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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Construction at Blach continues as BCS prepares for new facilities


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Construction continues at Blach Intermediate School in Los Altos as Bullis Charter School officials formulate a plan to use their portion of the allocated space.

As summer continues, so does the placement of new portables for Bullis Charter School on the Blach Intermediate School campus.

According to Marlene Shafran, maintenance and operations director for the Los Altos School District, construction at Blach is on schedule for completion by Aug. 1.

Each year the district is required to provide Bullis Charter School with facilities. The charter school, in an effort to meet growing demand, has added a number of new classes, resulting in accelerated growth and the need for additional facilities. Beginning this fall, the charter school’s facilities will be split between Blach and Egan Junior High School.

The charter school has been offered portable facilities at Blach before, but this fall will mark the first year the charter school has active plans to use the space.

The district designed the Blach facilities offer to serve 129 in-district charter school students, anticipating that the charter school would house its sixth- through eighth-grade students on the Blach campus.

Bullis Charter School Superintendent Wanny Hersey said the school plans to use the Blach facilities to serve different grade levels at different times.

“We plan to use the space in a way that fully utilizes the resources at the Blach campus, and that will include different grade levels over there at different times,” Hersey confirmed in an email to the Town Crier. “Our teachers will be looking at units of study throughout the year and will decide what makes the most sense in terms of resources and location.”

Restricted use

While the portable space at Blach designated for the charter school has no restrictions as to which charter school students attend, the shared specialized teaching space (such as science labs, the gym, etc.) are restricted to sixth- through eighth-grade charter school students only.

Doug Smith, president of the district board of trustees, said the district made no accommodations for safety requirements for K-3 students on the Blach campus – such accommodations are available at the portions of the Egan Junior High School site assigned to the charter school.

According to charter school officials, they plan to house the FabLab, a fabrication laboratory, on the Blach campus. The FabLab features age-appropriate tools and materials that promote scientific modeling and simulations for robotics, sensing and digital fabrication. Hersey declined to disclose whether all grade levels would use the FabLab.

She said decisions related to details affecting room setup would be made once staff reports for training Aug. 5.

“Every summer since our school began, there have been last-minute changes made regarding our facilities, so we never finalize specific details like room assignments and room setup until closer to the start of the year,” Hersey said.

When asked specifically how the charter school plans to use the portables at Blach, Hersey said they expect to house project-based learning and design-thinking units there. Such cross-discipline methodologies are built into the charter school’s curriculum in all grades.

“We have more than 20 staff members participating in a Design Thinking professional development course this week to look for even more creative, innovative ways to use the resources we have next year,” she added. “In terms of how specifically we will use each site, we are still mapping out the logistics, and we look forward to sharing that with everyone once those decisions have been finalized.”

Another unique characteristic of the facilities offer for the charter school next year is a constraint on the number of students allowed on each campus. In accordance with California Environmental Quality Act regulations, the charter school may house no more than 469 students on the Egan campus and no more than 149 students on the Blach campus. The capacity limits prevent the charter school from housing its entire program on one campus, but schoolwide assemblies are permissible at specified times.

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