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The News Gallery

February 2018

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, Beth Wilshire, Paula Terrill, Ivette Lopez, Katherine Goyette, Irma Cerrillos, Nan Arnold, Margarita Quintana and Joy Soares.

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.

Tech Rodeo

Students shine at second annual Tech Rodeo
Students share their expertise in applied technology at conference for educators

Nearly 250 educators from 12 California counties and as far away as Colorado came to the second annual Tech Rodeo on January 13 at Ridgeview Middle School in Visalia. The event, organized by Educational Resource Services, was a full day of Education Technology (EdTech) learning and application for teachers and administrators across all grade levels, subject areas and devices.

The day began with a keynote presentation by A.J. Juliani and John Spencer, the authors of Launch – a book designed for teachers to help students discover their creativity to become makers, inventors and creators. Following the keynote, attendees visited a variety of breakout sessions and presentations, including sessions on project based learning, integrating technology through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts and Mathematics) and collaborative learning beyond school walls. Sessions conducted by students from four valley counties highlighted the day.

Tech Rodeo In Pam Richards’ classroom, three of her students introduced attendees to Scratch Programming – a programming language developed for students by educators at MIT. The three students leading the instruction were members of Ms. Richards’ technology class at Ridgeview Middle School and part of the school’s robotics team. Circulating among the attendees in Ms. Richards’ open, industrial classroom, the students confidently instructed adults on developing and animating a figure, or sprite.

Between breakout sessions, attendees visited with students from Emerson Middle School in Bakersfield who brought numerous displays of technology. Omri and Naomi showed off their work in JavaScript coding, while Rosa offered demonstrations of the school’s three-dimensional scanner and modeling program.

Orosi High School computer science and math teacher Joshua Woods brought his students to present applications that they developed for the Tech Rodeo event. The students worked in teams to create apps that included information on the conference, its breakout sessions and ways to leave feedback.

Tech Rodeo

Student presenters also had the opportunity to attend sessions alongside educators. Event coordinator Katherine Goyette reports that presenters remarked that students in their sessions provided invaluable insight into their own instructional practices.

“Student involvement in a professional learning event reminds educators of their purpose – to make a difference in the lives of students,” said Ms. Goyette, TCOE educational technology staff development & curriculum specialist. “At Tech Rodeo, students did more than showcase their learning, they became teachers. We are looking forward to expanding this ‘Student Teaching Teachers’ strand of Tech Rodeo next year.”

For more information on Education Technology and its application in the classroom, contact Katherine Goyette at

Photos above:
~ (l-r) Orosi High School students Kurtlin and Diego present the app they developed for the Tech Rodeo.
~ (l-r) Emerson Middle School (Bakersfield) students Omri and Naomi display JavaScript projects they developed.
~ Ridgeview Middle School student Scott and his classmates showed attendees how to develop an animated character in Scratch Programming – a programming language developed by MIT for students.

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ERS builds Makerspace demonstration lab
Educators invited to visit new program for ideas and resources to take back to their sites

ERS Makerspace demonstration lab

Last fall, Educational Resource Services (ERS) staff began remodeling a portion of the program’s offices at 7000 Doe Avenue in Visalia to create a demonstration Makerspace. Now nearly complete, the facility has been designed to show educators throughout the region how they can incorporate Makerspaces into their schools. A Makerspace is a place where students can explore STEAM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) concepts or interests and then collaborate with others to build solutions to real-world problems. In support of this, Makerspaces provide learners the unique and empowering experience of utilizing advanced materials, equipment and tools.

On January 8, administrator Dr. Jen Francone gathered the ERS staff to introduce them to the new 800-square-foot Makerspace. Following presentations by Library Media Supervisor Debra Lockwood and staff members Doug Cairns and Steve Woods about the features of the space, equipment, available materials and sample projects, attendees were invited to create!

ERS Makerspace demonstration lab

Staff members assembled around movable tables to build a variety of projects. Some used ordinary plastic cups and cardboard tubes to create a speaker system for their smartphones, while others coded a directional path for Ozobots to follow, turn, accelerate and stop.

ERS Makerspace demonstration lab Doug Cairns demonstrated the capabilities of the laser cutter/engraver by producing luggage tags on wood, while Steve Woods helped staff members utilize an application called Slicer from Autodesk. Utilizing a tablet or smartphone, the app takes a two-dimensional drawing and converts it into three dimensions. The user can rotate the three-dimensional object created by the app by moving their device around the two-dimensional drawing.

