Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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