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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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