08302016Tue
Last updateWed, 31 Aug 2016 4pm

News

Schools

LAEF announces $3.7 million goal

The Los Altos Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization led by a board of parent volunteers, is targeting a fundraising goal of $3.7 million for the 2016-2017 school year.

For more than 30 years, LAEF has raised funds from parents and the com...

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Community

 Foothill-De Anza chancellor highlights innovative programs in Rotary Club talk

Foothill-De Anza chancellor highlights innovative programs in Rotary Club talk


Steve Pomeroy/Rotary Club of Los Altos
Judy Miner addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos at its Aug. 4 meeting.

Despite state funding cuts, Chancellor Judy C. Miner of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District remains positive about the colle...

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Sports

Eagles get defensive

Eagles get defensive


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos quarterback Cooper Cornell, above, hands the ball off to fullback Nick Pontius, who also starts at defensive tackle.

Football coaches can’t help but be optimistic this time of year – every team is st...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Remove coyotes from Los Altos

Coyotes are dangerous apex predators that are killing many cats (at least 10 in the past year) and will move on to attacking dogs and people.

Nationally, a number of people have been attacked recently, including four b...

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Special Sections

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Business

LAH startup aims to make startups happy

LAH startup aims to make startups happy


Whether it’s a nail salon or a car mechanic on the premises, many startups are finding creative ways to keep employees happy. Coders have come to expect services at the office, but CEOs – and overstressed human resource officers –...

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People

EDITH B. LACHENBRUCH

EDITH B. LACHENBRUCH

Nov. 4, 1927- Aug. 7, 2016

Edith B. Lachenbruch died on Sunday, August 7th surrounded by family in her Corvallis, Oregon home. She lived an engaged and thoughtful life. Those who knew her will take comfort thinking of the almost 89 years that she ...

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Business

LAH startup aims to make startups happy

LAH startup aims to make startups happy

Whether it’s a nail salon or a car mechanic on the premises, many startups are finding creative ways to keep employees happy. Coders have come to expect services at the office, but CEOs – and overstressed human resource officers – can’t always keep up with workers’ de...

Readmore

Sports

Eagles get defensive

Eagles get defensive

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos quarterback Cooper Cornell, above, hands the ball off to fullback Nick Pontius, who also starts at defensive tackle.

Football coaches can’t help but be optimistic this time of year – every team is still undefeated. Los Altos High coach Trevor Pruitt...

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Community

Foothill-De Anza chancellor highlights innovative programs in Rotary Club talk

 Foothill-De Anza chancellor highlights innovative programs in Rotary Club talk

Steve Pomeroy/Rotary Club of Los Altos
Judy Miner addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos at its Aug. 4 meeting.

Despite state funding cuts, Chancellor Judy C. Miner of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District remains positive about the colleges’ innovative educational programs.

Miner...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Remove coyotes from Los Altos

Coyotes are dangerous apex predators that are killing many cats (at least 10 in the past year) and will move on to attacking dogs and people.

Nationally, a number of people have been attacked recently, including four by rabid coyotes. There are serious problems in Los...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

'World-embracing vision' requires a shift in thinking

 

More than 120 years ago, the prophet founder of the Baha’i faith wrote, “It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

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People

EDITH B. LACHENBRUCH

EDITH B. LACHENBRUCH

Nov. 4, 1927- Aug. 7, 2016

Edith B. Lachenbruch died on Sunday, August 7th surrounded by family in her Corvallis, Oregon home. She lived an engaged and thoughtful life. Those who knew her will take comfort thinking of the almost 89 years that she was able to be here as a living, helping, mindful,...

Readmore

Schools

LAEF announces $3.7 million goal

The Los Altos Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization led by a board of parent volunteers, is targeting a fundraising goal of $3.7 million for the 2016-2017 school year.

For more than 30 years, LAEF has raised funds from parents and the community to provide enrichment programs and smaller ...

Readmore

Special Sections

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor. As the band plays a Beatles tune followed by Brun...

Readmore

Stepping Out

TheatreWorks gets 'Party' started in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is scheduled to give American audiences their first look at the London hit “The Life of the Party,” a celebration of songs by Andrew Lippa.

The musical is slated to run today through Sept. 18 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

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Obituaries

EDITH B. LACHENBRUCH

EDITH B. LACHENBRUCH

Nov. 4, 1927- Aug. 7, 2016

Edith B. Lachenbruch died on Sunday, August 7th surrounded by family in her Corvallis, Oregon home. She lived an engaged and thoughtful life. Those who knew her will take comfort thinking of the almost 89 years that she was able to be here as a living, helping, mindful,...

Readmore

Magazine

Festival offers fun for just about everyone

Festival offers fun for just about everyone

TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The 37th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival expects to draw thousands of people to the downtown village over the weekend. The festival features arts, crafts, food, wine, beer and children’s activities.

