T H E H O M E TOW N N E W S PA P E R F O R M E N L O PA R K , AT H E RTO N , P O RTO L A VA L L E Y A N D WO O D S I D E
SEPTEMBER 7, 2011
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Rescuing the Rescuers Local responders to 9/11 reflect on 10-year anniversary Section 2
ALL-BOY: Ormondale School launches all-boy classes in third grade. Page 5
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MENLO PARK OFFICE 1550 EL CAMINO REAL, SUITE 10 0 650.462.1111 WOODSIDE OFFICE 2930 WOODSIDE ROAD 650.529.1111 APR COUNTIES | Santa Clara | San Mateo | San Francisco | Marin | Sonoma | Alameda | Contra Costa | Monterey | Santa Cruz 2 N The Almanac N September 7, 2011
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Teacher-volunteer Susan Adams of Portola Valley leads a critical thinking discussion at Eastside Prep. On her right are Teâ€™Mesha Paxton (second from left) and Yesenia Garnica. Ms. Adams spends several mornings a week on campus.
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Some put in many hours a week to help with reading, environmental ed By Kate Daly
graduated in five years, whereas â€œnationally, only 11 percent of first-generation college students graduates within six years.â€? Many of the volunteers who help Eastside achieve its mission are retired, such as Susan Adams of Portola Valley. â€œItâ€™s a wonderful place to spend time,â€? she says. â€œThey donâ€™t base (admission) on academic ability. They base it on desire.â€? Now in her 13th year working
The sessions are add-ons to the English classes taught by regular teachers. s students head back to Board member and volunteer classes at Eastside ColLynn Winkle of Palo Alto devellege Preparatory School oped the curriculum. Sheâ€™s on in East Palo Alto this fall, so do campus most days training and close to 60 volunteers who come overseeing the readers. from all over the Peninsula every Ms. Winkle earned her MBA week to provide a vital layer of and started volunteering in the extra academic support. 1990s, tutoring high school stuThe goal at Eastside is to dents in her kidsâ€™ local school take local students in grades 6 district. Thatâ€™s when she realthrough 12, and withized that â€œhigh school out charging them is too lateâ€? to catch tuition, prepare them up. to become the first in She refocused her â€˜They donâ€™t base (admission) on their families to go to efforts on middle college. So far, in the academic ability. They base it on desire.â€™ school after she met 12 years the school Stanford grad Chris VOLUNTEER SUSAN ADAMS OF PORTOLA VALLEY has been graduating Bischof, who was at seniors, all of them that time involved in have gone on to attend four-year with seventh- and eighth-grad- an after-school program that colleges or universities, includ- ers in the Middle School Read- offered basketball and tutoring Stanford, UCLA, Harvard ing Program, the former English ing to young students in East and Yale, school officials say. major spends several mornings a Palo Altto. He founded Eastside Thereâ€™s a wait list to get into week on campus. From 8 to 9:40 with eight students in 1996. The Eastside, and a boarding option, a.m., the students read books students first met in a park, and but most of the students come that track with what they read then moved into a portable. from the immediate area. in social studies. â€œWe help with Now there are 280 students The student body is composed higher order thinking skills and enrolled, with plans to grow that of Latinos, African Ameri- vocabulary,â€? she says. number to 320. The campus at cans and Pacific Islanders. The She finds the reading cur- 1041 Myrtle St. in East Palo Alto schoolâ€™s website, eastside.org, riculum â€œwell thought-out,â€? features a theater, music room, states that 80 percent of Eastside and filled with projects that are art and dance studios, gym, and alumni are either in a four-year writing-based, such as creating See EASTSIDE, page 6 college now or have already a newspaper, a cartoon or a play.
