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The News Gallery

April 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, Julie Berk, Bethany Rader, Kathleen Green-Martins, Elvira Barron, Nan Arnold, Margarita Quintana, Robin Cooper and Nancy Bellin.

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.

Early Childhood Education

New curriculum reinforces kindness, safety
Early Childhood Education adopts curriculum with social emotional development tool

This school year, students served by Early Childhood Education’s 20 Child Development Centers are benefiting from a new curriculum which features a strong social emotional development component. Early Childhood Education (ECE) adopted the new curriculum created by Frog Street and implemented it throughout the county at the beginning of the school year.

“One of the major factors in choosing the Frog Street pre-k curriculum was its focus on promoting self-regulation skills in young children,” said ECE Administrator Julie Berk. “The committee that reviewed all the potential curriculum was impressed that the Frog Street curriculum integrated conscious discipline – a tool that helps to create learning environments where children will know they are safe and loved. From this foundation of safety and love, we’ve seen how our children are learning to solve problems, manage their emotions, and take responsibility for their actions.”

Each morning in centers across the county, children join a new greeting circle, which includes four components to promote self-regulation. Children “unite” through activities designed to develop a sense of belonging with their school family. Next, children “calm” through deep breathing and stretching activities to help them manage any stress. Following the calming activities, children “connect” through appropriate touch and eye contact interactions as part of social engagement exercises. Finally, children “commit” to take responsibility for their actions and keep the classroom safe.

Early Childhood Education At the Senaida Garcia Center in Visalia, children talk with their teacher about the commitments they will make each day – commitments such as using “kind words,” using “helping hands,” communicating with words and not physical actions – a commitment Frog Street calls “using your big voice.” Children can also commit to “listening to other people’s big voices.”

“During their daily interactions, we are teaching children to ask ‘May I play with that toy?’ instead of taking it away from another child,” said Carla Mateus, Senaida Garcia center supervisor. “This is just one example of ‘using our big voice.’”

With the new curriculum, positive reinforcement is integrated throughout the day. Utilizing the classroom Kindness Tree, teachers give children a paper heart as evidence that they are keeping their commitments. Teachers have children post their hearts on the tree and then share examples of the acts of kindness they have observed. At the conclusion of the day, the children reflect on the commitments that they have kept and take their hearts home to share with their family.

Ms. Mateus reports that the curriculum has made a significant difference with several students. “Through our daily commitment exercises and Kindness Tree activities, we’ve seen one boy in particular make great gains in developing the social skills to interact with other children in very positive ways.”

In addition to the social emotional component, the Frog Street curriculum contains the language, literacy, mathematics, science, physical skills, and creative arts learning experiences required by the federal Head Start program to help students prepare for success in elementary school. “We’re delighted that our more than 200 teachers and teacher’s aides have embraced the curriculum, and that we are already seeing our children develop positive character skills that will serve them throughout their lives,” said Julie Berk.

For more information about ECE programs, contact Julie Berk at (559) 651-3022.

Photos above:
~ Children at the Senaida Garcia Child Development Center in Visalia pose by the Kindness Tree, which is part of the new curriculum adopted by Early Childhood Education (ECE) to encourage social emotional development.
~ Carla Mateus, center supervisor, reports that ECE staff are seeing substantial advances by children managing their emotions, solving problems and taking responsibility for their actions since the program implement the Frog Street curriculum.

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Bye Bye Birdie comes to stage April 19-21
Theatre Company reprises popular musical first performed 20 years ago

Theatre Company The musical that kicked off the Theatre Company’s string of successful productions is returning to the stage this month. Bye Bye Birdie, the Broadway musical inspired by rock-and-roll idol Elvis Presley’s army draft in September 1957, is being brought back 20 years after the founding of the venerable young people’s theatre program. “It’s remarkable to look back at the success of the Theatre Company,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “What began with our first production of Bye Bye Birdie in 1998, grew to include 50 productions involving hundreds of students. The impact of this program on the confidence and performance abilities of Tulare County students has been immeasurable.”

Bye Bye Birdie is the story of a rock-and-roll singer, Conrad Birdie, called to duty in the army and its effect on a group of teenagers in a small town in Ohio. Before Conrad deploys overseas, promoters have created a contest for him to deliver “one last kiss” to an adoring fan, Kim MacAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio. Conrad is being played by Logan Lancaster of Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, while Jessica Peters, a freshman at Redwood High School, plays Kim MacAfee.

