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The National PTA has awarded WilliamR Buckley Elementary with a $5,000 grant to help meet needs of students, families and teachers due to COVID-19. The funding is made possible by TikTok.

October provided good news for Porterville College and its students when it was announced PC was one of 34 community colleges receiving grants as part of a $100 million donation for California community colleges to help students finish college.

“Over 20 years, the $100 million pledge will help eliminate regional educational gaps by providing scholarships to students who are well on their way toward a finish-line goal of completing a certificate or degree at a California community college or transferring to a university and emergency financial aid to students facing unexpected financial hardships,” the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) said in a joint press release.

On her first day returning to school, Meryam, a second-grade student with special needs at Vandalia Elementary School in Porterville, ran out of her home and kissed the bus.Meryam is now able to take advantage of in-person learning twice a week. She's among the Special Services AcCEL student…

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The cost of college is a concern for many students and their families.

However, for Frida Mendez-Arce, a 2017 Granite Hills High School graduate, that concern was eased this October when she was named a recipient of Café Bustelo’s El Café Del Futuro Scholarship.

Mendez-Arce, who now attends California State Fullerton, was one of 20 recipients across the nation to receive a $5,000 scholarship and a Café Bustelo care package.

I was really happy to hear about the scholarship just because it’s really going to help me in my future,” Mendez-Arce said. “One of the biggest stresses in college is always going to be financial things. And so it made me realize I could really focus on school without having to take off a bunch of work.

And then especially receiving it from somebody who is very active in the Latin community was important to me because it correlated to my scholarship and just how as Latin people, we really have to uplift each other and create the groundwork for the next generation so that they can have these same opportunities in the future and be able to pursue higher education. That way, we can get more people into spaces that are going to advocate for us.”

The El Café Del Futuro Scholarship is offered to students at colleges that are a part of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). This year’s application required an essay of 800 words or less about how a student’s Latino heritage, family, and community in which they grew up impacted their desire and motivation to obtain a college degree and how they plan to give back to the community.

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Two technicals worked from an aerial lift above the roof of Tulare County Office of Education's Mooney Boulevard office building this week to install a four-part antenna to a new mast on the east side of the building.

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The man who took on the challenge of following a beloved superintendent, but eventually left a legacy rivaling that administrator has died.

In times of need, area students are continuing to rise to the occasion and provide help to their communities.

On Saturday, Monache High School’s California Scholarship Federation (CSF) Club hosted a donation drive-thru to collect non-perishable food for the Family Crisis Center in Porterville.

The drive has been done for over a decade and happens in January, but because of COVID, CSF decided to add one more drive.

Right now, especially in this time, we’re trying to look for people who need it the most,” CSF co-president Hassoon Sarwar said. “The women’s shelter, they do. They provide food for people who are in need of it. We’re trying to help them out.”

The Porterville Unified School District Pathways program will host its annual Parent Pathways Showcase on Thursday, October 29.


The student survey was split into four sections: attitude towards school, how's your time spent, your schoolwork, and your mental/emotional health. Around 61 percent percent of students — 772 to be exact — took the survey in early October, and the results were eye-opening.

“Ultimately, what the survey helped us bring out is that we had the best of intentions to do more than what we did last spring, this fall, but I honestly believe we swung too far,” GHHS principal Apolinar Marroquin said. “We swung too far on the side of, ‘OK, I’m going to build these lessons, and create these videos, and learn this platform, and give these kids assignments and projects.’ And that being said, I think we also lost sight of the fact that the stressors of COVID and the real-life situations that our kids are going through.”

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The dropoff area at Hope Elementary School was abuzz Monday morning with chatter and laughter from students back on campus for the first time in months for in-person learning.

With a smile and a wave, Hope superintendent and principal Melanie Matta, called out “We’re so excited to see you!” to every student as they climbed out of their parents’ and grandparents’ vehicles.

Matta greeted every student by name then bent down to eye level as she helped take temperature checks, ask COVID- 19 screening questions, and distribute hand sanitizer before instructing students on where to go next.

“It’s a family feel here and I think that’s why a lot of people like coming,” Matta said. “The parents know that when they drop their kids off, they’re going to be well taken care of. You see we didn’t have very many parents get out of the car even though they had kindergarteners they were dropping off because we’ve taken that time to build that relationship so they knew that we were going to handle it once they got through the gate.”

Setton Farms has announced it will build a school in Terra Bella that will focus on industrial robotics and technology. The new school will be called Setton Academy.


How do you keep school spirit and engagement alive when there aren’t any games or rallies, students can’t be on campus and in-person communication is rare? The answer is Instagram.

Monache High School’s Associated Student Body (ASB) realized the value of their Instagram account, @monacheasb, when COVID-19 struck and they all had to become virtual.

“No one really understood how valuable our Instagram really is,” ASB president, senior Addison Sampietro, said. “We didn’t realize just how much engagement we could gain from using our Instagram. We would always just focus on school functions and now we have to resort to the Instagram and I think it’s going really well.”


Students once again graced the campus of St. Anne’s School and kindergarten teacher, Elizabeth Dieterle, was overjoyed to see their smiling faces without a screen interfering.

“There really are no words to describe how wonderful it was to be back in the classroom face-to-face with my students,” she said via email. “It brought tears to my eyes to see them arrive dressed in uniform, with these huge smiles, ready to learn. This is the way that five-year-olds should learn. Live and in-person, hands-on with the teacher right there in the flesh — not an image on a screen. And with friends to interact with face-to-face.”

St. Anne’s is one of six schools in Tulare County that was granted a waiver allowing students in kindergarten through second grade (K-2) to return to school for in-person learning. The other schools were Terra Bella’s Zion Lutheran School, Visalia’s George Mccann Elementary and St. Paul’s, Tulare’s St. Aloysius Catholic School, and Dinuba Junior Academy.

