Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Ventana offers twist on traditional education


Courtesy of Ventana School
Students at Ventana School in Los Altos participate in an outdoor lesson.

Tucked away on a quiet, hilly campus in Los Altos, Ventana School is working to redefine school for the 21st century.

Ventana’s approach to education does not include new iPads or a state-of-the-art science lab. Founded in 2005 by Christ Episcopal Church, Ventana is one of the few schools in the country practicing the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education, where teachers guide children to make their own discoveries.

Marcy Barton, Ventana’s new curriculum director, brings more than 40 years of teaching experience and expertise on curriculum, which she honed via her own independent lab school, Creekside Learning Lab, and her work with Stanford University’s d.school, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, which emphasizes “design thinking.”

“What is remarkable is that our hands-on, inquiry-based program for children meshes so well with Marcy’s approach,” said Nicole Bien, Ventana’s head of school, of Barton’s experience with design thinking and her “disruptive model of curriculum integration through big ideas.”

The concepts carried out in Ventana’s classrooms are open-ended and encourage exploration. They are full of natural and art materials – there are no commercial learning kits or toys.

“The call in the 21st century is for kids who can think, solve problems, collaborate and communicate,” Barton said.

Barton will help teachers improve their skill at developing curriculum across all disciplines based on “big questions,” like “Who am I?” or “Is conflict a means to an end?”

At Creekside Learning Lab, Barton showed that without workbooks or traditional test prep, and with little direct instruction, students exceeded the standardized test scores of their peers in traditional classrooms. Students were “off the charts” in science, she said, adding that after only one year in the program, they became more independent, empathetic and articulate.

Both Barton and Bien said they take care to distinguish Ventana’s project-based approach from what many people know as “school projects.” At Ventana, they said, a project is based on a student’s own line of inquiry rather than a teacher’s assignment, and the process is more important than the product.

The school’s Third Place Speaker Series has scheduled a discussion on project work with author and educator Judy Harris Helm 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Graham Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

Ventana School is located at 1040 Border Road, Los Altos. For more information, visit ventanaschool.org.

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