The News Gallery
November 2018View 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, Lynne Goodwin, Kellie Goodwin, Jaime Burnitzki, Bethany Rader, Jennifer Reimer, Alisha Montoya, Lori Morton, Joy Soares, and Jessica Hinz.
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 email@example.com or (559) 733-6172.
Theatre Company prepares production of Aladdin Jr.
Fall musical features cast of 140 students and special effects to delight audiences
Jasmine, the princess we met over 25 years ago in Disney’s 1992 Academy Award-winning film Aladdin, continues to inspire young women today. Allison Martin of El Diamante High School, who will play the independent princess in the upcoming Theatre Company production of Aladdin Jr., said that she appreciates the character. “She’s definitely a strong and independent young woman,” she said. Perhaps the experience of playing Jasmine has rubbed off on her. “I have definitely become more of an outgoing people person since being involved in Theatre Company productions,” she smiled.
Aladdin Jr. is based on 2014 hit Broadway show about Aladdin, a street performer and thief who learns a moral lesson that his true worth lies deep within. Aladdin and his three friends, Babkak, Omar, and Kassim, are down on their luck until Aladdin discovers a magic lamp and the genie who has the power to grant three wishes. Wanting to earn the respect of Princess Jasmine, Aladdin embarks on an adventure that will test his will and his moral character. With expanded characters, new songs, and more thrills, Aladdin Jr. is sure to delight Tulare County audiences this month.
The production has a huge cast of 100 students with another 40 young performers in a preshow production. The production also features a flying character. “Directing this show has always been a dream of mine,” said Theatre Company director Bethany Rader. “I loved the idea of picking a show where one of the lead characters is a strong woman who knows what she wants,” she said. “Jasmine is a good example for girls these days.”
Mt. Whitney High School student Job Whetstone plays Aladdin and Redwood High School student Parker Chalabian plays Genie. “Aladdin has been fun to play,” said Job. “He’s a complicated mix of a deceitful thief and the hero with a heart of gold at the same time.”
For more information on Aladdin Jr., call the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.
Meet the Characters!
Children are invited to a preshow backstage experience that includes a visit with the fortune teller of Agrabah to learn the secret reason that the magic lamp ends up hidden in the Cave of Wonders! Children will meet Aladdin, Jasmine, and many others on their special visit. The cost is $10 per child and includes a gift from the fortune teller’s collection. Tickets for this separate backstage experience are available where general admission tickets are sold.
SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES
L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia
Evening Shows (7:00 p.m.): November 15, 16, 17
Matinee Show (2:00 p.m.): November 17
Show Ticket Information
$10 preshow "Meet the Characters" passes
$12 general admission
$20 reserved seating
Tickets available at Visalia TCOE locations:
6200 S. Mooney Blvd. and 7000 Doe Ave.
Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
Cash or check only.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
~ Job Whetstone and Allison Martin star in Theatre Company's production of Aladdin Jr.
Vidak builds agency in size and prominence
TCOE becomes powerhouse of service and support for Tulare County and beyond
Jim Vidak arrived at the Tulare County Office of Education in January 1991, newly elected two months prior. From the beginning, the man who would lead TCOE for seven terms began creating programs, building facilities, and supporting staff as they pursued new grant opportunities on local, regional and state levels.
“I had been on the board for two years before Jim Vidak walked into our first meeting,” said Tulare County Board of Education Trustee Chris Reed. “In 28 years, I’ve watched how he took a well-run, but rather sleepy county office and transformed it into a state and national powerhouse.”
His drive to compete and build stemmed from his vision to offer Tulare County students and the districts he served the best opportunities and services available. “We have many challenges in Tulare County – poverty, low college-going rates, English language acquisition, access to quality early childhood education, and more,” Mr. Vidak said. “Despite these challenges, we are responsible for doing what’s best for children. Often that means we have to work extra hard to make sure we have added resources to overcome these challenges so that our students have every opportunity to succeed as adults.”
All areas of TCOE’s operations benefitted from his vision, some blossoming to become exemplary state and national programs. Mr. Vidak’s early work focused on gang prevention and intervention, youth development, and character education. Outdoor education, through the SCICON and Circle J-Norris Ranch programs, benefitted from his constant attention. So too did the arts, teacher recruitment and credentialing, the delivery of curriculum and instruction to teachers and administrators, the expansion of services to children with special needs, college and career transitions, migrant education, early childhood education, and science. With each new grant or accomplishment, he would smile, offer his congratulations to the staff and say, “We’re not done yet!”
