News & Notes May 5, 2017
What's Happening at The Academies? 

May 5 -- SVA Theater Presents Peter Pan 

May 20 -- PTO Spring Fundraiser

May 24 -- SVA Open House 

May 24 -- Found Object Art Contest

Now - May 25 -- Spring Testing 

May 26 -- Lost & Found Donation Day

Blue Oak Updates

Here's what Blue Oak's founding staff have been up to lately.

April 22nd: Several staff were able to celebrate the Farmersville Library Opening . What an honor to sit in the middle of organizations, such as First5 Tulare County, that support families with valuable resources. From this event, two new families applied to Blue Oak!

April 24th: Much creativity and many new ideas were flowing among our attendees at the community leaders' ThinkTank . We have some next steps to continue communication of our program and philosophy to our local communities.

April 29th/April 30th: These were Principal Stinson's favorite events thus far. Many of you had a chance to come out and meet us in person at Farmersville's Cinco De Mayo event and Visalia's Dia De Los NiƱos ! Our booth was able to provide kids of all ages an opportunity to build a mini catapult out of craft sticks, crayons and rubber bands and then test out the ability of launching various items into buckets. While students simultaneously learned and played, many of us were spreading the word to the visiting families about our awesome school. It's no surprise that twelve families applied last weekend! It was irresistible after they saw our team of diligent teachers, volunteers, parents and aides interact with children and testifying with examples of how The Academies provides a quality education for all students!

We are open to other community events. This approach is a highly effective way for us to be able to communicate with multiple families at one time. If you know of any upcoming events, please pass it on so that we can plan to be there.

We are also looking for SVA or BOA families who are enthusiastic about their schools to help host neighborhood Q & A sessions. Please email or call 559.622.3236 if you would like to participate.

Parents, we want to hear from you! 

Each year we ask for your feedback about how well our school is meeting your child's needs and your expectations. Please set aside some time (about 10-15 minutes) to respond to our Parent Satisfaction Survey. Your responses are valuable to us.   Click here to access the anonymous survey. 

SVA Open House 

The 2017 SVA Open House will take place on Wednesday, May 24, 6-8PM. Several grade levels will be presenting their Spring PBL projects that night, including grades 5&6 performing their Greek theater productions on the baseball diamond. The annual Found Object Art Contest projects will be on display in the cafeteria. All are welcome at this fun event. Plan to bring the whole family and spend the evening at SVA. Dinner will be available for purchase from Tacos Galacticos. 
Found Object Art Contest

The Annual SVA Found Object Art Contest will be held on May 24. Artwork will be on display in the cafeteria during Open House.  

  • 95% of entry must be made of unpurchased, found objects that would otherwise be recycled or trashed (5% allowed for purchased glue, paint, etc.)
  • Entry must by 95% constructed by child (5% adult help ok!)
  • No larger than 2 ft.
  • Entries should be taken to cafeteria stage before line-up on May 24 and should be picked up May 25 from same area.

Download the entry form. 

Get your tickets today! 

Congrats to Diana Padilla, Zoe Silva, Caroline Cantelmi, and Rebekah Cantelmi

for  their performances in Willy Wonka and James and the Giant Peach. Bravo! 
Lost & Found 

All items left in the Lost & Found after Open House will be donated on Friday, May 26. 
Introducing our new SVA Teachers

Christina Flynn, Grades 1 & 2

Ms. Flynn was born in South Korea, and came to the United States when she was five years old. Her military family moved frequently around the world throughout her childhood, landing in Visalia during Christina's freshman year of high school. She graduated from Redwood High School and went on to earn her BA in Liberal Arts from Fresno Pacific University. She is currently in the FPU Teacher Education program.

Children surround Christina most of her days, and she truly enjoys every moment she has with them. Ms. Flynn is currently teaching in a 5 th  grade classroom and also oversees a high school after-school program. She has had a variety of experiences working with children from grades ranging from kindergarten to high school, however she has always had her heart set on teaching elementary school students.  She has experience in  both mainstream and special education classrooms as an instructional aide.

Christina has always had a passion for with working with children, and her dream of becoming a teacher has become a reality.  She is thrilled to be part of the SVA team and looks forward in working and collaborating with all the amazing teachers and families here. She is a wholehearted believer in SVA's mission and vision and simply cannot wait to begin her new journey at SVA.

Recently engaged, and a mother to two children ages 5 and 2, Christina says her family is her rock and she would not be where she is today without their support.

