The News Gallery
February 2013View and print a pdf version of this News Gallery.
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Shelly DiCenzo, Paula Terrill, Adam Valencia, Eileen Whelan, Joy Soares, Charlene Stringham, Tammy Bradford, Kathy Johnston, Linda McKean and Tiffany Owens-Stark.
The News Gallery is published monthly with the exception of double issues printed for July/August and December/January. To receive the News Gallery, visit www.tcoe.org/GetTheGallery, or contact Jennifer Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 733-6172.
Green Zone a safe place for learning, support
Lindsay Unified and Special Services create partnership to bolster behavior, academics
On a pair of couches in a classroom at Lindsay High School, a small group of students discuss the personal effects of bullying and the proper response to it. The students are discussing the subject with their teacher, Matt Griffiths, their behavioral intervention technicians and visiting district school psychologist Rashella Avalos as part of a new behavioral health program being piloted by the Special Services Division.
Known as the Green Zone, this classroom is a safe and highly supportive environment where identified students with behavior management issues can go when they feel overwhelmed. The Green Zone is a pilot partnership between Lindsay Unified and Special Service's growing Behavioral Health Services program.
Behavioral Services Administrator Dr. Eileen Whelan explains that many of the students in the Green Zone program have exhibited "escape behavior" - actions such as outbursts, physical altercations, truancy, or refusing to participate - in order to remove themselves from the classroom and the potential embarrassment of not knowing the answer. "We often see that the antecedent to aggressive or escape behavior is an academic issue," says Dr. Whelan. "In the Green Zone, we will offer strategies for mitigating the stress they feel in their regular academic classes," she says.
The unique part of the Green Zone program is the academic support it provides. Matt Griffiths, a former Resource Special Program (RSP) teacher at Lindsay High School, has been hired by the Tulare County Office of Education to provide the instruction students need to be successful. "Often these students are behind academically, which builds their frustration in the classroom and can lead to their use of escape behavior," says Dr. Whelan. To alleviate this frustration, students in the program carry a Green Zone card, which serves as a pass to leave his or her regular classroom and seek the one-on-one instruction from Mr. Griffiths. "The card is a tool for self-management," says Tiffany Owens-Stark, a behavior intervention specialist for the Special Services Division. "With it, students are learning to seek help rather than use inappropriate behavior."
For Lindsay Unified, the Green Zone program is an attractive alternative to a centralized county behavioral health program seen in other counties or an expensive private residential care facility. Students receive the intensive behavioral health and academic support they need while remaining on their school campus where they can learn to apply self-management skills in everyday situations. "We have learned so much about how to meet the emotional needs of our students," says Suzzane Terrill, director of Special Education for Lindsay Unified. "The addition of this academic support is an exciting component we feel will make the difference in their success as students."
Special Services administrators will be measuring student success through this pilot program before deciding whether to replicate it. Assistant Superintendent Linda McKean reports that she looks forward to seeing the data concerning attendance, referrals, academic achievement and parent participation. "We fully expect to see improvements in educational performance and decreases in disciplinary actions through this model of giving students the emotional and academic tools they need to be successful," she says.
~ Behavioral Intervention Technicians (l-r) Jose Iniguez and Christopher Morales and District School Psychologist Rashella Avalos talk with Lindsay High School students in the Green Zone.
~ Teacher Matt Griffiths offers academic support.
Free anti-bullying Sprigeo system available
Tulare County Health and Human Services helps provide valuable software to schools
Tulare and Kings County schools have taken great steps to keep their students safe from bullying and school safety threats. One of the tools several schools are using to meet these challenges is a web-based bullying reporting system known as Sprigeo. Currently being used by La Sierra Military Academy, Cherry Avenue and Los Tules Middle Schools in Tulare, and schools in the Pixley School District, Burton School District and the Tulare Joint Union High School District, Sprigeo provides students with an anonymous reporting system, which is a safe way for victims and bystanders to report incidents without fear of retaliation. The online system allows students to make reports at any time and from any device with an internet connection. Now in use by over 500 schools across 25 states, the online reporting system has proven itself as a safe way for kids to report bullying, resulting in fewer incidents over time.
“We are pleased to announce that through a partnership with Sprigeo and with funding from the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, all schools throughout Tulare and Kings Counties will have free access to the Sprigeo system for the next two years,” says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “I encourage administrators to take advantage of this opportunity to make their learning environments places where students feel safe and welcomed.” To register for the Sprigeo software, contact Choices supervisor Adam Valencia at (559) 651-0155, extension 3611 or by email at email@example.com. Administrators may also contact Sprigeo CEO Joe Bruzzese at (805) 319-2358 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schools interested in learning more about Sprigeo should visit www.sprigeo.com, or call Adam Valencia at (559) 651-0155, ext. 3611.
Arnold wins state honor for community work
School Health Program's Nan Arnold named State School Nurse of the Year
For the health services she has provided to Tulare County students, particularly those in the Pixley area, nurse Nan Arnold has been named State School Nurse of the Year by the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO). The CSNO praised Nan for her leadership in partnering with local clinics to help provide services for students. When one of her students or members of their family have needs, she is quick to tap the resources of local agencies. “I’ve know the families in the Pixley area for so many years,” says Ms. Arnold. “It’s easy to help make the connections they need.”
Ms. Arnold also provides trainings to other school nurses and administrators to support students with medical issues. She has been a school nurse with the School Health Program for 18 years, serving primarily in the Pixley and Waukena districts. “She is such a caring professional who is admired, respected and loved by all,” says School Health program manager Kathy Johnston.
Ms. Arnold will be honored at the CSNO state conference in San Diego on February 9.
