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The News Gallery

June 2012

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

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Priscilla Soliz, Shelly DiCenzo, Lorena White, Nani Rowland, Bob May, 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.

Putting fruits and veggies front and center
California Table Grape Commission gives 28 salad bars to Tulare County schools

Sylvester, a third-grade student at Grand View Elementary in Dinuba, is happy to have more fruits and vegetables at lunch. “We didn’t have very many choices before,” he says. “But now that we do, we eat more.” School nutrition planners feel that variety is an important part of getting students to eat more fruits and vegetables. Thanks to a new salad bar, installed at Grand View last month, there are plenty of choices.

Nutrition Sylvester and his classmates file past the salad bar before heading for their sandwiches and drinks. There, they are encouraged to take at least one item from an array of green salads, broccoli/carrot salads, bananas, apples, nectarines fresh from the orchard, and carrots. The salads, pre-packed and sealed in the Dinuba Unified central kitchen, are a source of pride for Kelly Martin, food service director for the district. “We do our best to buy as much fresh produce from local farmers as possible,” she says. “By creating our own recipes, we can keep the fat content low and the freshness high.”

Grand View was not the only school to receive a salad bar. Thanks to a grant the Network for a Healthy California received from the California Table Grape Commission, 28 salad bars were installed throughout the county last month. Network Project Coordinator Nani Rowland reports that the timing of the installation was perfect as federal standards now require students to have a portion of fruits and veggies with each meal. “We are so grateful to the Commission for providing the salad bars, which make choosing healthy foods fun for thousands of Tulare County students,” she says. For more information about the program, call Ms. Rowland at (559) 651-0130.

Photos above:
~ Students at Grand View Elementary in Dinuba now enjoy a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, including locally-grown produce, thanks to a salad bar donated by the California Table Grape Commission.

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Ridenour recognized for examplary teaching
Special Services Division and the Community Advisory Committee honor teachers, parents

Bob Ridenour is clearly a man who is proud of the instructional tools he uses to build language, math and life skills in his class of special needs students at Burton Middle School in Porterville. But what matters more than the many computer-based programs, the SMART Board and the language arts books? “Relationships,” he says. Mr. Ridenour mentions a student he had in his first class 17 years ago. Although the student is now 31-years-old, he still makes Bob a Christmas present every year and invites him to his birthday parties. “Relationships are my greatest reward,” Mr. Ridenour says.

Brent Rast award Last month, the 33-year teaching veteran was surprised to win the Brent Rast Award at the Community Advisory Council (CAC) luncheon. The award is the highest honor the Special Services Division gives to a teacher of the severely handicapped.

Mr. Ridenour began his career in 1979 with the Porterville Developmental Center as a special day class teacher. In 1985, he joined TCOE at the new L.B. Hill Learning Center in Porterville. Since 1994, he has taught seventh- and eighth-grade students at Burton Middle School. Bob May, Mr. Ridenour’s program manager, reports that year after year, parents request to keep their sons or daughters in his class for an extra year. “One of his greatest strengths is his ability to listen, support and build positive relationships with the students and families he serves,” says Mr. May.

At the luncheon, Mr. May praised Ridenour for his role in leading academic instruction and in creating positive classroom behaviors. “He has implemented a comprehensive language arts program and works with others to expand that implementation,” says Mr. May. “He was also one of the first to adopt the SMART Board, which he now uses on a daily basis to engage and instruct the students.” Mr. Ridenour uses SMART Board and computer-based instruction throughout the day, particularly to reinforce good behavior. “I believe learning increases when students are having fun,” he says.

Linda Hess award The annual Linda Hess Award, which recognizes an exceptional parent, was also presented at the CAC luncheon. This year’s recipient was Miroslava Esparza, who was nominated by the Tulare Joint Union High School District. Ms. Esparza’s son, Jesus, has autism and is a senior at Tulare Union High School. “Miroslava is a phenominal parent,” says Norma Erwin, Special Services parent liaison. “Despite being an English learner herself, she has worked so hard on behalf of her son and other parents of children with disabilities to find the support and services needed.” Jesus Esparza was also presented with a CAC award for his achievement and remarkable growth while at Tulare Union.

Photos above:
~ Bob Ridenour, winner of the 2012 Brent Rast Award, works with students in his special day class at Burton Middle School.
~ Linda Hess (r) presented the outstanding parent award to Miroslava Esparza. Ms. Esparza’s son, Jesus, also received an award for outstanding achievement.

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Jeanne Nava to retire with 42 years of service
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources led regional recruitment and training efforts

Jeanne Nava The woman who led teacher quality and recruitment grant projects that helped place thousands of teachers in high-need California schools and built the Human Resources Division into a regional resource for teacher training is retiring this month. Jeanne Nava, assistant superintendent of Human Resources, has been a respected and innovative human resources leader statewide with a total of 42 years in education, as a teacher and an administrator.

When Ms. Nava came to the Office of Education in July 1993, the Human Resources Division was comprised of a handful of employees. This year, she supervised a staff of over 20 employees in programs such as Personnel, Credentials/Retirement, the New Teacher Development Program, the IMPACT Intern Program and the California Teacher Recruitment Program. Jeanne also served on both the regional and state Personnel Administrative Services Steering Committees (PASSCo). In 1999, she was PASSCo’s state committee chairperson. She was also a pioneer in adopting the statewide Ed-Join online recruitment system. “Schools in our region are better for the tremendous energy Jeanne Nava brought to bettering personnel relations, advancing recruitment and improving teacher quality,” says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “It has been a privilege to work alongside a woman so committed to seeing that students had the best teachers and districts had the latest resources.”

