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The News Gallery

April 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, Bethany Rader, Charlotte Garcia Da Rosa, Paula Terrill, Tiffany Stark, John Rodriguez, Lori Morton, Joy Soares, and Katherine Goyette.

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 Co. to perform Once on This Island JR
Full of Caribbean flavor, production is based on Tony Award-winning Broadway show

Theatre Company production of Once on This Island JR

This month, Tulare County theatergoers have the opportunity to visit the Caribbean through a touching story of love and loss as told in the musical Once on This Island JR. The production is an original adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s popular fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. Through almost nonstop song and dance, this full-hearted musical tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of her island. When Daniel is returned to his people, the fantastical gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune on a quest that will test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred, and even death.

In the opening number, the peasants describe their world – a world that is ruled by powerful gods and an island ruled by the wealthy "grand hommes." They explain that the peasants and the grand hommes belong to "two different worlds, never meant to meet.” “Musical theatre gives our kids the opportunity to learn about different cultures, time periods, and types of people, and tell their stories on stage,” said Theatre Company’s Charlotte Garcia Da Rosa. “What's so amazing is what they take away from these stories after the show is done, and how they are inspired to live their lives.”

Ms. Garcia Da Rosa discovered Once on This Island through her friend, Visalia native and Broadway performer Betsy Wolfe, during a masterclass. “Betsy sang lead character Ti Moune’s song Waiting for Life for the students, and I was instantly drawn in by the story and wanted to know more.” Last year, Once on This Island enjoyed a revival on Broadway, winning eight Tony awards. The musical was created by the legendary Broadway writing team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

“What drew me to direct Once on This Island JR was the amazing musical score and the central character, Ti Moune,” said Ms. Garcia Da Rosa. “The sacrifices she gives lead her to a beautiful redemption at the end of her journey. Ti Moune teaches everyone how to love without judgment or expectation. This message of true, selfless, faithful love and redemption is an important one for our kids to experience and take with them wherever they go in life.”

Rotary Theater, 330 S. Dollner St., Visalia

Show Times
Evening Shows (7:00 p.m.): April 11, 12, and 13
Matinee Show (2:00 p.m.): April 13

Show Ticket Information
$10 per person
available now at:
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.

Principal Characters
Ti Moune – Allison Hart, Redwood High School
Daniel Beauxhomme – Ali Pullom, Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center
Mama Euralie – Morgan LaLanne, El Diamante High School
Ton Ton – Job Whetstone, Mt. Whitney High School
Little Ti Moune – Elle Pinheiro, St. Aloysius School
Asaka – Allison Martin, El Diamante High School
Agwe – Parker Chalabian, Redwood High School
Erzulie – Emilie Walker, Redwood High School
Pape Ge – John Piper, El Diamante High School
Andrea – Jessica Peters, Redwood High School

Photo above:
Once on This Island JR stars (clockwise from above) Elle Pinheiro as young Ti Moune, Ali Pullom as Daniel Beauxhomme, and Allison Hart as adult Ti Moune.

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ABC30 to feature Special Services programs
Upcoming Children First special to focus on supports for children with special needs

Several students at Liberty School in Tulare County sit on comfortable cushions on the floor, listening to Deanna Cardoza coach them through a mindfulness exercise involving slow breathing. To enhance the exercise, the room is filled with relaxing music and fragrance. Some students use a collapsible sphere to focus on their breathing.

Intervention Resource Classrooms

Mrs. Cardoza leads an Intervention Resource Classroom (IRC) at Liberty School – one of 17 in Tulare County. IRCs are partnerships between the Tulare County Office of Education’s Special Services Division and school districts to create comprehensive educational and therapeutic supports for students. With a focus on creating social emotional wellness, the IRC’s core component is teaching students the skills necessary for educational success. Skill-building is taught using evidence-based social skills curriculum in conjunction with individualized therapeutic services.

Students in special education, grades 1 through 12, experiencing various behavioral and emotional health needs are supported through an individualized process which allows them to access IRC supports as needed. The program goals include increased student attendance, decreased problem behavior and suspensions, increased academic achievement and skill, and increased parent participation. IRC teachers and rehabilitation management specialists provide both therapeutic and academic support, plus behavior analysis and support, and social skills building.

Intervention Resource Classrooms

Following the mindfulness exercise, Gianna, an eighth grader, shared how the IRC program has helped her cope with anger and other unhealthy behaviors. “Before IRC, I was the drama starter,” she said. “People would make me mad and I would just go off. Now, I think about the things Mrs. Cardoza and I talk about and use my coping skills to keep from getting angry.” Gianna shared her story with Aurora Diaz, executive producer/public affairs with ABC30, who is developing a Children First Special on supports for students with special needs.

The Intervention Resource Classroom is one of two Special Services programs being featured in the latest Children First series. The special, which will air on Sunday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m., will also feature a segment about a child being served through the Bright Start Parent/Infant Program.

