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The News Gallery

July/August 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, Anjelica Zermeño, Ramon Garcia, Bethany Rader, Beth Wilshire, Charlene Stringham, Elizabeth Sisk, Eric Thiessen, Myrna Garcia, Daniel Huecker, Conan Palmer, Tony Cavanagh, and Kathleen Green-Martins.

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.

Theatre Company presents 'Little Shop of Horrors'

Little Shop of Horrors opens in Visalia July 20
Theatre Company prepares quirky musical about man-eating plant from outer space

This month, the Theatre Company has prepared a full-scale production of Little Shop of Horrors with a twist. The popular rock musical about Seymour, a hapless florist shop worker who raises a man-eating plant from outer space, is being staged in the 1980s, rather than the 1960s when it was originally set. Seymour, his man-eating plant, Audrey, Mr. Mushnik, the crazed dentist, and all the supporting characters from their Skid Row neighborhood will be transported to the era of Madonna and Members Only jackets. “Taking this cult classic and putting it onstage with a twist has been more fun and challenging than any of us originally imagined,” said Theatre Company director Bethany Rader. “While the show is designed to take place in the ‘60s, as we listened to the new cast recording, we envisioned Skid Row as an ‘80s punk scene with the character of Audrey heavily influenced by singer, Madonna."

Little Shop of Horrors is a high-energy production from the moment the curtain opens. One musical number leads right into the next – songs written in early rock and roll and Motown styles. Little Shop of Horrors premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982. The production was critically acclaimed and won several awards including the 1982–1983 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, and the Outer Critics Circle Award. In 1986, the musical was made into a movie of the same name.

Redwood High School senior Parker Chalabian stars in the role of Seymour, who pines for his coworker Audrey. “Seymour is often portrayed as anxious and awkward,” he said. “But he's more than that; he's a nice guy and Audrey sees that. Yes, he's shy and a little awkward, but deep down, he's a nice guy. It has been fun to bring those qualities to this character.”

Chloe Hunt, a junior at Golden West High School, plays the part of Audrey. “She is a completely different character than I've ever played,” she said. “The characters of Mary Lennox (from The Secret Garden) and Ariel (from Little Mermaid) were very strong-willed. Audrey is vulnerable, has low self-esteem, and worries about what others think about her. In this production, it has been rewarding to build her character's strength and confidence.”

Ms. Rader reports that another challenge with this production of Little Shop of Horrors was expanding the show’s original cast size from eight to over 40. “Our vocal coach Charlotte Garcia, choreographer Jennifer McGill, costume designer Nicole Zweifel, and I have worked tirelessly to fit and build an ensemble, and to create roles wherever possible. Needless to say, we’ve had a lot of fun with this show!”

For information on the upcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors, call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 West Main Street, Visalia

Show Times
Evening Shows (7:30 p.m.): July 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28
Matinee Shows (2:00 p.m.): July 21 and 28

Show Ticket Information
$15 general admission / $25 VIP tickets
available at Visalia TCOE locations beginning July 5:
6200 S. Mooney Blvd. and 7000 Doe Ave.
Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
Cash or check only.
Tickets can also be purchased at the door or by phone by calling (559) 651-1482, ext. 3329.

Principle Characters
Seymour Krelborn played by Parker Chalabian (Redwood High School)
Audrey played by Chloe Hunt (Golden West High School)
Mr. Mushnik played by Bryce Huckabay (Redwood High School graduate)
Audrey II Voice played by Andrew Cantelmi (Redwood High School graduate)
Audrey II Puppet Master played by Eli Adams (Mt. Whitney High School)
Orin Scrivello, DDS played by Christian Lee (El Diamante High School)
Urchins played by Julia Galvan (Redwood High School graduate), Carlos Gomez (University Preparatory High School), Trinity Keoseyan (El Diamante High School), Logan Lancaster (Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center), Allison Martin (El Diamante High School), and Job Whetstone (Mt. Whitney High School)

Photo above:
~ Parker Chalabian stars as Seymour and Chloe Hunt as Audrey in the summer Theatre Company production of
Little Shop of Horrors.

