Fri09192014

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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ALearn supports underserved students via skills, confidence



ALearn graduates Adriana Sanchez, left, and Sal Chavez returned to the program as teaching assistants last summer. The nonprofit organization aims to put underrepresented students on a path to college. Town Crier file photo

ALearn offers a host of programs that provide academic support to underrepresented students, but equally important is the nonprofit agency’s focus on changing their mindsets.

According to ALearn founder and CEO Kathryn Hanson, belief precedes performance.

“If you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t,” she said. “We train everyone to change the way they’re thinking about themselves.”

ALearn serves struggling sixth- through ninth-graders, largely from Latino families in low-income school districts in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, via after-school and summer programs designed to shore them up academically. The organization trains credentialed teachers and college students – many of whom graduate from the program and return as teaching assistants – to emphasize Common Core State Standards. The goal is to create a cycle of learning, inspiration and success through ALearn’s Math Acceleration Program (MAP), MAP Plus, Catalyst to High School and Zoomz, a social network for students who are the first in their families to attend college.

“At the end of the day, it’s the sense that you can achieve – that’s the most important piece for kids,” said Hanson, a Los Altos resident.

The challenges are daunting. ALearn added sixth-graders to its lineup last summer at the request of teachers, who found that their students were already too far behind by the seventh grade. Failure to meet such students’ educational needs is a societal problem with long-term ramifications.

“We have an entire generation that are not getting the education they need to support the workforce,” Hanson said. “What we’re trying to do is change the trajectory for as many kids as we possibly can – get them on the path to college, get them on the path to successful careers.”

High-poverty districts confront additional challenges – gangs, violence, hunger, lack of social services – that result in only 12 percent of Latinos graduating from high school statewide, she said.

Closer to home, the income gap plays out in the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, which combines students from the Los Altos School District and the lower-income Mountain View-Whisman School District.

ALearn’s Catalyst to High School summer program addresses that gap by identifying students who could benefit from rigorous math instruction before entering high school. The program’s success is quantifiable – 70 percent of enrolled students pass the district’s algebra test and go straight into geometry. As a bonus, most develop a peer group, gain confidence in their skills and become familiar with teachers and the level of instruction.

“They have eased into high school,” Hanson said.

ALearn used last year’s Town Crier Holiday Fund to expand its programming and plans to do the same in 2014.

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