Sat10252014

Schools

Organ donation mobilizes local Los Altos High students


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Maeso sisters – Allegra, left, and Skyler – lead the Pink Dot ORGANization at Los Altos High, which promotes organ donation.

It might seem unlikely for an aspiring forensic pathologist to also discover a passion for prolonging life, but that’s just what Los Altos teenager Allegra Maeso did after her grandmother died of Type 2 diabetes.

When Maeso learned that her grandmother was ineligible for a life-saving organ transplant, she rallied her family and friends to create the Pink Dot ORGANization – a club to raise awareness of organ donation. With the demand for organs far outpacing the supply from living and deceased donors, 18 people in the U.S. die each day because of the shortage, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

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BCS teacher works with online lesson plan resource


Photos Courtesy of Bullis Charter School
Bullis Charter School seventh-grade teacher Lisa Stone, right, worked on LearnZillion’s Dream Team this summer to develop online Common Core-aligned lesson plans, left.

Bullis Charter School has a new tool in its arsenal this year as it tackles the implementation of Common Core curriculum standards.

Seventh-grade teacher Lisa Stone was one of 200 chosen from among 4,000 applicants for the “Dream Team” assembled by the educational startup LearnZillion. Stone and the other members of the Dream Team worked to create online lesson plans for teachers that are Common Core-aligned.

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Local youth designers showcase fashions


Courtesy of Kathy Bonte
Young local designers from the DezignKidz program met with their models in preperation for Bay Area Fashion Week, where their creations will be shown.

DezignKidz, a Mountain View-based organization that has trained more than 1,000 local students, 7 to 14, how to design and create clothing and accessories, has been invited to participate in the upcoming Bay Area Fashion Week (BAFW), Sept. 18-27.

The annual weeklong event encompasses a series of fashion shows and events across the Peninsula designed to raise money for various charities. It features a mix of upcoming and established design talent. The DezignKidz students will be the youngest designers showcasing their work.

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Program turns parents into school-day advocates


Courtesy of Sonia Maiello.
Project Cornerstone parent reader Sonia Maiello regales a Montclaire classroom.

Parent volunteers at Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos are gearing up for the seventh year of Project Cornerstone, a countywide YMCA initiative that encourages students to become champions for themselves and others.

The program draws on a national study that connected developmental assets such as family support, adult role models and reading for pleasure to reduced risky behavior. The assets help children feel empowered, valued, respected and safe. The program theorizes that the more resources children perceive within their community, the less likely they are to engage in high-risk behavior.

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Alta Vista High starts year with full freshman class

For the first time, Alta Vista High School started the school year with a full freshman class last month.

The alternative high school has long focused on juniors and seniors who weren’t thriving at the district’s two main high schools, offering them an opportunity to catch up on credits in a focused, small-school environment. Over time it added resources for younger students, and last year the school began accepting freshmen who had failed to graduate from eighth grade. The goal was to help them catch up before entering the sophomore year at Los Altos or Mountain View highs. This year, a full class of 20 started high school at Alta Vista.

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Community support pays dividends


As a recent cover story in The New York Times Magazine revealed, getting low-income students into college is not enough to close the achievement/income gap. The percentage of low-income students entering college who actually earn a degree lags far behind the success rate of other college students. Furthermore, many who do graduate fail to get jobs that allow them to pay off their formidable college debts.

In Los Altos and Mountain View, however, many volunteers and donors are committed to seeing that scenario change. The MVLA Community Scholars program, founded in 2000 by local resident Jim Strand and now a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation, has from its inception recognized the challenges that underserved students face in completing college.

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Local tutoring center earns kudos in parent magazine's reader poll


Courtesy of Kobad Bugwadia
Mathnasium’s fourth-grade participants, from left, Jenna Haynie, Maelle Allanic, Tanish Gupta, Hamza Raza and David Chan, join instructors to celebrate their achievements in the tutoring center’s national TriMathlon this year.

Mathnasium, a math tutoring franchise with a location in Mountain View, recently earned recognition from a family magazine for the level of service it provides.

Bay Area Parent Magazine – a publication that covers topics including education, enrichment and health – included Mathnasium in its 2014 “Best of the Best” issue that awards Gold, Silver and Bronze accolades to various services. Mathnasium received a Silver for “Math and Science Support” in Silicon Valley.

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