February 11, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPrincipal's Message
The Evolution of Applicable Math Skills  
In 1970, computational skills were highly desired by prospective employers.  This meant you had to be fast in your procedural skills and that your answers had to be correct.  Does anyone remember those multiplication tables in elementary school?  And the ticking stopwatch growing louder as your third-grade brain struggled to remember 4 times 7?  How about those SAT shortcut tips that helped you simplify equations or solve multivariable equations fast enough to beat the clock?  Speed and accuracy were key.

Did you know that the SAT doesn't work that way anymore?

In 2019, speed and accuracy in computation are left to computers, like the miniature one we all can't live without.  Let's imagine you're tasked by an employer in 2019 with maintaining financial records.  You decide to flex your computational speed and accuracy by creating a hand-written ledger book.  Your colleagues would politely introduce you to a spreadsheet... or the door.

That said, mathematics instruction is more important than ever.  Although computational skills have dropped out of the top 10 skills employers are looking for in 2019, problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork have risen to the top of the list.  The question schools are asking is how best to develop courses that teach the 21st Century mathematical skills crucial to all of our students in a changing world.

Here is a list of the essential math practices identified by the Common Core:
  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them  
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics  
  • Use appropriate tools strategically  
  • Attend to precision  
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning  
Sequoia is in the midst of two exciting phases of its evolution of math learning.  Next year, IB is updating the design of its math courses.  As an IB school, this means Sequoia's IB math offerings will be updated, as well.  Thanks to those of you who attended the informational coffee Q&A hosted by IB Coordinator Lisa McCahon and Math Department Chair Beth Peters.  Many questions were fielded and if you missed the meeting, please find the answers to the FAQ here .  

As a district, we are undertaking a self-study facilitated by David Foster (founder of the Silicon Valley Math Initiative) and Dr. Patrick Callahan, formerly the co-director of the California Mathematics Project.  Mr. Foster and Dr. Callahan have visited over 60 math classrooms in the district, consulted with teacher leaders and administrators, and will work over the next few months to help shape how students will learn math in the SUHSD moving forward.

Exciting stuff is happening to make math more rigorous and relevant to our students than it has ever been, with new challenges presented to both our most enthusiastic math superstars, as well as the kids wondering, "When am I EVER going to use this?!?"  
Have a great week!

Volunteer Opportunities
Support Athletic Boosters

Sequoia Athletic Booster Club promotes school spirit and funds after-school athletic teams, awards, uniforms and equipment, banners in the gym, and most importantly, assists in providing safe transportation for our athletes to as many events as possible. 

Our biggest fundraiser, the Crab Feed, is only 6 weeks away and although we have a healthy number of volunteers signed up, there are a few spots left.  Whether you have a child involved in athletics or not, please take a moment to see how you can contribute and join in on one of Sequoia's traditions.

If you would prefer to support or help out with general organization, please join our membership, sign up to help, or attend the meeting on Tuesday, February 26.  Read more about the booster club on our webpage.
Mark Your Calendars
Varsity Girls Soccer vs. South San Francisco:
4:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 12 at Sequoia
Come one, come all - cheer on our Varsity Girls Soccer team as they rally for the PAL - Ocean Championship in their final league game tomorrow!  They've had a successful 7-1-1 season and we hope to see lots of Sequoia supporters in purple and white.  Let us honor our seniors and cheer on the team.  This will be the second time the Varsity Girls team has been to the championships in the past 3 years. 
2019 Sport
Sequoia's Varsity Girls Soccer team flanked by coaches, Melissa Schmidt and Elizabeth Peters. 
Don't Miss Out on the Crab Feed! 
It's the hottest ticket in town.  This event is even better than the Hamilton show in SF and you want to know why?  Because all proceeds will benefit Sequoia Athletics. 
  • Saturday, March 23, 2019 at Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos.
  • We are still looking for volunteers to fill open positions.  Click on this link to sign up.
  • Lastly, do you have any gift cards or items that you want to donate for the Live and Silent Auction?  Please reach out to Crab Feed chairpersons, Adam Kurland, Karyn Kurland or Luisa Pauga, if you have any questions.


Purchase Your Crab Feed Tickets Here  


Last Chance for a Free T-Shirt: Register by February 14 
Dream Club's annual student conference for undocumented students and their peers will be on March 2, 2019.  Check out this flier for more information.  Please share with anyone who might be interested, especially those who work with youth and might be willing to bring a group to the conference.
A light breakfast and lunch will be provided at the event.  A free t-shirt will be given to those who register by February 14!
Last Week at Sequoia...
New Raven Report Published

The latest January 2019 issue of the Raven Report can now be read online.  Find out about the latest happenings at Sequoia and the greater community, as reported by the staff of Sequoia's student newspaper/online news magazine. 

This issue covers topics regarding the grand re-opening of the Media Center on February 25th, efficacy of the new lunch lines, Michelle Obama's book tour stop in the Bay Area, SUHSD's new Tide Academy, closure of 4 Redwood City K-8 schools, and an alumna's art at the border.  Click on the link to discover many more interesting articles found within its covers.
Home-made cookies, chocolate chip banana bread, dried fruit and nut mixes, etc., all ready to be boxed.

