Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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