Saucelito Elementary School also received provisional approval by the county for in-person learning and its waiver is being reviewed by the California Department of Public Health.

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Less than two weeks ago, SCICON began offering virtual tours for students in schools who were scheduled to visit the campus

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Several important dates coming up in Sept.

Today and Wednesday are the last days Porterville College students can have their questions answered in person by staff at the PC Student Services Drive Thru.

The drive thru, located at the front of the Academic Building, can be accessed today from 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. On Thursday, the drive thru is available from 3-5 p.m.

Although it’s a drive thru, masks are required to be worn by students. If a student doesn’t have a mask, staff will provide them with one when they check in at the first booth of the drive-thru.

Pleasant View School has been awarded a $15,000 grant for science, technology, engineering and math — STEM — education.

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Monday was the beginning of a new semester for Porterville College (PC), and while students aren't allowed on campus for now, PC President Dr. Claudia Habib is optimistic about the fall semester.

Tulare County Public Health issued a statement on Friday its aware of local schools operating as day camps to provide instruction to children on-site under California Department of Public Health guidelines.


Rather than make introductions from behind a computer screen, Lindsay High School freshmen spent Thursday meeting their teachers in person and getting a feel for the campus for their first day of school. 

“Even with masks, it’s so nice to see them in person,” LHS principal George Tapanes said. “And this is our freshmen for our first day, so they have the typical nerves of being a freshman. So just to be able to smile and welcome them is just a great feeling.”

Over the next few days, Lindsay students will continue to come to campus to meet their teachers and pick up materials necessary for distance learning. The school, like all in Tulare County, are required to begin classes virtually while the county remains on the state’s monitoring list for high COVID-19 positive case numbers.

Lindsay students arrived on campus at appointed times and were temperature checked before they could enter. They were directed through the Multipurpose Room where they turned in their paperwork, got a laptop and picked up information packets. From there they got their schedules, then went outside to have their pictures taken and met their teachers.

The University of California, Merced recently completed a website for the promotion of the SCICON Field Station.

A couple drops of rain began to fall during the final hours of Thursday morning, but rather than seeing students race for cover to keep their first day of school outfits clean and dry, campuses remained quiet and almost still.

Thursday was the first day of school for those in Porterville Unified School District but because Tulare County remains on the state’s monitoring list for high COVID-19 case numbers, students began class virtually.

At Vandalia Elementary School, students began the school year with a drive-thru pickup of materials and Chromebook.

Teachers met students and their parents and passed out school devices, workbooks and learning supplies at the drive-thru event.

“We were all so excited to see our students today,” Vandalia principal Laura Vera said. “We wish we could begin our year in a traditional way, but will be happy to see them on Zoom lessons daily. It may seem like schools are closed, but we are open and ready to teach students grade level standards and support our families.”

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The transition between middle school and high school can be a difficult one, especially when distance learning is involved.

But at Strathmore and Granite Hills High Schools, principals and staff members worked hard to ease that transition at Monday’s distribution of materials.

At Strathmore, math teacher John Lujan spent time with nearly everyone who came to pick up a Chromebook. Lujan rarely took a break as he fluttered between students and their parents, making sure they could log into their Chromebooks, Aeries and other accounts so they could leave feeling prepared for the first day of school on Thursday.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email,” Lujan told one student before moving on to another.


A line of cars snaked through Monache High School’s parking lot with a dozen more waiting patiently to enter on Newcomb Street and another line coming from Henderson Avenue on Thursday. 

Starting at 2 p.m., students, parents and guardians arrived at the high school to check out 720 Chromebooks in Thursday’s drive-thru distribution. Monache, and all other Porterville Unified School District schools, begin the 2020-21 academic year on Aug. 13 with distance learning.

It's simple,” MHS principal, Eric Barba said. “We have them and the students need them. My team stepped up and worked hard to make sure we met the needs of our students. We are still 100 percent vested in supporting our students even if it's through distance learning.”

The Burton School District will be much more prepared to provide virtual learning when the 2020-2021 school year begins.

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Mike Henson definitely has a great deal of perspective when it comes to schools grappling with the issue of whether or not to re-open for in-person learning.

The Center for American Liberty filed a lawsuit on behalf of several individuals from Southern California on Tuesday to allow schools to reopen for in-person learning.

Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce a little later today school districts in counties currently on the state watch list shouldn't reopen their campuses.

The Burton School District took its first step to officially re-opening its campuses for the 2020-2021 school year at a special board meeting on Monday.

Porterville College president Dr. Claudia Habib announced at the beginning of this week, the school would implement a “hybrid” approach when its fall semester begins.

Pursuing Victory With Honor Scholarship awarded to seniors

Tulare County Office of Education's CHARACTER COUNTS! program announced Wednesday that four Pursuing Victory With Honor scholarships were awarded to Tulare County scholar-athlete seniors.

Recipients of the scholarship were Jacob Buckley (Monache High School), Clarence Harmon (Porterville), Alicia Fregoso (Golden West) and Sadee Perez (Mt. Whitney).

The scholarship program, now in its eighth year, awards four Tulare County seniors $500 each for their academic achievements and for their exemplary character on and off the field.

Friday night was host to the final drive-thru graduation ceremony for the City of Porterville, and Citrus High School (CHS) ended the graduation season with a bang. After putting together a video showcasing each one of their graduates, including a short biography and what each graduate plans…

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Porterville College wrapped up the final day of its drive-thru graduation ceremonies on Thursday morning. Wednesday and Thursday’s ceremonies were for the more than 650 graduates collected 876 degrees.

Jonathan Schultz, a Terra Bella resident and son of Steven and Deina Schultz, recently earned his Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne.