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The News Gallery

February 2019

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, Paula Terrill, Dianne Shew, Kate Stover, Charlene Stringham, Jason Haley, David Rasner, 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.

TCOE welcomes Tim Hire

Tulare Co. welcomes new county superintendent
Tim Hire begins first month of first term meeting staff, visiting county schools

Observing students in Porterville Unified’s Future Ready Lab, newly-installed Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire was impressed by the learning that he saw. Before he arrived, students had taken Holland’s assessment to determine their personality types and the types of careers that might best suit them. He and district administrators watched as students worked in groups to develop and present a new technology for the marketplace.

The district’s Future Ready Lab was opened in 2017 in partnership with the San Diego-based telecommunications equipment giant QualComm. The STEAM-based lab helps middle school students within the district and its feeder schools engage in career exploration exercises and hands-on engineering activities so they are better prepared for high school, college and careers. “There’s a lot to be learned from this amazing program,” said Mr. Hire. “Porterville Unified has incredible resources and partnerships that could be leveraged to support other districts – particularly the students in our small, rural schools that need these types of learning opportunities.”

Mr. Hire visited the Future Ready Lab January 24 – just two weeks after he took the oath of office to become Tulare County superintendent of schools. The Future Ready Lab was his first visit to a Tulare County school program since his installation on January 7. Since then, Mr. Hire has been actively meeting with staff and administrators from Tulare County Office of Education’s numerous programs. “I’m quite impressed with the talent within our organization,” he said. “Their genuine attitude of service and tremendous expertise in curriculum and instruction, special education, business services and teacher development is the reason TCOE has such a fine reputation in California.”

TCOE welcomes Tim Hire

At the January 7 oath of office celebration, approximately 300 employees, family, friends and supporters crowded into the Redwood Conference Center to witness the historic event. Representatives from numerous TCOE programs, county and city agencies, and school districts attended to support and congratulate Mr. Hire as Tulare County Superior Court Judge David Mathias administered the oath of office. Following his remarks to attendees, Mr. Hire was joined on stage by his mother, father, wife Nicole, daughter Taelor, and son Mason as he signed the affidavit with Judge Mathias.

TCOE welcomes Tim Hire

Mr. Hire was elected to the position of Tulare County superintendent of schools having served as superintendent of Woodlake Unified School District for five years and Exeter Unified School District for over six years. Mr. Hire is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he earned his bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, and master’s degree. He holds an administrative services credential from Fresno State.

“I am excited for the opportunity to support all students and school districts as the new Tulare County superintendent of schools,” he said. “My career includes 21 years in Tulare County schools teaching agriculture and leading a Future Farmers of America chapter, serving as an assistant principal, principal and as a district superintendent. Together with the many talented educators at the Tulare County Office of Education and in districts across the county, I’m looking forward to supporting students to extend their learning beyond the classroom and help them build the foundation and self-confidence to achieve their dreams.”

Photos above:
~ New Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire (center) enjoys a tour of Porterville Unified’s Future Ready Lab. Also pictured (l-r) are Porterville Unified Pathway Director Dr. Cindy Brown, District Superintendent Dr. Nate Nelson, and STEM Manager Jose Vazquez.
~ Tim Hire (foreground) signs the affidavit following his oath of office. He was supported by (l-r) his son Mason, Tulare County Superior Court Judge David Mathias, his wife Nicole, his daughter Taelor, and his parents, Tricia Hire and Allen Hire.
~ Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire received the oath of office from Tulare County Superior Court Judge David Mathias.

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Family-friendly STEAM Expo set for March 9
Event to feature speakers, activities, art contest to engage students in science

Educational Resource Services is making plans for another big STEAM Expo. The public festival that celebrates all things science will be held at the Tulare County Office of Education Planetarium & Science Center on Saturday, March 9 from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Now in its fifth year, the event is designed to engage students and families in learning about educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

STEAM Expo This year, the free Expo will provide students and their families with fun and engaging activities to build their STEAM-related knowledge, including visiting the annual Tulare County Science & Engineering Fair with over 50 entries from students vying for a chance to compete at the California State Science Fair. The Expo will also include coding and hands-on art activities, a robotics exhibition, and a makerspace. Visitors will also have the opportunity to hear speaker presentations and visit vendor and exhibitor booths during the STEAM Expo. Representatives from seven community organizations, including the National Park Service and the UC Master Gardeners, will give short, 10-minute career presentations to students and parents.

