Wed09172014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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