Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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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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Summer presents opportunities for standardized test prep

I have long been of the mindset that summers should be about lazy afternoons, spontaneous beach trips and good books. While summer decompression is absolutely crucial for school-year success, I’ve also seen how students’ school time commitments – homework, extracurricular activities, athletic obligations, social opportunities and family events – have escalated over the past decade.

Students with intense school commitments, including traveling club sports teams, or those who struggle with learning differences/disabilities can benefit from focusing on standardized test preparation over the summer. Doing so allows them to focus on their individual challenges free of other academic obligations, and, hopefully, to build skills that can benefit them once school begins in the fall.

Students thinking of applying to private high schools may want to prepare for the HSPT, SSAT or ISEE, depending on where they plan to apply. High school students may want to prepare for the SAT or the ACT, depending on their personal strengths and challenges. I generally recommend that they focus energy on preparing for one test rather than splitting efforts.

Following are some key ideas to consider when looking for a good match for standardized test preparation.

• Focus on skill building. Look at standardized test preparation as one piece of a greater puzzle. Perhaps your child needs help with grammar or is still struggling with some fundamental geometry concepts. Consider this an opportunity to address the holes in understanding to achieve a meaningful, long-term impact.

• Understand the importance of mindfulness and stress-relief techniques. All the preparation in the world won’t help if testing anxiety precludes a student from concentrating on test day. It is crucial that students develop key techniques to remain calm and focused, and to learn to regroup when a passage or section seems overly challenging.

• Classroom instruction may not be the most effective use of money or time. Although classroom instruction may be the most affordable way to go, most students have a difficult time staying on task for hours on end (especially in prep classes two to three hours long) and often don’t see a substantial gain in scores.

In classes of 15-20 students, individual strengths and weaknesses may be overlooked, and instructors often teach to the median student. Instructors frequently are unable to discuss all test problems when reviewing the practice tests, so students can easily continue to make the same mistakes.

One-on-one individual preparation, combined with full-length practice tests, would likely provide the best return on investment.

• Make sure that the instructor is a good personality match. An excellent instructor is not just someone who has personally mastered the material, he or she also must be empathetic, patient, approachable and able to explain concepts in multiple ways. Your child should feel comfortable asking questions and be calm and relaxed after sessions.

• Create opportunities for fun. Standardized test prep does not have to be stressful. Make it a family affair – choose an article to read collectively from The New York Times or a weekly magazine and discuss it over dinner. Certain online apps feature short quizzes that test skills and teach ways to improve techniques.

Ana Homayoun is founder of the Los Altos-based Green Ivy Educational Consulting and author of “The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success in School and Life.” For more information, visit www.greenivyed.com.

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