Rivalry Week, Skate Night, spring projects, and much more!

February 17, 2017
The Academies News & Notes
What's Happening at SVA? 


Feb 22 -- TCOE Spelling C hampionship

Mar 1 -- Family Skate Night

Mar 8 -- PTO Jog-a-Thon

Mar 9-10 -- Conferences *NO SCHOOL*

Mar 30 -- TCOE Math Super Bowl

Mar 31 & Apr 7 -- Excellence or Bust

Familiar Faces at Blue Oak Academy

We're happy to report that three of the four teacher positions at Blue Oak Academy will be filled by current SVA staff. We know that BOA will start off on the right foot with these fantastic, experienced folks on board! Each of them will be sincerely missed by their SVA family. 

We are currently in the process of securing contracts for the one remaining teacher BOA position, the BOA Site Principal, and three new teachers for SVA. Look for a NEW staff announcement next week! We've also just posted openings on EdJoin for the BOA Office Assistant and Instructional Aides. 

Chrissy Orr - Kindergarten

Ms. Orr will make the move from her 3rd/4th classroom at SVA to Kindergarten at BOA. She is honored to have joined the SVA family this year and is looking forward to her new role at BOA. We're grateful for Ms. Orr's commitment to our mission and know that she will be a valuable part of Blue Oak Academy. When asked about the move she said,  "I'm excited to be given the opportunity to be part of the opening of BOA as a Kindergarten teacher. I spent the first decade of my career in primary, so I'm eager to return to my roots." She added that she has missed being "paid in hugs and boogers"! 

Tina Weeaks - Kindergarten

Mrs. Weeaks will return to teaching kindergarten next year, joining the Blue Oak Academy founding staff. She is excited for her next adventure, but a little sad to leave her big kids behind. From Mrs. Weeaks:  "My time here at SVA has been such a blessing because this kindergarten teacher never knew how much fun she could have in 5th and 6th grade!  Thank you to my students for showing me how sweet, smart, creative, and funny kids this age are. You have enriched my life.  I'm looking forward to my return to kindergarten, my first love, next year.  I am excited and honored to spread the joy of learning to even more students as BOA opens.  What an adventure!"

Gloria Cazarez - 1st & 2nd Grade

Mrs. Cazarez, who has been with SVA since the very beginning, will continue her career as a 1st & 2nd grade teacher, moving to Blue Oak Academy. She is looking forward to continuing to carry out the mission and vision of our organization at BOA and to providing an enriching education to even more valley families. Of course, leaving is bittersweet for Mrs. Cazarez. "As I think about my departure, I can't help but feel torn because this is such an incredible bunch of kiddos.  I have truly loved the opportunity to get to know each, and every one of them." she told her student's families. 
BOA Admissions

A few seats remain at Blue Oak Academy for 2017-18. Please keep spreading the word about our excellent options!

Basketball Update

Rivalry Week excitement culminated Thursday. The day began with SVA's first ever pep rally. Tyler Bennett introduced the team as hundreds of enthusiastic fans vied for the opportunity to snag a high-5 from the players. The team then tossed SVA Basketball fan shirts into the crowd. What a great way to amp up the team and get the whole school community involved! 

Brenna started and ended the day smiling!

Kat hopes to snag a t-shirt!

Thursday afternoon the teams faced Valley Life Charter School in the first ever battle for the Charter Cup. 

Boys: Thursday, the SVA Varsity boys basketball team outplayed Valley Life Charter to win the Charter Cup trophy.  In this rivalry game, the Explorers opened up an early lead and lead 20-11 at the break.  In the second half, Valley Life came back aggressively and tied the score at 27 halfway through the 4th quarter.  But with four minutes left in the game, the Explorers turned up the heat on the Owls and Zephaniah Serna made the winning shot that put the team ahead for good and brought home the 34 to 31 victory.  Once again, this rivalry met all expectations as the crowd was boisterous and energetic as both teams pursued the Charter Cup.  The player of the game was Zephaniah Serna, but the entire team deserves credit for the win.  "The boys played amazing today. The most impressive part is that they played together and supported each other in the victory," said Coach Bennett.   The Explorers will need to be ready to defend the Charter Cup, as it will be up for grabs again on February 28 @ 3:30PM  at the Valley Life Charter gym. 

