News & Notes March 31, 2017
What's Happening at The Academies? 

Apr 10 -17 -- Spring Break *NO SCHOOL*

Apr 28 -- Excellence or Bust

Apr 30 -- Yearbook Order Deadline

May 5 -- SVA Theater Presents Peter Pan 

May 20 -- PTO Spring Fundraiser 

Introducing New Blue Oak Academy Staff

Principal, Dana Stinson

Mrs. Stinson joins The Academies at Blue Oak's first Principal. She brings 15 years of educational experience to her leadership role at BOA. Dana has been in instructional leadership for five years and is currently serving students as English Language Arts Coordinator in the office of Curriculum and Instruction at Burton School District. Prior to her position in Curriculum and Instruction, Dana taught grades 1, 4, 5, and 6.  She possesses her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Child and Adolescent Studies, Master of Arts in Teaching, and an Administrative Credential.

Mrs. Stinson is honored and excited to be the principal of Blue Oak Academy. Dana has already immersed herself in the culture of our organization as an SVA parent. She radiates with energy, positivity, and passion for education. She envisions a world where every child has equal opportunities to succeed. 

When she is not working tirelessly to provide the best education possible by empowering parents, teachers, and students, you can find her seeking hidden treasures at yard sales, rereading Pride and Prejudice, playing with her amazing children, or watching a movie with her high school sweetheart, Kirk. 


Classroom Teacher Grades 1/2, Dona Johnson

Mrs. Johnson is a veteran teacher with classroom experience in nearly every elementary grade level. She is eagerly waiting to meet her incoming 1st and 2nd graders this fall. As a teacher, building a relationship with each one of them is her focus. As she builds the relationships, she simultaneously is goal driven to ensure each and every one of her students build their own personal confidence in all aspects of learning and growing. As a result of her style of teaching, she is a driven, organized teacher who develops inspiring relationships with all of her students. As a professional educator, her goal is to be a positive role model for her students to look up to and respect. She teaches with compassion, love, and positive discipline. At her current school, Mrs. Johnson is popular with students, families, and colleagues.

In addition to her passion for teaching, her love for her family is apparent. Mrs. Johnson resides in Visalia with her husband and children. She is a mother of three; Ashley, Brooke, and Philip. Her determination for success in life is driven from her family. She strives to be a role model for her kids demonstrating the importance of love and compassion of giving back to others. Success for her, as well as her children, should be measured by the generosity within ones heart. Family, friends, and her classroom kids are clearly what define her as a teacher, wife, and mother. As a result of her core values, Mrs. Johnson comes to us with glowing recommendations from supervisors, colleagues, and parents. We are so grateful to have her as part of The Academies family at Blue Oak Academy.


Our Sycamore Valley Academy Mathletes competed in TCOE's Math Superbowl at the Visalia Convention Center yesterday.  Teams of 5 from across the county participated in three events requiring them to work alone, together, and with strangers, on both finite and applied problems.  Both of our teams had a great attitude and enjoyed themselves.

Peyton Mitchell and Lucy Maitland-Lewis earned individual honors for the Power Bowl.  (Top score within their team for individual work.)  Our team of Peyton Mitchell, Bella Phillips, Sofia Rasner, Harper Dutton, and Marcus Anderson also earned an "Excellent" rating for their performance in the Team Bowl.  Noteworthy achievement for a set of mixed problems solved collaboratively. Also noteworthy about this achievement: this 8th grade division team included a 5th grader (Marcus) and a 6th grader (Harper). Congrats Mathletes, we are so proud of your hard work!  
Track & Field

Many, many thanks to Coach Andrew Ontiveros and his team of exceptional volunteers! We are truly lucky to have such dedication to our kids!

Celebrating Cesar Chavez

About 40 students took part in the march which was held under on-and-off rain showers. "They were very enthusiastic," said Rasner. "They learned about farmworkers from the 1800s to Chávez's life and changes he made. The lessons, she said, steered away from the politics and focused, instead, on farmworkers' lives and the issues they still face today. "It was just awareness of the people who help feed us," said Rasner. "The topic is close to my heart because I grew up in a neighborhood of all farmworkers."

The entire school took part in an essay contest. There were cash prizes for the K-8 contest winners. The older students wrote their essays on current farmworker issues and what Chávez would fight for if he were alive today. Rasner hopes the academy project becomes part of the Chávez celebration. "We want to do this every year," she said. 

Thank you to all who took the time to make this event such a celebratory and meaningful success!

