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Los Alamitos Elementary School Fundraising Parties – UPDATED 2022


Los Alamitos Elementary School fundraising is accelerating in a variety of fun ways this season!

Ladies’ Wine Under the Stars

On Saturday, November 19, at 6 pm, there is the Ladies’ Wine Under the Stars party. Ladies, come out to enjoy an evening with friends old and new. Stargaze, nibble on delicious appetizers including a variety of cheeses, chocolates, and fondue, and savor great wine as an accompaniment. Tickets: $45.

Pre-Christmas Clothing and Accessories Swap

Up ahead on Thursday, December 8, is a pre-Christmas clothing and accessories swap party for moms. You can also enjoy light appetizers and drinks at the event. Tickets: $25.

Craft Beer Tasting Party

The fundraisers wrap up the year with a Craft Beer Tasting party on Saturday, December 10 at 6 pm. Here you can taste a variety of assorted craft beers, stouts, lager and much more. Food will be served as well. Tickets: $80.

Enjoy these great events while supporting Los Alamitos Elementary School! For more information, contact the Los Alamitos Elementary School PTA.

Pay It Forward Tutoring at Leland High in Almaden Valley

Pay It ForwardWhat does the term ‘pay it forward’ mean? It means if you have benefitted from a philanthropic act, you repay by helping another person in need instead of the one who was originally kind to you. In other words, instead of paying back, you pay it forward. In Almaden, a group of altruistic high schoolers are doing just that with ‘Pay It Forward Tutoring’.

The Pay It Forward team comprises a group of highly motivated students from Leland High who “understand the value and impact of education in their lives and in the community”. And their way of giving back to the community is by tutoring elementary and middle school children throughout the year in various subjects.

The program benefits Reading Partners, a non-profit organization that, in turn, works nationally to offer in-school, one-on-one tutoring to needy students as well as helps them develop literacy skills.

For their tutoring service, the Pay It Forward team accepts donations made out directly to Reading Partners. The team estimates that this year the donations received will help sustain individual tutoring for more than 1,300 students in the Bay Area alone. To this end, they expect to raise $10,000. So, if you have a child at home in need of tutoring, don’t wait. Reach out to and help pay it forward!

Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Back-to-school tipsSummer is over and school is officially in session! Here are some back-to-school tips to ensure that your child’s school year proceeds smoothly.

Plan healthy meals and snacks. Be sure your child gets breakfast before the morning school bell rings, because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For lunch and snacks, make sure your child has a combination of protein, fruits, and vegetables to give them energy to last throughout the school day.

Meet the teacher(s). Attend open houses and orientations, and make personal contact with each of your child’s teachers sooner rather than later to let them know you are involved in your child’s education and eager to stay connected with them.

Set up a routine. Routines help everyone stay on track, including you as a parent. In addition to night and morning routines, have an after-school routine as well. Consider allowing for a little bit of playtime before getting started on homework or beginning after-school activities. Most importantly, make sure your child gets some rest between activities and plenty of sleep at night.

Bullying. Talk to your child about the right course of action to take when he or she encounters bullying at or outside of school, whether it’s physical, verbal, or cyber-bullying. For more resources about bullying, click here.

Safety. Make sure your child gets to school safely. If they bike, make sure they wear a helmet. If they walk, remind them “Head up, phone down” to keep aware of their surroundings.


Are You a First Time Home Buyer?

First time home buyerWith the real estate market recovery on its way, many people who did not have an opportunity to own a home before now are likely to become homeowners in 2015. I frequently meet people in their early 30s who are shopping for their first home and they all face similar learning curves. Here are a few of the most important things first time home buyers need to know to make that all important decision the right one.

  1. Choosing a Location – Location of the property is probably the most important factor to consider while buying a home. In fact, choosing the right location is more important than the general condition of the house since one can always upgrade or remodel later, but the location cannot be changed. In general, single family homes in quiet, serene neighborhoods are more desirable than those on larger streets because of noise and traffic. Homes which offer a view of the hills, a lake, or a golf course hold their value because of the visual appeal as do homes that afford privacy. However, if you have a busy lifestyle, enjoy evenings out or want to save on commute, a townhome or a condo near the downtown areas may be just the thing for you.
  2. School District Matters – Look for a home which is in the neighborhood of good schools. This is important even if you don’t have school going children, since homes in good schools areas are more in demand and have better potential for both selling and renting out in the long run. For school information you can check the local school district website or go to If you’re considering a home in Almaden Valley, take a look at my Almaden Valley Schools page, which has a list of all the schools plus school locator links if you want to know what school is associated with a particular address.
  3. Neighborhood Amenities – Look for a vibrant community with good amenities for the entire family in the vicinity. Shopping, libraries, community centers, sports and recreational clubs, medical care and senior citizen facilities should be ideally within a five mile radius. Access to freeways and other arterial highways is also important; ideally not too close and yet not too far. If you’re considering the Almaden Valley, I offer this comprehensive overview of all of the Almaden Valley neighborhoods.
  4. Neighborhood Crime Rate – This is another aspect to investigate. The local police station will have statistics on crime or go to, enter your zip code and find the relevant information.
  5. Comparing Similar Homes – While choosing a home, ask your agent to do a comparative analysis of at least three similar homes in the neighborhood which have sold recently. This will give you a realistic indication of the market situation and what kind of amenities you can expect to have in a house in that price range.
  6. Independent Home Inspection – It is important to verify all details about the house – i.e. size, age, condition of the structure, from foundation to roof, and all other amenities. Check for potential water concerns – this includes, but is not limited to, wetness in the crawl space/ basement, grading around the house, signs of roof leaks – and pest or termite infestations. All of the above can be verified by having a thorough home inspection independently done.
  7. Permits of Remodeling Jobs – Ask for permits of any remodeling work that’s been done on the house. You can save yourself a lot of headache and expense later on dealing with construction that may be deemed illegal by the county authorities.
  8. Having a Buyer’s Agent – You will also benefit from engaging the right real estate agent who will represent you, the buyer. A buyer’s agent has access to all the properties on the market as well as some not yet on the market. The agent will, first and foremost, safeguard the buyer’s interests. Once you zero in on a desired location, it is best to engage an agent who specializes in that area and can quickly scout out the best home deals.

