Elephant fundraiser continues for fourth year


Courtesy of Shaye Chirotarrab
Uma Chirotarrab, fourth from left, held her third annual elephant fundraiser in front of Sethi in 2017. Uma will be handing out cookies and accepting donations again on Monday.

 UPDATE: Postponed! Uma and her friends will not be downtown on Nov. 21 because of the poor air quality. She is hoping to reschedule for a December date.

Uma Chirotarrab, a seventh-grader at Egan Junior High School, is an elephant lover through and through. She has eight stuffed elephant friends in her bed to prove it, but she’s also been raising money for elephant conservation since her second-grade birthday party.

She learned that elephants were being harmed for their tusks and decided that instead of presents, she wanted donations for Tusk, an organization that supports conservation in Africa. Four years ago, she went to her mom and said, “We need to do more. It’s not enough.”

Q&A: MVLA superintendent shares thoughts on impending retirement


Town Crier file photo
Jeff Harding, superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, chats with students from the district’s Adult School. Harding recently announced his plan to retire at the end of the school year.

After 38 years in education, Jeff Harding, superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, plans to retire, effective June 30.

Harding is entering his fourth and final year as MVLA superintendent, but he said he has much to accomplish before he leaves, including “solving the stadium lights issue.” During his tenure as superintendent, the district created a facilities master plan and passed a $275 million bond to fund those projects.

LASD supports teachers with team of instructional coaches


Adanya Lustig/Town Crier
Alison Gentile (left), a STEM instructional support teacher in the Los Altos School District, talks with a second-grade teacher from Santa Rita School about understanding the math standards.

Jill Croft started teaching in the Los Altos School District 18 years ago, and she’s mostly taught fourth- and fifth-grade at Covington School. Years ago she realized that when she used a textbook to teach reading, the kids weren’t interested. But when they were reading a book they’d chosen from the library, she couldn’t pull them away from it.

She looked to the research and found a new model for teaching reading where students pick their own books, and she implemented it in her classroom.

Teachers try to draw the line with smartphone use in the classroom


Whether doodling, daydreaming or passing notes, young minds have always wandered in the classroom. The smartphone is the latest distraction.

With its many capabilities, the handheld device can be a resource to enhance learning, but some teachers are tired of vying for students’ attention and have adopted policies to restrict smartphone use.

Los Altos High Marching Band hosts performance and workshop

Marching band teaches advanced mathematical processing, proprioception, multitasking and time management, along with manners, discipline, sacrifice, generosity, teamwork and camaraderie – all in an outdoor setting filled with music.

Freestyle Academy looks for a home


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District wants to lease an unoccupied site on Bryant Avenue in Mountain View for Freestyle Academy of Comunication Arts and Technology.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District wants to lease city-owned land on Bryant Avenue in Mountain View to house Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology, but negotiations are taking longer than expected.


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