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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Students take part in Hour of Code


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High School students, above, Bullis Charter School students, and Los Altos School District students all participated in Hour of Code activities at their schools last week to mark Computer Science Education Week.

Local students of all ages buried their heads in laptops and tablets last week as they learned the basics of computer coding during The Hour of Code, a national education event celebrating Computer Science Education Week.

The Hour of Code is designed to show K-12 students the importance of computer science and to prove that regardless of age, race or gender, anyone can learn how to build the technologies of the future, not just consume them.

According to national statistics, 90 percent of U.S. schools do not teach computer science; fewer students are learning how computers work than a decade ago; and girls and minorities are severely underrepresented. Yet technology is increasingly shaping nearly every aspect of life.

At Los Altos High School, 1,750 students spent at least one hour during the week learning computer science in their math classes. They participated in online tutorials featuring Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and the Angry Birds computer game.

“There are so many jobs out there that include coding,” said Jeanne Yu, mathematics and computer science teacher at Los Altos High. “These exercises show students that it is actually fun and quite possible to do. This is one way to show students that computer science is very accessible.”

Los Altos High didn’t stop at just one hour. Approximately 150 students participated in an after-school coding event designed to expose them to additional activities and challenges and to engage their curiosity in taking computer science courses.

“These activities encourage students to think about computer science more and serve to connect students with other students who are interested in coding,” said Danielle Paige, Los Altos High science teacher. “There is a lot that can be done with coding.”

Students were given the challenge of working to design an application that runs an analog clock and were entered in a contest to win a Nexus Tablet.

Los Altos High currently offers an AP Computer Science class and an Introduction to Computer Science class. Teachers expect that Hour of Code activities will boost interest in those courses.

Students in the lower grades also benefited from The Hour of Code. K-8 students at Bullis Charter School used programs such as Adobe JavaScript and Tynker, and some participated in offline activities to practice fundamental coding skills. Computer science is part of the charter school’s curriculum via its project-based learning units and cocurricular classes. Students use platforms like Scratch programming, Google SketchUp and LEGO Robotics in the curriculum.

With additional funding from the Los Altos Educational Foundation, Los Altos School District students of all age groups are taking a first stab at computer science this year.

District kindergartners manipulated robotic Bee-Bots, which they program to move. First- and second-graders used an app featuring Daisy the Dinosaur to learn the basics of programming. Third- through fifth-graders tried Scratch programming, and sixth-graders reflected on the importance of computer science while working on Hour of Code activities online. Seventh- and eighth-graders took part in lunchtime coding opportunities.

For more information, visit csedweek.org/learn.

Hour of Code at Los Altos High School - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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