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The News Gallery

November 2016

View and print a pdf version of this News Gallery.
Editor: Robert Herman
Public Information Officer
(559) 733-6606

Contributors to this issue:
Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Kelley Petty, Kathleen Green-Martins, Yareli Magana, Cori Bernal, Nicole Zweifel, Al Rodriguez and Kristen Taylor.

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 jenniferf@tcoe.org or (559) 733-6172.

CHOICES launches Making Healthy Choices

CHOICES launches Making Healthy Choices
Program pilots new sports, nutrition and academic enrichment at Dinuba after school sites

Visitors to the Dinuba Sportsplex, who observed the launch of the CHOICES After School Program’s new health and academics initiative called Making Healthy Choices, saw a full-scale demonstration of how an entire city of after school programs would look if all participating students came together under one roof. That’s exactly what the CHOICES staff did on October 20 for the benefit of Dinuba Unified administrators and City of Dinuba leadership, including Mayor Emilio Morales and police officials.

CHOICES launches Making Healthy Choices

Students from the CHOICES After School Program at Dinuba Unified’s Grandview, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington Intermediate campuses combined with students from the City of Dinuba’s own after school program to fill the Sportsplex in downtown Dinuba. Approximately 600 students attended the launch of CHOICES’ Making Healthy Choices campaign. Throughout the Sportsplex, students rotated through dance, food tasting and sports agility stations where they ran obstacle courses, passed soccer balls, sprinted, crawled and jumped.

The Making Healthy Choices campaign features a new 23-lesson curriculum called Sports Nutrition Academic Program! (SNAP!). The curriculum is designed especially for students in the CHOICES After School Program and includes age-appropriate physical activity, nutrition and academic vocabulary building. SNAP! lessons and activities will be offered as an additional enrichment under the CHOICES After School Program.

CHOICES launches Making Healthy Choices

Nutrition and academic components are taught in the classroom with students rotating between the subjects on a daily or weekly basis. To support the nutrition education component of SNAP!, CHOICES has partnered with the Tulare County Office of Education’s Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention (NEOP) program and Dinuba Unified’s Nutrition Services Program. CHOICES has also partnered with Horizon Marketing, a Tulare County produce shipping and packaging services company that will provide “Sweet Bunches” – packages of fresh fruit cuts that utilize dry bag technology for improved shelf life without added sugar or gluten. Horizon Marketing President Robert De La Torre was enthusiastic about supporting Making Healthy Choices saying, “We are excited to support the mission of the Making Healthy Choices program by providing snacks with a variety of fruits that don’t include preservatives.”

CHOICES launches Making Healthy Choices

Following the nutrition and academic portions, students will engage in athletic training, rotating through different stations that include games, basketball and soccer skills, and sports agility training. The athletic component of SNAP! was designed by seasoned Tulare teachers Todd Henderson, Eric Espinola and Juan De Santigo, who coaching experience and training through the CHARACTER COUNTS! Pursuing Victory with Honor program.

CHOICES launches Making Healthy Choices

“Every year, we see increases of students at-risk for health issues,” said Adam Valencia, extended learning program director for CHOICES. “SNAP! is an effort to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent the onset of health issues originating from poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.”

For more information on Making Healthy Choices and the SNAP! Curriculum, contact Adam Valencia at (559) 651-0155.

Photos above:
~ Dinuba-area CHOICES After School Programs visited the city’s Sportsplex October 20 to launch the new Making Healthy Choices campaign. Students participated in a variety of sports conditioning and agility exercises ...
~ ... and visited a taste-testing station to try healthy snacks.
~ SNAP! (Sports Nutrition Academic Program!) will be used at CHOICES After School sites in partnership with Dinuba Unified on a daily or weekly basis to supplement enrichment activities. During SNAP!, students will participate in age-appropriate sports activities, in conjunction with nutrition and academic lessons.
~ The creators of the sports curriculum are Tulare coaches (l-r) Eric Espinola, Juan De Santiago and Todd Henderson.
~ Mr. Henderson gathers with students at the October 20 demonstration held at the Dinuba Sportsplex.

