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

The News Gallery

September 2011

Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Priscilla Soliz, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Leslie Berry, Donna Glassman-Sommer, John Kelly, Lupe Solis and Steve McMahon.

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.

University Preparatory High School
UPHS welcomes first class of seniors
University Preparatory High School continues to grow in academics and activities

Two years ago, University Preparatory High School (UPHS) — chartered by the Tulare County Office of Education and located on the College of the Sequoias campus — was a new school with freshman and sophomore classes. Many of the sophomores from the 2009-2010 school year now make up the school’s first senior class.

University Preparatory High School Much has changed in the two years since the school opened. Currently, nearly 150 students attend UPHS in grades 9-12. The school has also expanded its offering of extracurricular activities to include several sports teams, academic competitions and numerous clubs.

What has remained constant has been the school’s rigorous academics and offering of college classes for college credit. Since the opening of the school, UPHS students have taken 280 COS classes resulting in nearly 600 units of college credit. The students also continued to shine academically with nearly 100 percent passing the state high school exit exam administered this past year. “We are proud of the school’s varied educational opportunities and expanded activities, but mostly we are proud of the phenomenal work our students have done academically,” says principal John Kelly. For more information, call UPHS at (559) 730-2529.

Photos above:
~ Seniors begin their final year at UPHS.
~ Sophomores Uriel Saldivar (l) and Nick Hamilton were chosen for the prestigious Central Valley-based Ivy League Project. In the past 20 years, the program has helped over 120 students prepare for, and be accepted into, Ivy League universities. In April, Uriel and Nick will visit Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton and Wellesley.

to Top of Page

GOAL program to offer after school tutoring
ERS now a Supplemental Educational Services provider for Program Improvement schools

GOAL program Beginning this fall, students attending a Tulare County school designated as “Program Improvement” can receive free, supplemental tutoring services from a new program created by TCOE’s Educational Resource Services (ERS). Schools that receive federal Title I funds and are in Program Improvement — meaning that their student academic scores have not met growth targets established under the No Child Left Behind law — have funds set aside for supplemental, after school instruction. Under the direction of administrator Dr. Guadalupe Solis, ERS has become a state-approved Supplemental Educational Services (SES) provider in order to make the tutoring services available to county school districts.

GOAL program The program is known as “GOAL,” which stands for Goal Oriented Academic Learning. This fall, Dr. Solis, and the new program coordinator Timothy Budz, will be marketing GOAL to Tulare County schools. “Our approach to serving students in Program Improvement schools is unique,” says Dr. Solis. “At each site, we will partner with the school’s finest teachers who will provide the supplemental instruction. This will ensure a continuity of instruction and assessment between regular day and after school classes. The program will also benefit from the expertise of our language arts and mathematics instructional consultants,” he adds.

Administrators seeking more information on bringing GOAL to their school should contact Dr. Solis at (559) 651-3831.

to Top of Page

Administrative credential program available
Program to combine practical experience and excellent instruction toward credential

Effective school-site administrators play a key role in student achievement. Over the next decade, as baby boomer principals and assistant principals retire and student enrollment increases, California will be challenged to recruit a sufficient number of well-qualified administrators to lead its schools.” - REL West Research Digest Spring 2011

Over the next five years, it is expected that schools in California’s Central Valley and Inland Empire will have the greatest need for new administrators. In response to the projected need, the New Teacher Development Program is offering an Administrative Credential Program in partnership with San Joaquin County Office of Education and the Teachers College of San Joaquin. The program will offer a Tier 1 administrative credential for a cohort of candidates forming in January 2012. The credential can be obtained in approximately 12 months. A masters degree in Educational Leadership and School Development is also being offered through the program.

According to program manager Donna Glassman-Sommer, “This innovative program is based on practical, hands-on experience and excellent leadership instruction.” During the program, candidates will experience day-to-day administrative responsibilities as they serve 20 days at a school site with support from a mentor administrator. For more details, educators can attend one of the upcoming informational meetings scheduled for September 21 and October 18. For information or reservations, call Donna Glassman-Sommer or Mary Enevoldsen at (559) 624-1035.

to Top of Page

Valley Life Charter opens K-6 school this fall
School focuses on leadership development, academics and fine arts instruction

Valley life Charter In August, nearly 300 excited elementary students filed into the gymnasium of the Valley Life Charter School in Visalia to kick off the beginning of the new school year for the brand new school. Principal Lori Lackey and Assistant Principal Steve McMahon led the students in the Pledge of Allegiance and explained the meanings of the school’s “habits,” which are taken from management theorist Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Students recited Habit #3: “put first things first,” which Mr. McMahon then explained means, “work first, then play.”

“The staff is excited about the impact this school can make in the community,” said sixth-grade teacher Lettie Sullivant, referring to the school’s focus on rigorous academics, fine arts and leadership training. To give students time for fine arts, Valley Life Charter has an 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m school day. The school also has an after school program, which brings organizations such as Girl Scouts and 4-H to campus.

