Last updateWed, 24 Aug 2016 12pm

LASD begins new year with new faces and new curriculum guides

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Gardner Bullis School community welcomed new principal Nadia Oskolkoff, second from right, during the school’s back-to-school Popcorn Social Aug. 16.

The Los Altos School District kicked off the school year last week by introducing new curriculum guides for teachers and welcoming two new principals.

After a yearlong process that included input from teachers across all grade levels and from all district schools, officials published grade-level-specific curriculum guides to streamline instruction this year.

Bullis Boosters Camp adds leadership element

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Bullis Boosters Camp counselors-in-training, from left, Nicole Andrews, Elena Atluri and Amrita Sangani serve snacks to students at the summer bridge camp.

In addition to its tuition-free summer bridge camp for local underserved students, the Bullis Boosters Camp expanded to include a counselor-in-training leadership program this year.

In an attempt to add sustainability to the annual program for second- through fourth-graders, camp officials added the leadership element for junior high and high school students.

Two local students share test prep skills

Courtesy of Justin Duan
Mountain View High School senior Derek Zhang, left, and St. Francis High School senior Justin Duan conduct an ACT prep class for low-income students at the Mountain View Teen Center.

Two local high school students provided free college test prep courses for low-income students this summer.

In partnership with the Mountain View Teen Center, Mountain View High School senior Derek Zhang and St. Francis High senior Justin Duan collaborated with officials from Mountain View and Los Altos high schools to connect with students in need.

Empoder bridges the opportunity divide through computer science camp for girls

Courtesy of Empoder
Empoder student teacher Brandon Hsiao, a senior at Mountain View High School, instructs a middle schooler at the four-week computer science camp.

Aiming to make a systemic change and promote diversity in the tech sector, Empoder founder and Los Altos Hills native Marissa Yanez redesigned her computer science camp this year.

Empoder is a nonprofit venture focused on exposing underserved students to engineering and computer science. This year Empoder offered a summer program that capitalized on local high school AP Computer Science students’ knowledge to deliver a free and challenging program to low-income sixth- and seventh-grade girls in the Mountain View Whisman School District.

College students make progress on African storytelling endeavor

Courtesy of Michael Bakan
Los Altos native Michael Bakan, left, spends time with a friend in Soweto. Bakan and fellow Bellarmine College Preparatory alum Drew Descourouez founded The Simunye Project, aimed at telling the stories of South Africans.

Los Altos residents Michael Bakan and Drew Descourouez in June traveled 10,000 miles to Soweto, a township in South Africa where the aftershocks of apartheid still reverberate throughout the community.

The college students are still there, implementing their Simunye Project. It’s aimed at telling the stories of Soweto residents and generating dialogue in the U.S. about the struggles in post-apartheid South Africa. The project was first featured in the June 29 Town Crier, prior to the students’ departure.

Battle back-to-school nerves with end-of-summer reads

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Santa Rita School fifth-grader Jenna Wakimoto browses the shelves at the Los Altos main library with her mom, Karen Buynan, last week.

You can still feel the sun beating down, hear the kids splashing in the pool, taste the barbecue fresh off the grill, yet somehow the school year is already looming. With it, parents’ minds turn from water slides to the dreaded “summer slide,” the loss of the previous year’s reading and math skills.

AAUW supports local students at STEM Tech Trek camp

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Tech Trek campers study the contents of a baby albatross’ stomach to understand the effect plastic can have on the marine ecosystem. The American Association of University Women provided scholarships that enabled seven local middle-school girls to attend the camp at Stanford University.

Seven local girls had the chance to meet female scientists, build rockets and discover the amount of vitamin C in energy drinks at the American Association of University Women’s Tech Trek camp at Stanford University earlier this month.

Tech Trek, a weeklong, live-in science and math camp, is designed to develop interest, excitement and self-confidence in girls set to enter eighth grade. The camp features hands-on activities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

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