Katie gives advice on making play dates

Courtesy of Katie Noble
Pinewood student Katie Noble eagerly awaits incoming letters.

Katie Noble, a fifth-grader at Pinewood School, writes for the student newspaper and recently placed second in the Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest. She wants to help her peers solve their problems.

To submit a question for “Ask Katie,” email Schools Editor Traci Newell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Local Scout's Eagle project evolves into pilot program at Sunday Friends

Courtesy of Terence Lee
Los Altos High School students, from left, Terence Lee, Jane Zhao, Emma Kwan and David Ding are part of EqOpTech, a student-run nonprofit organization that works with Sunday Friends.

What began as an idea for a Boy Scout Eagle project – which earned Terence Lee a Congressional Award Gold Medal for social service – continues to evolve.

The Los Altos High School junior recently launched EqOpTech, a student-run nonprofit organization that promotes equal opportunity learning and STEM education through technology in underserved communities. The company, founded in May, partnered with Khan Academy to present education workshops at Sunday Friends of San Jose, a nonprofit agency that supports low-income families in the community.

Hands-on projects drive LASD student learning

Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Covington School first-graders inflate balloons en route to a parachute design exercise that highlights project-based learning.

A xeroxed worksheet. A diorama. A report read verbatim from the page. When you think of elementary school projects, you may imagine these “dumpster projects” of yore, labored over and then tossed. But in Los Altos School District classrooms today, project-based learning creates experiences not so easily discarded.

Scrounging balloons for an ad hoc parachute drop, Kim Nero’s Covington School first-graders built their own paper clip conveyances last week. And in Katie Farley’s STEM lab at Covington, fifth-graders became research scientists, studying the potential colonization of Mars. Their project is driven by the same questions real-world researchers take on: What kind of precautions do humans need to safely explore space? What solutions would they need to design before sending colonists to Mars?

In a STEM-loving world, humanities still play a role

Humanities. The first five letters of the word are indicative of its importance – “human.” The study of the human-being.

Schools Briefs

MVLA foundation hosts parent education event

College admissions expert Lloyd Thacker is scheduled to discuss “Turning the Tide: Reshaping the College Admissions Process” 7-9 p.m. Sept. 29 in Mountain View High School’s Spartan Theater, 3535 Truman Ave.

Thacker’s presentation is part of the Los Altos-Mountain View School Speaker Series.

Foothill astronomy star Fraknoi wins national teaching award

Town Crier Report

Foothill College astronomy professor Andrew Fraknoi recently received the Pinnacle Professor Award for long-standing, distinguished service to the professionalization of astronomy education.

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