Sat09202014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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