Z makes it past the Owls' D and puts up another one. 

Girls:  In the second game Thursday, the Lady Explorers went head to head with the Lady Owls. The Owls got off to a strong start with a 10-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.  But after settling in, the Lady Explorers charged back to tie the game at 11 just before half time.  Over the next two quarters, the intensity increased and so did the energy from the crowd.  The score went back and forth for two quarters as the basketball game turned into a heavyweight fight, like Ali vs. Tyson.  In the end, the Owls were able to break away and win the game by 5 points in the last few minutes.  "We played extremely well today in a physical contest.  The Owls were just able to make a few outside shots while a few of our shots bounced off the rim," said Coach Yado.  The player of the game was Brenna Matthews as she stole numerous passes and disrupted the Owls offense with a smile on her face.  She also assisted with several baskets scored by Sophia Rasner, who was the high scorer in the game.  It was also noted that Hailey B. played great defense throughout the contest.  SVA is very proud of the sportsmanship displayed by Cadence Spencer who checked on and gave a heartfelt apology to an injured Owls player.  The Lady Explorers will have another shot at the Charter Cup soon, it will be up for grabs again on February 28 @ 3:30PM at the Valley Life Charter gym.

The ladies, getting physical!

2017 Basketball Schedule

1/24 - Three Rivers @ SVA
1/26 - @ George McCann
1/31 - Ivanhoe @ SVA
2/2 - @ CVC
2/7 - @ Oak Grove
2/9 -  Sequoia Union @ SVA
2/16 - Valley Life @ SVA
2/21 - Willow Glen @ SVA
2/28 - @ Valley Life
3/2 - @ Sequoia Union
Service Learning 

Celebrating the Legacy of Cesar Chavez

Our 3rd & 4th graders participate in the Cesar Chavez annual legacy celebration. They will play  De Colores  on their ukuleles at COS to start the nonpartisan celebration of Cesar  Chavez 's birthday. Beginning at 9:00AM, revelers will gather at COS in the circle drive. At 10:00AM, a walk will begin to the Whittman Center (315 Pearl St, Visalia, CA 93291) where the celebration will continue. All are invited to attend this community event. Download the event flyer for more information

Sharing the Love

As part of first and second grades winter project studying the impact and influence of powerful words, students wrote original poetry inspired by "Valentine" feelings. Students framed their inspiring poetry and made a variety of decorations to share with Visalia Senior Center. Here are a few pictures of the decorating committee that met there to hang our creations last Sunday. We hope that Visalia's seniors felt the love!
Spring PBL

All grade level teams are hard at work on their fantastic spring projects. Everyone is invited to attend upcoming PBL culminating events. These events are the finish line that students have been working toward and represent an opportunity to show their work to an authentic public audience. 

Grades 1&2

Grades 1&2 have been studying the impact of words under the guiding question "How can words inspire?" They have been examining famous quotes from speeches the impact of those words.  All 1/2 classrooms will host a Poetry Slam on March 3 (8:15 in room 9 and 2:45 in rooms 8 and 10)  where they will recite their own original poetry.

Grades 3&4

Third and fourth grades have been learning about the lives of farmworkers around the world and right here in Tulare County. Their guiding question is "How can we bring awareness of changemakers in our community and become changemakers ourselves?"  Students have worked to create a character that migrated to the San Joaquin Valley as a farm laborer. They wrote fictional narratives of their character's journeys and lives harvesting our food.  Students also studied the impact of leaders like Cesar Chavez, who fought for farm laborers' rights.  The 3rd/4th PBL event will bring together the struggle for workers' rights and the realistic stories of the people affected by the fight in the fields. Please plan to attend their culminating event on Tuesday, February 28, 9:30-10:30AM at Kaweah Oaks Preserve (29979 Rd 182, Exeter, CA 93221). In addition to presenting the historical fiction of their characters, our scholars will also experience the physical strain of field work during this PBL event. They will spend about two hours working with AmeriCorps to help clear the Preserve of weeds and planting trees.