“We’ve appreciated the support everyone at TCOE has given us in opening Valley Life Charter on time,” said Principal Lackey. The Tulare County Board of Education approved the school’s charter in January 2012. Parents are invited to contact the school at (559) 625-8527 to inquire about enrollment availability.

Photo above:
~ Second-grade teacher Susie Hatcher leads her students to class during the opening week at the new Valley Life Charter School in Visalia.

to Top of Page

TCOE website redesigned with more features
Site contains links for quick access to news, resources and program information

TCOE website Visit the Tulare County Office of Education’s website at
www.tcoe.org and you’ll discover some new elements, including a rotating features section containing reports on programs and recent events. “We designed this component to keep employees and the public up-to-date on new developments,” says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “Because the features on the new website are often in addition to the stories found in the monthly News Gallery, I encourage readers to check the site often.”

Other new features include a “Quick Links” section to the site’s most popular information, a news section and a resources section. “We appreciate the work web developer Lorena White has done to bring the site to this point, and we look forward to its continued development as a service to our programs and school districts,” says Mr. Vidak.

to Top of Page


Spotlight In July, Kathy Johnston became the new manager for the School Health Programs. Ms. Johnston has been a school nurse with the program for approximately 17 years. As manager, she oversees a staff of eight nurses who provide health services to many of Tulare County's small, rural school districts and SCICON. School Health Programs also includes the Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Prevention Program, the Network for a Healthy California and a team of family service workers.

Spotlight Tammy Bradford recently became program manager for Special Services’ Preschool Program. Ms. Bradford joined TCOE having served four years as a program specialist at Tulare City School District. Her experience also includes work as a special education teacher for Clovis. In her new roll, she and her staff support the county’s state and Head Start preschools that have students with special needs. Ms. Bradford is also the TCOE foster youth and homeless education coordinator. In this position, she serves as a liaison between districts, state agencies and foster youth homes, ensuring a smooth transition for students entering area schools.

Spotlight Sarah Hamilton was recently named program manager for Special Services’ Bright Start Parent/Infant Program. Bright Start serves children, ages 0-3, with special needs. As program manager, she supervises 48 teachers and early start instructional assistants in the Visalia, Yettem and Porterville centers. Ms. Hamilton has eight years teaching experience with students with moderate/severe disabilities. She has also served as a practicum supervisor for teachers enrolled at Fresno Pacific University and the TCOE IMPACT Intern Program. Sarah is the daughter of retired Special Services parent liaison Linda Hess.

Spotlight In August, six students graduated from Services for Education & Employment’s (SEE) newly re-established hospitality program. During the seven-week course, Carol Callahan, veteran of the SEE program and The Vintage Press restaurant, taught students service and preparation skills, including fine dining etiquette, baking and preparing specialty coffees. Several of the students have already been hired by The Vintage Press for catering. The photo shows program graduate Tommy Montalvo making a caffé latte.

Spotlight Rancho Tesoro, the musical written by Theatre Company director Brian Roberts and performed by Tulare County students last summer, will make its Fresno debut outdoors this month at Woodward Park. Fresno Bee critic Donald Munro named the production to his list of “Top 20 Cultural Events for 2010.” Rancho Tesoro, which is a family-friendly show, will be performed seven times on the site of the Woodward Park Shakespeare Festival. The production will feature adult actors from Tulare and Fresno counties, including Theatre Company vocal coach Charlotte Garcia Da Rosa in the role of “Maria.” Evening shows will be offered September 22-24, and September 28-October 1 beginning at 7:30 p.m. More information is available at

to Top of Page

Gallery Notes

Beginning September 8, Instructional Consultant Brian Roberts will take reservations for the annual Young People’s Concerts. Now in its 52nd year, the event is a partnership with the Tulare County Symphony designed to introduce students to musical instruments in a live performance setting. This year, symphony conductor Bruce Kiesling has chosen to perform selections from pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven for a program entitled Beethoven Breaks the Rules. Concerts, open to students in grades 1-6 only, will be performed in October in Visalia, Tulare and Porterville. For details, see the calendar section; for reservations, call Mr. Roberts at (559) 651-1482, ext. 3645.

La Sierra Military Academy principal Anjelica Zermeño is pleased to announce that Visalia sculptor Richard Arenas has joined the school staff. Mr. Arenas, who is well-known for his bronze artworks, will be teaching Sculpting and Art, in addition to Building Trades.

Assistant Superintendent of Special Services Dr. Marilyn Rankin announced recently that the division’s entire staff of school psychologists has now become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). Congratulations to school psychologists Victor Carrillo, Shilo El Bissat, Ruben Z. Ortiz, Emily Rivera, Jennifer Soeda, Brian Stagg and Ryan Tanney for their achievement and their work in providing inservice training, parent education, and support and assessment to district personnel who have students with behavioral issues.

The Tulare County Farm Bureau is seeking applications for its annual school garden grant program. Schools interested in starting or maintaining a school garden, can complete a grant application online at
www.tulcofb.org. The application deadline is September 15, 2011. For more information about the Farm Bureau’s education programs, please contact program coordinator Carrie Crane at (559) 732-8301.

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