12102016Sat
Last updateWed, 07 Dec 2016 3pm

News

Despite recounts, Registrar plans to call races

Despite an ongoing hand recount, clarity is about to arrive for the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills City Councils – and current top vote-getters Lynette Lee Eng and Roger Spreen are expected to be named winners tomorrow, according to the Santa Clara Co...

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Schools

JustREAD helps local English learner students

JustREAD helps local English learner students


Courtesy of JustRead
JustREAD volunteer Elenora Nelson works with a sixth-grader at Crittenden Middle School.

JustREAD seeks to broaden its impact on local students’ lives by adding to its volunteer pool.

The 12-year-old nonprofit organizat...

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Community

Los Altos Rhodes Scholar sees health within a community's greater context

Los Altos Rhodes Scholar sees health within a community's greater context


Doyle
 

From guide dogs to culinary architecture, Los Altos native Alexis Doyle has worked across fields as a young scholar, but she had to learn to knit it all together – not only as a pre-medical student, but as a candidate proving her b...

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Sports

Coach gets a kick out of Spartans

Coach gets a kick out of Spartans


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Manuel Rozay, right, battles a Sacred Heart Prep player for the ball in last week’s season opener.

Now in his 28th season as Mountain View High’s boys soccer coach, Jim McGuirk has seen it all. He...

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Comment

The last hundred years: A Piece of My Mind

Some time back I stumbled across a binder that my mother had created when she took a class on writing memoirs back in 1998. At that time, I remember she tried to interest me in her writing, but I was busy and just nodded, glad she had found something...

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Special Sections

Blast from the past

Blast from the past


Gary Anderson/Special to the town Crier
The Donut Derelicts – a group of local car enthusiasts – check out the 2016 Mustang GT California Special convertible. The car is an homage to the 1968 model.

 

What better place to display a car wit...

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Business

Maltby finds a new home – not too far from home

Maltby finds a new home – not too far from home


Megan Winslow/Town Crier
Restaurateur James Maltby now operates the restaurant at the local Courtyard Marriott.

When James Maltby closed his namesake restaurant last summer after a rent hike, many Los Altos residents wanted to know where the res...

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People

ANNE KESTEN BERNSTEIN

Long time Los Altos Hills resident, Anne Kesten Bernstein, born July 12, 1931 in New York City, died peacefully in the comfort of hospice care on November 15, 2016.

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News

Despite recounts, Registrar plans to call races

Despite an ongoing hand recount, clarity is about to arrive for the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills City Councils – and current top vote-getters Lynette Lee Eng and Roger Spreen are expected to be named winners tomorrow, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

Readmore

Business

Maltby finds a new home – not too far from home

Maltby finds a new home – not too far from home

Megan Winslow/Town Crier
Restaurateur James Maltby now operates the restaurant at the local Courtyard Marriott.

When James Maltby closed his namesake restaurant last summer after a rent hike, many Los Altos residents wanted to know where the restaurateur would end up next. It turns out that he ...

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Sports

Coach gets a kick out of Spartans

Coach gets a kick out of Spartans

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Gerson Perez, right, battles a Sacred Heart Prep player for the ball in last week’s season opener.

Now in his 28th season as Mountain View High’s boys soccer coach, Jim McGuirk has seen it all. He’s worked with good teams that...

Readmore

Community

Los Altos Rhodes Scholar sees health within a community's greater context

Los Altos Rhodes Scholar sees health within a community's greater context

Doyle
 

From guide dogs to culinary architecture, Los Altos native Alexis Doyle has worked across fields as a young scholar, but she had to learn to knit it all together – not only as a pre-medical student, but as a candidate proving her bona fides for a Rhodes Scholarship. She joined the...

Readmore

Comment

The last hundred years: A Piece of My Mind

Some time back I stumbled across a binder that my mother had created when she took a class on writing memoirs back in 1998. At that time, I remember she tried to interest me in her writing, but I was busy and just nodded, glad she had found something to interest her after my father’s death. No...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Briefs Dec. 7 2016

LA Lutheran offers ‘Soothe Your Soul’ sessions

Los Altos Lutheran Church has scheduled three “Soothe Your Soul: Prayer & Poetry” reflection sessions, 6:30-7:15 p.m. today and Dec. 14 and 21 in the sanctuary, 460 S. El Monte Ave.

The evenings – designed for those ...

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People

ANNE KESTEN BERNSTEIN

Long time Los Altos Hills resident, Anne Kesten Bernstein, born July 12, 1931 in New York City, died peacefully in the comfort of hospice care on November 15, 2016.

Readmore

Schools

JustREAD helps local English learner students

JustREAD helps local English learner students

Courtesy of JustRead
JustREAD volunteer Elenora Nelson works with a sixth-grader at Crittenden Middle School.

JustREAD seeks to broaden its impact on local students’ lives by adding to its volunteer pool.

The 12-year-old nonprofit organization provides academic support for middle and high ...

Readmore

Special Sections

Blast from the past

Blast from the past

Gary Anderson/Special to the town Crier
The Donut Derelicts – a group of local car enthusiasts – check out the 2016 Mustang GT California Special convertible. The car is an homage to the 1968 model.

 

What better place to display a car with direct links to the 1960s American muscle car tr...

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Stepping Out

'Christmas Ballet' leaps into Mtn. View

'Christmas Ballet' leaps into Mtn. View

David Allen/Special to the Town Crier
Dancer Rachel Furst leaps in Smuin's “The Christmas Ballet,” scheduled to run today through Sunday in downtown Mountain View.

Smuin's annual production of “The Christmas Ballet” is scheduled to make a stop in Mountain View this week.

With ballet, tap, swin...

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Obituaries

ANNE KESTEN BERNSTEIN

Long time Los Altos Hills resident, Anne Kesten Bernstein, born July 12, 1931 in New York City, died peacefully in the comfort of hospice care on November 15, 2016.

Readmore

Magazine

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Courtesy of Camping
Patrons of Camping, a restaurant in Buenos Aires, enjoy the warm weather during last year’s holiday season.

When I relocated from Mountain View to Buenos Aires in July, I knew I’d be stepping into winter. I packed my rain boots and heavy coat, and I set aside my longing for a p...

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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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