Fri12192014

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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Community forum aims to clarify Blach/BCS sharing


Photo By:
Smith

Los Altos School District officials hosted a community forum last week to clarify how Blach Intermediate School and Bullis Charter School will execute their campus-sharing plan next year.

The meeting outlined the district’s offer to house 129 in-district charter school students on the Blach campus. District Board of Trustees President Doug Smith said the district crafted the offer under the assumption that the charter school would use the Blach space to serve its sixth- through eighth-grade students.

Bullis Charter School’s exclusive space on the Blach campus includes five classrooms (three for sixth-graders and two for seventh- and eighth-graders), an existing home arts room, an existing annex room for a computer lab, one specialized teaching area, an administrative building, a library portable, locker rooms and bathrooms.

The district’s offer relies largely on the use of shared space at Blach. It allocates use of a science room (2:10-3:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 2:15-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays), a drama/chorus room (8-9:45 a.m. weekdays) and a multipurpose room (eight days throughout the year).

Smith said that while the final offer includes language with a specific schedule for sharing the multipurpose room, the intent is for administrative leaders at the schools to communicate to develop a flexible schedule that suits both parties.

The offer also outlines a proposal for shared physical education space. For various lessons throughout the year, Bullis Charter School students may use the gym (16 weeks), multipurpose room (two weeks), blacktop (eight weeks), tennis courts (two weeks) and track and field (10 weeks).

PE facilities are available to charter school students during periods 1-5 Mondays and Tuesdays and through 9 a.m. Wednesdays through Fridays.

“Charter school students will have access to the gym, multipurpose room – everything our students have access to for PE,” Smith said. “The intent is to share these spaces equally. To the extent that either program wants to make a change, the administrators or teachers can talk to each other and it should be resolved locally on site.”

The parking lots at Blach will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, with 10 spots allocated to the private Stepping Stones Preschool & Infant Care facility, six for charter school officials and six for Blach officials.

Answering questions

After detailing the shared and exclusive spaces at Blach next year, the forum addressed parents’ and neighbors’ questions. Blach Principal Sandra McGonagle was on hand to offer input.

One parent asked if students were supposed to take a certain path to get from point A to point B on the campus. McGonagle said students should take the path of least resistance when traveling on campus – there are no Blach-only or charter-school-only paths.

Responding to a request for clarification on the total number of students anticipated on the Blach campus next year, Smith said the district expects 509 students, coupled with the charter school’s 129 for a total of 638 students. He added that the schools are working to shift the start times in an effort to reduce traffic, increase student safety and to be a good neighbor to the community.

As for sharing PE facilities, Smith said the district plans to install keyless access pads for entry, guaranteeing access when needed.

The plan to share the blacktop is the primary reason Smith organized the meeting. While the final offer designates a portion of the blacktop for exclusive charter school use and a portion for Blach students only, Smith said the plan calls for students from both schools to share the blacktop during recess and lunch breaks.

“It is our intention to have a mix of students,” he said. “The kids should be able to do that together. It is our goal that all the students interact with one another.”

One charter school parent said Egan Junior High School students heckled her and her child as they walked across the campus, which currently houses the charter school. Smith encouraged the parent to share the incident with charter school leaders, who should then confer with Egan’s principal.

Smith said there are still logistical matters to resolve with Blach/Bullis Charter School split, including emergency procedures, supervision of students during recess and lunch, student discipline issues, familiarity with both schools’ staff members and the presence of adults on campus.

“What I would really like is to have the kids come together,” McGonagle said. “Student leaders from both campuses could come together and discuss how to cohabitate.”

While no further meetings are scheduled at this point, McGonagle said she is confident the remaining matters will be addressed over the summer.

In the wake of construction delays last year, one parent asked if there were a contingency plan in the event that construction on the Blach campus does not finish by the time school starts.

“It is happening,” Smith said. “I’m not trying to be glib about it. When we land, nothing works because it never can, but we are trying to get it done. Last year we got surprised by a lot of soil work – we hope this is not the case this year.”

Smith added that while there is no official contingency plan, if there is a delay, four portable classrooms and other spaces on the Blach campus are available for the charter school.

“I want to welcome our new neighbors into this,” Smith said. “We want this to work. We need to approach it with the spirit of doing the best we can. When things don’t work, we will have a civilized discussion. There will be bumps in the road, but if we go into it with the thought of sharing and getting along, it can work.”

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