Bye Bye Birdie is being directed by Theatre Company choreographer Nicole Zweifel. “One of the big challenges this year is that a huge class of students who had been involved with TCOE almost their entire school career has graduated,” she said. “While losing all of that maturity and experience is, of course, a challenge, it has opened the doors to meet many new students and allow others to rise up into leadership roles. I'm especially proud of Abbigail Cordeniz, a senior, who has participated with TCOE since she was six years old. She has really set a great example to the younger students during this transition time of what it means to come to rehearsal memorized and prepared to move forward each and every week.”

The Theatre Company will offer four performances of Bye Bye Birdie at the El Diamante Theater at 5100 W. Whitendale Ave. in Visalia. Evening performances will begin at 6:30 p.m. on April 19, 20 and 21. A 2:00 p.m. matinee will be held on Saturday, April 21. Tickets will be available April 3 at the Mooney Boulevard and Doe Avenue complexes for $10 per person. For information, call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

Principal Characters
Conrad Birdie played by Logan Lancaster, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, Visalia
Albert Peterson played by John Piper, El Diamante High School, Visalia
Kim MacAfee played by Jessica Peters, Redwood High School, Visalia
Doris MacAfee played by Abbigail Cordeniz, VTEC High School, Visalia
Randolph MacAfee played by Zion Sears, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, Visalia
Harry MacAfee played by Toby Shirk, Homeschool
Rose Alvarez played by Emilie Walker, Redwood High School, Visalia
Hugo Peabody played by Tyler Barnes, George McCann Memorial, Visalia
Ursula Merkle played by Anu Perry, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, Visalia
Mae Peterson played by Paige Ragan, Divisadero Middle School, Visalia

Photo above:
~ Logan Lancaster stars as Conrad Birdie in the classic Broadway musical
Bye Bye Birdie, a Theatre Company production at the El Diamante High School theater April 19-21.

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Conference delivers resources, inspiration
Early Childhood Education to host 30th annual Child Care Conference April 21

On April 21, the Early Childhood Education Program (ECE) will present its 30th Annual Child Care Conference. The conference, which will be held at the Wyndham Hotel, Visalia, is entitled Nurturing Children’s Creativity Through Art, Play & Expression and will feature Central Valley early childhood education leader Lupe Jaime.

“For three decades, the Child Care Conference has been an invaluable resource of inspiration and instructional strategies for Central Valley educators who serve young children,” said Jim Vidak, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. “With sessions on art, nutrition and language development, this year’s conference promises to be an excellent learning opportunity for participants.”

Child Care Conference The Child Care Conference will feature a keynote address by Lupe Jaime on the importance of supporting dual language learners. Ms. Jaime is currently director of Early Care and Education for the Fresno County Office of Education. She oversees several countywide early learning programs and initiatives, including the Local Planning Council and the Fresno County Quality Rating and Improvement System. She is also responsible for oversight of the Lighthouse for Children Child Development Center, a partnership between the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and First 5 Fresno County with the capacity to serve 96 children and their families. Ms. Jaime has served as co-chair for the Central Valley Bilingual Dual Language Consortium and as a board member of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network and the California Child Development Administrators Association. In April 2016, Governor Brown appointed her to the First 5 California Commission.

The 30th Annual Child Care Conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 21 and feature two additional breakout sessions conducted both in English and Spanish. The deadline to register for the conference is April 16 and the cost is just $50 per person. For more details on conference presenters, activities and registration, call Elvira Barron at (559) 651-0185.

Photo above:
~ Lupe Jaime, director of Fresno County Office of Education’s Early Care and Education program, will be the Child Care Conference keynote speaker April 21.

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OneSight Vision Van makes stop in Tulare County
Over 325 students from 13 districts receive free eye exam and eyewear

OneSight Vision Van In March, the nurses with TCOE’s School Health Programs helped students receive free eye exams and eyewear thanks to a visit from the OneSight Mobile Vision Van. OneSight’s van visited Pixley Union School District and Alta Vista School District in a two-day event to fit more than 325 students from 13 south county school districts with glasses, most of which were made on the spot for participants. Nan Arnold, program manager for School Health Programs, reports that OneSight brought nearly 40 staff members, including several optometrists from the U.S., China and Italy.