When Jim Vidak retires January 7, 2019, he will do so as Tulare County’s longest-serving county superintendent. This month, The News Gallery looks at some of the milestones created by the TCOE programs under Mr. Vidak’s leadership – from his first day in office seven months before the launch of the World Wide Web to today.
~ Jim Vidak (left) is pictured with members of the Tulare County Board of Education and Deputy Superintendent John Caudle (far right) at the 2014 groundbreaking for TCOE’s new Administration Building & Conference Center. The building was one of dozens of new projects and programs created during Mr. Vidak’s 28-year administration.
Employees invited to make monthly gift
Month-long campaign will benefit programs and events through TCOE Foundation
During the month of November, Tulare County Office of Education employees are invited to participate in the new Employee Giving Campaign. Entitled Giving Thanks, Giving Back, the campaign is designed to directly benefit the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation, which has provided financial support to TCOE programs and special events since 2000.
“Through a simple voluntary payroll deduction, employees can support the work of our Foundation, which awards grants to TCOE programs that apply on an annual basis,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “Contributions could help fund a school garden at one of our Special Services sites, build habitats for bees at our Circle J-Norris Ranch, or supply medals and trophies to winners in dozens of our annual student events. These are examples of a few of the grants the TCOE Foundation awarded last year.”
The 30-day Employee Giving Challenge begins November 1 and continues through November 30. All employees who give to the challenge will receive a TCOE lanyard. Employees who make donations of $10 or more per month will receive a TCOE Foundation Employee Giving Shirt or a tumbler. The TCOE division with the highest participation rate will receive bragging rights and a special treat. To begin the voluntary payroll deduction, visit bit.ly/TCOEGIVING.
Program managers who are interested in applying to the TCOE Foundation for a grant to support their programs or events are encouraged to contact Marlene Moreno at (559) 733-6302.
The fundraising dinner being held November 17 to celebrate the career of Jim Vidak, retiring Tulare County superintendent of schools, will include a live auction featuring four automobiles. Included are a 1949 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe Coupe (left) and a 1960 Chevrolet Apache pickup (right). The vehicles, donated by Dr. Donna Hardy, also include her performance-modified 1969 Chevrolet El Camino. Additionally, local businessman Fred Ruiz has donated his 2009 Maserati Quattroporte. The auction, which will also feature jewelry and a one-week stay in a beautiful Maui vacation home, is just one of several fundraising activities planned for the dinner event. For more information about the event and the live auction items, visit tcoe.org/FieldStationNov17. All proceeds from the evening’s activities will benefit the new UC Merced/SCICON Field Station, currently under construction at Circle J-Norris Ranch. Community members who are unable to attend the fundraising dinner may bid on any of the live auction items. For more information on placing a bid, call (559) 737-8019.
On October 18, Tulare County Board of Education Trustee Pat Hillman received ProYouth’s annual Legacy Award in recognition of her lifetime of contributions to Tulare County education. The former teacher, member of the original 1959 Tulare County Symphony organizing committee, school board member, and community supporter was honored at a fundraising dinner held at the Visalia Convention Center. Past Legacy Award recipients include ProYouth founder Laurie Isham, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak, Tulare County businessman Fred Ruiz, Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro, and community supporters Stan and Wendy Simpson.
On October 18, the CHOICES Prevention Programs, in partnership with Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency, ProYouth, Family HealthCare Network, the Tulare County Prevention Coalition, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, held its annual Tulare County Red Ribbon Week Celebration. Over 1,000 individuals attended the event at the Visalia Convention Center, pledging to lead their lives free of drugs and alcohol. Attendees enjoyed a variety of student performance groups and interactive resource booths. One of the resource organizations in attendance was the California Department of Justice. Representatives spoke to students about numerous topics, include the dangers of smoking or vaping butane hash oil (BHO).
Over 300 high school juniors and seniors from districts throughout Tulare County attended the annual College and Career Fair in TCOE’s Redwood Conference Center on October 24. Organized by the Tulare County Office of Education Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), the College and Career Fair is an event designed to provide students with various learning disabilities exposure to post-secondary education and training opportunities as they transition to adult life. The College and Career Fair featured dozens of representatives from area community colleges, adult schools and trade institutes, and military recruiters and local employment supporters, including California Highway Patrol, TCOE’s Services for Education & Employment (SEE), Proteus, and the California Department of Rehabilitation. At the beginning of the fair, representatives from each agency gave an overview of their program offerings before heading to their booths to talk with students.
