Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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