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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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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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