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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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BCS shares program with international community


Emily Nelson/SPecial to the Town Crier
Singapore Ministry of Education officials observe Bullis Charter School fifth-graders working in the school’s FabLab.

Bullis Charter School officials last week hosted 19 representatives from the Singapore Ministry of Education at the Bullis Center for Innovation on the Blach Intermediate School campus.

The ministry officials visited the Bay Area to learn about emerging innovations in education technology and to view best practices in implementing them.

The visiting delegation received a tour of ongoing activities at the campus, including the school’s FabLab and MakerSpace.

The FabLab, geared toward upper-grade students, houses technologies that teachers integrate into students’ project-based learning units. The visitors watched fifth-graders use 3-D printed materials to construct and design a prosthetic hand.

The MakerSpace, aimed at students in the lower grades, promotes design and assists students in designing prototypes for solutions to real-world problems. Fourth-graders used the space to create prototype solutions to protect the leatherback turtle at different life stages.

The Singapore ministry officials observed Bullis Charter School teachers as they integrated all aspects of the curriculum into student projects. Fifth-grade teacher Jessica Morgan explained how students are currently learning about the human body and its functions.

While studying the human body, students learn geometry via scales and measurements of the prosthetic hand project; technology via the 3-D design program and printer used to develop parts of the prosthetic hand; art via sculpting a clay structure with wires that imitate muscle action in the body; and physical education as they learn to tone different muscle groups and explore how the muscles work together.

The guests viewed an eighth-grade class creating a school of the future during an Intersession, a three-week intensive unit outside of the regular day-to-day curriculum, a major part of the junior-high program at Bullis Charter School.

The school of the future project was part of a national competition for which students had to meet a number of criteria, including enhancing the school’s green efforts and making it an engaging place to learn. As part of the Intersession, professional architects and interior designers discussed the requirements with students, and the class visited a green home. The students used SketchUp, 3-D modeling software, a laser cutter and a 3-D printer to assemble their schools of the future.

Tweaking the Blach campus

Because the Los Altos School District is asking Bullis Charter School to adhere to the rules outlined in its Facilities Use Agreement, the charter school has had to tweak how its uses space on the Blach campus.

Alison Schwartzbaum, the Bullis Charter School assistant principal who oversees the Bullis Center for Innovation, said the center’s program originally was designed to house students for three-week periods. The school split the upper and lower grades so that older students could use the FabLab while the younger students used the MakerSpace for their various project-based learning units.

The charter school’s communications director, Emily Nelson, said the rotations on the Blach campus were assigned after the school community determined that the design of the K-8 integrated program was non-negotiable. She added that parents and teachers wanted to make the Blach campus a site everyone could experience, not a permanent separation from the main charter school campus at Egan Junior High.

The district’s Facilities Use Agreement prescribes that kindergarten through third-grade students should not use the Blach facilities and places enrollment caps on both campuses.

In an effort to comply with the agreement but still maintain the charter school’s original vision for the program this year, Schwartzbaum said the MakerSpace site would relocate to the charter school’s space at Egan. It will not have a designated classroom there but will move from room to room as upper grades rotate onto the Blach campus.

“It’s rough trying to do MakerSpace on a cart,” Schwartzbaum said. “So it’s a bummer, but we are making it work.”

Because lower grades will no longer be using the Blach campus, fourth- through eighth-graders will have more time there than originally scheduled.

Schwarzbaum said the schedule, still under development, is “difficult,” especially given the enrollment caps.

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