High School District Receives Innovation Grant

Posted on April 21, 2013 by  
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The Google Community Grants Fund of Tides Foundation recently donated $80,000 to the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum and to purchase netbooks for students to use in classrooms and libraries.

The Teacher/Student STEM Innovation Grant will enable the district to address the challenge of improving the performance of students who live in poverty – approximately 20 percent of the total school population.

The district’s most critically underperforming students tend to be those who do not have access to resources available in abundance to other students, including laptops, tablets and smartphones. To help students catch up in math, science and English, the majority of underperforming students are enrolled in two math and/or English classes to allow more time to develop their skills and reach proficiency.

The district received Google grants in 2011 and 2012 to promote innovation in math, science and engineering classes. The grants funded projects that involved esterification studies, conducting experiments, studying ethanol production and algae as an alternative fuel source, extracting DNA to determine lactose intolerance and conducting home energy audits.

Teacher/Student STEM Innovation Grants are designed to improve teaching and learning and to increase enrollment and success in STEM classes by engaging students in hands-on, project-based learning experiences.

“The long-term value and impact we hope to generate through this project will go far beyond the walls of our schools,” said Brigitte Sarraf, associate superintendent of educational services.


Downtown Mountain View Condo

Posted on April 16, 2013 by  
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505 Cypress Point Drive, #62, Mountain View 94043
Listed at $298,000 / Sold at $343,000
1 Bed / 1 Baths / Home: 662 sqft / Lot Size: 2,000 sqft +/-
Represented: Seller


A New Redevelopment Proposal

Posted on April 16, 2013 by  
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A mixed-use redevelopment proposal for 86 Third St. may be coming to downtown.

The Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) last week voted in favor of the proposal, which calls for a four-story structure.

The project has approximately 5,500 square feet of ground-level office space and 20 condominiums – including two below-market-rate units – as well as one level of underground parking. Four of the residential units have two bedrooms, while the remaining 16 allow for three-bedroom dwellings.

The site, located between State Street and West Edith Avenue, is currently home to a pair of office buildings.

Several commissioners expressed support for the proposal in general, including Michael McTighe, who noted that the project would be a boost to the downtown area.

“It’s great to see mixed-use housing and retail space in downtown,” he said. “I think that’s a great thing to have.”

Commissioner Phoebe Bressack concurred, calling the mixed-use project a “very good use concept” that would result in more feet on downtown streets – without the need for driving.

“It will invigorate the town, I believe,” she said. “It’s a good step toward (having) more of that in town.”

Commissioner Jim Chiang, meanwhile, added that a November PTC study session on the project ultimately yielded a better overall result.

“I’m glad we had the review session two months ago,” he said. “I think this project is actually vastly improved from the last time we saw it and had a chance to review it.”

One area of concern for some commissioners, however, was the proposed removal of 10 mature trees on the project site to accommodate the underground parking structure – including a 70-foot Canary Island Pine near Parking Plaza 8. An arborist’s report rated most of the trees in fair condition but noted that most have a continued life expectancy of 10-15 years. The project calls for the planting of seven Chinese Pistache trees along Third Street to make up for the loss of the 10 trees.

As a condition of approval, commissioners called for the creation of an “earth vault” – originally slated to be a mechanical room in the underground parking structure – as a measure to spare the pine or, at worst, replace it in time with a new “big box” tree.


Students Train For Junior Olympics

Posted on April 3, 2013 by  
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After years of watching their older siblings participate in the Los Altos School District Junior Olympics, local fourth-grade students finally have an opportunity to compete in the various events themselves.

The Junior Olympics is an annual event for the more than 1,400 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in the seven district elementary schools. The students compete in events ranging from the serious to the not so serious as families and friends cheer them on.

Students spend the six weeks leading up to the Junior Olympics practicing for the events. Training for the competition is a new experience for the fourth-graders.

“They are just so excited to try out the events,” said Pearl Garvin, district PE specialist. “They are beside themselves – they never want the PE sessions to end.”

At the beginning of the training, students sample all the Junior Olympics events, including relays, 75-yard dash, 60-yard hurdles, chin-ups, jump rope, softball throw, long jump and basketball free throw. For fourth-graders, the lessons are particularly special.

“They have been waiting for this and champing at the bit,” Garvin said. “It is a rite of passage.”

After trying all the events, students choose three to enter the day of the games. They can compete to qualify for the relay races in addition to their three events.

“I like the Junior Olympics so much because it is friendly competition,” Garvin said. “The PE teachers stress that all the kids are going for their personal bests. It’s a nice way for them to go out and meet kids from other schools and make friends. It is also great for school spirit.”

This year, assisted by donations from the Los Altos Educational Foundation, PE specialists received additional funding that enabled an increase in physical education opportunities for first- through third-graders.

“Physical education is important because it teaches things such as teamwork, cooperation, respect for others and healthful fitness habits,” Garvin said. “We are trying to teach them that fitness habits they start now will help them stay healthy later in life.”

She added that PE is a time for the students to have fun.

“What we want them to get from our lesson is that when you are moving around, you are having fun,” Garvin said. “Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore and it contributes to your health.”

Garvin said the event would not be possible each year if it were not for the many hours parents volunteer to make the event a success.

“The parents are very organized and put so much time in this event,” she said. “It takes a very dedicated group of parents to keep this going. Without the parents, this would absolutely not happen.”

This year’s 53rd annual Junior Olympics is scheduled 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27 at Mountain View High School, 3535 Truman Ave.

For more information, visit www.lasdschools.org/District/Portal/Junior-Olympics.