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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Junior highs use Teacher in Charge for leadership

Photo Elliott Burr/Town CrierConi Cullimore, Egan Junior High School Teacher in Charge, spends half of her days teaching and half as an administrator.

Although junior high schools in the Los Altos School District don’t have vice principals on staff, the schools have designated Teachers in Charge to step into the breach and cover administrative responsibilities.

Unlike Teachers in Charge on the elementary school campuses, whose primary role is to substitute for absent principals, the Teachers in Charge at Blach and Egan Junior High schools play a critical role in the culture, spirit, safety and operations of the campus. Unlike full-time vice principals, the Teachers in Charge are actively in the classrooms teaching.

The Teacher in Charge positions, funded in part by the Los Altos Educational Foundation, enable the budget-challenged schools to reap the benefits of vice principals by using a teacher.

Both Coni Cullimore at Egan and Jason Dewberry at Blach wear many hats. Each teaches half the day – Cullimore teaches math and Dewberry, history – and each spends half the day in the Teacher in Charge role, essentially acting as vice principal.

Key responsibilities of Teachers in Charge include:

• First-line discipline of students: supervising the campus during break times, reinforcing behavioral expectations, establishing consequences and communicating with parents. Principals serve as backup for more serious incidents.

• Facilities, logistics and operations support: preparing for events such as assemblies and graduation, coordinating maintenance needs and repairs, and managing emergency preparedness.

• Campus culture and student spirit: organizing spirit days, creating a safe and positive climate on campus, helping each child to be seen and heard.

• Covering principal absences and unexpected staff absences.

Cullimore said she enjoys her position because she enjoys both teaching and leading.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” she said. “I really enjoy teaching and being in the classroom, but I like the administrative side – helping create a socially appropriate environment for kids.”

The principals agree that the main benefit of the Teacher in Charge positions, in addition to the enhancements to campus life, is that the Teachers in Charge free the principals for their most important work, focusing on children and learning, and enabling them to know every student on campus – something possible because of the small schools in the Los Altos School District.

“Los Altos has some of the strongest junior high schools in California as evidenced not only by test scores, but the 21st-century learning experience our children get here,” said Leslie Crane, Blach principal. “The support from the Teacher in Charge allows me to focus more attention on the kids, the curriculum and what’s happening in the classrooms, enabling us to better educate the whole child.”

“The most important thing I do as an administrator is to understand the adolescents at my school, student by student, finding what works best for every child,” said Brenda Dyckman, Egan principal. “No one is invisible and everyone matters. Having Teachers in Charge helps kids grow into mature, responsible teenagers, and helps us form better partnerships with parents.”

Last year during budget-cut discussions, the district board of trustees considered reducing the hours of the Teacher in Charge positions. Late in the budget planning process, the Los Altos Educational Foundation pledged an additional $540,000 for the 2010-2011 school year. That pledge retained the Teacher in Charge positions, effectively helping the junior highs run as usual this year.

For more information, visit www.laefonline.org.

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