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Planetarium acquires Secrets of Gravity show
Program to hold August 17 premiere of new program on the work of Albert Einstein

New Planetarium show - 'The Secrets of Gravity'

This month, the Peña Planetarium will acquire a new program entitled The Secrets of Gravity – In the Footsteps of Albert Einstein. The show, which is designed for fourth- to eighth-grade audiences, follows the adventures of twelve-year-old Luke, a young magician’s apprentice, who is far more interested in the universe and its secrets than in magic spells. He is fascinated by the stars, the universe, and the laws of nature.

One night, Luke sneaks into the Albert Einstein Museum where he meets AlbyX3, a small, clever but rather quirky robot, who knows all about Albert Einstein and his theories. Alby takes Luke on a magical journey through space and time during which they not only uncover the secrets of gravity, but also learn about friendship and imagination.

“We are very excited to add The Secrets of Gravity to our show offerings,” said Conan Palmer, Planetarium & Science Center coordinator. “It’s a multi-award winning animation that expands our instructional content in space, history, and physics.” Mr. Palmer reports that teachers may begin making reservations to see The Secrets of Gravity on September 4.

A public premiere of the full-dome program will be held on Friday, August 17 at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. The Planetarium & Science Center is located at 11535 Avenue 264 in Visalia. For additional information, call (559) 733-6433.

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CHOICES wins state prevention grant
Program partners with districts, law enforcement on tobacco education, enforcement

Last month, the CHOICES Program received a portion of a statewide tobacco use prevention grant. Statewide, over $30 million was awarded to California counties with $885,000 going to the Tulare County Office of Education. Locally, the funds will be used to develop a community-wide prevention program in partnership with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Tulare Police Department, Tulare City School District’s middle schools, and single school districts in southwest Tulare County.

The 25-month grant will include an education component delivered by a CHOICES specialist trained in evidence-based tobacco education. The grant will also include two full-time law enforcement officers to help with school presentations and to meet with tobacco retailers in the southwest portion of the county.

“Through this grant, schools and law enforcement will work together to reduce tobacco sales to minors and increase youth understanding of the long-term harm from tobacco use,” said Tony Cavanagh, CHOICES project coordinator/prevention education. “In addition to classroom education, we will work with local merchants, educating them on the laws concerning tobacco sales to minors.” Mr. Cavanagh reports that the CHOICES specialist and officers will assess businesses and their placement of tobacco and vaping products and advertisements. “We want to discourage retailers from placing tobacco products near items usually purchased by young people.”

In addition, the program will use a minor decoy to attempt to purchase tobacco products from a retailer, or to get an adult to buy the products for them.

“While the use of traditional nicotine products is declining with young people, the use of vaping devices is increasing,” said Mr. Cavanagh. “We also plan to focus on the selling of fruit- and candy-flavored vaping liquids which were designed to appeal to kids. Even the liquids that are nicotine-free contain harmful toxins.”

The CHOICES Program has taken a leading role in tobacco education, substance abuse prevention education, bullying prevention, and school violence prevention. For the past five years, CHOICES has been the lead agency in a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Drug Free Community Support Grant targeting the reduction of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use across Tulare County. Additionally, CHOICES is the provider of a successful Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) Grant serving 32 school districts in Tulare County.

For more information about the CHOICES tobacco education programs, call Tony Cavanagh at (559) 651-0155.

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Staff honored for service to students, districts
Twenty-two employees retire having provided 571 years of service to Tulare County

On June 13, the Human Resources Division hosted its annual Retiree Reception in the Redwood Conference Center. Twenty-two TCOE teachers, administrators, and support staff members retired during 2017-18, having contributed a total of 571 years of service to the students of Tulare County.

