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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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Pinewood School hosts academic enrichment program


Niuniu Teo/Special to the Town Crier
Pinewood School math teacher Scott Green helps Francisco “Paco” Rivera Navarro with a problem during the school’s summer Peninsula Bridge program.

The school year has long surrendered to summer, but classes are still in session at Pinewood School.

The Pinewood Upper Campus in Los Altos Hills welcomed a new batch of middle-schoolers for the summer, hosting the seventh- and eighth-grade summer component of the Peninsula Bridge program.

Peninsula Bridge, a donor-funded nonprofit organization, collaborates with local schools to provide tuition-free academic enrichment for motivated students from under-resourced communities.

Pinewood opened its campus for the program last year for the first time.

“They wanted to expand, and we were looking for a summer outreach program to participate in, so it worked out,” said Bonnie Traymore, Pinewood’s site director.

The program is volunteer driven. Pinewood students and alumni serve as teacher assistants (TAs), and instructors from Pinewood and other local schools are hired to teach.

A career perspective

Traymore, a certified college-counselor, emphasizes a constructive college and job-hunting perspective.

“I start from the perspective of careers,” she said. “It’s not just about school and more school, it’s about the end result, and it makes more sense to them.”

This year, DPR Construction, a major donor to the program, visited the campus and taught students about bridge building.

“The surprising thing is, they didn’t just bring in architects, construction workers, who you might expect,” Traymore said of DPR. “They brought in people in computer science and graphics so that you could really see why it’s worth it to go to college and how many cool jobs you can do afterwards.”

Traymore said she plans to expand the career-planning component of Pinewood’s program next year.

“People assume that the kids just know what they’re working for, but a lot of the time they don’t,” she said. “We want to expand our focus on careers, and get local businesses involved, like Google and Facebook – get the kids thinking about jobs they could do in their community.”

Role models

The high school students who volunteer to assist in the program play an important role in the program’s mission of setting middle-schoolers on a path to college, according to Traymore.

“We want to infuse them with a college-going mindset and culture,” she said. “Having the TAs going through the college application process, or having gone through it, gives the kids role models that they can respect and try to follow.”

The volunteers said they enjoy the teaching experience as well, contributing significant amounts of their summer to the program.

“I really like seeing how they start out in the beginning and how they end up,” said Chloe Robinette, a two-time Bridge volunteer, of students in the program. “In the beginning, they’re hesitant to even raise their hands or put in effort. But in the end, you can just see that they really value working hard. I love seeing their confidence just skyrocket.”

According to Robinette, soft-spoken eighth-grader Yasmine Naeata, black curly hair escaping from under her turquoise beanie, is one of their “rock-star students.”

“I do feel a difference (from school),” Naeata said. “There are more activities and fewer people, so you feel like you’re being more engaged because you’re being talked to more often by TAs and teachers.”

Future leaders

Traymore has high hopes for the students.

“The goal is that they pre-learn the material and stay ahead in class,” she said. “That way, they become leaders in their classes and maybe change the culture, make it cool to get ahead, work hard and get good grades.”

In a seventh-grade pre-algebra class, the summer students can both get ahead and goof off.

Rohan Suresh, a junior at Pinewood, sits in a huddle with his group of seventh-graders, desks pushed into a circle. He’s teaching absolute-value pre-algebra. Or rather, he’s trying.

Peninsula Bridge student Francisco Rivera Navarro, who goes by Paco, has just grabbed Suresh’s pen.

“Give me the pen,” Suresh says, hand extended.

Navarro gives an impish smile. “No.”

“Give. Me. The. Pen.”

Paco places it in Suresh’s outstretched hand, then snatches it away before Suresh can close his fingers. Navarro chuckles to himself. At this point, Suresh abandons all pretense of a diplomatic approach, grabs the pen and calmly continues to teach pre-algebra.

Standardized testing, college admissions and careers are far from their minds – after all, it is summer.

For more information, visit peninsulabridge.org.

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