Jose Soria, Jr. , Grades 3 & 4 

Mr. Soria was born and raised in Lindsay as a son of Mexican immigrants and brother to four sisters. He has dedicated his life to education. In 2011, Jose earned a Bachelor's of Science in Economics and a Minor in Education from the University of California, Berkeley Returning to the Valley after graduation, he gained experience in elementary education at Ivanhoe Elementary before moving to Fresno and joining the UC Merced Center for Educational Partnerships as a Program Representative and Events Coordinator. He returned to Lindsay as the Library Media Specialist at Reagan Elementary. In June 2017, Jose will be graduating from the Rossier School of Education at USC with a Master's degree in Teaching and a Multiple Subject Credential. Beside education, his passions are reading and exercise. He tries to embrace a quote by Buddha, "To keep the body in good health is a duty...otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." Jose is excited to join the SVA family and looks forward to working with all the staff and parents to provide the highest quality education for our SVA students.

Amara Lee Brenner, Grades 5 & 6

With a mother born in New York, a father from Iowa, and California on her own birth certificate, Amara Lee was born with adventure in her blood. She started teaching in her hometown of San Diego fifteen years ago. She moved to the Valley ten years ago to start a family, tempted by the real estate market and job opportunities. It was the best decision of her life, she says.

Amara Lee became interested in SVA as her eldest child began preparing for kindergarten. When he entered SVA in the fall of 2013, she was impressed with SVA, inspired by the idea that the first words in the new marquee referred to love: Love is at the forefront of this institution. With two children attending SVA and a third waiting in the wings, Amara Lee is thoroughly invested in the success of SVA and inspired by the work we have already done.

In her spare time, she loves anything creative: writing, dancing, gardening, photography and the art of upcycling. She prefers her hands in the soil, her nose in a book and her feet in a museum. Her greatest passion is education. As the first college graduate and the first homeowner in her family, she knows first-hand how the power of education can change the course of a single life. She looks forward to inspiring the students of SVA who will inspire the rest of the world.
CAASPP and MAP Testing

Spring Testing Dates:

Middle School: April 24-May 5
Grades 3-6: May 8-17
Grades K-2: May 22-25

Spring testing is underway now and will continue through May 25. Parents, please avoid scheduling appointments for your children on testing days. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and eats a healthy breakfast every day. Classroom newsletters include exact dates and schedules for your child's classroom. If you have any questions, please contact your child's teacher. 

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

Provide your Input on our Community Survey

California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) requires schools to solicit stakeholder input in developing their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP). Please take a few moments to complete the brief survey.

Placement Requests

As we engage in the process of putting classes together, we consider numerous factors to ensure balanced classes.  These factors include academic needs, gender, social relationships, behaviors, and chemistry of student populations.  In addition, we know that on occasion families have information that may be relevant when making these decisions.  For example, there are occasions where court orders, familial conflicts, or other sensitive information is needed for us to make best placement decisions. 
If you would like to provide information that we should consider during the formation of class rosters, please complete this form and return it to the SVA Front Office no later than Friday, May 5, 2017.  Please understand that at SVA we are a small school and a tight knit family.  The teachers get to know each one of their students very well and the process of establishing classroom rosters is something we take very seriously.  Teachers will get together and create classroom rosters first, without any input from administration.  When this is completed administration will look at these rosters with these requests in hand to determine if changes need to be made.  While you may note a teacher preference, placement in a specific teacher's classroom cannot be guaranteed.  Multiple factors are considered in student placement; parent requests are one factor among many. 
Parents will be informed of class placement in August.

Lunch Menu

Monday 5/8 - Beef & Cheese Rolled Taco w/ Savory Beans
Tuesday 5/9 - Chile con Carne w/ Corn Chips
Wednesday 5/10 - Breaded Beef Patty on a Bun w/ Potato Wedges
Thursday 5/11 - Teriyaki Beef Rice Bowl w/ Cowboy Bread
Friday 5/12 - Pizza Quesadilla w/ Garden Salad

For more information about school lunch, visit our website. 

Mixed Bag Online Fundraiser

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

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

Latest posting: Part time K-2 Science Teacher for Blue Oak

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, May 8
Round Table Pizza 
4035 S. Mooney Blvd. 
Community Events

Anti-Bullying & Suicide Prevention Forum

The Office of Assemblyman Devon Mathis will be hosting an Anti-Bullying & Suicide Prevention Forum on Thursday, May 11th 6:30-8:00PM. 

A panel of experts will provide short presentations, Q&A will follow. FOr more information, contact Tara Adams at (559) 636-3440. 

Tulare County Office of Education 
Redwood Conference Room
6200 S. Mooney Blvd. 

AMF Lanes has given all SVA students a free game of bowling. Thanks AMF! Check out their summer bowling pass by clicking the image. 
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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