Sending Unaliyi Spirit to Nine First-in-Family College Freshmen

Sequoia school spirit lives on -- a group of parents sent Valentine care packages to nine freshmen who are first-time college attendees in their families.  According to Kelly Bugos who spearheaded the project, "We had so much fun assembling the boxes.  The boxes included dental kits, batteries, toys like Silly Putty, razors, a selection of hand creams and other personal hygiene products, individual mac n cheese packages, individual snack bags, a Valentine card, home-made treats, and of course, too much candy."

The group had to look up addressing instructions for each individual college and are hoping for the best that deliveries make it to each student.  Unfortunately, the post office didn't recognize all the addresses, which is typical for dorms.  Let us hope these thoughtful gestures of Unaliyi spirit do not end up in strange places!
Unity Week  
The Unity Association (UA), including, Karen Xu, Emma Larsson, Diego DeNault, and Myriam Leon, organized Unity Week to celebrate the diversity within our student body and promote togetherness between the unique communities that make up Sequoia.  Each day in the quad, a different club reflecting that diversity hosted games and art projects which explained their goals.  Participating clubs included Gender Sexuality Alliance, Young Feminists Club, Latino Student Union, Dream Club, and Best Buddies.
The week spread awareness about student activism on campus and fostered understanding between groups.  Students from a multitude of backgrounds, familiar with each club or not, joined in the activities.  The success of this week speaks to the open-minded, inquisitive, and animated culture at our high school.  It was a shining example of what it means to be a part of the Sequoia community!
(L-R): Karen Xu, Andres Garcia, Emma Larsson, Diego DeNault, and Myriam Leon
What Does an SRO (School Resource Officer) Do?   
Officer Stahler giving pole-vaulting instruction during a PE unit. 
At the last PTSA meeting, we had the pleasure of welcoming Sequoia SRO David Stahler.  He is the only full-time police officer at any of the four comprehensive high schools in our district (courtesy of a legacy joint venture with the City of Redwood City) and his police car is parked on campus every day.  He has been a police officer with the Redwood City Police Department for ten years and he handles discipline issues that go beyond what the school can handle, such as fights, assaults, and drugs.  In addition to those duties, he deals with truancy at the school. 
When asked what parents could do to make his job easier, he talked about the importance of setting boundaries and having rules at home, so that students can abide by school rules more easily.
Officer Stahler is also the pole-vaulting coach for Sequoia's track and field team and he says that he enjoys getting to know the students who participate.  He has two kids who will be attending Sequoia in a few years.  
The next time you see David walking around campus, please say hello, and thank him for making our school a safer place for our students.
In This Issue


Tuesday, February 12
4:30 p.m.
VG Soccer vs. SSF,

Wednesday, February 13
6:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting,
Birch Room, SUHSD Office
February 18 - 22
Mid-Winter Break
No School

Thursday, February 21
6:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting,
Birch Room, SUHSD Office

Tuesday, February 26
7:00 p.m.
Athletic Boosters Meeting,
Staff Room 233

Wednesday, February 27
4:30 p.m.
Advance Dance Audition Workshop,
Dance Studio

Wednesday, February 27
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Parent Ed: Winning Strategies,
Carrington Hall

Quick Links
Last Week for
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Grad Tickets 
Visit the
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Help From Stanford Tutors and Assistants  on Campus  
Does your student need support in math or college related applications?  Help is available for FREE! 



3:50 - 5:10 p.m.

Room 222. (Pre-Algebra through Algebra 2)  



3:45 - 5:45 p.m.

Room 216 (Pre-Algebra through PreCalc)

3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Room 115 (C&C Center)
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
  to purchase your 2018-19 PTSA membership today, and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit and programs!
Sequoia Sentinel 
Our readers enjoy hearing about activities, events, and accomplishments of our Sequoia students, staff and community.  If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel (including photos and links), please email the article/blurb by the Thursday before publication.  See the following Guidelines for news submissions.  
Find past issues of the Sentinel at   
En Español
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 Parent Education

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Parent Ed
Lynn O'Shaughnessy
Lynn O'Shaughnessy, College Financial Expert, author of The College Solution
Winning Strategies for Finding the Right School at the Right Price
Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is a nationally recognized college expert, higher-education journalist, speaker and educator.  Her No. 1 goal is to help parents with teenagers become smart college shoppers as they search for schools.   

Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by SHSEF, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Alternate date of the same lecture sponsored by WHS PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District as part of the Woodside Parent Education Series:
Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)
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Ana Homayoun 
Ana Homayoun, founder of Green Ivy Consulting, and author of The Myth of the Perfect Girl
Understanding the Culture of Perfectionism: Helping Teens Overcome a Fear of Failure and of Never Being Good Enough
Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Carlmont Performing Arts Center (PAC)
With compassion and humor, author Ana Homayoun describes why so many teens - particularly in high-achievement areas like Silicon Valley - struggle with a fear of never being good enough.  She will discuss practical strategies to help teens find their own personal fulfillment, purpose, and wellness. 
Carlmont Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Carlmont PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director of The Parent Education Series .
 Community News

Webinar: Understanding Cyber-bullying

graphic Ever wonder what it's like for youth growing up with today's social media? Cyber-bullying has become an everyday reality for many youth. However it often goes unnoticed. 

Mental health agency, Star Vista is offering a webinar on supporting youth experiencing cyber-bullying.  Join us by phone or computer on Wednesday, February 13 from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. to learn more about this issue and how to help.