Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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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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