Dear Sequoyah Families,
I hope this message finds you all safe and healthy. At this point I have met with parents from just about every grade level and I wanted again to thank you for your partnership during this challenging time. I am writing to you now to acknowledge the disappointing reality that our students will not be able to return to campus this spring. Sequoyah will join schools throughout California in ending the 2019-2020 academic year still working remotely, maximizing our ability to protect the health of our students and their families and contributing to flattening the COVID-19 curve.

I was reminded how important social distancing is yesterday by one of our seniors, Thomas Logan, during his Talking Leaf presentation Through his mathematical modeling, Thomas demonstrated the potentially exponential increase in Covid-19 cases with even small decreases in our social distancing practices. I was also reminded just how difficult this effort is by some of our youngest students yesterday morning. Pond students shared with me the ways they are taking care of people, including themselves. In addition to helping with cleaning around the house and being kind to siblings, one student shared they are taking care of people by not coming to school. It is a lot to ask a six year old to give up seeing her friends and teachers in person, but as she pointed out to me, it is what we must be doing to make the community a better place for all.

The last day of school for both our K-8 and high school students will be Thursday, June 4th, as previously scheduled. In consultation with our seniors and 8th graders, we have elected to delay their graduation ceremonies to later in the summer, in the hope it will be possible to physically come together to celebrate these major milestones for students and their families. You will be receiving emails today from our Assistant Head of School Azizi Williams and High School Director Marc Alongi with details about other remaining year-end events and programming in the K-8 and high school respectively.
As we look from spring to summer, we are making plans to possibly move our Summer House Program online. You should have received a survey from Director of Community Programs Mason Kaye regarding this topic. If you would like information about our summer enrichment programs, please email him at .

As we look from summer to fall, I am mindful that COVID-19 will likely continue to be with us in some form into the next school year. To prepare for this, we have formed a Pandemic Response Task Force in order to plan for the eventual transition back to our physical campuses. This task force will consist of the following members: Board Chair Michael Barak, Trustee & Attorney, Laura Gowen, Trustee & Harvard Westlake Upper School Dean, Jennifer Cardillo, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Antimicrobia l Stewardship at Keck Medical Center, Dr. Neha Nanda, Trustee and Chief Medical Officer at Carbon Health,  Sujal Mandavia, Assistant Head of School, Azizi Williams, High School Director, Marc Alongi, Director of Curriculum and Student Support, Emily Singer, High School Visual Arts Teacher and Interim Dean of Students, Viviana Palacio, Director of Technology, Zed Kelley, and Jr. High Lead Teacher, Kristen Moore.

We know that the transition back to school next fall may be complicated. In the event the virus causes us again to pause in-school instruction, the distance learning practices we have developed and are continuing to strengthen will be critical. We also recognize that some of our students' own health-or the health of close family members-may require them to work from home some days next year. With that in mind, our faculty, administration and staff will continue to refine our Distance Learning Program should we need to rely upon it into the Fall.

Again, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all our students and parents for your patience and resilience. I know what a difficult time this has been for all of you and I have been so moved by the ways in which I've seen Sequoyans, big and small, reach out to help each other and the wider community during this unprecedented moment. 

A few years back, the writer and poet Kwame Alexander visited Sequoyah to read from his book, The Crossover. Alexander, currently NPR's poet-in-residence, recently orchestrated a crowdsourced poem that a Sequoyah Junior High parent shared with me. As we round out April, National Poetry Month, I wanted to share that moving community poem with you  ' If The Trees Can Keep Dancing, So Can I ' : A Community Poem To Cope In Crisis."

This is what I wrote in the spirit of the poem, "What I am learning about grief is that it rides you up and down like a rollercoaster...But if the trees keep dancing, so can I." 

What would your lines be?


P.S. Please enjoy a couple more Andy Goldsworthy inspired images sent in from former faculty member John Dewis and his son, Little John, and former faculty member and alum, Alison Brody and her children Eli and Bea.

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