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Bridging the digital divide, one laptop at a time


Photo By: Photo by Corinne Finegan Machatzke/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Photo By Corinne Finegan Machatzke/Special To The Town Crier Silicon for Society volunteer and Los Altos High student Jordan Stout explains a computer concept with help from Almond parent and volunteer interpreter Bertha Vera to Almond parent Sonia Garcia.

One day several years ago, then-Los Altos High School student Jack Montgomery and his classmates handed in their AP English papers. The students, by and large, typed their papers on home computers and neatly printed them out. One paper, however, was handwritten.

Montgomery was surprised to learn that day that his classmate didn’t have a computer at home. He and his friend, Tyler Stout, couldn’t believe that in the middle of Silicon Valley, access to technology wasn’t a given.

The two determined to do something to help level the playing field for their fellow students, subsequently launching Silicon for Society, a nonprofit organization that donates computers to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them and provides tutoring to teach them how to use them.

An essential part of the curriculum

Flash forward to a recent Saturday afternoon at Almond School in Los Altos. Two Silicon for Society volunteers – Los Altos High juniors Jordan Stout, younger brother of founder Tyler, and Cole Limbach – ran the second of three computer-training sessions for six Almond parents, all English-language learners.

An equal number of Almond parent volunteers joined them working one-on-one, translating that day’s lesson, “How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation,” from English to Spanish. The previous Saturday’s training focused on basic computer skills such as creating and saving documents.

Some attendees had never used a computer.

As Sonia Garcia, parent of Almond students in the first and sixth grades, related via volunteer interpreter Juan Cesares, “It’s very interesting. I have never taken a class like this and I’m learning a lot. Now I will be able to help my children.”

Almond principal Nancy Davis, who invited Silicon for Society to conduct the sessions for the families, said the school initially focused on fifth- and sixth-grade families, as computers become an essential part of the curriculum in those years. But some of the families receiving the lessons and laptops have younger children, too, so they’ll also benefit, she added.

“We are creating a progressive 21st-century education for our students,” Davis said. “In order to equalize opportunity, we need to ensure access to the tools that support academic success for all students.”

After a third session focused on navigating the Internet and the successful completion of a review test – retakes and supplemental training are available as needed – attendees will receive free laptops delivered to their homes.

Silicon for Society volunteers set up the laptops in the optimal location to access the free Wi-Fi that Google Inc. provides for the city of Mountain View. Attendees also receive a manual and the phone number of a Silicon for Society volunteer for ongoing technical support.

Ongoing training and support

“The most amazing thing is the (Los Altos High students) realized that you can’t hand someone a box and say, ‘Good luck,’” said Janine Wulfsohn, volunteer interpreter at the Almond session and co-chairwoman of Almond’s Translation Committee. “They got from the get-go that you need to also provide a whole series of training. They wrote a manual they use for leading sessions and to train other trainers. It’s a codified, organized class with a specific curriculum. They were just sophomores when they started.”

Wulfsohn said her sixth-grader receives all of his assignments through Edmodo, a private site similar to Facebook. Students are able to ask their teacher questions from home via the site.

“If he didn’t have a computer, he would miss all of this,” she said. “To bring the laptops into people’s homes who don’t have one brings them up to speed with everyone else. At our local middle school, Egan, homework assignments are available online. It’s very hard to be a student without a computer. They have to stay at school after hours to try to finish their work.”

Davis said she sees the program as a win all around. In addition to the families and students benefiting from receiving the technology training and laptops, she sees the student-trainers gaining, too.

“For the high school students who are training others, the benefits are two-fold,” she said. “The students gain a great deal, plus they’re training other young entrepreneurs in teaching techniques and how to continue this essential program.”

Los Altos High School volunteers train their fellow students in computer and Internet use over the course of six 45-minute sessions after school.

“Thankfully, our biggest challenge right now is trying to find students,” Jordan Stout said. “Los Altos is doing well right now, but we need more laptops to help other schools. Our goal is to empower underprivileged youth through the use of technology. A lot of students don’t have the same technology advantages as their classmates. Not having access to technology is a huge impediment to being able to apply to college and get better grades in high school.”

Silicon for Society comprises its two founders, now both in college, several Los Altos High School students and a volunteer at Steve Jobs’ alma mater, Homestead High School. It is affiliated with the nonprofit Los Altos Community Foundation, enabling tax-deductible donations.

Silicon for Society volunteers erase the hard drives of donated laptops and load the Linux operating system. Laptop donations have come from individuals and most recently a local hospice. The group has distributed 30 laptops to date and trained 34 individuals in addition to the six Almond families currently undergoing training.

“I’d like to see it expand beyond our core group of volunteers and to other local schools,” Jordan Stout said. “The more volunteers and laptops we have, the more students we can help.”

To donate a laptop or for more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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