New this year is a student art contest held in partnership with the SCICON outdoor education program. The purpose of the contest is to provide art to update educational display boards utilized at SCICON’s outdoor classrooms. Middle school and high school students, groups or classes can create a design depicting a science concept in the medium of their choice including pencil, paint, or watercolor. Middle school students (grades 5-8) will have the opportunity to create artwork that depicts either plate tectonics or the solar system, while high school students (grades 9-12), can create pieces that illustrate the lifecycle of a tree or earthworms.

Projects will be judged at the STEAM Expo and winners announced during the Science & Engineering Fair awards ceremony. The winning projects will be adapted to 4’ x 4’ educational boards displayed at SCICON and unveiled at the SCICON BBQ & Wildflower Festival on April 14. For contest rules and registration information, visit
bit.ly/SCICONArt. Students must register to participate by February 25.

The STEAM Expo is a free, open house-style event for families with children of all ages. For more information, contact Jared Marr or Paula Terrill at (559) 651-3031.

Photo above:
~ Students visiting the fifth annual STEAM Expo will enjoy a variety of presenters and hands-on activities to increase their knowledge of science-related careers, including virtual reality goggles.

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New art resources being developed locally
TCOE receives grant through CCSESA Arts Initiative to create art module for rural schools

When you hear the word "rural", what images come to mind? Perhaps you imagine rolling hills, farms and ranches, or wide open spaces. You may not imagine dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. A new Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) project aims to change the definition of rural to include more emphasis on the arts.

TCOE was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Stuart Foundation through the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) Arts Initiative to support the development of a rural arts education module. The module will be the latest addition to the CCSESA Arts Initiative’s well-established Creativity at the Core series. Currently the online professional learning program features 19 different modules on a wide range of topics, including world music, STEAM, arts integration, and culturally responsive teaching and learning. The new rural arts module, entitled Creativity and Collaboration in Rural Communities, will provide a much-needed toolkit of resources and support for small and rural districts.

Kate Stover, TCOE arts consultant and CCSESA Arts Initiative Region 7 Lead, is creating the module. “Over the last few years, there has been an increasing awareness at the state level of programs and resources that meet the needs of small, remote, and rural communities,” Ms. Stover said. “With much of the Central Valley considered rural, we are grateful to partners such as the Stuart Foundation and the CCSESA Arts Initiative for recognizing the needs of underserved parts of the state.”

Designed to build the capacity of rural educators, administrators, and community members, the module will highlight the unique landscape of rural areas and showcase ways to promote high-quality arts education by linking students, families, and communities. “Whether directly or indirectly, the arts impact every aspect of life, especially in rural areas,” Ms. Stover said. “Our goal is for the term ‘rural’ to become synonymous not just with agriculture, but with the arts, too.”

For more information about Tulare County’s arts education programs or the Rural Arts Module, contact Kate Stover at
kate.stover@tcoe.org or (559) 741-0809. To learn more about the CCSESA Arts Initiative’s Creativity at the Core program visit ccsesaarts.org/creativity-at-the-core/.

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The Amazing Shake Competition piloted
Middle school students gain social, professional conduct skills through national program

Every two minutes, contestants in The Amazing Shake Competition entered a new room in the Redwood Conference Center to be presented with a speaking challenge. In Conference Room E, a nicely dressed young woman with a clipboard greeted each new contestant explaining that she was the wedding planner. “Our maid of honor had a little too much milkshake to drink and she’s not feeling well,” she said. “I need you to make a wedding toast to the bride and groom,” she added, handing the contestant a glass of milk and motioning them to approach the happy couple. Sitting 10 feet away at a table decorated with china, flowers, and a candle sat the bride and groom in full wedding attire.

The Amazing Shake

Contestants had two minutes to make an appropriate toast before rotating to another room with another scenario. The challenge, known as the Gauntlet, was comprised of seven more industry and real-life scenarios, including making a disgruntled customer happy, conducting a job interview, attending your own birthday party and receiving a gift from strangers, giving an inspirational locker room speech, and conducting a red carpet interview.

The Amazing Shake

The Gauntlet was one of four segments in The Amazing Shake Competition, which was piloted this year in Tulare County by middle school students at Sundale Union School and Central Valley Christian School. The Amazing Shake is a national competition that places an emphasis on teaching students manners, discipline, respect, and professional conduct. Students learn the nuances of professional human interaction as they are taught skills such as how to give a proper handshake, how to "work a room," how to give a successful interview, and how to remain composed under pressure. The focus of The Amazing Shake is to develop employability and life skills in students.

