10222017Sun
Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 10am

Poor air quality prompts games to be canceled at local schools

Smoky skies prompted the cancellation of several h...

Foothills Congregational hosts justice forum

Foothills Congregational Church has scheduled “A F...

First Street office-park project abruptly halted -- reaction mixed

First Street office-park project abruptly halted -- reaction mixed

Courtesy of LACI
A rendering of the First Stre...
Costume Bank gears up for Halloween with wide selection, extended hours

Costume Bank gears up for Halloween with wide selection, extended hours


Photo Courtesy of Costume Bank
“Game of Thrones”...
Los Altos History Museum tells 'Asian Pacific American Story'

Los Altos History Museum tells 'Asian Pacific American Story'


Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum
Japanese-Am...
Bitter pathways debate muddles LAH election of new vice mayor

Bitter pathways debate muddles LAH election of new vice mayor

Courtesy of Bridget Morgan
The proposed pathwa...
LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers


Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven ...

News

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Los Altos residents Aimee Castaneda, left, and Trish Moore load donated household items from Moore’s front yard into a SUV Thursday. Within two days of posting a Nextdoor.com request for goods to help victims of the ...

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Schools

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers


Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven Merced, right, shares his computer science knowledge with classmate Angel Marshal.

Truly mastering a skill means being able to turn around and teach what you’ve been taught. That’s the case for mem...

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Community

Community Briefs

Schola Cantorum celebrates Halloween

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform two Halloween-themed “Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls” concerts.

The first is slated 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Ro...

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Sports

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis


Photo by Malcolm Slaney/
Special to the Town Crier Los Altos High’s Owen Mac-Kenzie, above, set a school record at the Clovis Invitational. Fellow Eagle Naomi Donovan ran the second-fastest time in school history there.

The Los Altos High cross-...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

LACI calls halt to First Street Green

It is with great sadness that I am announcing we are not moving forward with the First Street Green development project.

I love Los Altos. It is a fabulous town. As a native of this area, I appreciate how Los A...

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Special Sections

Passion Fit: Reduce risk of breast cancer via exercise, nutrition

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s important to understand the risks associated with the disease and what can be done to reduce them.

According to breastcancer.org, approximately 12 percent of women – that’s one in eight – in the U.S....

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Business

Despite high salaries, Santa Clara County ranks low nationally in discretionary income

Trove Technologies Inc. recently released a study revealing that California ranks third worst among states in discretionary income, despite boasting the fourth highest salaries.

Santa Clara County, along with five other California cities – San...

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People

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement


Abbors

 

Steve Abbors, general manager of the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, plans to retire after nearly a decade at the public agency’s helm. He will stay on through the end of the year.

“Steve came aboard du...

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News

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Wildfires' impact felt locally
Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Los Altos residents Aimee Castaneda, left, and Trish Moore load donated household items from Moore’s front yard into a SUV Thursday. Within two days of posting a Nextdoor.com request for goods to help victims of the Northern California fires and first responders, Mo...

Readmore

Business

Despite high salaries, Santa Clara County ranks low nationally in discretionary income

Trove Technologies Inc. recently released a study revealing that California ranks third worst among states in discretionary income, despite boasting the fourth highest salaries.

Santa Clara County, along with five other California cities – San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Los Angeles and...

Readmore

Sports

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

Photo by Malcolm Slaney/
Special to the Town Crier Los Altos High’s Owen Mac-Kenzie, above, set a school record at the Clovis Invitational. Fellow Eagle Naomi Donovan ran the second-fastest time in school history there.

The Los Altos High cross-country team has to hope its strong showing at the...

Readmore

Community

Community Briefs

Schola Cantorum celebrates Halloween

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform two Halloween-themed “Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls” concerts.

The first is slated 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, and the second is set for 3 p.m. Oct. 29 at Lo...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

LACI calls halt to First Street Green

It is with great sadness that I am announcing we are not moving forward with the First Street Green development project.

I love Los Altos. It is a fabulous town. As a native of this area, I appreciate how Los Altos has kept its charm and has focused on the cit...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Spiritual Perspective: Celebrating 200 years of Baha'i faith

Every year each faith community commemorates the anniversary of several special events, including those associated with the lives of its founder and other significant people within that community.

            These occasions are times of collec...

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People

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Abbors

 

Steve Abbors, general manager of the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, plans to retire after nearly a decade at the public agency’s helm. He will stay on through the end of the year.

“Steve came aboard during a pivotal time for Midpen and helped us chang...

Readmore

Schools

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven Merced, right, shares his computer science knowledge with classmate Angel Marshal.

Truly mastering a skill means being able to turn around and teach what you’ve been taught. That’s the case for members of Los Altos High School’s Computer Engineers...

Readmore

Special Sections

Passion Fit: Reduce risk of breast cancer via exercise, nutrition

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s important to understand the risks associated with the disease and what can be done to reduce them.

According to breastcancer.org, approximately 12 percent of women – that’s one in eight – in the U.S. will develop breast cancer over the course of the...