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Les Misérables features large veteran cast
Theatre Company set to reprise popular musical with five performances November 16-19

Theatre Company

Madam and Monsieur Thenardier provide much needed comic relief in the musical version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables – a demanding, but much-loved musical the Theatre Company is set to perform November 16-19. The musical is an epic tale of struggle and redemption set in a revolutionary period of early 19th-century France.

Les Misérables was first performed by the Theatre Company in 2008. What makes this production special for director Nicole Zweifel and the Theatre Company staff is that many of the students in leading roles are seniors. Among the seniors is Ms. Zweifel’s son, Tristan Beck, who plays Javert, the police inspector. “It’s been a real privilege to work with these amazing young people as we have watched them grow into talented young performers,” she said.

Haley Nelson, who plays the greedy and crooked Madam Thenardier with humorous effect, has been involved in Theatre Company productions since she was in first grade. “For 12 years, I’ve been participating in Theatre Company productions – usually two or three each year,” she said proudly. Haley is a senior at Redwood High School.

The story of Les Misérables spans several decades as it follows Jean Valjean, a parolee who seeks to redeem himself from past crimes, and Javert, who relentlessly tracks him. The Theatre Company will offer four evening shows November 16-19 at 7:00 p.m. in the L.J. Williams Theater at 1001 W. Main St. in Visalia. A 2:00 p.m. matinee show on Saturday, November 19 will also be offered. Tickets, which will be available at TCOE’s 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. and 7000 Doe Ave., Suite A locations beginning October 31, are $12 per person for general admission seating and $20 per person for reserved seating.

For more information, call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

Principal Characters
Jean Valjean – Owen Webb, senior, Redwood High School,Visalia
Javert – Tristan Beck, senior, El Diamante High School,Visalia
Fantine – Carissa Gonzales, senior, Redwood High School,Visalia
Cosette – Kaley McConaughey, senior, Redwood High School,Visalia
Little Cosette – Susie Ploegstra, 2nd grader, homeschool
Marius – Andrew Cantelmi, junior, Redwood High School,Visalia
Madame Thenardier – Haley Nelson, senior, Redwood High School,Visalia
Monsieur Thenardier – Cameron Forgey, sophomore, homeschool
Eponine – Mattie Cole, junior, homeschool
Gavroche – Zion Sears, 4th grader, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center

Photo above:
~ Haley Nelson and Cameron Forgey play Madam and Monsieur Thenardier in the fall production of Les Misérables, set to perform this month.

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A Holiday in the City opens December 5
Large collection of porcelain buildings and figures gifted by Chris and Gary Reed

A Holiday in the City

In December, the public is invited to visit a spectacular exhibition of hand-painted porcelain buildings, figures, plazas and parks depicting a delightful holiday cityscape of the past. The exhibition, entitled A Holiday in the City, will be held in the lobby of TCOE’s new Administration Building and Conference Center. Dozens of illuminated homes, civic buildings, businesses, churches and restaurants will be featured in the 55-foot long display. Dotted among the buildings are dozens of figures – carolers, ice skaters, shoppers and diners – all bundled up for the holidays.

A Holiday in the City is drawn from a collection of porcelains donated to the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation by Tulare County Board of Education President Chris Reed and her husband, Gary. Mrs. Reed, who serves as a trustee representing the Porterville area, has been collecting the porcelains for over 25 years. “As the collection grew, we began to think about how we could share it,” said Mrs. Reed. “By donating it to the TCOE Foundation, we know that children of all ages can enjoy the village scenes each year during the holidays.”

The exhibition will open to the public on Monday, December 5, and remain on display through December 29. The public is welcome to visit the free exhibition Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. A Holiday in the City will be open 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. December 27-29 and closed Saturdays and Sundays, and December 23 and 26. The TCOE Administration Building and Conference Center is located at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia. No reservations are required.

“We are so grateful for the Reed’s gift of these charming pieces of art,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “We hope that parents and grandparents will take the opportunity to bring their children to experience the warmth and magic of A Holiday in the City.”