Prior to the Gauntlet, all students participated in Industry Interviews with six industry partners. The school’s 40 top-scoring students advanced to the Gauntlet challenge. Following the Gauntlet, each school sent its top 20 students to compete in teams of four in a Shark Tank-style presentation on the development of an innovative new middle school before the secretary of education. The final portion of the competition was a presidential-style debate with the top two students from each school competing.

Sundale Union and Central Valley Christian partnered with the Tulare County Office of Education College and Career Program to bring additional industry partners to the competition. “To watch these middle school students perform at such a high level was rewarding to both the school staff and the industry partners that participated,” said Joy Soares, College and Career director. “The complexity of the events and the challenges posed was a much needed skill-building opportunity for these young people.”

For more information on The Amazing Shake Competition, call Joy Soares at (559) 733-6101.

Photos above:
~ Students in The Amazing Shake Competition are tested on their abilities to make socially appropriate statements in a variety of impromptu situations, including a wedding reception ...
~ ... and a birthday party.

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Employees honored for service milestones
Annual Longevity Awards dinner recognizes 129 employees for 2,170 years of service

TCOE Longevity Awards

TCOE Longevity Awards Following the December meeting of the Tulare County Board of Education, the Human Resources Division hosted a dinner for the employees who celebrated a service milestone this year. This year, a total of 129 staff members were recognized at the annual TCOE Longevity Awards dinner in the Redwood Conference Center. The dinner honored those who had 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service to the students of Tulare County.

John Rodriguez, director of Human Resources, emceed the event and reported that this year’s group of honorees have dedicated an impressive 2,170 years of service to the Tulare County Office of Education. The following employees celebrated service milestones during 2018:

40 Years
Julie Ruiz-Gonzales

35 Years
Rhonda Marlow
Elva Ramirez

30 Years
Sara Castillo
Adelia Martinez
John Sanchez
Sylvia Walker

25 Years
Melissa Bachtelle
Patty Blaswich
Susan Campos
Betty Castillo
Bynovu Cha
Elvira Decena
Sandra DeLeon
Regina Dysart
Rita Jahnke
Corinna Lopez
Darling Matamoros
Ronnie Ochoa
Linda Patino
Rosie Pike
Emily Rivera
Paul Vivas, Jr.

20 Years
Christine Alfaro
Leticia Aranzazu
Jeannetta Belvin
Kathleen Briones
Stephanie Caldera
Todd Canterbury
Ana Chancellor
Linda Contreras
Lori Diaz
Cindy Dinis
Sandra Dutch
Mike Franco
Elizabeth Green
Chris Hanger
Alicia Jackson
Melissa Jensen
Elvia Jimenez
Gene Mendes, Jr.
Sonia Montemayor
Marlene Moreno
Christopher Ortega
Sherri Pack
Ray Palomino
Elvira Pedregon
Kurt Quint
Russell Range
Ron Rea
Maria Elena Rodriguez
Helen Salinas
Maria Sanchez
Alice Sanders
Vera Spano
Sandra Tadeo
Cheryl Wiseman
Mee Xiong

15 Years
Veronica Alvarez
Nubia Barron

15 Years (cont.)
Yolanda Bongato
Maria Cazarez
Aracely Garcia Amparan
Michele Garcia-Phillips
Katherine Lopez
Erika Marquez
Bertha Martinez
Esther Mendez
Raquel Mendoza
Sylvia Mora
Patricia Palomera
Jacob Rivas
Rachel Rodriguez
Macaria Rodriguez
Jesse Ruiz
Sandy Urias
Raul Valdez
Ryan Valenzuela
Holly Vincent
Shandon Wilson
Ly Yang
Evelia Zavala-Otero

10 Years
Cynthia Adelmann
Joe Arevalo
Guadalupe Becerra
Felicia Bernard
Mindy Bishop
Jayson Camaquin-Vigil
Carla Carrillo
Maria De Jesus Chaverin
Rob Chism
Danika Curlee
Teresa Fitton
Erin Fox
Myrna Garcia
Megan Hatherley
Sheila Hernandez
Brooke Ikuta-Bennett
Louise Kenny
Barbara Leal
Alyson Leos
Evelin Lopez
Maria Loya
Yareli Magana de Ramirez
Maricruz Mendez
Janice Negron
Guadalupe Ortega
Maria Ortiz de Medina
Tiffany Owens-Stark
Conan Palmer
Virginia Parma de Perez
Elvia Parreira
Jana Rice
Teresa Rivera
Vanessa Rodriguez
Jill Santivanez
Mary Santoyo
Gail Sayers
Rosa Sepulveda
Selina Seuell
Cheryl Simmons
Paresh Solanki
Charlene Stringham
Lilia Tapia
Louie Thomas, Jr.
Sara Torabi
Adelaida Villa
Maria Zamora