OneSight is a global nonprofit supported by Luxottica, a luxury eyeglass company. Luxottica provides the organization with annual operating support, frames and the engagement of approximately 23,000 doctors and employees. Since 1988, OneSight has partnered with local health organizations, governments and school districts to help more than 9 million people in 46 countries through temporary clinics and mobile vision vans.

OneSight Vision Van

Prior to OneSight’s visit, students from the 13 school districts were prescreened by the School Health Programs’ nurses and found to be in need of an exam. “The services OneSight provided this year was an incredible gift to our students and their families,” said Mrs. Arnold. “We appreciate their willingness to return to Tulare County next year to help our north county students.”

Photos above:
~ OneSight optometrists examined and provided free eyewear for over 325 Tulare County students last month.
~ The OneSight team of more than 30 optometrists and technicians travel nationally in Vision Vans, partnering with school districts and community organizations. OneSight is a global nonprofit organization supported by Luxottica, a luxury eyewear company.

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Hundreds engage in science at STEM Expo
Event features hands-on learning and demonstrations, Science Fair winners chosen for state

STEM Expo Science and technology wasn’t just observed at the fourth annual STEM Expo, it was performed. Across the TCOE Liberty campus on March 10, hundreds of students and family members were involved in demonstrating, designing, building and learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In the Liberty multipurpose room, elementary, middle and high school students participating in the annual Science Fair demonstrated their projects for judges, while inside the Planetarium & Science Center, robots, big and small, whirred and spun to programming created on the spot. Students enjoyed trying on new virtual reality headsets – recently acquired by the Educational Resource Services library – complete with interactive science and history curriculum. In the planetarium, visitors enjoyed back-to-back showings of the popular program, Two Small Pieces of Glass: the Amazing Telescope.

STEM Expo Outside on the lawns, visitors enjoyed a Cardboard Challenge area where cardboard, tape, markers and imagination came together. In the makerspace area, visitors could create a variety of artwork, or build smartphone speakers, paper rockets and circuits out of ordinary materials.

Following a presentation by Dr. Jose Miguel Prado of the Monsanto Company on the roll of STEM in agriculture, the winners of the Science Fair competition were announced. Six projects were selected to represent Tulare County at the California Science & Engineering Fair April 23-24 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. For a complete list of winners, visit


Photos above:
~ Visitors to the fourth annual STEM Expo had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of educational technology, including virtual reality headsets.
~ Educators from the Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park were among several STEM-related community organizations at the event.
~ The annual Science Fair was a component of the STEM Expo and six student projects were chosen to advance to the California Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. For a complete list of Science Fair winners, visit tcoe.org/ScienceFair.

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Spotlight on People On Saturday, March 17, hundreds of parents and children visited Castle Rock Elementary School in Woodlake to run, jump, stretch and learn at the third annual MyPlate Color Run. In the process of learning about healthy nutrition and exercise, participants were doused with colored powder. School Health Programs’ Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Program (NEOP) helped to organize the event in partnership with numerous education and community health organizations, including Woodlake Unified School District, the California Department of Public Health’s Champions for Change program, the University of California Cooperative Extension and its CalFresh Nutrition Education program, the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency, Family Healthcare Network, Kaweah Delta Health Care District, and FoodLink, Tulare County’s food distribution resource for families in need. This year, students in their final semester of the Fresno State nursing program (pictured above) conducted glucose screenings and blood pressure checks.

Spotlight on People Last month, nearly 1,400 students, grades K-8, participated in the 38th Annual Poetry & Prose Program. Special events coordinator Nancy Bellin (right photo), who created the program with George Nord, former Traver School District superintendent, oversaw nearly 600 student poetry or prose performances over a seven-day period. Students performed individually or in small groups (left photo) before judges, who provided constructive comments.

Spotlight on People Last month, 35 middle and high school teams participated in the annual Science Olympiad for a chance to advance to the NorCal Science Olympiad competition April 14 at California State University, Stanislaus. The middle school teams that qualified for the state competition include Jefferson Charter Academy (Hanford), Ridgeview Middle School (Visalia), Oak Grove Elementary (Visalia) and Sequoia Union School (Lemon Cove). The high school teams advancing to NorCal include Tulare Union High School, Redwood High School (Visalia), Exeter Union High School and Mission Oak High School (Tulare). Students from third-place middle school finishers Oak Grove Elementary are pictured competing in the towers event. Students designed and built their own towers, testing their strength to support a bucket that was filled with increasing amounts of sand.