The new ERS Makerspace features a variety of work areas and flexible seating, unique painted-on whiteboard area, wall-sized magnetic whiteboard spaces, LEGO brick wall and station, compressed air stations, tool storage solutions, the 3D printer and laser cutter/engraver stations. Additional 3D printers and specialized equipment will be added to the space soon.

Since announcing the creation of the Makerspace, ERS has been collecting donated materials for demonstration purposes. Readers interested in donating one or more of the items on the Makerspace Donation List & Signup Sheet are encouraged to add their name, organization and contact information to the spreadsheet at
tcoe.org/MakerspaceDonations. Teachers and administrators interested in visiting the Makerspace are encouraged to make an appointment with Steve Woods, ERS instructional technology specialist, by calling him at (559) 651-3077 or by emailing him at steve.woods@tcoe.org.

Photos above:
~ Olivia Velasquez, business & program analyst, works to build a speaker system for her smartphone from ordinary materials.
~ Steve Woods and Lisa Lemus view the three-dimensional image of the drawing on the table made possible by the Slicer app.
~ Doug Cairns demonstrates ERS’s laser cutter/engraver for Sandi Cahill, an English Language Arts curriculum specialist.

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Collaborative builds future on past successes
College and Career expands work-based learning and career activities in two-county area

Woodlake High School students laughed uncomfortably as Josh Jones, their math teacher, played the role of an unprepared teacher candidate sitting before an interview panel. Mr. Jones slouched, smirked, shrugged and looked at his phone during the interview. At one point, he even described himself as “not much of a team player.” Mr. Jones’ performance was designed to illustrate mannerisms to avoid during an interview. By contrast, fellow Woodlake High School teacher Andrew Jensen was a model candidate – polite, articulate and professional.

College and Career Collaborative

The mock interview panel was part of a series of events organized by the TCOE College and Career Program for hundreds of sophomores from high schools throughout Tulare and Kings counties. The conferences, entitled “Be Future Ready,” will be attended by five Tulare and Kings county high schools during the 2017-18 school year.

The “Be Future Ready” conferences are just one of numerous new college- and career-centered activities and work-based learning opportunities created by the Tulare-Kings College and Career Collaborative (TK Collaborative) since it received its first grant funding from the California Career Pathways Trust in 2014. By braiding together over $22 million in funding awarded to TCOE along with a grant awarded to Visalia Unified, the TK Collaborative has created something very special in the region.

College and Career Collaborative

Last year, an executive-level TK Collaborative Steering Council was formed and includes the three community college presidents, directors of the Workforce Investment Boards, industry partners, and a representative group of K-12 superintendents. This group will continue to set the vision for the college and career readiness work long after the grants end this year.

“Moving from a large regional grant-funded consortium to a partnership collaborative is rarely achieved and very unique,” said Joy Soares, director of the Tulare Kings Collaborative. “The credit for our success goes to our very dedicated, determined and passionate K-12 school district teams, community college teams, and industry intermediaries and members.”

In less than four years, the TK Collaborative – which is made up of 14 school districts, three community colleges, the Tulare and Kings county offices of education and workforce investment boards, and over 500 business and community partners – has strengthened or developed over 50 pathways in Tulare and Kings county high schools. These pathways range from agriculture and arts to business and health science. “The TK Collaborative is committed to the belief that all students must be prepared for success when they transition to post-secondary education, career training and the workforce,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “What makes this belief a reality is that the group shares a long and collaborative history building high quality programs for students.”

For more information on the TK Collaborative and its college and career readiness initiatives, call Joy Soares at (559) 733-6101.

Photos above:
~ Josh Jones, a math teacher at Woodlake High School, played the part of an unprepared teacher at a job interview. The mock interview was part of a conference called Be Future Ready, which is coordinated for Tulare and Kings county sophomores by the TCOE College and Career program.
~ July Hong, the director of operations for Sojourn Hospice, spoke to students about ways to deal with their fears as they plan their futures in college and career.

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Teacher recruitment PSA campaign launched
TCOE leads recruitment locally and statewide with media, online tools and teacher fairs

Last month, the California Center on Teaching Careers (the Center), in partnership with the Ad Council and TEACH.org, launched a series of Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) designed to attract more candidates to the teaching profession statewide. In a comprehensive campaign spanning TV, radio and social media, the PSAs will reach audiences across California to demonstrate through storytelling the benefits of teaching.

The Center was created in December 2016 when the Tulare County Office of Education’s New Teacher & Leadership Development Program received a $5 million grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to aid in recruitment. “The PSA campaign will certainly help to change public perception of the teaching profession,” said Donna Glassman-Sommer, executive director of the Center. “Through these clever and humorous spots, viewers get a glimpse into how teaching in a 21st century classroom is an incredibly engaging, dynamic and rewarding career opportunity, with plenty of room to be creative and inspire real change. By showing compelling stories, our goal is to start a dialogue about what being a teacher is really all about.”