Photos above:
~ IRC teacher Deanna Cardoza (l) leads her class at Liberty School in a mindful breathing exercise.
~ Gianna, a student in Mrs. Cardoza’s class, shares her successes in the IRC program with reporters from ABC30. The IRC program will be a feature in an upcoming
Children First special.

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Google grant aids computer science instruction
Grant helps put computer science in math, science lessons, and forms new advocacy group

Beginning last fall, the Tulare County Office of Education partnered with Google for Education to build the capacity of middle school mathematics and science educators to integrate computer science into their instruction. The program entitled "CS Decoded: An Integrated Approach" was developed by Katherine Goyette, TCOE's Educational Technology and Integrated Studies specialist. Ms. Goyette is also a primary writer of the California Computer Science Standards, adopted by the State Board of Education in September 2018.

Google for Education Grant

Educators in the CS Decoded cohort spent five days examining computer science concepts and practices, engaging in hands-on activities, and learning how to embed these lessons into the mathematics and/or science instruction they designed for students. “The purpose of the grant was to increase access and equity of computer science education to all students,” said Ms. Goyette. “This integrated approach ensures that computer science is provided to all students in their core mathematics and/or science courses, rather than being a separate elective that is voluntary and may not be available to each and every student.”

At the conclusion of the training, many cohort members became active in a new professional organization that builds awareness and advocates for computer science education. Members of the group formed the California Central Valley Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association. The group meets the first Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m. and includes members from across the Central Valley. The meetings are conducted at Educational Resource Services, but Ms. Goyette reports most members join via video call. The chapter includes K-12 educators, as well as faculty from CSU Fresno and Fresno Pacific University.

The group is working to collaborate with students, parents, educators, administrators, and community partners to advocate for computer science education for all. The chapter is currently in the process of creating advocacy materials to build awareness as to the value of computer science education and discussing the development of professional learning opportunities for the benefit of the entire valley. “According to
access-ca.org, there are currently more than 68,000 open computing jobs across all fields in California, including healthcare, entertainment, agriculture, and technology,” said Ms. Goyette. “In order to prepare our students for the jobs of today and of the future, it is vital that we prepare educators to provide a comprehensive education that includes computer science.”

For more information on integrating computer science into core subject matters, or to join the new Computer Science Teachers Association, contact Katherine Goyette at katherine.goyette@tcoe.org.

Photo above:
~ The Google for Education grant was used to convene a five-day cohort of middle school teachers who learned how to integrate computer science into their math and science lessons.

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College and Career program awarded grant
New state CTE grant creates partnership to enhance high quality career pathways

Developing industry partnerships, training teaching staff, counseling students and enhancing their leadership opportunities, and implementing high quality curriculum embedded with technology – these are a few of the goals select Tulare and Kings county high school career pathway programs will be addressing in the new school year. For the 2019-20 school year, several Tulare and Kings County school districts will benefit from additional funding to support high quality career pathways thanks to a state grant of over three-quarters of a million dollars.

The Tulare County Office of Education’s College and Career Program, in partnership with the Tulare Kings College + Career Collaborative, was recently awarded a Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) to work with regional districts Tulare Joint Union School District, Woodlake Unified, Lindsay Unified, Lemoore Union High School District, Farmersville Unified, Burton School District, and TCOE’s La Sierra Charter School.

Originally approved in 2015 as AB1743, CTEIG became a standing budget line item in June 2018 when the California legislature approved the Governor’s budget to include an ongoing $150 million per year for the program. “The new CTEIG program aligns well with our TK Collaborative priorities and provides an exciting new way to continue to serve our district partners by focusing on supporting high quality career pathways to meet the state’s 11 Elements of High Quality CTE,” said Lori Morton, College and Career engagement manager.

For more information on Career Technical Education, call Joy Soares or Lori Morton at (559) 733-6101.

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Spotlight on People Last month, 1,500 students, grades K-8, participated in the 35th Annual Poetry & Prose Program, reciting 600 poems individually or in small groups. The eight-day oral recitation festival featured a number of stand-out performances, including excerpts from White Dynamite and Curly Kidd by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault as performed by first graders Leonal Morquecho and Katherine Fausto of Palm Elementary in Orosi (photo right). Poetry & Prose creator Nancy Bellin (photo below) performs a poem she learned in the second grade for an audience of staff members. Spotlight on People

Spotlight on People On March 2, over 450 students participated on 36 middle and high school teams 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 Oak Grove Elementary (Visalia), Jefferson Charter Academy (Hanford), Green Acres Middle School (Visalia), and Palo Verde Union School (Tulare). The high school teams advancing to NorCal include Tulare Union High School, University Preparatory High School (Visalia), Redwood High School (Visalia), and Exeter Union High School. Gabrielle Trapse and Joana Marucci from first-place finishers Tulare Union High School are pictured competing in the “Sound of Music” event, which they won. For the “Sound of Music” event, students designed and built their own musical instrument, testing it for pitch accuracy. For a complete list of Science Olympiad Divisions B and C winners, visit