Read the full articles from Vida en el Valle and Visalia Times Delta

Essay Contest Winners 

1st Place
Yong Lee

2nd Place
Charlie Maitland-Lewis

3rd Place
Sebastian Montti
1st Place
Cadence Spencer

2nd Place
Samuel Zurick

3rd Place
Sofia Rasner

K Honorable Mention

Cullan Davis
Leila de Lemos
Joanna Wan
3rd/4th Honorable Mention

Jacksen Hart
Liam Thompson
Donovan Clark

1st/2nd Honorable Mention

Noelle O'Neill
Otis Tootle
Elena Pelayo

5th/6th Honorable Mention

Lucy Maitland Lewis
Jillian Reng
Kaity de Lemos

7th/8th Honorable Mention

Fayelyn Lewis
MaryAnn Carranza

Hands On Science

Ms. Yado's 1st & 2nd graders had some slimey guests in science class this week. Students got up close and personal with these gastropods as part of their study of invertebrates this week. 
Land's End Uniform Deals

Save the Date!

Camp Invention Returns to SVA

Camp Invention is where BIG ideas become the next BIG thing and it is coming back to SVA!   During the week of July 17-21 (9:00a-3:30p) local educators will lead hands-on activities created especially for elementary school children. Time will be spent helping a mysterious scientist find energy to power robotic creatures and much more. Discounts are available, so register today! 


Use promo code Discover25 to save $25 (expires 3/20) and Discover15 to save $15 (expires 5/01). 

If you have any questions, please email Mr. Padilla at or Mrs. Padilla at

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

Adult Event: Saturday, April 1, 7-10PM 
Craft Beer Tasting Party hosted by The Van Groningens and The Sommers. A curated selection of beers for sampling including an IPA blind taste test featuring Pliny the Elder. Decide for yourself if it lives up to the hype. Salty snacks will be served. 

Family Event: Saturday, April 1, 8AM-5PM
Tidepool Scavenger Hunt led by Principal Phillips. Principal Phillips will not only drive your son or daughter to the coast and feed them snacks, but he has designed a Morro Bay Tide Pool Treasure hunt. Don't miss out on this special opportunity your child will never forget! Everyone will meet at Mr. Phillips' house where they will load up in a van and RV and head out to the tide pools by Morro Bay. Students will have a scavenger hunt, some lunch, unstructured play, then head back home.

Bollywood Event *CANCELLED*
SVA Theater Presents

Friday, May 5
10:00AM and 6:00PM
El Diamante Theater
For more information and tickets, contact Erika Chan

Mixed Bag Online Fundraiser

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

Lunch Menu

Monday 4/3 - Mini Turkey Corndogs
Tuesday 4/4 - Chicken Soft Taco w/ Savory Beans
Wednesday 4/5 - Chicken Burger
Thursday 4/6 - Cheesy Chicken Burrito
Friday 4/7 - Cheese Pizza w/ Garden Salad & Holiday Cookie

For more information about school lunch, visit our website. 

New Postings Are Here!
Our 2017-18 job postings are now on  and linked through our websites. 

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

Parent Partnering
To help achieve the intended outcome for families articulated in our Strategic Plan, we offer a series of informational resources    to help support you in the often challenging, yet infinitely rewarding task of parenting. 

Incredible Things at Your Fingertips!

As part of the Tulare County Office of Education Educational Resource Services (generously provided by SVA PTO), students may access the ERS Kids Portal. 

Login to the Kids Portal and find great online resources carefully chosen to help your child learn in fun ways. Students will find videos, research sites, ebooks, and more to help with homework or class presentations, or just for fun! 

Using the Kids Portal for online research also ensures that your children are in a safe place on the web. 

Next PTO Meeting

Monday, April 24
Round Table Pizza 
4035 S. Mooney Blvd. 
Community Events

SCICON Barbecue & Wildflower Festival 

Sunday, April 9, 2017 

SCICON Barbecue and Wildflower FestivalOn Sunday, April 9, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., the Friends of SCICON will be hosting the 57th Annual SCICON Barbecue and Wildflower Festival. All students, families and the general public are invited to SCICON for this beautiful event.

The wildflowers will be at their peak with hundreds of them in bloom. The SCICON staff will be on hand to lead wildflower hikes, bird watching hikes, and nature hikes. The museum, planetarium, observatory and Tree Nursery will be open all day. Natural resource agencies will staff many different displays. Musical groups from local schools will provide live entertainment.

A delicious meal is provided by the Friends of SCICON with a traditional deep pit barbecue. There is no charge to attend for the day. Meal prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (60 & over) and $5 for children (12 years and under.) For more information, please call the SCICON office at (559) 539-2642. 

COS  All-Sport Spring Break Camp

The COS All-Sport Camp offers coaching in traditional sports including soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, flag football, and track & field, as well as non-traditional sports such as frisbee golf, wiffle ball, and futsal. 

Coaching is provided by COS Athletes Coaching Staff and current COS Student-Athletes. 

April 10th-13th
8:00AM - 3:30PM 
COS Porter Field House
Open to boys and girls ages 6-14
Early drop off at 7:30 and late pickup until 4:15 available at no additional charge. 
$150 includes 4 days of coaching, t-shirt, and camp photo
Sign up at
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

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