Readmore

Stepping Out

Upstage Theater's 'William Shakespeare' plays this weekend

Upstage Theater’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” is scheduled Friday through Sunday at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

The play stars a group of teens who attempt to cover all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays in less than two hours. The show aims...

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Obituaries

KURT MOTOGAWA

KURT MOTOGAWA

Kurt Motogawa, beloved husband, devoted father and friend to all passed away very unexpectedly on October 7th while vacationing in Florida. He was 56.

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Magazine

'All are welcome' moms group celebrates families helping families

'All are welcome' moms group celebrates families helping families

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Stephanie Braun, from left, Adam Braun and Marty Braun of Mountain View and Michelle Evans, Chloe Knapp and Kevin Knapp of Sunnyvale swing at a recent Las Madres gathering at Marymeade Park in Los Altos.

A parent is born at the same time as her first child, and remad...

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Art with heart Los Altos Art Docents create a masterpiece in the classroom


Courtesy of Los Altos Art Docents
The Los Altos Art Docents teach art appreciation and hands-on art lessons in the Los Altos School District, skills they wove into the mural they painted at the district office.

Volunteers with the Los Altos Art Docents teach art with heart.

Founded in 1970 to offset funding cuts to art instruction in public schools, the Los Altos Art Docents comprises 80 volunteers who teach nearly 800 visual art lessons annually to elementary-school-age students in the Los Altos School District.

Although the nonprofit program has thrived for more than four decades, no two years are alike. There are no dramatic shifts in the curriculum from year to year but rather a series of continual tweaks. This year, docents will introduce new lessons for students as well as educational and social activities for themselves.

According to director Kimberly Dickerson, one recent change involves presenting lessons that include instructional strategies for areas in which teachers have been trained.

For example, sixth-graders work in groups, studying ancient works of art and figuring out where they originated. Such assignments not only encourage collaboration - a skill docents are instructed to weave into their lessons - but also complement the social studies curriculum.

"We’re really excited, because it’s a different way for us to bring appreciation lessons to the students," Dickerson said.

But it’s not just the oldest students whose curriculum is being updated - kindergartners will also see a change. This year’s plan includes the full rollout of a drawing and watercolor lesson partially introduced to students the previous year.

"(It) incorporates some techniques to help them draw and do a little bit of painting … and incorporate some of their social studies curriculum - the study of animals and their habitats," Dickerson said "We do this underwater sea scene with them, and that’ll be fun."

The benefits of volunteering

Los Altos Art Docents volunteers reap blessings that go beyond the joys of teaching art and art appreciation to young students - the volunteers enjoy the classroom engagement and the social and educational benefits of the program.

"It makes you smile when you think about the program, because it’s not just about going into the classroom and teaching the kids, it’s also about (docents) learning a bit more about art and having a good time together as well," said publicity coordinator Kristine Bardman.

Over the summer, docents attended a series of art-related camps where they practiced working with wire sculptures and clay. At one camp, docents threw darts to pop paint-filled water balloons attached to a canvas. Volunteers also sharpen their art history and creative skills via field trips throughout the year, most recently to the San Jose Museum of Art.

Bardman said one of the things she likes most about the program is that it’s a group of like-minded people who really enjoy the arts and one another’s company.

"So we see each other socially, we see each other in the classrooms," she said.

Making a mural

One of the larger projects docents have worked on is an 8-foot-by-10-foot mural outside the district office on Covington Road. What started as a team-building exercise in 2012 turned into a yearlong project that took four months to complete. Once they decided to create a mural, docents invited a local muralist to discuss the process with them.

Docents faced several obstacles before they could begin painting, including funding the project. The group applied for a grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Donor Circle for the Arts and their outreach paid off. After securing funding, they had to agree on a design for the mural.

"Because we teach hands-on art lessons and also art appreciation lessons, we were struggling with how to combine both into one mural," Dickerson said.

Docents wanted to include their signature red apron in the design, which Dickerson described as a "strong symbol" of the program. They also wanted to make sure that it was a project to which many people could contribute.

In the end, the group painted squares with images from many famous works of art, arranged them in a grid pattern and overlaid a picture of the red apron.

Group members set up boards in their office so that docents could drop in and out, each painting different squares. Docents who weren’t able to paint a square for the mural completed other tasks, such as applying a layer of varnish over the final product.

Bardman said students will recognize many of the works of art depicted in the mural, because docents discuss the artists and their masterpieces in their classroom lessons.

New year, new lessons

With a new school year, new lessons and new activities, docents are excited to step back in the classroom.

"The reason why I joined the program, and I think most of the docents joined the program, is because we love being in the classroom with the kids," Bardman said. "So it’s exciting for us to get back to school and get back to teaching lessons."

The Los Altos Art Docents seeks new recruits. No experience or artistic talent is required - the group provides training. Volunteers are asked to commit to teach once a week in the classroom during the school year.

To volunteer, call 947-1195 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information, visit losaltosartdocents.org. n

Reader Comments

The Town Crier presents:
The 129th Rescue Wing Aids in Hurricane Harvey Rescue

Read the full story about the rescue here.
 

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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