Spotlight on People Spotlight on People Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire is pictured with winners of the annual Tulare County Farm Bureau Student Art Calendar contest. The artwork featured on the cover of the annual calendar (right) was created by Victoria Treviño, a freshman at Orosi High School. Copies of the calendar, entitled Tulare County Agriculture: Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead, 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 The CHOICES Program held its 19th annual Anti-Tobacco Challenge Bowl on February 27. Over 150 sixth-grade students participated in the competition that tests students’ knowledge of the dangers of tobacco and marijuana use. Out of 24 teams that participated, the Sunnyside Union After School Program team took first place. Pictured are (l-r) Alizay Lemus, Blanca Flores (After School Program site lead), Faith Trujillo, Dennys Gomez, Angelica Luviano, and Erika Platas.

Spotlight on People Last month, Mr. Hire was honored by the staff and students at La Sierra Military Academy during its Pass in Review Ceremony. Pass in Review is a long-standing military tradition for a newly assigned commander to inspect the troops. Each of the school’s six companies were reviewed by the new county superintendent.

Spotlight on People Libby Sanders, a student at Westfield Elementary School in Porterville, is pictured with Dr. Jen Francone, Educational Resource Services administrator. Libby was one of six students chosen in the Tulare County Science & Engineering Fair to advance to the California State Science Fair next month. Libby’s project was entitled Biotechnology and the Soybean Revolution: An Examination of Glyphosate Resistant Transgenic Soybean Meal on Plant Growth and Environmental Pollution. For a complete list of winners in the Science & Engineering Fair, visit tcoe.org/ScienceFair. The Science & Engineering Fair was held during the annual STEAM Expo, which featured numerous hands-on science activities for students to explore (photo below). Spotlight on People

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Gallery Notes

Central Valley education and civic support staff are invited to register for the 27th Annual Tulare County Support Staff Conference being held Tuesday, April 30, at the Visalia Convention Center. Scott Bloom, a veteran comedian, will be the keynote speaker. In addition to his work as a highly respected emcee and comedic keynote speaker, he has been featured on Comedy Central numerous times and was the host of his own weekly VH1 series. In addition to Mr. Bloom’s presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions on a variety of topics, including co-parenting, keeping aging loved ones safe, breast cancer, money management, business etiquette, and workplace wellness. The deadline for registration is April 22. For registration information, visit

Tracy Clark recently was selected as the accounting officer for Internal Business Services, assisting Jody Arriaga who was promoted to director of the department in January. Ms. Clark previously served as Information Systems accounting specialist and has worked for External Business Services and Early Childhood Education. In total, she has 25 years of combined service to the Tulare County Office of Education.

On May 6, Sarah Smigiera, CPA, will join External Business Services as the department’s director. Ms. Smigiera comes to the Tulare County Office of Education, having served in a similar position for Kings County Office of Education and as an accountant/internal auditor for Visalia Unified School District. Ms. Smigiera’s experience also includes work as an auditor for a private accounting firm.

For the second-year in a row, the TCOE Foster Youth Services (FYS) program is being recognized in the California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge as having the highest rate of completion of the federal student aid application in the small-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.

Teachers are invited to reserve their free tickets for the annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Day at the Ballpark. The May 29 event begins at Rawhide Ballpark at 11:00 a.m. and includes in-game CHARACTER COUNTS! awards and activities, and a baseball game against the Inland Empire 66ers. For tickets and more information, contact Kelley Petty at (559) 740-4303.

Early Childhood Education and Special Services have partnered to bring Chris Ulmer, founder of SBSK (Special Books by Special Kids), to Visalia. SBSK is a neurodiversity movement with over 3.6 million members across 115 countries. Chris travels the globe meeting friends with a diagnosis of autism and other special needs to share their stories on social media. He believes that when we take the time to hear someone's story and view life from their perspective, we learn as humans, making the world a better place. Mr. Ulmer will make three presentations to educators in the TCOE Redwood Conference Center. On April 3, he will conduct an evening presentation, followed by a morning and an afternoon session on April 4. To register for the April 3 evening presentation, visit tulare.k12oms.org/162334.

The TCOE Wellness Committee is preparing fun activities to promote overall fitness and well-being as part of the annual Healthy Habits Week, April 1-5. Again this year, all employees can enter the 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 participate in the annual Steps Challenge. A daily log of steps taken must be entered every evening at bit.ly/TCOEStepsChallenge. Visit tcoe.org/wellness to see all staff step counts throughout the week. From 10:00 a.m. until noon on April 4 at the Doe Avenue complex and from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on April 5 at the Mooney Boulevard building, employees will have opportunities to participate in special “Sweatin’ to the 80s” 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 Habits Week, contact Nan Arnold, School Health Programs, at (559) 651-0130.

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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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