Co-op Preschool Thrives In New Location

Posted on September 30, 2011 by  
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There are literally dozens of day care and preschool options available in Los Altos.  From the tried and true “in home” care, to both small and large centers, there is something for everyone.

One of the oldest recently moved to a new location. Los Altos Parent Preschool was founded in 1954, just two years after the city was incorporated.  It has been a successful model that has seen hundreds of children pass through its program.

Recently, Los Altos Patch contributor, Jennifer van der Kleut, wrote an article about this wonderful program. Below, is a slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

For more than 50 years, Los Altos Parent Preschool (LAPP) has been a thriving and successful preschool that parents from as far away as San Jose and Milpitas are willing to make the trek to.

For a long time, LAPP had been located in a corner of the Los Altos High School campus, since the preschool is actually part of the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education School.

Though the reason they were losing their location was understandable, it was still devastating to the preschool, when the teachers and parents learned the news.

“Los Altos High had a tremendous growth and expansion going on at their school, and they just needed the extra space,” LAPP parent volunteer Shanon Pestrong explained.

As soon as they found out, Pestrong said a group of LAPP staff and parent volunteers set to work searching for a new location.  Fortunately, one came about—a corner of the Covington Elementary School campus.

LAPP’s campus is bigger, better and newer than ever, said Pestrong. The Covington campus features a new indoor classroom customized to meet the needs of LAPP’s programs, with several activity stations.

There is now also a very large outdoor classroom, equipped with multiple areas for hands-on learning, such as sensory play, science, gardening, painting, block play and sand play.

Pestrong said, part of being a co-op school is that every family is assigned roughly three “jobs” for the year, to satisfy their portion of the co-op requirements.

The first job is to be assigned a regular day each week to work in the classroom as the teacher’s helper. The second is to be assigned a specific job or area of contribution that the parent will do for the year.

The last part of the parent commitment is to attend regular school meetings and take part in parent education. Pestrong explained, as part of the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education School, LAPP offers an element of education to help parents learn how to be better parents.

Pestrong said, she also loves the sense of community she found with other parents at LAPP.  And, you just can’t match the camaraderie and emotional support that comes with volunteering together each week, she said.

All in all, Pestrong says, LAPP has been a wonderful experience for her family; one that she would recommend to anyone. “I’m just very grateful that our family has the flexibility to be able to use Los Altos Parent Preschool, and I really love it.”


A Bit Of History – Redwood Grove

Posted on August 18, 2011 by  
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While the City of Los Altos was incorporated in 1952, it’s history goes back much father.  Out of all the park in Los Altos, one of the most tranquil is Redwood Grove.  There is a back story for each gem treasured by the community.

Recently, an article was written by L.A. Chung, editor for Los Altos Patch, about this truly special place. Below, is an slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

In the beginning, Redwood Grove was not a redwood grove at all.

It was, as Berkeley resident Katherine Buss tells it, a spot “with a creek and one redwood tree,” a small house shaded by live oak trees, on about six acres.

How it became a redwood grove is a story Buss likes to share. It’s one of many stories about the special place her grandmother, Emma Wright Halsey, cultivated.

Buss is making a point to go, because the meeting is one where Redwood Grove’s future as a park is being shaped, one with a historic house that is deteriorating.

“I ran across an article online saying they were considering whether to restore or demolish it, and I thought, ‘Maybe they don’t know about the history of the occupants,'” Buss said.

Emma Wright Halsey purposefully planted the coastal redwood grove, Buss said, sapling by sapling, brought in by the truckload from her grandparent’s original property in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Redwood Grove is the place where her mother, Eugenia Halsey Buss, and uncle, Theodore Vail Halsey Jr., grew up with so many happy memories. And it is the place where her mother took family members from time to time, after the city of Los Altos made it a public park.

After the city purchased the property and it was used for summer day camps, her mother periodically took Buss and other relatives to revisit the rooms where they lived and where Emma Halsey had tended her rhododendrons and water lilies. Her mother told story after story of the old days.


New Fire Chief Representing Los Altos

Posted on June 2, 2011 by  
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Emergency service (Police & Fire), within Los Altos, are routinely held up as a successful model of professionalism.  The men and women who serve the community have created a indelible bond with the residents.

