April 13, 2020  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Unity Against the Unknown  
It's been just shy of a month since I last offered a message in Sequoia's weekly PTSA newsletter.  It seems like yesterday in some ways, a year ago in others.  It was the first Monday since we'd moved to distance learning (aka crisis learning) as part of global efforts to reduce infections and save lives.  There have been more cancellations and disappointments since, but also triumphs and inspirational acts.  Our staff, students, and families have risen to the moment.  This is when strong communities are at their best.  This is who we are.

In my message on March 16, I identified two priorities: (1) helping lead in widespread public efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 infections and (2) honoring our mission to provide high-quality learning for all students in an equitable way.  I asked our community to acknowledge that these two priorities both compete with and complement one another in this unique moment.  To that end, we aren't operating the school the way we're used to.  On the other hand, the lessons we're learning about shared responsibility and collective consciousness seem to be altering the extent to which our students understand their roles as citizens.  This article in the Raven Report is a fine case in point.

There are new priorities that have emerged through these last weeks, as well.  I hope that the effort we have made as a staff to track down every student via CANVAS, email, phone call (or multiple phone calls) has shown each kid how important they are as individuals.  I hope that our communication with families has made clear what we value (what we've always valued), and how those values, in times of crisis, are more important than ever.  

I hope it doesn't go unnoticed that the work we've been doing to acquire technology, support innovative practices through professional learning and meaningful conversations among staff about grading, alignment, equity, and strong support for families puts us at an even greater advantage than other schools and districts during this critical time.  Certainly, I hope, likewise, that it does not go unnoticed that these initiatives are only possible because of the generosity of our community in helping the Sequoia Education Foundation meet its annual goal each year.  This is work that will continue beyond this period of shelter-in-place, perhaps even be invigorated.  The vitality of our SHSEF mission is as critical as ever. 

One of the most difficult aspects of this has been the abruptness with which our community was separated.  The virtual meetings are helpful but only serve to remind us how important our daily interactions are with one another.  The relationships that serve as the foundation of our Sequoia Unaliyi are not transactional; we are not a community of clients and vendors.  When our staff puts together videos like this (brand new - thanks, Betsy Snow!), it comes from a genuine place.

This has been a trying month, but I've never been prouder to be a part of this community.  I hope everyone is healthy, safe, and has a great week.


Stay Connected with the New Family Center YouTube Channel

You will find lots of useful links to resources specific to our Sequoia community on the Family Center's new YouTube channel.  On here, you will find informational videos in English and Spanish for setting up your home computer for distance learning, help with housing assistance applications, recorded PTSA/ELAC meetings, and our first "Ask Sean" session.  More videos will be added as the weeks progress.

Specific Videos:

Videos específicos:
Thank you to Javier Niño-Sears and Elvira Macias for setting up the Sequoia Family Center's YouTube Channel to help keep our community connected.

Senior Families: Grad Activities Cancelled

graduation_cap.jpg Given the on-going restrictions on large social gatherings, it is with a heavy heart that the 2020 Grad Activities team has decided to cancel the Senior BBQ, Senior Brunch, and Safe and Sober Grad Night events.  

We plan to issue refunds for Grad Night tickets through PayPal by Friday, April 24, 2020.  

Please help us by getting creative with different ways we as a parent community can celebrate our Seniors.  We are hoping to partner with Sequoia High School staff and ASB to develop a collaborative celebration plan.  Get in touch for the following:
  • Have an idea for a parent-organized graduation activity?  E-mail Lisa Miller.
  • Want to help out once we have a plan together?  E-mail Linda Burt.
  • Questions or problems with your PayPal refund for your Grad Night ticket?  E-mail Gayle Hoch.
Juniors: Turn in Your PTSA Scholarship Applications!
moneybag_graphic.jpg Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are due Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 10:00 p.m.   There are three categories of scholarships to recognize students: academic success, community service, or achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges.  We have 20 scholarships to offer, each worth $250.

This is a great way for juniors to get a head start on college applications, to be recognized for all they've done to make Sequoia a better place, and to earn some extra money to continue their education!   Click here for more information on applying for PTSA Junior Scholarships.

Sequoia Highlights
Sequoia Alumnus Makes Face Shields for Bay Area Healthcare Workers

Justine Levine, alumnus of Sequoia High School '17, is back from college during this pandemic and is using his time to make face shields for healthcare workers.  Justin, ever skillful and nifty at making things, decided to start making full face shields inside his family's home garage workshop using 3D printers and a CNC machine.  Watch a clip of the news report here.
Fall 2019 Mini-Grant Recipient Series

We will continue to highlight grantees and projects from the PTSA (with support from SHSEF)'s Fall 2019 mini-grant series the next few weeks.  We hope these projects inspire you to apply for your own grant in the Fall or Spring of each year.

