Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Student ingenuity on display during Ed-Con


Photo By: Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders collaborate at the Los Altos School District’s Student Ed-Con earlier this month, offering their input on how to improve their schools.

Unlike their peers, a select group of graduating sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from the Los Altos School District didn’t celebrate their final day of school June 12.

Approximately 65 students stayed an additional three days after school ended earlier this month to participate in the district’s first Student Ed-Con (Educational Conference), voicing their opinions on bettering education on district campuses.

Conference organizers divided students into eight collaborative action teams. Each team identified a challenge and worked to develop a prototype solution. Students used the design-thinking model to formulate ideas for reimagining and redesigning their educational experiences.

The design-thinking process includes five steps: Discover, Empathize, Define, Ideate and Prototype. Students began by defining challenges in local schools and determining how those might translate into opportunities.

Guest speaker Nikhil Goyal, author of “One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School” (Bravura, 2012), discussed “Identifying Opportunity” and addressed the students on the importance of each step in the design-thinking process. Sal Khan, founder of the online mathematics learning tool Khan Academy, spoke on “Acting on Your Vision,” and Chris Gerdes, director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University, explored “Prototyping to Action.”

Off-site professionals communicated with the students via Skype, offering suggestions on how to execute the ideas.

On the final day of the conference, the student groups presented their ideas to an audience of administrators, teachers, board members and parents. District administrators selected three ideas to attempt to implement in the next school year.

The first proposal addressed the process of sixth-graders selecting their seventh-grade electives. Currently, sixth-graders are required to choose their electives before any exposure to the subjects. The solution proposed to improve the process allows sixth-graders opportunities for “Elective Shopping,” where they could visit the junior high classes and experience the electives before making a decision on enrollment.

The second idea, “Project Me,” involved personalizing student learning. Students suggested allowing greater autonomy in the learning process, including expanded choices in classes and teachers, and more freedom and flexibility overall.

“They wanted more ownership in choosing how they learn,” said Alyssa Gallagher, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The final idea, “Democratic School,” would give students more input on policies that directly impact them. Gallagher said the district plans to implement the idea via student councils and governments throughout the district.

Gallagher said she considered the event a success and added that the district plans to sponsor another Student Ed-Con next year.

“We are thrilled with the possibilities that open up when you engage students and ask them to be part of their learning,” she said. “We learned a lot, and we thought it was valuable enough to continue for next year.”

For more information, visit www.lasd.studentedcon.org.

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