The College and Career Program recently held its first Manufacturing Day for approximately 150 students from Tulare and Kings county high schools, and College of the Sequoias and West Hills College, Lemoore. After dividing into groups, students toured local manufacturing facilities, including TF Tires-Eco T, US Farm Systems, American Inc., Advanced Food Products, Joann Fabric Distribution Center, Diamond Crystals, Screw Conveyor, Olam Spices (Hanford), and Olam Tomatoes (Lemoore). Following the tours, students gathered at the TCOE Conference Center to hear presentations from COS, West Hills College, and Bakersfield College Industrial Technology and Automation Programs to learn about the education they would need to be successful in manufacturing careers. The College and Career Program will follow up its Manufacturing Day with an apprenticeship event on November 8 at the Carpenter’s Training Center in Visalia. Carpenters, electricians, roofers, sheet metal workers and other trade representatives will be on hand to help students – young women in particular – learn how to become an apprentice. For more information on upcoming College and Career events, contact Lori Morton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners, finalists and nominees in the annual 2018 Excellence in Education Awards program celebrated at the Visalia Convention Center Exhibit Hall on October 30. (photo 7) The winners in the three categories are pictured with Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak (center). Pictured left to right are Co-School Employees of the Year Juan Juarez, lead custodian at Palm Elementary School in Orosi, and Bobby Richardson, transportation supervisor for Tulare Joint Union High School District; Teacher of the Year Susan Ang, a math teacher at Orosi High School; and Administrator of the Year Eloysa Segura, a school psychologist with Tulare City School District. To see a video of the 2018 winners, visit tcoe.org/ExcellenceInEducation.
The TCOE Foster & Homeless Youth Services Program will be hosting its annual Foster Youth Education Summit on November 29 in TCOE’s Redwood Conference Center in Visalia. Social workers and educators in all school settings are invited to attend the full-day event, which will include hearing from foster youth about their needs and concerns, learning about resources the Foster & Homeless Youth Services Program and districts can provide, and networking with local social workers and educators. Josh Shipp will be the featured speaker. A best-selling author and youth empowerment expert, Mr. Shipp is a former at-risk foster child. He is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his ground-breaking work with teens. Featured on Good Morning America, 20/20, Oprah, MTV, CNN, FOX, and in The New York Times, he’s worked with groups of parents, educators and mental health professionals in addition to over two million teens and parents through live events. To register for the free Foster Youth Education Summit, visit bit.ly/2PrQveF.
On October 16, the California Friday Night Live Partnership coordinated with Friday Night Live (FNL) chapters in numerous counties across California to conduct its annual Roadwatch survey. From 7:00 to 8:00 a.m., FNL student members surveyed 82 intersections near high schools and middle schools and observed 11,506 cases of distracted driving during the one-hour period – an astounding average of 140 instances per intersection surveyed. Across the state, students observed drivers distracted by phones, passengers, pets, food and more as they drove past California schools. In Tulare County, FNL students surveyed two intersections, recording over 200 instances of distracted driving. Year after year, Roadwatch, which is funded by the Allstate Foundation, proves to be a vital tool for raising awareness about the issue of distracted driving and creating student-led change in traffic safety throughout California.
In November, the Peña Planetarium will offer two Friday evening public shows at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. On November 2, the public can view Earth, Moon and Sun, while on November 30, the popular Dawn of the Space Age will be shown. Tickets are available beginning at 5:00 p.m. on show days for $4 for adults and $3 for children 11 and under. For more information on these programs, visit tcoe.org/planetarium.
Last month, the California Department of Education announced that the Tulare County Office of Education was selected as the Lead Educational Agency (LEA) for a new regional consortium of counties. The state has created the California Statewide System of Support, organizing it into seven geographic areas to enable counties to work together to advance student performance and help address gaps in achievement between student groups. Under the direction of Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Charlene Stringham, TCOE will lead a consortium of 10 other counties from Santa Cruz and Monterey on the coast to Mono and Inyo in the eastern Sierra region. Leading the consortium, known as the Mid-State Collaborative, TCOE will serve as facilitators, resource connectors, and capacity builders for Tulare and the other 10 member counties.
For a list of upcoming events,
visit our Calendar of Events web page.
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 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219
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