Grades 5&6

Over in 5th & 6th grade,  the guiding question is "How can we as engineers design/construct rat mazes, collect/analyze data, and make revisions for constant improvement?"students are working to find the zone of proximal development (ZPD) of rats through their A-maze-ing Rat Race project. (See the Parent Resource section below for more info on ZPD). Students have designed rat mazes and are now collecting a lot of data! These engineers are timing the rats, and then implementing change ideas to modify their mazes. We are proud of the teamwork, creativity, and engineering that is happening in all 3 classrooms. Don't miss their culminating event on Tuesday, March 7th from 11am-12pm in the 5/6 classrooms. 

SVA Family Skate Night

PTO will once again host it's annual evening of family fun at Roller Towne! 

March 1
Roller Towne
520 S. Linwood

Admission for skaters is $4.50 (includes skate rental)
Admission for spectators is $1.00

See you there! 

Mixed Bag Online Fundraiser

The Mixed Bag spring fundraiser is online only this year! click the link to shop and support SVA PTO. 

Save the date of March 8 to come join in the fun!

Pledge Forms Coming home 2/21.


Look for information about our 5th Annual Jog-A-Thon coming home with your students week.  Students collect pledges between now and March 8 to earn fabulous prizes and raffle tickets.

Classes are helping PTO by collecting raffle prize donations (small gift cards, toys, art sets, etc.).  The more donations, the more awesome prizes we have to give away in our jog-a-thon raffle!  

Helpers are needed to make the Jog-a-Thon a success.  Let Mrs. Johnson ( cjohnson@sycamorevalleyacademy.org ) know if you can help.  It's an easy way to get involved.

Pennies for Patients is on Now! 

The SVA Student Council is collecting pocket change for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's annual fundraising drive. To contribute to the cause and to and help Student Council meet their community service goal, send the contents of your change jar to your child's classroom by Friday, February 24. 
SVA Theater 

Save the date! 
May 5
El Diamante Theater
5PM & 7PM

Miss Chan and her theater troupe will put on a spring production of Disney's Peter Pan Jr. The part of Peter will be played by 5th grader, Georgia Dowdy. Congratulations Georgia! 

Party Train! 

It's not too late to grab your tickets to upcoming party train events. Tickets to each event are limited, so buy now! 

Click here to see a complete list of parties happening now through spring. 

Up Next: 

Kid's Event: DATE CHANGE! Saturday, March 4, 12:30PM-2:30PM -  Wanna be a Video Star?  Come out and join Mrs. Andrews and Mrs. Cazarez for a groovy, dance-tastic event and pizza lunch! All K-8th graders are welcome.

Adult Event: Saturday, March 11, 7-10PM Live Bluegrass Fest 
Bring your lawn chairs and get ready to listen to some live toe-tapping traditional bluegrass music! Beer and hearty snacks will be provided.

Kid's Event (5th grade and up): Saturday, March 25, 10AM-1:30PM
Spring Sewing with Mrs. PadillaCelebrate the first week of Spring by sewing and decorating your very own Tote Bag. Fabric, fabric decorations, sewing materials, and lunch provided!

Lunch Menu

Monday 2/20 - HOLIDAY *NO SCHOOL*
Tuesday, 2/21 - Turkey and Gravy
Wednesday, 2/15 - Chicken Burger
Thursday, 2/16 - Cheesy Chicken Burrito 
Friday 2/17 - Cheese Pizza
For more information about lunch at SVA, visit our website

New Postings Are Here!

Our 2017-18 job postings are now on edjoin.org  and linked through our websites. 

Site Principal for Blue Oak Academy

The Academies Charter Management Organization is hiring a Principal for our new school. If you are someone you know is interested in joining our team, check out the job posting on EdJoin

Substitute Teachers Needed

Sycamore Valley Academy has a experienced and dedicated teaching staff, but we are always looking to expand our sub list. 

