of Education employees being honored this year are: Chris Croson, delivery driver for Educational Resource Services; Robert Romero, SCICON cook for the past 37 years; and Conan Palmer, media developer with the Impact Center. Springville artist Frances Pyles will receive the Lifetime Award. For 20 years, Ms. Pyles has illustrated the plants and animals found in and around SCICON for the program’s curriculum.

Karen Davidson, regional coordinator for the Ticket to Success program, was recently chosen as the Senior Account Manager for Maximus, a company that manages the national Ticket to Work program for the Social Security Administration. Ms. Davidson will now oversee all Employment Networks in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona to help them increase their capacity to provide job services to people with disabilities. Ms. Davidson worked for the Services for Education and Employment (SEE) program for 13 years. She also coordinated SEE’s MOVE Program, which helped hundreds of Central Valley families find work and relocate to other parts of the country.

to Top of Page

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

| Home Page | Site Index |

Please direct web site problems or comments to tcoeweb@tcoe.org.

Copyright © 2019, Tulare County Office of Education