Ms. Glassman-Sommer reports that enrollment in teacher preparation programs in California remains near historic lows, underscoring the need to attract more teachers to the profession and support them through the credentialing process. Approximately 75 percent of California districts reported having a shortage of qualified teachers for the 2016–17 school year, particularly in math, science, bilingual and special education.

Recently launched with support from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the state legislature, the Center is working on the ground in eight regions across the state to attract new teachers and help place and retain them in classrooms. The PSA campaign will help lead candidates to the Center’s online tool for finding information on different teaching pathways and enrolling in programs.

For more information about the Center, visit
californiateach.org. To view the PSAs, visit bit.ly/CACenterVideos.

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Tulare & Kings Counties Teacher Recruitment Fair

School districts in Tulare and Kings Counties (K-12) are seeking applicants in all subject areas who hold a valid teaching credential, including Career Technical Education, or will be eligible for a credential for the 2018-19 school year.

The New Teacher & Leadership Development Program, in partnership with the Human Resources Division, are preparing to host the 33rd Annual Tulare & Kings Counties Teacher Recruitment Fair on Friday, March 2. The fair will be held from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall of the Visalia Convention Center. Candidates must preregister online at
tcoe.org/TeacherFair/register by noon on Wednesday, February 28 to receive admission at 4:00 p.m. Interested candidates who have not preregistered by completing the online application will not be admitted into the Fair until 4:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Marvin Lopez at (559) 624-1035, or marvinl@tcoe.org.

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Spotlight on People On December 8, School Health Programs brought Hector Paredes to Tulare County to speak to nurses and administrators about sudden cardiac arrest, which claimed the life of his son, Eric. Since the loss of his son, Mr. Paredes co-founded the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation and was instrumental in passing AB 1639, a law that mandates any school district conducting athletic activities to educate school staff, parents and students about sudden cardiac arrest. Currently, the foundation is working on a toolkit to make it easy to apply AB 1639 in all school districts. Mr. Paredes also addressed how teen cardiac screenings can identify potentially life-threatening conditions. For more information about AB 1639 and teen cardiac screenings, contact Nan Arnold, program manager for School Health Programs, at (559) 651-0130.

Spotlight on People On December 2, 38 teams of elementary, middle and high school students competed in the 20th annual CyberQuest event. Students were challenged to create a fictional superhero who, by his or her actions, revised the course of history. (photo l-r) Holden Milliorn-Feller, Peytan Baeza and Micah Stinson of Sycamore Valley Academy (SVA) presented a film that sent Williams Atkins (portrayed by Micah Stinson) back in time to meet with his ancestor, Jefferson Davis, and to influence the Civil War, bringing about a victory for the South, the end of slavery and a period of national prosperity for both sides. For their presentation, the SVA students received a superior rating and second place in the eighth-grade category. For a list of all CyberQuest winners, visit

Spotlight on People Thirteen Tulare County high school teams are competing this month in the 2018 Mock Trial competition. Woodlake High School’s Magdalena Villasenor is pictured on the witness stand identifying the defendant in the fictitious case of People v. Casey Davidson. Tulare County Superior Court judge Michael Sheltzer is also pictured. The competition, which began on January 23 continues February 1 at the Tulare County Courthouse. On February 8, the top four teams will compete in the semi-final rounds, followed by the championship round held in the Redwood Conference Center at 6200 South Mooney Boulevard on February 20. For more details on Mock Trial, visit tcoe.org/MockTrial.

Spotlight on People Comedian, playwright, director and educator Tim Clue will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 Support Staff Conference May 1. Mr. Clue has had a successful comedy career on the national circuit, working with many well-known comics, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Steven Wright and Larry Miller. His stand-up routines can also be heard on SiriusXM satellite radio’s comedy channels. The Support Staff Conference, which this year has an outdoor theme of “Come Unplug and Unwind,” will be held at the Visalia Convention Center. Registration information will be available soon at tcoe.org/support.

Spotlight on People In December, Foster Youth Services brought author and top ten country music recording artist Jimmy Wayne to speak to district staff, social workers, probation officers, judges and foster youth. A former foster youth himself, Jimmy Wayne shared his story about how one person made a difference in his life and how education changed his path. Jimmy Wayne’s first book, Paper Angels, was made into a TV movie. His book Walk to Beautiful chronicled his trek from Nashville to Phoenix to bring awareness about youth aging-out of foster care. Ruby the Foster Dog is a book about the dog he fosters along the way. For more information about Foster Youth Services, call Beth Wilshire at (559) 730-2910, ext. 5131.

