Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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