Hopefully the last thing you will ever have to do is dial 911.  However, if you do, rest assured that an organization designed for efficiency will respond in short order.  I am fortunate to know many of the individuals who provide these invaluable services to Los Altos, and I could not be happier that they stand watch over the community.

Recently, Los Altos Patch wrote about a recent County decision that implicitly impacts every resident of Los Altos: the appointment of a new Fire Chief.  Below you will find an edited version of Sheila Sanchez’s story.  Enjoy …

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors announced Wednesday the appointment of Kenneth R. Kehmna to serve as the new fire chief for the Santa Clara County Fire Department.

Both Los Altos and Los Altos Hills receives its fire services from the county fire department.

Kehmna, who has 23 years of fire service experience, began his career as a firefighter with the city of Campbell in 1987. In 1993, county fire assumed responsibility for providing fire services to Campbell, bringing Kehmna and his colleagues from the city into the Santa Clara County Fire Department, according to a press release on the county’s website.

Since 2007, Kehmna has held the post of deputy chief, first in charge of operations and in 2009 in charge of training. As deputy chief of operations, he managed the four department battalions and the fire investigation division. As deputy chief in charge of training, he managed all training activities to ensure firefighter readiness, the release stated.

“Chief Kehmna brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position of fire chief,” said Dave Cortese, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “He is intimately familiar with fire service in Santa Clara County and dedicated to providing high-level quality services to our community.”

He also worked closely with recently retired fire chief Waldvogel and represented county fire at the regional and statewide levels, working closely with the California Emergency Management Association and Cal Fire, according to the release.

“I will do my very best to preserve the proud lineage of leadership that has been the hallmark of this department,” he said. “I am excited about our future and confident that the outstanding relationship we have with labor will continue as we face new challenges and opportunities together in the coming years.”


Capturing The Essence Of Los Altos

Posted on May 24, 2011 by  
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Every community has individuals who lead by example.  Los Altos is fortunate to have so many residents who contribute to the essence of what defines our community.

As I’ve highlighted before, even the mission statement of our village references that this is a great place to live and raise a family.  From time-to-time you will find a resident being highlighted in local, regional or national news.

Recently, Los Altos Patch wrote about Los Altan Sherie Sweiss Dodsworth.  She represents the essence of what Los Altos is today.  Below you will find an edited version of Rebecca Duran’s story.  Enjoy …

You just never know, Los Altan Sherie Sweiss Dodsworth said. You just never know where life takes you.

She’s gone from uncertain college freshman at St. Mary’s College of California to a formidable woman with a string of successes in her life: chairwoman of the Board of Borel Bank and Trust, head of the St. Mary’s Alumni Association, entrepreneur.

On Saturday she added another one—commencement speaker at her alma mater, where she addressed approximately 450 students of the Class of 2011.

“I broke through glass ceilings, like being the first female president of the alumni association of a college that had been all male up until 1970,” she said. “St. Mary’s taught me to believe in myself”

Dodsworth shared those St. Mary’s experiences and success in business at the college’s 148th commencement ceremony. After the ceremony, she said it never would have crossed her mind that she’d be a speaker at her alma mater. One can never truly predict one’s success.

From her graduation to today, one thing has lead to another.

Dodsworth received the San Francisco Most Influential Women in Business Award in 2010 and was honored by St. Mary’s as one of its 40 most influential alumnae. She has served as a trustee of St. Mary’s and was the first alumna to serve as president of the College’s Board of Regents. She was also the first woman to be elected Alumna of the Year in 1999.

She became the first female president of the Alumni Association, president of the college’s Board of Regents  and a trustee of the school. Her position on the Board of Regents is something she said helped her become chairwoman of the board of Borel Private Bank and Trust Company in 2004.

In Los Altos, she said, there is a sense of working together for the future.

“People try to look out for what’s best for the city, for our youth and the community for years to come.”

When she was 50, she made a goal to run a marathon, she told the graduating seniors Saturday. After crossing the finish line, she said she had her arms up in the air with a smile on her face.

She felt like she could accomplish anything, she said. She once questioned herself if she has what it takes to be successful, but her knowledge and perseverance nullifies that.

“If you sign up to do it, you’ve got to do it really well,” she said.