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Gallery Notes

In December, the Tulare County Board of Education elected trustee Judy Coble to serve as president for 2018. Mrs. Coble represents Trustee Area 4, which includes the south county districts of Allensworth, Alpaugh Unified, Burton, Columbine, Ducor Union, Earlimart, Hope, Richgrove, Sundale Union, Sunnyside Union, and Terra Bella Union, along with the southern portion of Pixley Union and the western portion of Porterville Unified. Celia Maldonado-Arroyo, Trustee Area 1, was elected to serve as vice president. Mrs. Maldonado-Arroyo represents north county districts of Dinuba Unified, Kings River Union, Traver Joint School District, and a portion of Visalia Unified.

Charlene Stringham, assistant superintendent of District Support Services within the Instructional Services Division, was recently selected as the Outstanding Instructional Leader for the California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The award is designed to recognize individuals who influence and advocate for professional growth and instructional leadership. Mrs. Stringham was selected for this prestigious award having served as the 2017 chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC) for the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. Under Mrs. Stringham’s leadership, CISC developed a facilitation guide entitled “Differentiated Assistance Protocols for LEAs.” The award was also given in recognition of her work in developing resources and trainings to support educators across the state in implementing the new California State Standards – work that captured the attention of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The result was a multi-year grant in partnership with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Stanford University to improve elementary math instruction in Tulare County.

Last month, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 11 honored five Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) employees with Administrator of the Year awards. Marlene Moreno, administrative assistant to the County Superintendent of Schools; Conan Palmer, Planetarium & Science Center coordinator; Joy Soares, College and Career director; and Cherí Barnes, Human Resources analyst, received the honors at the regional level, which is comprised of educators in Inyo, Kern, Kings, Mono and Tulare counties. Donna Glassman-Sommer, executive director of New Teacher and & Leadership Development, was honored with the Ferd. Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award – ACSA’s highest individual honor – for her work in teacher recruitment and credentialing. The Kiesel Award was created to recognize an educator who has made a significant contribution to public education over a wide geographical area and who has had a significant impact on numerous segments of public education. Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak also nominated two Tulare County district superintendents who won at the regional level – Yolanda Valdez of Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School district and Keri Montoya of Liberty School District. These seven educators will represent Region 11 at the statewide honors competition this month in Sacramento.

The Tulare County Council on Child & Youth Development’s Inclusion Collaborative Committee is hosting its annual Helping Hands Breakfast Training on February 9 from 8:00 until 11:30 a.m. in the Redwood Conference Center at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia. The event, which is open to educators and parents, will feature presentations by Lisa Boss, family wellness/disabilities manager with TCOE’s Early Childhood Education Program, and representatives from the Central Valley Regional Center on services available to children with special needs and their families. To register for the event, contact Council manager Samantha Terry at (559) 651-1723.

This month, the University Preparatory High School Theater Program will offer five performances of Light Up the Sky, a classic Broadway comedy that premiered in 1948. The story of Light Up the Sky centers on the characters who are opening a new play in an out-of-town tryout production. The comedy features a truck-driver-turned-playwright, a grandly temperamental leading lady, her sarcastic mother, a flamboyant director and a lowbrow producer. The opening night seems to go awry and the producer, writer and cast turn against each other. When the reviews are favorable, we see how easily show business people can go from friends to enemies to friends once more. Performances of Light Up the Sky will be held at the Enchanted Playhouse at 307 E. Main St. in downtown Visalia. Evening performances will begin at 7:00 p.m. on February 22, 23 and 24. A 1:30 p.m. matinee will be performed on February 23 and 24. For ticket information, call University Preparatory High School at (559) 730-2529.

This month, the TCOE Health & Wellness Committee has organized a Lunch & Learn event for employees in the vicinity of the Doe Avenue complex. On February 27, Barbara Leal, fitness instructor and director of the TCOE Teacher Induction Programs, will conduct a session of Yoga in Your Chair beginning at noon in the School Health Programs office (Building 700). This invigorating and informative session will demonstrate how yoga can be done in a desk chair. Through a series of stretches and deep breathing, attendees will learn how to stretch, strengthen and relieve tension in a 30-minute session. For employees who are unable to attend the session, a previously recorded video of Mrs. Leal’s Yoga in Your Chair presentation will be available online at
tcoe.org/Wellness the week of February 5.

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For a list of upcoming events,
visit our
Calendar of Events web 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

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