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News

Obama's coming to town

Obama's coming to town

The president is scheduled to make a stop about noon today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills. He and his entourage are expected to travel south from San Francisco to the event, then head back north for San Francisco International Airport and ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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