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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

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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