Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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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