Fri05062016

News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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