Culinary Arts Food Funds
Chicken fricassee
The Sequoia High School Culinary Arts program only receives a certain amount of funding for food labs through the district.  Any amount of additional funding can help to offer not only a larger quantity of food labs, but also a higher quality program for all of its students.  It is also worth noting that the Sequoia Culinary Arts program touches a large portion of the student body, including students with special learning needs, English learners, students in the IB program, and beyond. 
Pea and prawn risotto
There are two main reasons I decided to apply for this PTSA grant.  First-off, based on my time in the position last year as a long-term substitute and talking to students who took the course last year, there was a large bias in the course towards recipes using the cheapest ingredients such as flour, eggs, butter, oil, etc.  This led the course to be very baking heavy with students actually completing recipes very similar to one another (e.g. doing different flavored muffins multiple times).
I wanted to enhance the food offerings to show students how to cook a variety of food and am trying to trade-off every week between baking and culinary food labs, a pricier endeavor.  For example, recently I was able to teach our second-year culinary arts students how to de-bone an entire chicken, a skill which I don't believe was completed last year.  However, simply purchasing the chickens for the lab cost upwards of $100, not including other ingredients necessary for the recipe. 
Gateau St. Honoré, a dessert made from choux pastry, crème patissiere, creme chiboust, and caramel. 
This grant allowed me to extend my food budget, thereby giving the students extra food labs using a variety of techniques and ingredients to produce dishes such as chicken fricassee, Gateau St. Honoré, pea and prawn risotto, mille-feuille, oeufs à la neige, and carrot cake. 
~ Jacob Marotta, Culinary Arts teacher

Parent Resources
Links to Explore During Shelter-in-Place 
As all of us are getting used to the new routines and distance learning, here are a few curated resources to tap into:
  • Create At Home offers opportunities to explore all manners of creativity through art education.
  • Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Resources has a plethora of links to keep you connected with our local community as well as opportunities for wellness through online classes, volunteer opportunities, and essential services.
  • The Media Center at Sequoia has the Distance Learning Center site up. This site is updated periodically, so please bookmark the Distance Learning Page and visit it occasionally.
  • Audible has launched Audible Stories, a free service that offers educational and entertaining audiobook content for kids, teens, and families.
  • Without a doubt, many of us are feeling anxious as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. We're feeling it too, and we wanted to share some of the tools we're using to take care of our minds and stay grounded. 
  • Because of coronavirus, teenagers are missing out on major rites of passage. Offering compassion paves their way toward feeling better. Read: Quaranteenagers: Strategies for Parenting in Close Quarters (NYT Subscription required to read)
  • These 12 famous museums offer Virtual Tours you can take on your couch.
In This Issue

Apr. 13 - Jun. 4  
Distance Learning in Effect
Quick Links
Breakfast and Lunch Meals

The SUHSD Food Services department will be offering FREE breakfast and lunch meals to all SUHSD students for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.  Please see the attached flyer for times and location.
For the most up to date information, please visit our website.

Still Time to Order Yearbooks

2019-20 Yearbooks are still available to order through Josten's Yearbooks.

Reserve yours now, so you won't have to worry about it later.  Yearbooks will be arriving in June and distribution information is yet to be determined.  We will let you know when we know.
Questions can be sent to Eileen Bray.

Support Sequoia All Year

Copy and paste SHSEF's AmazonSmile link below onto your browser bar for quick access to future contributions while shopping!

It's Always the Right Time... be a part of the Sequoia community!

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 Parent Education

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Healthy Adults for Healthy Kids: Modeling in the Time of COVID-10
FCD Prevention Works, Deirdre Flynn, Senior Prevention Specialist 
Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)  
Info & Tickets for Healthy Adults for Healthy Kids
(Zoom link provided upon registration) 
Given schedules and daily routines altered by COVID-19, this can be a difficult time to maintain healthy habits, especially for teens.  Join us for a webinar with Deirdre Flynn, Senior Prevention Specialist at  FCD Prevention Works, to discuss how healthy adult behavior can be a protective factor against risky teen choices.

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Strategies for Learning at Home with Middle and High School Students  
Ana Homayoun, educational consultant, author of Social Media Wellness
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)
Info & Tickets for Strategies for Learning at Home
(Zoom link provided upon registration)
Want strategies to make learning at home less stressful (and more successful)? Join noted author and educator Ana Homayoun for an online webinar with Q&A. 
Ana has been helping students with organization and time-management strategies for nearly two decades, and she is the author of Social Media Wellness.  

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Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission. The Parent Education Webinar Series is sponsored by Sequoia Healthcare District and Sequoia Union High School District.
For videos of popular events, visit our YouTube and Vimeo channels, and connect with us on Instagram and Facebook for the latest parenting news.

Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder and Director, The Parent Education Series .