LASD re-examines middle school model

During a study session March 13, the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees didn’t quite go back to the drawing board, but called for new research before making a decision on the long-running debate over whether to move sixth-grade students to junior high campuses to form middle schools with grades 6-8.

The board listened to a presentation and recommendations from a special committee on grade-level configuration. The 18-member committee, comprising administrators, principals, parents and junior high and elementary teachers, has been studying the potential benefits and pitfalls of the sixth-grade move since early 2011. Five years ago, the committee recommended that the district go ahead with moving sixth-graders, but at the time, facilities obstacles stymied such a shift.

Blach, Egan host inaugural STEM Career Day

Jane Ridgeway/Town Crier
Egan Junior High students examine a robotic surgical tool during STEM Career Day.

The seventh- and eighth-graders passed around a vessel sealer, an imposing laparoscopic surgical implement, with trepidation at first.

“Is it on?” a student asked.

Homestead High band selected to perform in 2018 Rose Parade

Courtesy of Homestead High School
Lance Tibbet, president of the Tournament of Roses Parade, left, visits with members of the Homestead High School Mighty Mustang Marching Band earlier this month. The band is slated to perform in the parade Jan. 1.

The president of the Tournament of Roses Parade visited with the Homestead High School Mighty Mustang Marching Band March 7 to congratulate them on being selected to march in the Jan. 1 Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Lance Tibbet discussed the history of the parade, the prestige of being chosen and this year’s theme, “Making a Difference.”

Olympic athlete visits Bullis Charter School

Courtesy of BCS
U.S. Olympian Ashton Eaton encourages Bullis Charter School students earlier this month.

The excitement was palpable when U.S. Olympian Ashton Eaton visited Bullis Charter School earlier this month.

Eaton is a decathlete and two-time Olympic champion, winning gold at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games. He is often referred to as the “World’s Greatest Athlete” for his dominance in the 10-event decathlon and his world records in both the decathlon and indoor heptathlon.

LASD reviews school accountability tool

Courtesy of California School Dashboard
The California School Dashboard ranks school performance by color.

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees reviewed the new California School Dashboard and heard a proposal for a time-sensitive solar project at last week’s board meeting.

The California School Dashboard, released to the public March 15, replaces the previous Academic Performance Index as a means of ranking school and district performance. Criticism of the API focused on its failure to measure multiple areas of school success and deficit, creating an overemphasis on standardized test scores.

Los Altos High School honors the power of pen during Writers Week

Jane Ridgeway/Town Crier
Author Kate Crane shares her story with students during Los Altos High’s Writers Week.

The Los Altos High School campus bustled last week as more than 30 writers ranging from poets to YouTube stars dropped in for the 32nd annual Writers Week.

Visiting writers circulated through the school to lecture, read from their work, lead writing exercises and answer questions. Many shared stories of their own early forays into the writing life, and illuminated the diverse forms that a career in writing can take.

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