For more information about A Holiday in the City, call Marlene Moreno at (559) 733-6302.

Photo above:
~ A vignette from A Holiday in the City features just a few of the hundreds of buildings and figures that will be displayed in the lobby of the TCOE Administration Building & Conference Center beginning December 5.

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Kohn students win alcohol prevention event
CHOICES After School Programs host annual Alcohol Awareness Challenge in Tulare

Alcohol Awareness Challenge

On October 12, students from seven south-county CHOICES After School Program sites competed at the annual Alcohol Awareness (A²) Challenge. The students represented Cypress Elementary (Tulare), Heritage Elementary (Tulare), Kohn Elementary (Tulare), Los Tules Middle School (Tulare), Mulcahy Middle School (Tulare), Pleasant View School (Porterville), and Ducor Union School.

Founded in 2013, the A² Challenge is a competition facilitated through a partnership between the CHOICES After School and Prevention Programs and the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency. The event is designed to raise awareness and decrease the use and abuse of alcohol among the youth of Tulare County.

Alcohol Awareness Challenge

Students participating in the A² Challenge competed in two ways. Prior to the event, participants prepared an alcohol awareness presentation, which they presented to a panel of judges. During the event, students also competed in a quiz bowl competition. This year, the A² Challenge winners were students from Frank Kohn Elementary. The Kohn team, which was coached by CHOICES After School teacher Kristen Taylor, won both of the challenge components – the alcohol awareness presentation and the quiz bowl competition. Team members included Jacklyn Hernandez, Daisy Mungia Moreno, Breanne Romero, Alyandra Gamez, Samantha Reyes and Preston Rocha.

Alcohol Awareness Challenge

For the alcohol awareness presentation, teams research a specific alcohol-related topic which affects the local community. Students can research a topic of their own choosing, such as examining the social, legal and economic implications of a drunk driver who fatally injures another person or exploring the potential impact a DUI conviction could have on a young person’s academics and career. At the event, participating teams must make a four-minute presentation on the topic utilizing a performance-style, video or multimedia format.

Alcohol Awareness Challenge

Over the course of two months, the students on the Kohn team developed a broad presentation on underage drinking and the effects of alcohol advertising. According to teacher Kristen Taylor, the presentation included statistics on the health, social and legal risks of underage drinking. At the end of the project, students told Ms. Taylor that they felt empowered to talk to their friends about alcohol. “It was amazing to hear them say that they could share better ways to cope with life’s challenges than drinking.”

For additional information on the A² Challenge, contact Alvaro Rodriguez of Tulare County Office of Education’s CHOICES Prevention Program at (559) 651-0155.

Photos above:
~ The winning team from Kohn Elementary after shool program included Jacklyn Hernandez, Daisy Mungia Moreno, Breanne Romero, Alyandra Gamez, Samantha Reyes and Preston Rocha. They are pictured with their teacher Kristen Taylor (l) and the event judges (back row, l-r) National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency of Tulare County's Kelley Nunes, Tulare HHSA's Michelle Reynoso, and CHOICE's Gus Ramires, Ana Flores and Veronica Guerrero.
~ The Kohn team developed a broad alcohol awareness presentation that included statistics on under-age drinking and the effects of alcohol advertising on young people.
~ Following the alcohol awareness presentations, students had an opportunity to participate in a town hall-style discussion about under-age drinking.
~ Tulare County HHSA Prevention Program supervisor Michelle Reynoso (second from left) speaks to students following their awareness project presentation.

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Spotlight on People Samantha Terry has been selected as the new program manager for the Tulare County Council on Child and Youth Development, a department within the Early Childhood Education Program. The Council, which is jointly appointed by County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak and the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, serves to assess the child care needs in Tulare County and coordinate with agencies to create and implement programs to help children succeed. Previously, Ms. Terry helped to establish and direct a childcare program at the Heart of the Valley Church in Visalia.

