Tue09162014

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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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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