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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Schools keep top rankings despite dip in test scores

While the 2013 Academic Performance Index results reported that many local schools scored lower than in the previous year, Los Altos public schools are still among the state’s top performers.

The Los Altos School District placed fourth in the state, and Bullis Charter School ranked as the 14th highest-scoring elementary school on the 2013 API, released last week.

The mandated tests measure a school’s composite academic achievement based on a variety of statewide assessments. API calculations encompass the content areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and History based on Standardized Testing and Reporting results.

The schools and the districts receive an annual API score between 200 and 1,000. The state’s goal is for all its schools to score higher than 800.

The downward trend in scores is countywide. After a majority of county schools demonstrated increases between their Base API and their Growth API the previous three years (79 percent in 2010, 69 percent in 2011 and 67 percent in 2012), that figure dropped significantly in 2013, with only 37 percent of schools experiencing an increase from their 2012 Base API and their Growth API. LASD results The Los Altos School District earned an overall score of 960, a nine-point dip from 2012, and reported the second-best showing among county districts.

The API scores of eight of the Los Altos School District’s nine schools declined from the previous year. Almond earned 953 (-1); Covington, 973 (-8); Gardner Bullis, 946 (-12); Loyola, 952 (-13); Santa Rita, 940 (-16); Springer, 953 (-7); Egan Junior High, 976 (-5); and Blach Intermediate, 957 (-14). Only Oak Avenue saw a slight uptick – to 984 (+1). Oak ranked 10th among county elementary schools and 24th in the state. Covington ranked 16th in the county and 44th in the state. Egan ranked fourth among county junior highs and ninth statewide. Blach ranked seventh in the county and 23rd in the state.

Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier said it was unclear why scores dropped at so many district schools, but he noted that the trend was similar among high-performing districts statewide. Despite the dip, Baier said the district is pleased with the results.

“We are surely proud of our performance,” he said. “Our kids are performing exceedingly well, and we are among the top-performing districts in the state, as we have been since the beginning of these tests.”

Bullis Charter School was the top-scoring school in Los Altos, fifth in Santa Clara County and 14th in the state with a score of 989, a five-point decline from last year. In addition to earning the highest-ranking API score in Los Altos, the school is the top-performing charter school in the state. MVLA results The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District recorded a 2013 API score of 870, the same as in the previous year. Mountain View High scored 861, a six-point decline, while Los Altos High scored 895, a six-point gain. Alta Vista High, the district’s alternative high school, scored 613, an 85-point drop. According to an MVLA district report, Latino and socioeconomically disadvantaged students at Los Altos High registered an annual improvement of 22 points and 37 points, respectively. Over an 11-year period, API scores for Latino students in the district have increased 187 points.

“Our growth, especially among Latino and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, is a testament to LAHS’ commitment to challenging and supporting students,” said Joanne Miyahara, coordinator of Los Altos High’s Advancement Via Individual Determination program. “Staff development efforts … have helped create a culture where students are encouraged to take on challenging tasks and learn much more effectively through explicit coaching and metacognition.” Miyahara added that the school’s investment in academic support programs and the staff’s commitment to what is best for all students have been instrumental in the success.

Neighboring districts Montclaire Elementary School, located in Los Altos but part of the Cupertino Union School District, scored 968 on this year’s API – a six-point gain. Homestead High School, which serves areas of Los Altos, scored 873 (-1). Cupertino Middle School, which serves Los Altos families, scored 934 (-1). Gunn High School, which includes part of Los Altos Hills, scored 917 (-1). For a comprehensive report on California’s 2013 API, visit cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap.

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