Thu09182014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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