Mountain View High's new Liberal Action club stumps for Dems

Waves of music blast from calls put on hold. As a “Hello?” emerges from the speakers, the collective laughter and casual dance moves are temporarily suspended, followed by “Hi, I’m calling you to discuss the upcoming midterm election.”

These political activists, calling on behalf of Democratic candidates days before the Nov. 6 election, are too young to vote. They call themselves Liberal Action, a second-year club at Mountain View High School.

Foothill endeavor aims to upend scientist stereotypes

Jeff Schinske
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Foothill College biology instructor Jeff Schinske, standing, teaches class. He has a developed a hypothesis that students need to see themselves as belonging in the field in order to succeed.

Jeff Schinske approaches problems like the scientist that he is. So when he noticed that even in his own biology classroom at Foothill College minorities were not doing as well as their more privileged peers, he wanted to find out why, and he wanted to fix it.

Schinske developed a hypothesis: Students need to see themselves as belonging in the field in order to succeed.

This homeless student is trying to find rooms for other homeless students

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Matt Bodo is on a mission to find housing for fellow Foothill College students who struggle with housing insecurity. Bodo lived in his car for a summer and has struggled with housing insecurity for the last four years.

Like a lot of college students, Matt Bodo moved back to campus this fall. He attends Foothill College, however, which doesn’t offer housing.

Bodo made do. He found a room to sleep in on campus where no one bothered him. The locker room showers open at 6 a.m. There’s also a food pantry on campus, along with a microwave and refrigerator for him to use.

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 planning to hold the fundraiser on Dec. 16. 

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.

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