Spotlight on People The artwork featured on the cover of the annual Tulare County Farm Bureau Student Art Calendar (photo above) was drawn by three-time calendar featured artist Joshua Talingo Garcia, a junior at Orosi High School. Orosi High School Principal Roberto Vaca, Cutler-Orosi Unified Superintendent Yolanda Valdez and County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak (photo below, l-r) pose with Orosi High School featured artists Joshua Talingo Garcia, Christian Carlos, Fernando Garcia and Anthony Tamayo. Also pictured are Orosi High School art teacher Cynthia Martin and district trustee Eddie Valero. Copies of the calendar, entitled Tulare County Agriculture: Growing Good Things, will be mailed to teachers throughout the county this month, and are available at the front desk of TCOE's Mooney Boulevard building while supplies last. Spotlight on People

Spotlight on PeopleFrank Silveira has been selected as administrator for the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) CHOICES Prevention Programs. Mr. Silveira has worked as administrative services credential coordinator for the TCOE New Teacher & Leadership Development Program since July 2017. As the CHOICES administrator, he will oversee the program’s 33 expanded learning sites, which serve approximately 3,000 students daily. CHOICES Prevention Programs also offer a variety of youth development and prevention programs, including student mental health, gang prevention and bullying prevention trainings; the Safe Schools Project crisis response program; and the Friday Night Live Program. The CHOICES Program also coordinates the annual Slick Rock Student Film Festival and various other student events. Mr. Silveira brings a broad range of leadership experience to his new position. From 2015 until 2017, he served as the Chief Academic Officer for the Farmersville Unified School District. Mr. Silveira also served the Exeter Unified School District for 13 years as an athletic director, assistant principal and principal at the middle and high school campuses, and as director of English Language Development and Special Projects at the district level.

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Gallery Notes

In light of the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, the Safe Schools Project of Tulare County Office of Education's CHOICES Program will be sponsoring a Crisis Response & Active Shooter / Armed Intruder workshop based on the Safe Schools Crisis Response Framework developed for K-12 schools. A second training date of May 3 has been added to the original session (April 4), which is nearly full. This training, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Doe Avenue complex, will provide participants with step-by-step initial actions that should be taken in the event of an environmental or human crisis. Participants will learn how to protect themselves in the event of an active shooter or armed intruder on their campus. The registration fee of $50 per person includes all materials and a catered lunch. To register, visit
tulare.k12oms.org/159-147933. For more information on the Safe Schools Project training, call the CHOICES office at (559) 651-0155.

Marlene Moreno, administrative assistant to Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak, was recently selected as the state Confidential Leader of the Year for the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Ms. Moreno and four other TCOE employees – Conan Palmer of the Planetarium & Science Center, Cherí Barnes of Human Resources, Joy Soares of College and Career and Donna Glassman-Sommer of New Teacher & Leadership Development – won ACSA Administrator of the Year Awards at the local and regional level. Ms. Moreno will be honored at the 2018 ACSA Leadership Summit November 9 in San Diego.

The TCOE Wellness Committee is preparing fun activities to promote overall fitness and well-being as part of the annual Healthy Tulare County Week, April 2-6. Again this year, all employees can enter the Fitbit Steps Challenge and participate in the Healthy BINGO game. Employees are encouraged to visit tcoe.org/wellness to print a copy of the BINGO card and to record their step count during the 24-hour period on April 4 to enter the prize drawing for the Fitbit Steps Challenge. From 10:00 a.m. until noon on April 5 at the Doe Avenue complex and from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on April 6 at the Mooney Boulevard building, employees will have opportunities to participate in special health and fitness activities. Employees can use their 15-minute break to visit fun health and fitness stations, which will include a walking course and information on healthy recipes. Employees are encouraged to visit each station to receive a stamp on their activities card. Completed cards will be entered into a drawing for additional prizes. For more information on the Healthy Tulare County Week, contact Nan Arnold, School Health Programs, at (559) 651-0130.

The annual SCICON Barbecue & Wildflower Festival will be held Sunday, April 15, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. There is no charge to visit the campus or enjoy the numerous activities, including wildflower walks and student entertainment. Visitors can also enjoy tours of the museum, planetarium, observatory and raptor center. Tickets for the barbecue luncheon are available for $15 per person for adults, $10 for seniors 60 and older, and $5 for children 12 and under. For more information, visit tcoe.org/SCICONbbq, or call (559) 539-2642.

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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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