Thu10022014

News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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Statewide parent survey uncovers differences in school evaluations

Most parents claim that they don’t know about the new funding system in California schools but want to get involved in guiding how the funds are spent, according to a new survey by EdSource.

The statewide survey is the first to look at how connected and involved parents are with their children’s schools. It comes at a time when parents have been given a role by the State Legislature to provide input into how state education funds are spent through the Local Control Funding Formula now being implemented in schools across the state. Signed in July by Gov. Jerry Brown, the law also names parent involvement as one of several priority areas that schools must focus on.

The California Endowment underwrote the survey of 1,003 parents, conducted via telephone by the polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates Nov. 5-12.

Survey results

Fifty-seven percent of parents reported knowing “nothing at all” about the new funding formula, compared to 9 percent who said they knew “a great deal” about it, underscoring the challenge school districts and parent organizations face in educating parents about the new reforms.

Once parents were given a brief summary, 75 percent expressed support for the reforms, and one in 10 said he or she opposed them. Three-quarters (76 percent) said they were “very” or “somewhat” involved in their children’s schools, with close to one-third (30 percent) reporting that they were very involved. Most gave favorable ratings – an A or B grade – to their children’s schools, and most reported high levels of communication with them.

“Contrary to popular perceptions of many parents being disengaged from their child’s schools, the fact that parents are already involved in their child’s school, and feel welcome there, presents a good foundation for them to become involved in California’s new funding law,” said EdSource Executive Director Louis Freedberg.

Diversity of opinions

The survey revealed distinct differences between high-income and low-income parents, including:

• Nearly four in 10 parents (39 percent) who reported incomes of $100,000 or more describe themselves as “very involved,” compared with 24 percent of those reporting incomes of $30,000 or less.

• Forty-three percent of parents with incomes higher than $100,000 gave their children’s schools an A, compared with only 25 percent of parents with incomes of under $30,000.

• Thirty-nine percent of low-income parents felt that only a small group of parents had the opportunity to engage in decision-making at their children’s schools, compared with 19 percent of high-income parents.

According to Freedberg, the differences suggest that schools will have to work harder to engage low-income parents – whose children are one of the targets of the new funding legislation – in their schools.

“Because of what we know about the strong link between parent involvement and academic outcomes, it is reassuring that parents from all income levels want to be involved,” he said. “The challenge facing California’s education leaders is how to ensure that all of them have the opportunity to do so.”

Parents cited lack of time and conflicting work schedules as the major obstacles in getting more involved in giving input on how the funds will be spent.

They also said there were several steps schools could take to increase their involvement, including giving plenty of advance notice and assuring them that they would have a meaningful voice in the process. Nearly half said child care at meetings would also make a difference, and a smaller number said transportation and translations from English would help.

Most parents said they participate in a wide range of activities in their children’s schools. A smaller proportion reported that they attend school board meetings (30 percent) or participate in school site councils or other school or district committees (24 percent).

Parents also said they received much of their information about their children’s schools through their children. Other less dominant information sources included conversations with their children’s teachers and school newsletters. As schools develop communication strategies around the school funding law, the importance of children as a major conduit of information cannot be underestimated.

For more information, visit edsource.org.

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