Sat12202014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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St. Francis iPad program exceeds expectations


Photo By: Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

St. Francis students use their iPads to take notes, make presentations and draw sketches during classes.

The days of bringing an apple for the teacher may be long gone, but every student at St. Francis High School does bring an Apple to class.

Each of the school’s 1,700 students this year received an Apple iPad touch-screen computer for use in the classroom.

Both students and teachers have embraced the school’s new 1:1 iPad program, according to St. Francis officials. Students use the iPads to take notes, make presentations and draw sketches. They use the built-in camera to determine velocity of a projectile, scan QR codes to reach websites and produce movies about the school’s historical figures.

Alex Bega and Matt Maguire – the school’s educational technologists – have helped the teachers and students transition from paper and pens to the automated tablets. Beyond providing their colleagues with training and resources, Bega and Maguire have assisted in developing a technology-centered curriculum by showing the teachers how they can implement lesson plans.

They have encouraged teachers to design assignments that encourage students to show their knowledge of a topic through a project – such as creating a movie or artwork – instead of relying on a multiple-choice test, for example, to gauge their understanding. While teachers are allowing students to be more creative with such assignments, traditional skills such as writing are still emphasized throughout the curriculum, Bega and Maguire said.

Both educational technologists have supported the teachers’ transition to tablets since summer, and they have been consulted for their expertise and asked to share their experiences. St. Francis officials said teachers and administrators from other schools have posed a variety of questions, ranging from which apps St. Francis uses to how students use the iPad.

“They want concrete examples of how they can improve the classroom experience,” Maguire said.

In their presentations, Bega and Maguire describe what they have learned over the course of the rollout. Paper use is down at St. Francis, according to school officials, and initial fears about a great number of iPads being lost or misused have not materialized. Teachers and students are learning from each other the best ways to use the apps and are discovering new tools and functions to improve learning.

“Teachers have been open to learning from students, and this fosters a sense of community and connection in the classroom,” Bega said.

In addition to supplying all students and teachers with a device, the school underwent a wireless network upgrade over the summer. Each classroom is outfitted with an Apple TV, enabling students and teachers to project their iPad projects on a screen.

The additional hardware has been worth it, school officials said. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the iPad program has yielded positive results.

Sophomores Bridget Foley, Kyle Kitagawa and Isabelle Pichay, working together at a table, said the iPad makes them more organized and efficient. They find they are more interested in what they are studying.

That level of engagement has not gone unnoticed by teachers like Cinthya Miranda-McIntosh, a Spanish instructor. In introducing her students to the writer of a Latin American comic strip, she asked her class to find other examples of his work. In the past, she would have done the research herself and presented it.

“This time, they got into it and were sharing their findings,” she said. “Students got so much more out of it.”

Maguire agreed that the community is excited about the program.

“Sometimes when you roll out a program, you start out strong, but you can also lose steam,” he said. “But there is still a buzz about it here. Everybody jumped into the program right away, and it’s been successful so far.”

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