Thu09182014

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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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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