Photos above:
~ Julie Ruiz-Gonzales poses with former Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak (left photo). Ms. Ruiz-Gonzales, an employee of the Early Childhood Education Program, was honored at the annual Longevity Dinner for 40 years of service to the Tulare County Office of Education.
~ Numerous employees of the Early Childhood Education Program also celebrated employment anniversaries, including Elva Ramirez for 35 years of service (right photo) ...
~ ... and John Sanchez and Adelia Martinez for 30 years of service (lower photo).

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Spotlight on People The Tulare County Support Staff Conference – an event attended by over 600 school and municipal employees from around the Valley – will be held on Tuesday, April 30 at the Visalia Convention Center. Scott Bloom, a veteran comedian who has hosted hundreds of events for companies such as FedEx, Ford, IBM, MetLife, Pfizer, and Verizon, will be the keynote speaker. In addition to his work as a highly respected emcee and comedic keynote speaker, he has had a successful career in television. Mr. Bloom has been featured on Comedy Central numerous times, and was the host of his own weekly VH1 series. Registration information will be available soon at

Spotlight on People Nearly 120 K-12 counselors, career technicians, and post-secondary faculty members attended the second annual Game Changer Conference. The conference was created by the Tulare Kings College and Career Collaborative to help educators broaden and expand their counseling skills in order to better advocate for the students they serve. The Game Changer event featured a special panel presentation lead by Lori Morton, College and Career Pathways Engagement Manager (photo right). The panelists included (l-r) Dr. Matthew Roberts, dean of the Workforce and Economics Division at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office; and Donna Wyatt, director of the California Department of Education’s Career and College Transitions program. For more information about support for counselors, contact Joy Soares, College and Career director, at (559) 733-6101.

Spotlight on People Former Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak is pictured administering the oath of office to three current members of the Tulare County Board of Education who were reelected in November to serve four-year terms. The members include (pictured l-r): Trustee Area 7 Patricia Hillman, representing the Tulare area; Trustee Area 1 Celia Maldonado-Arroyo, representing the Dinuba area and serving as vice president for 2019; and Trustee Area 4 Judy Coble, who represents the southern portion of the county and will serve as president of the board for 2019.

Spotlight on People Last month, the SCICON program completed the relocation and expansion of its maintenance yard. The large metal building is visually isolated from the rest of the campus on the south side of the meadow. The new facility accommodates inside equipment storage and provides much-needed workspace for campus carpentry projects. The relocation of the maintenance yard clears a key site on campus for a second dining lodge to be built in the future, ensuring the program will be able to accommodate all sixth-grade students in Tulare County.

Spotlight on People Last month, the CHOICES Program hosted its second Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response Forum to help school districts learn how to best prepare for a crisis situation. Together with members of local law enforcement agencies, district personnel discussed ways to better collaborate on campus maps, mental health supports, and best practices. The forum keynote speaker was Kirk Carpenter (pictured), superintendent of the Aztec Municipal School District in New Mexico. Mr. Carpenter praised the attendees for their planning efforts as he shared his experience in dealing with a shooter on campus that took the lives of two students in December 2017. To learn more about participating in the Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response program, contact Frank Silveira at (559) 651-0155.

Spotlight on People Thirty healthcare and educational organizations supported the first annual Migrant Health and Education Conference, which was attended by dozens of migrant parents. The organizations provided information to attendees they could use to support their families, including continuing education, health and nutrition. Jeff Lynch, CHOICES Prevention/Intervention Education facilitator, spoke to parents about the growing prevalence and dangers of vaping among young people.

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Gallery Notes

Shelah Feldstein and Dr. Jen Francone of the Instructional Services Division were recently invited to train 80 California Department of Education (CDE) administrators and staff on Improvement Science and Differentiated Assistance. The training was part of an initiative developed by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association and the Carnegie Foundation to help county office of education leaders support the districts in their county that are eligible for differentiated assistance as determined by the CDE. Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback from CDE attendees, Instructional Services Assistant Superintendent Charlene Stringham reports that additional training sessions will be offered this year to CDE staff.

The Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! Program will be offering a free, two-day training March 5 and 12. This training will cover the foundational concepts of character education and how to put them into practice. On the final day, participants will focus on developing an implementation plan addressing the specific needs and challenges unique to their campus or program. Throughout the training, CHARACTER COUNTS! Program staff members Kelley Petty and Kathleen Green-Martins will share ways they can support programs in implementation of character education programs. For registration information, visit
tulare.k12oms.org/1530-162282, or call Mrs. Petty at (559) 740-4303.

The public is invited to watch the top four Tulare County high school teams compete in the annual Tulare County Mock Trial Competition this month. The semifinal round will be held February 5 at 5:00 p.m. at the Tulare County Courthouse. The finals will take place in the TCOE Redwood Conference Center (6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia) on February 12 at 5:00 p.m. This year, 16 teams have competed representing Dinuba High School, El Diamante High School (Visalia), Exeter Union High School, Granite Hills High School (Porterville), Mission Oak High School (Tulare), Mt. Whitney High School (Visalia), Orosi High School, Redwood High School (Visalia), Tulare Union High School, Tulare Western High School, University Preparatory High School (Visalia), and Woodlake High School.

The California Center on Teaching Careers, in partnership with the Human Resources Division, is preparing to host the 34th Annual Tulare & Kings Counties Teacher Recruitment Fair on Friday, March 1. The fair will be held from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. in Building C of the International Agri-Center in Tulare. Candidates are encouraged to preregister online at edjoin.org/Home/JobPosting/1126774 by Wednesday, February 27 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.

Registration is open for high school students interested in participating in the 2019 College and Career EXPO, being held at College of the Sequoias on Friday, March 29. A collaborative effort of Tulare and Kings County Offices of Education, College of the Sequoias, Tulare Joint Union High School District and Visalia Unified School District, EXPO includes 26 competitions for local Tulare-Kings high school students. Students compete with their peers for cash prizes and are judged by faculty, staff and industry experts for their proficiency. Some of the areas of competition include anatomy, culinary arts, job interview, sports medicine skills, and website design. This year, EXPO will include a special program for Tulare County foster youth, including student submissions in several competition categories, a campus tour, visits to the large resource fair, a panel presentation featuring current and former foster youth, and an overview of the career technical education and financial aid options. For registration information, visit tkexpo.org.

Video entries for the 2019 Slick Rock Student Film Festival are due before midnight on March 8. Middle and high school students living in Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced or Mariposa counties may enter videos in a total of 18 categories. Visit tcoe.org/SlickRock for information on film categories, deadlines and the awards ceremony, which will be held at the Visalia Fox Theater on May 10.

Students from eight local high schools will compete in the fourth annual Tulare County Poetry Out Loud competition from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. February 6 in the TCOE Conference Center at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. Poetry Out Loud is the nation’s largest youth poetry recitation competition, which promotes the development of public speaking skills, improved English-fluency and comprehension, and self-confidence. In California, over 40,000 students from 40 counties compete annually. In Tulare County, participating students will represent Exeter High School, Farmersville High School, Lindsay High School, Mission Oak High School (Tulare), Porterville High School, Tulare Union High School, Tulare Western High School and University Preparatory High School (Visalia). The winner of the competition will represent Tulare County at the California state finals in Sacramento March 10-11. For more information on Poetry Out Loud or upcoming spoken word programs, call Kate Stover at (559) 741-0809.

Under the leadership of instructor David Rasner, University Preparatory High School (UPHS) Theater Arts students have developed an improvisational performance for community organizations to enjoy. UPHS’s Fake Radio Players is a completely improvised theater production done in the style of a 1940s radio show. Told that the actors have lost their scripts, the audience is invited to help them develop a new performance. The “Genre Wheel” is spun to determine which kind of show they will do. The audience is then invited to shout out a title for a show, character names, and household products. Once all the show elements are collected and written on a whiteboard, the show begins. Fake Radio Players is modeled after a Los Angeles-based improvised radio show The Liquid Radio Players. The school’s theater arts program is currently seeking audiences, including retirement centers, social clubs, and community organizations, to schedule performances of its free theatrical production. To book a showing of Fake Radio Players, contact David Rasner at (559) 730-2529.

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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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