Administrators collaborate for Common Core
ERS increases outreach to strengthen transition to Common Core State Standards
This spring, Central Valley district administrators will have the opportunity to meet and discuss the implementation and timing of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). To facilitate the administrators’ knowledge and confidence in implementing the new instructional standards, Educational Resource Services continues its professional development trainings with several Common Core Phase II Administrator Trainings. The two-day trainings, which began with a cohort attended by 70 administrators from Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties on January 22, continue with cohorts beginning April 4 and June 6.
At the first training, which was facilitated by ERS administrator Charlene Stringham and instructional consultants Marla Martin, Christine Roberts and Joy Soares, attendees discussed the instructional shifts that will take place in English Language Arts and Mathematics under the new CCSS. They also discussed models of instruction that would embrace the CCSS, ways that they could implement these models, and resources they could use. One of these resources is the Common Core Connect website, which can be found at commoncore.tcoe.org, a site that the California Department of Education recently recommended in its bulletin on Common Core resources.
Another resource Mrs. Stringham says district administrators are interested in creating is a CCSS Professional Learning Community (PLC). Once the CCSS PLC is established, administrators will have a collaborative forum to meet and discuss, face-to-face, their challenges and successes in implementing the new standards. In the meantime, administrators can access online discussions through an Edmodo site dedicated to the subject. “We will continue to repeat these offerings and expand our resources until the needs are met,” says Mrs. Stringham.
For information on joining the April or June cohorts, the Edmodo group, or arranging for CCSS training at your school or district, contact Charlene Stringham at (559) 651-3831.
~ Instructional Consultant Christine Roberts leads a presentation on the instructional shifts that will be occurring in mathematics under the new Common Core Standards.
~ Instructional Consultant Joy Soares takes time to visit with Tulare County administrators. Mrs. Soares will be leading instruction in Project Based Learning, which is an ideal way for teachers to engage students while implementing the Common Core Standards.
The Instructional Services Division is pleased to welcome Brook Killingsworth as secretary to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Guadalupe Solis. Prior to joining the Tulare County Office of Education, Ms. Killingsworth served as marketing director for Morris Levin & Son in Tulare for 14 years. She also was active in leadership of Visalia Parent Teacher Organizations for nine years. She succeeds Priscilla Soliz, who retired from the position in December after 23 years of service.
In December, businessman Tom Link took the oath of office becoming Area 3 Trustee for the Tulare County Board of Education. Mr. Link replaced Dr. Edward Peterson, who retired from the board having served 53 years. Mr. Link is co-owner of Link's Men's and Women's Wear and was selected as the Visalia Chamber of Commerce "2012 Man of the Year" for his service to Visalia. Mr. Link has served on numerous local boards, including the Visalia Unified Superintendent's Advisory Board, the College of the Sequoia's Foundation Board, and the Tulare County Historical Society Board.
In December, Jennifer Webb, a parent volunteer at Valley Life Charter School in Visalia helped to bring The Big Brain Exhibit to the school. The exhibit, which is a project of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, helped students see the importance of caring for and protecting brains.
Central California school support staff are invited to attend the 21st Annual Tulare County Support Staff Conference on March 15, featuring nationally-known entertainer Adam Christing. Mr. Christing became a member of the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood at the age of 17. Since then, he has been featured on shows and in newspapers, including Fox News, Entertainment Tonight, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, USA Today and The New York Times. Media expert Michael Levine called Adam “one of the most engaging and entertaining presenters in America today.” Visit www.tcoe.org/support for registration information.
In January, founder and long-time CEO of Pro-Youth/HEART after school programs Laurie Isham was honored for her service to Tulare County students at the Region VII After School Winter Conference. Mrs. Isham, who is pictured with Choices program supervisor Adam Valencia, will be retiring from Pro-Youth/HEART in June.
In December, directors of special education in Tulare County launched a new event for high school students in Mild to Moderate Programs. Over 250 Tulare County students attended a career fair hosted at no charge by the Visalia Elks Lodge to meet with representatives from local colleges and vocational programs, including the Marinello School. The event, which was designed to provide students with educational and career options, will be held again in the fall.
In December, the California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) received the state Office of Problem Gambling (OPG) “Achieving Success One Step at a Time” Award for their work in engaging youth as active leaders in California communities to mitigate problem gambling. The Partnership will receive their award at the OPG annual summit March 5.
Students may submit videos for the 2013 Slick Rock Student Film Festival March 11-April 8. Students in grades 6-12 living in Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced or Mariposa counties may enter videos in 15 categories. Visit www.tcoe.org/SlickRock for information on film categories, deadlines and the awards ceremony. In December, students had the opportunity to submit a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) video to encourage students throughout the region to enter their films to the 2013 competition. The winner of the PSA contest was Christian Chorjel, a sophomore at Minarets High School in O’Neals. His video will be seen on Slick Rock media partner ABC30 TV beginning this month.
The 2013 Southern California Gas Company Challenge for Student Entrepreneurs will be held on March 13 at the Visalia Convention Center. High school students from Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties will compete for cash prizes based on presentations of their plans for new businesses. During the Challenge, the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Entrepreneur Scholarship will also be awarded. The $1,000 scholarship is open to Tulare County high school students and sponsored by TUCOEMAS Federal Credit Union. Applications, available at www.tcoe.org/STEMScholarship, are due March 4. Call Randy Wallace for information on the Challenge or the scholarship at (559) 733-6101.
Each year, the Community Advisory Committee of the Tulare County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) creates a beautiful wall calendar featuring a particular aspect of special education. This year, the calendar focuses on the stories of students who are making successful transitions in their education and their lives. To read their inspiring stories, visit tulareselpa.org/cac.html.
Jim Vidak, 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
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 737-4378
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