Thu10022014

News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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