While touring properties, do not dismiss one because you think the listed price is too high or some features are not up to the standards you desire. Remember, the listed price is only a starting point and it is possible to redo a bathroom, the kitchen or even the yard. Offers can be made after factoring in any potential expenses towards upgrading the home.

I am happy to provide any consultation to both sellers and buyers. Feel free to call me on 408.656.8240, or email me at: In 2014, I closed $75million in sales and was among the Top 10 agents in Santa Clara County.

8 Tips for Finding Your New Home

Finding your new home


Article From
By: G. M. Filisko
Published: February 10, 2010



A solid game plan can help you narrow your homebuying search to find the best home for you.

House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some research, you’ll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These eight tips will guide you through a smart homebuying process.

House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some research, you’ll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These eight tips will guide you through a smart homebuying process.

1. Know thyself.

Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory home? If you’re leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?

2. Research before you look.

List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods you’d like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime, and price. Then hop onto ( to get a feel for the homes available in your price range in your favorite neighborhoods. Use the results to prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory you’d like to view.

3. Get your finances in order.

Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much you’re comfortable spending each month on housing. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to investigate financing.

Gather your financial records and meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter spelling out how much you’re eligible to borrow. The lender won’t necessarily consider the extra fees you’ll pay when you purchase or your plans to begin a family or purchase a new car, so shop in a price range you’re comfortable with. Also, presenting an offer contingent on financing will make your bid less attractive to sellers.

4. Set a moving timeline.

Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, you’ll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon? All these factors will affect your buying, closing, and moving timelines.

5. Think long term.

Your future plans may dictate the type of home you’ll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home you’ll still love years from now.

6. Work with a REALTOR.

Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes you’re interested in. Because homebuying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agent’s style meshes with your personality.

Also ask if the agent specializes in buyer representation. Unlike listing agents, whose first duty is to the seller, buyers’ reps work only for you even though they’re typically paid by the seller. Finally, check whether agents are REALTORS?, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS?. NAR has been a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

7. Be realistic.

It’s OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don’t be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.

On the flip side, don’t be so swayed by a “wow” feature that you forget about other issues — like noise levels — that can have a big impact on your quality of life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering there’s no such thing as the perfect home.

8. Limit the opinions you solicit.

It’s natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria you’ve identified as important.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has found happiness in a brownstone in a historic Chicago neighborhood. A frequent contributor to many national publications including, REALTOR? Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

2013 Math Enrichment Summer Program in Almaden Valley – UPDATED 2022

math-enrichment-logoRegistration is now open for the 12th Annual / 2013 Math Enrichment Summer Program at Leland High School in Almaden Valley. [EVENT IS CLOSED]

Math Enrichment is an independent Summer program for students going into Kindergarten through 11th Grade. It offers a challenging educational environment to all students, while creating an atmosphere that inspires a lifelong love of learning and helps each student to reach his or her fullest potential.

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Almaden Valley Seminar: College Planning for a Great Life

logo: Campus PathwayCollege bound high school students and parents are invited to attend a free college planning seminar titled, “College Planning for a Great Life.”

With the variety of institutions, bewildering array of qualities, and wildly ranging prices of colleges today, the process can be daunting for most families.

In this seminar you will learn how to find the very best colleges that fit a student’s personality, academic profile, social characteristics, and career aspirations. You will also learn how to minimize the cost of college expenses for your family.

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11th Annual Math Enrichment Summer Program at Leland High School

Registration is now open for the 11th Annual / 2012 Math Enrichment Summer Program at Leland High School in Almaden Valley.

Math Enrichment is an independent Summer program for students going into Kindergarten through 11th Grade. It offers a challenging educational environment to all students, while creating an atmosphere that inspires a lifelong love of learning and helps each student to reach his or her fullest potential.

Read more

Free SAT Essay Writing Workshop from Kaplan Test Prep

Almaden Valley teens have the opportunity to learn how to write a great essay for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

In this workshop presented by Kaplan Test Prep, get advice about what essay graders are looking for, as well as strategies on writing effective essays.

This workshop will include practice essay writing and evaluation.

The workshop is at Almaden Branch Library on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 from 6:30-8:30pm.

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