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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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