If you or someone you know has the desire to be a substitute teacher at our amazing school, has a bachelor's degree, has passed the CBEST, and is willing to get a substitute credential and fingerprint clearance we would love to grow our team.  

Substitute Instructional Aides Needed

Sycamore Valley Academy Aide Subs minimum requirements are a high school diploma and fingerprint clearance. 

If you are interested please email Shauna Dolin at  sdolin@sycamorevalleyacademy.org

Next PTO Meeting

Monday, March 13 

Round Table Pizza
4035 S. Mooney Blvd. 
Parent Support
Welcome to our Parent Support section.  To help achieve the intended outcome for families articulated in our Strategic Plan, we will be offering a series of informational resources  to help support you in the often challenging, yet infinitely rewarding task of parenting. 
Zone of Proximal Development

Psychologist Lev Vygotsky coined the term "zone of proximal development" (ZPD) in the 1930s to describe the sweet spot where instruction is most beneficial for each student - just beyond his or her current level of independent capability. You can think of the ZPD as the difference between what a child can do independently and what he or she is capable of doing with targeted assistance.
Zone of Proximal Development
Vygotsky stated that a child follows an adult's example and gradually develops the ability to do certain tasks without help or assistance. Vygotsky's often-quoted definition of zone of proximal development describes it as "the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers."
Vygotsky among other educational professionals believes the role of education to be to provide children with experiences which are in their ZPD, thereby encouraging and advancing their individual learning.  Instruction focused within each student's ZPD is not too difficult or too easy, but just challenging enough to help him or her develop new skills by building on those that have already been established. Students are most receptive to instruction within their ZPD because it represents the next logical step in their ongoing skill development. 
A ligning classroom teaching strategies to students' ZPDs can help educators guide students in their learning more effectively. F or teaching and learning to be effective, instruction should focus on skills and knowledge that are attainable for students (not too easy, not too difficult, but just right). 
The concept of scaffolding is closely related to the ZPD. Scaffolding is a process through which a teacher gives aid to the student in her or his ZPD as necessary, and tapers off this aid as it becomes unnecessary, much as a scaffold is removed from a building during construction. 

Check out this short video on ZPD
Adapted from www.nwea.org and  www.innovativelarning.com
Community Events

Visalia Firefighters Association Golf Tournament

Visalia Firefighters Association is hosting it's annual Scott Smith Memorial Golf Tournament on May 19. The late Captain Smith was grandfather to one of our students. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit Visalia Rescue Mission.  Entry fee is $100. 

For more information and to download the entry form, click here

Visalia Swim Club

VSC is a year round competitive swim program for children of all ages. The club swims at the centrally located College of the Sequoias pool five days a week, so it's easy to find a practice schedule that works for your family. 

Several of our students swim with this team! For more information about the team contact Marcella Hogg (559) 471-5159 or ask our own Mrs. Poggione about her experience with the team. 

Children's Art Classes

Arts Visalia, a local nonprofit organization, is holding children's art classes this spring. 

Arts Visalia offers classes for both adults and children in their on-site classroom. Classes are designed for both beginners and more advanced students to explore their creativity, expand their technical skills and learn at their own pace. Small class sizes provide a hands-on experience that encourages artistic engagement with instructors and fellow students.

To enroll your child, please fill out the enrollment form and return it to Arts Visalia. Class sizes are limited with enrollment on a first-come first-served basis. To guarantee a place in a class, tuition must be paid at the time of enrollment. 

Arts Visalia
214 East Oak Avenue
Visalia, CA 93291
(559) 739-0905


High School Summer Science Program

The College of Chemistry and the  Berkeley  Global Science Institute present SciTech, a program for rising high school students (grades 9-12) who are interested in enhancing their understanding of the problems facing the world, learning about the relevance of science and technology in addressing such problems, and being inspired to pursue careers in science and technology that will ensure their contribution to positively impact the world.

Please visit their website for more information or click here for their brochure. 

To Apply:

SciTech is now accepting applications! For more information about the application process, please click   here . They will be accepting applications until April 30, 2017.
Sycamore Valley Academy | 559.622.3236 | office@sycamorevalleyacademy.org
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