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THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright ÂŠ2011 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
September 7, 2011 N The Almanac N 3
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For a full list of the 2011 Readers Choice winners, go to TheAlmanacOnline.com/readers_choice 4 N The Almanac N September 7, 2011
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Where the boys are ■ Ormondale School accommodates “boy-heavy” third-grade group with all-boy classes. By Renee Batti
When school began on Aug. 29, third-graders were divided into five classrooms, two of which rom the start, the third- were made up of boys only. graders at Portola ValThe idea for the change to boysley’s Ormondale School only classrooms, and the decision set records. A larger-than-usual to go forward with it, didn’t group when happen overthe children night. Ormonarrived at the Before the all-boy classes dale Principal school as kinwere launched, ‘there Jennifer Wardergartners, and the was a period of diving ren the class was school’s teachunusual in ers have poninto the research’ on another way: methods single-gender classes, dered The boys outof better servnumbered the said Ormondale Principal ing students in girls on a scale “ boy-heav y” Jennifer Warren. never seen classes from the before, at least beginning, Ms. in recent recollection, in the Warren said. Portola Valley School District, “Year after year, a lot of little according to Superintendent Tim things have happened” to adjust Hanretty. teaching and supportive strateNow, with about 20 students gies, she said. But this year, with more than the other grade-level the backing of the school board, cohorts at Ormondale, the third- and with enough parents willing grade class is made up of 70 boys to have their sons in boys-only and 36 girls — a 66 to 34 percent classes, the school created singleratio. gender classes for the first time With the start of the new ever. school year, Ormondale is using “Parents had the option,” Ms. a fresh approach to teaching the Warren said. “We would not have 106 students at that grade level: moved forward without (paren-
Almanac News Editor
Michelle Le/The Almanac
Teacher Daphna Woolfe reviews grammar with third-grade students in her all-boys class at Ormondale School.
tal) consent.” Before the classes were launched, “there was a period of diving into the research” on single-gender classes, Ms. Warren said. Affected teachers and other staff members spent time with staff at the Town School for Boys in San Francisco, for example, picking up ideas and information that might help smooth the way for Ormondale teachers and administrators involved in the
new project. There is ample research pointing to learning differences between boys and girls, and teachers of the all-boys classes are using methods that accommodate some of the differences, Ms. Warren said. For example, she said, “boys need kinesthetic ways to learn. They need more movement breaks, opportunities to move around in the classrooms.” One example of accommodat-
ing this need for movement, she added, is to allow them to practice spelling exercises while skipping rope. Ms. Warren said the preponderance of boys in the third and other grade levels at the school has led staff to “look at our entire literacy library” in general, and offer changes in the third-grade classes in particular. For example, See BOYS, page 10
New pitch made for sparing Bernstein calls for rejection of fiscal analysis would generate more revenue oak tree in North Fair Oaks By Sandy Brundage DOWNTOW N P L A N than reflected in the FIA. “I am Almanac Staff Writer
By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
our days ahead of a Sept. 6 deadline, the neighbors of a centuries-old heritage oak tree called “Granny” in North Fair Oaks voted to send a new proposal for saving the tree to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) that appears to resolve the one issue standing between failure and success. In a press release, the coalition fighting to save Granny said that 85 percent of neighborhood residents, whose properties adjoin the SFPUC right-of-way at 827 15th Ave. where the tree lives, agreed to provide public access to the tree, a requirement imposed by the utilities commission. The commission initially
planned to kill the tree in May on short notice, which riled Granny’s fans. During the summer, the SFPUC asked the neighbors to form a nonprofit to handle maintenance, liability insurance, and public access should the commission decide to dig a $269,000 tunnel under the tree for a pipeline meant to carry water from Hetch Hetchy as part of a $4.6 billion seismic improvement project. After weeks of negotiations, the SFPUC sent a letter on Aug. 26 that gave the coalition until the day after Labor Day to provide a written proposal that would let the public access the tree site. “The agency stated previously that public access to the oak tree is a basic requirement before its See GRANNY, page 16
relatively peaceful Menlo Park City Council discussion about the draft downtown plan on Aug. 30 was followed later that week by harsh criticism again targeting the plan’s fiscal impact analysis (FIA) and calling for its withdrawal. Educator Chuck Bernstein, who holds an MBA from Stanford University, asked the city to reject the FIA because of what he said were documented gross errors. “I am requesting that you formally reject the FIA as both erroneous and incomplete, and withdraw it from further public consideration until it can be revised and rewritten,” he said in a letter to the City Council on Friday, Sept. 2. “Based on the example that I have been able to explore below, it displays such