John Rodriguez, director of Human Resources, introduced each of the retirees in attendance and their supervisor. Many retirees who spoke mentioned the positive work environment that made their experience so enjoyable.

Lupe Solis Among the retirees was Dr. Lupe Solis, deputy superintendent of Instructional Services. Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak shared with the audience that Dr. Solis had worked for TCOE for a total of 25 years. After a period where he served as a Kings County district superintendent, Dr. Solis returned to TCOE in 2005 to lead the Educational Resource Services program. In 2012, he became the assistant superintendent of Instructional Services and was later promoted to deputy superintendent of the division.

“In total, Lupe has over 40 years of experience in education and he’s done it all – elementary and high school teacher, track and cross-country coach, principal, assistant superintendent and district superintendent, adjunct professor, instructional consultant, conference presenter and board member,” said Mr. Vidak. “With TCOE, his lasting legacy will be in the development of instructional services and support to the districts.” Under his direction, the number of curriculum specialists supporting Tulare County school districts in all subject matters, the arts, and technology has more than doubled. “The professional development that Instructional Services has developed is sought out by other counties and districts in California, as well as across America,” added Mr. Vidak.

“I’m most proud of how our division has changed,” said Dr. Solis. “We’ve developed coherence and put intention into our support for other districts, while building connections between all departments and all divisions. In the past, service meant that we waited until districts called us; today we take the initiative to visit and determine how we can best support their improvement with quality services.”

Virginia Baiza

Among the other retirees were five women from the Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP) – each with over 35 years of experience. With 43 years of service, Maria Orduño, supervisor for ECEP’s Dinuba Child Development Center, was the employee with the most years of service.

Maria Orduno

2017-18 TCOE Retirees
Sylvia Anaya, Early Childhood Education Program, 20 years
Virginia Baiza, Educational Resource Services, 30 years
Rosa Caudillo, Early Childhood Education Program, 38 years
Linda Chester, Special Services - AcCEL Program, 31 years
Cecelia Christman, Early Childhood Education Program, 32 years
Cynthia Creech, Early Childhood Education Program, 17 years
Sandra Duncan, Early Childhood Education Program, 21 years
Mona Espino, Early Childhood Education Program, 39 years
Virginia Espino, Early Childhood Education Program, 24 years
Josie Espinoza, Early Childhood Education Program, 16 years
Saundra Keierleber, SCICON, 9 years
Gary Kenny, Special Services - Mild to Moderate Program, 30 years
Ruth Lara, Early Childhood Education Program, 24 years
Norma Lovelace, New Teacher & Leadership Development, 11 years
Angelica Mares, Early Childhood Education Program, 37 years
Karen Morgan, SCICON, 22 years
Maria Orduño, Early Childhood Education Program, 43 years
Angie Rodriguez-Angeles, Early Childhood Education Program, 36 years
Dr. Guadalupe Solis, Instructional Services, 25 years
Pete Soto, Jr., Special Services - AcCEL Program, 22 years
Marci Tarbell, Internal Business Services, 15 years
Stephanie Walters, Special Services - Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program, 29 years

Photos above:
~ Dr. Lupe Solis, former deputy superintendent of Instructional Services, shows off a cart full of gifts he can use in his retirement from the staff of the division’s programs.
~ Virginia Baiza (l), retired ERS Library Media Services secretary, laughs as Debra Lockwood, Library Media Services supervisor, shares with the audience some of their fun work experiences. Mrs. Baiza worked for TCOE for 30 years – first with the SEE Youth Program and later with ERS.
~ Maria Orduño, retired supervisor for Early Childhood Education’s Dinuba Child Development Center, poses with Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak (l) and John Rodriguez, director of Human Resources. With 43 years, Mrs. Orduño was the employee with the most years of service.

