Wed09172014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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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

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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