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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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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