Sun09142014

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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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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