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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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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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