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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Editorial: "Doing School": problems, solutions

Stanford researcher and Los Altos parent Denise Clark Pope had some parents at a Jan. 31 PTA-sponsored lecture at Egan Junior High School feeling a little uncomfortable as she outlined a sobering scenario.

Her research shows many children in high-achieving areas such as Los Altos aren't necessarily learning - they're "doing school." Attempting to plot a "successful" career path, students are pulling out all the stops to score high GPAs that will land them at elite universities. This, the reasoning goes, leads to that coveted high-paying position.

In so doing, Pope contends, students sacrifice happiness in their adolescence, a joy replaced by stress, anxiety and depression.

Instead of learning, Pope said students are memorizing and/or cheating. The goal is simply to achieve a high score on a test. As a result, some students are faced with taking remedial English and math courses in college.

The way it should work, students receive a well-rounded education and along the way find a passion in a particular area that ultimately leads to their chosen career path. If they love what they're doing, learning and achieving are natural outcomes. In many cases, we believe this occurs.

But Pope's findings, documented in her book "Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students," has us wondering whether we are helping our children plot a course of passionate, lifelong learning or simply enabling them in "Doing School."

The issue of homework is also controversial. Some say homework helps students form good study habits, but are they really benefiting from it? Pope says no, at least not during the elementary school years.

In the Los Altos School District, where special attention is paid to test scores, guidelines have students doing homework that starts at 30 minutes a night in the first grade and increases to two hours nightly by the time they are in middle school. Again, is the end game a well-rounded education or a good SAT score? The answer for many of us, of course, is both.

The debate over homework and the degree of stress on children has district officials re-examining their current homework policy. Regardless of the outcome, the question remains whether students are getting the most out of school.

It's a profound question that can only be answered by parents and students honestly confronting their values about education. Real solutions will only come when enough see there are problems and are willing to make changes. District policy and teachers can also make a big difference, but ultimately, learning is about choice and commitment.

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