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Students put on pink for good "Netizenship"
Divisadero Middle School applies CHARACTER COUNTS! to online behavior

Character Counts! Divisadero Middle School, one of the 12 project schools in the four-year Character Education Program grant completed earlier this year, created a campaign to empower students to stand against hurtful online comments. The campaign, known as Netizenship, puts CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!) principles to work in social media and technology settings where students can make cruel comments about others. Netizenship was launched in May during an assembly, which featured a powerful video about online bullying. “More than any other assembly, Netizenship really affected a lot of people,” said Hailey Fletcher, who is a member of the school’s leadership class.

Character Counts! Next semester, students plan to further the campaign and build a fan site dedicated to spreading a culture of kindness. “The Divisadero project is a perfect example of how the lessons of CC! can be applied to positively affect campus culture,” says Kelley Petty, Tulare County CC! Coordinator. “We appreciate the school’s innovation and the leadership of Assistant Principal Dave Whitmore. It’s exciting to see and share these kinds of projects with other schools and the national CC! office in Los Angeles.” To learn more, contact Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.

Photos above:
~ Divisadero Middle School students wore pink last month to symbolize their support of “Netizenship,” an online kindness program.

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Spotlight Vanessa Montes, a senior at El Diamante High School in Visalia is the winner of the 2012 Tulare County College Night Scholarship. Vanessa was one of 80 county-wide applicants for the scholarship, which pays one student $1,000 per year for up to four years based on academic and personal accomplishments. The top nine students were interviewed by a panel of educators. Vanessa, a champion swimmer, impressed the judges with her academic and physical perseverance despite a disability she has had since birth. She plans to study kinesiology at Fresno Pacific University this fall.

Spotlight Veteran teacher Margaret Moss (l) was selected as the Year One Support Provider of the Year for the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program. Mrs. Moss, a retired Visalia Unified educator, was nominated for the award by Ellie Michel (r), an agriculture teacher at Monache High School in Porterville. Ellie says, “Margaret has been a rock of encouragement when I saw no hope of my classroom management improving. She is a never-ending source of tips for the classroom.”

Spotlight Clada Hoskins (l) was selected the Year Two BTSA Support Provider of the Year based on the nomination of Angelica Madrigal, a teacher at Terra Bella Union School. Ms. Madrigal says, “I have grown so much because of her time and dedication. I have learned so many valuable teaching strategies and I have learned to be kind and patient in every circumstance.” Pictured with Mrs. Hoskins are (l-r) Ms. Madrigal and first year teachers Dina Collins and Lucia Gomez.

Spotlight On June 16, the Tulare County History of Farm Labor and Agriculture Museum will premiere a new exhibition on the contributions of Japanese-Americans to local agriculture. The exhibition, which runs through November, is entitled Perseverance is Strength - Keizoku wa Chikara nari: Japanese Experiences in Tulare County. It chronicles the arrival of Japanese immigrants in the early 1900s through the internment during World War II and into the present. A video, produced by Sara Sutton and staff at the Impact Center, will feature the stories of Tulare County Japanese-Americans, including special events coordinator Nancy Bellin who grew up on a farm in Orosi and who was relocated to an internment camp as a young girl. For more information on the exhibition, call (559) 733-6616.

Spotlight Network for a Healthy California’s Sylvia Karsten and Alexandra Macedo, Tulare County Dairy Princess, made smoothies at the program’s biennial Fruit & Veggie Fest on Saturday, May 19 at Save Mart Supermarket in Porterville. Visitors to the store were treated to healthy, easy-to-make recipes and nutritional information throughout the store. Network staff also provided visitors with copies of the beautiful new Flavors of My Kitchen cookbook, which can be downloaded at
facebook.com/networkforahealthycalifornia. To see more of Fruit & Veggie Fest, view the Photo Album at www.tcoe.org/Nutrition.

Spotlight Guitar virtuoso and comedian Mike Rayburn performed before a crowd of 450 at the 20th Annual Support Staff Conference last month. A copy of Mr. Rayburn’s book, What If? and his albums Fidgety Digits and Romantical were obtained and are available to schools eligible to check out materials from Educational Resource Services. For more information, call Linda Horsting at (559) 651-3045.

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Gallery Notes

In May, Teresa Sharley, child welfare and attendance officer for the Tulare City School District, was honored by the California Department of Education as one of six Classified School Employees of the Year. She was praised for her dedication to Tulare’s homeless students and the district’s attendance and discipline issues. Ms. Sharley was the School Employee of the Year in the 2011 Excellence in Education Awards program.

John Rodriguez, human resources manager for the Child Care Educational Program, has been chosen as the new director of the Human Resources Division. He will begin serving as director on July 1 as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jeanne Nava retires. Mr. Rodriguez will oversee the division’s personnel and credentials/retirement staff, as well as the Child Care human resources department.

Dr. Guadalupe Solis, Administrator for Student Support and Academic Services at Educational Resource Services (ERS), has been selected as the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, replacing Dr. Pansy Ceballos who is retiring July 31. Dr. Solis will oversee the division’s 12 service units.

Instructional Consultant Charlene Stringham has been appointed the Student Academic Services Administrator for Educational Resource Services (ERS), filling the position held by Dr. Guadalupe Solis. An English Language Arts (ELA) instructional consultant with ERS since 2008, Ms. Stringham recently led the program’s ELA development and training efforts to prepare schools to implement the upcoming Common Core State Standards.

Winners in the annual Foundations for Life essay contest were announced last month. Four students received $100 prizes for their essays, which are based on famous quotations: Bethany Houghton (6th grade), Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center (Visalia); Claire Stetson (7th grade), George McCann School (Visalia); Aubrey VanSickel (10th grade), Mission Oak High School (Tulare); and Allison Nguyen (11th grade), El Diamante High School (Visalia). To read their essays, visit

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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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