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Spotlight on People John Wilborn, administrator for External Business Services, will retire this month. Mr. Wilborn served the Tulare County Office of Education for over 32 years, supporting the financial operations of the county’s many school districts. He is pictured with his wife Diane and daughter Daniele at a surprise party held in his honor June 8. Former External Business Services staff, district administrators, and current TCOE staff attended the reception to celebrate him and his great integrity.

In May and June, La Sierra Charter School, University Preparatory High School (UPHS) and Special Services celebrated the graduations of over 150 students. Among the UPHS graduates, Sarah Giles and Alicia Wilson earned their associate’s degrees from College of the Sequoias through the school’s dual enrollment program. At the Visalia Special Services graduation ceremony, David Hankins, a student from the Alternative Achievement Program, hugged his teacher Spencer Stinson, who made a special effort to attend the ceremony and speak about his student. Spotlight on People First Lieutenant Joseph Cubas, a La Sierra graduate, showed off his diploma to a crowd of friends and family members. Joseph plans to enter the College of the Sequoias Fire Academy in the fall. Spotlight on People At the Tulare Special Services graduation ceremony, Community Based Instruction Classroom (CBIC) teacher Cheryl Simmons listened as her student, Victoria Rodriguez, thanked her teachers and parents for their love and support. Spotlight on People For the third year in a row, the Court/Community School program graduated students. Spotlight on People Since 2016, the program has partnered with Instructional Access, a widely-used online resource, to enable students to complete needed courses at a pace that meets their learning style and to fulfill their graduation requirements.

Spotlight on People In May, administrators and board members of the Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center (ERCLC) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s expansion. Daniel Huecker, ERCLC superintendent/principal, reports that the $3.5 million project is scheduled to be completed in January 2019 and will include the demolition of an existing 30-year-old portable building. The project also includes a new 5,600 square foot staff building, a new 3,400 square foot parent/classroom building, an outdoor assembly pavilion, and an outdoor basketball court.

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Gallery Notes

The Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) is pleased to announce that Mary Dolan, former project director for the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Beginning Teacher Program, has been selected as the administrator for the Instructional Services Division’s New Teacher & Leadership Development Program. Recognized statewide as a leader in new teacher induction, Ms. Dolan supervised the Los Angeles county program, which served approximately 900 teacher candidates each year. For TCOE, she will oversee the Teacher Induction Programs, the IMPACT Alternative Certification Credential Program for teachers, and the Administrative Services Credential Programs. Donna Glassman-Sommer will continue to oversee the recruitment efforts of the statewide California Center on Teaching Careers.

The TCOE Foster Youth Services (FYS) program is being recognized in the inaugural California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge as having the highest rate of completion of the federal student aid application in the medium-size county category. TCOE FYS staff worked closely with foster youth liaisons, school counselors, and Child Welfare Services Independent Living Program workers to have seniors complete their college FAFSA applications this spring. The Challenge, led by John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY), was created to address the fact that foster youth leave millions of dollars in college financial aid unclaimed each year. JBAY, which was created by long-time California Assemblyman and Senator John Burton, is also providing scholarships to foster youth in 30 counties. In Tulare County, Nayeli' Castillo-Correa, a 2018 graduate of Dinuba High School, will receive a $500 scholarship. She plans to attend University of Southern California in the fall.

This year, the TCOE CHARACTER COUNTS! program will take an active role in overseeing the operations of the County of Tulare’s 2018-19 Step Up Youth Challenge. Now in its eighth year, the Challenge is a six-month service learning program designed to create projects which positively impact school culture and community. Participating schools will have the opportunity to show how their projects made a positive difference in a competition for grants totaling $13,000. The program kicks off with a Youth Summit for all participating middle and high school teams on September 25 at the Visalia Convention Center. In order to participate, teams must select an adult advisor to attend the Advisor Training on September 5. To register for the advisor training, which is being held at the Tulare County Office of Education Redwood Conference Center from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m., visit
tulare.k12oms.org/1530-152598, or call Kelley Petty, CHARACTER COUNTS! coordinator, at (559) 740-4303.

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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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