Schools Briefs: Robotics, art and more

BCS sixth-graders compete in robotics

The Yomibots, Bullis Charter School’s five-member robotics team, are scheduled to compete in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League championships Sunday, after a first-place finish at a competition in November.

Sixth-graders Gabriel Ancajas, Nikash Gupta, Sean Herby, Chase Omura and Alex Zaretzki invented the Greymobile, a bike that can deliver greywater (recycled water without much contamination) to water plants.

LASD's new English curriculum draws opponents, defenders

Crystal Tai/Town Crier
English teacher Karen Kehlet gives eighth-grade students one-on-one guidance last week in class at Egan Junior High School. Egan adopted a new English curriculum this school year.

The Los Altos School District’s new English curriculum for its two junior high schools has drawn criticism from parents, but district officials defend the strategy-based system that allows students to choose their own reading materials.

Nancy Bremeau, whose son attends Egan Junior High, told the Town Crier that many parents hire tutors to supplement the new English curriculum, which she said “no longer offers grammar, spelling and vocabulary instruction.”

LAEF hosts informational coffee Tuesday

The Los Altos Educational Foundation has scheduled an informational coffee meeting 8:45 a.m. Tuesday (Jan. 23) in the Los Altos School District Office Board Room, 201 Covington Ave.

Participants will learn about the foundation and how volunteering a few hours a month could impact education in the district.
LAEF board members, district leaders and district Superintendent Jeff Baier will discuss the partnership between the district and LAEF and the curricula students are being taught.

LAEF seeks volunteers for either a one-time project or throughout the year, including help with social media, marketing, videos, events, office support, school site representation and identifying future board members.

The nonprofit LAEF raises funds to provide staff and programs at all district campuses.

For more information, visit

Igniting challenge-based learning

Courtesy of Erik Zhang
Erik Zhang, third from left, attends his first hackathon last year with friends, from left, Anson Bridges, Jonathan Liu, Gage Rodriguez, Dean Tan and Nakul Shenoy.

Last year, as a freshman, my friends and I were in California Pizza Kitchen for a late lunch. We had just completed our first hackathon (DeveloperWeek, the biggest professional hackathon in the U.S.), an event where we worked on a project for 24 hours and competed for five finalist spots among hundreds of mostly professional developers. With minimal sleep the night before, we were exhausted, having just finished our pitch. We looked forward to returning to our beds at home.

While waiting for our pizzas, we got a call asking us to pitch as a top-five finalist. Confused, we told the caller that he had the wrong number and hung up. Minutes later, we received an email from DeveloperWeek asking us to return to the venue to pitch as a finalist.

LAHS students host parent tech workshop

TechBridgers, a Los Altos High School student club, hosted a parent technology workshop at Monta Loma Elementary School in Mountain View before the holiday break.

The high school students had previously taught coding at Monta Loma as members of another club, Computer Engineers of the Next Generation. Club members said they realized that many of the elementary school students’ parents didn’t know how to use email and were unable to keep up with school updates online. That led the students to form TechBridgers and sponsor the smartphone and communications workshop for the parents.

Schools Briefs

LASD trustees hold office hours

Los Altos School District trustees Jessica Speiser and Bryan Johnson have scheduled office hours to answer questions and listen to parents’ concerns.

Speiser’s office hours are slated 9-11 a.m. Feb. 14, March 8 and April 4 at Starbucks at Rancho Shopping Center, 654 Fremont Ave., Los Altos.

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