Spotlight on People In October, the Council on Child and Youth Development held its annual Legislative Breakfast. At the breakfast, Early Childhood Education Program Administrator Julie Berk (r) presented the Council’s annual Impact Award to Israel and Teresa Mendoza, owners of Arlyn’s Day Care in Dinuba. In 2001, the Mendozas opened a home day care to make a positive impact on other families in their community. Mrs. Berk praised the Mendozas for continually seeking trainings to develop their knowledge and skill in early care and education.

Spotlight on People Tulare County Teacher of the Year Stephen Amundson provided a motivational warmup message about service at the annual Step Up Youth Challenge summit. This year, 31 Tulare County middle and high school teams have entered the Challenge to develop projects that make positive impacts on their campuses and communities. In May, the County of Tulare will award $30,000 in grants to the winning teams.

Spotlight on People Brianna Stephens (r), a softball player at Tulare Union High School, was one of 12 winners recognized at the 2016 CC! Kids of Character Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Awards event held October 26. Brianna was recognized for her leadership on campus and on the sports field. She is pictured with Kylee Robertson (l), a member of a girls’ softball team she coaches. Many of the winners and 24 finalists in the annual Kids of Character Awards will be profiled through weekly news stories beginning in November on KSEE24’s Your Character Matters, an ongoing character recognition partnership with TCOE.

Spotlight on People For the first time, TCOE employees participated in the annual City of Visalia Corporate Games, which featured 19 competitions ranging from Rock Band and tug-of-war to poker and Ultimate Frisbee. Out of 20 community and business teams entered in the competition, TCOE placed tenth, receiving medals in the darts, trivia and Family Feud competitions. (l-r) General Services’ Cori Bernal, Migrant Education’s Alex Espino and Human Resources’ Laura Rodriguez were participants in the archery contest. For more information on joining the 2017 TCOE team, contact Cori Bernal at

Spotlight on People During National CHARACTER COUNTS! (CC!) Week, Tulare County CC! Coordinator Kelley Petty (l) visited Vincent Gutierrez (c), a first-grade student at Monte Vista Elementary in Porterville. Vincent was honored as the 100,000th student recognized during the 21 years Tulare County schools have participated in the program. Vincent, who was nominated for the Pillar of Caring by his teacher Kelley Turri (r), says that helping others makes him feel good “in his heart.”

Spotlight on People Over 9,000 students attended the 57th Annual Young People’s Concerts, which featured nine performances by the Tulare County Symphony in Visalia, Tulare and Porterville. This year, students in grades 3-8, heard performances of music depicting the American West by Aaron Copland, Elmer Bernstein and John Williams. The Young People’s Concerts program is one of the oldest education programs of its kind in the nation.

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Gallery Notes

This summer, the Tulare County Office of Education became the new educational partner for ABC30 television’s long-running Children First program. Along with support from Valley Children's Hospital and EECU, ABC30 produces three half-hour Children First specials each year on topics relative to education, health and development, and safety. The next Children First special, entitled Connected Kids, will air Sunday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m. The special will explore how educators are taking technology to the next level and will feature three Tulare County segments, including a report on present and future technologies at the TCOE Planetarium & Science Center. Katherine Goyette, TCOE’s educational technology & integrated studies staff development & curriculum specialist, will also be featured in a segment about how teachers are trained in the latest use of instructional technologies, while Tulare City School District teacher AmyRose Lardner will demonstrate the technologies she uses with her first-grade students.

Central Valley school support staff are encouraged to mark their calendars for the 25th annual Support Staff Conference which will be held April 26 at the Visalia Convention Center. The conference will feature Joel Zeff, a nationally-known workplace expert, speaker, author and humorist, plus a wide array of entertainment, informative breakout sessions and networking opportunities. The conference is designed to provide professional enrichment and celebrate the contributions support staff make to Central Valley schools and district offices. Visit
tcoe.org/Support for updates.

Now in its 11th year, the Tulare County College Night Scholarship has developed an online application. Students may now apply for the scholarship by accessing the link at tcoe.org/CollegeNight. Applications for the award, which provides one winner $1,000 annually for up to four consecutive years, are due by February 1, 2017.

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For a list of upcoming events,
visit our online
Calendar of Events.

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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