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News

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water officials said today that preliminary water quality test results were negative for E. coli were negative and "only a single hydrant" in the South El Monte area of Los Altos showed the presence of total coliform. They reduced the "boil your ...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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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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