Sat02132016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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