April 15, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Thus Began the Season of Exams... 
The multitude of logistical variables confronted by staff in administering four days worth of computer adaptive state testing in math and language arts for 535 11th graders is staggering.  Each presents the need for its own set of contingencies and even the can-doist of can-do spirits will inevitably be tested each year.

Example: Chromebooks operating on our district Google platform cease operating in the way we need them to for testing after 5 years in service.  When we arrived on Monday after spring break, 24-hours from the start of our first exams, we learned that a significant chunk of our Chromebook fleet had passed the five year milestone during the vacation and would not be test-ready.  Surprise!

Thankfully, a recent SHSEF purchase of 140 Chromebooks had arrived in the district warehouse at the same time.  Sequoia Tech Coordinator Jack West, Site Technician Rafael Calles, and added hands from SUHSD Director of Instructional Technology (and Sequoia HS alum) Bob Fishtrom's team sprung into action and prepped the new machines for use in record time.  When the students arrived Tuesday morning for the first day of testing, we were all systems go.

All said and done, the students were able to complete their assessments with nary a hitch.  IVP Kristin Stout, always cooler than the other side of the pillow, deserves a shout out for her leadership in the planning and execution of the endeavor.  Kudos likewise to staff proctors and the students themselves.

On Wednesday, when we realized almost every student had finished their exam with a few minutes to go in the session, I seized the opportunity via intercom to remind students how grateful we were for the seriousness with which they were taking the exams (the stakes are admittedly higher for the school and district than they are for individual students).  I was impressed all week as I visited the testing rooms to see how diligent and thorough students were in their test-taking.

While addressing the students, I let them know we recognize the limits of standardized assessment in measuring some of the most important things we value at Sequoia.  Namely:
  • The power you have as a friend
  • The limits of your potential
  • Your creativity
  • Your kindness and empathy
  • Your character and integrity
  • Your sense of humor
When I was done with my piece, AVP Gary Gooch took over with a series of corny jokes to add some levity to the proceedings.  My favorites:

"What is the most popular coffee creamer in Australia? Coffee Mate" and "Sometimes I tuck my knees into my chest and lean forward because...that's just how I roll."

Give or take a handful of make-ups, CAASPP testing 2019 is in the books.  We took a deep breath this weekend and steadied ourselves for the 400+ ELPAC exams to be administered this week and the upcoming battery of IB exams around the corner.  Here's to the spring!

Have a great week!


Mark Your Calendars
Adjusted Bell Schedule for Non-ELPAC Test Takers on Tuesday and Wednesday
Please note the shortened days this week, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16 and 17, due to EL-PAC testing.  This schedule is for non-ELPAC students from all gradesClick here for the official schedule. 
Tuesday, April 16 - Shortened A-Day
Start time: 10:45 a.m.  
Period 5 End Time: 2:35 p.m.
Period 7 End Time: 3:40 p.m. 
Wednesday, April 17 - Shortened B-Day
Start time: 10:45 a.m.  
Period 6 End Time: 2:35 p.m.
Period 0 End Time: 3:40 p.m.
Put on Your Walking/Running Shoes for the 8th Annual Sequoia Stampede

Run your troubles away on April 20 at the  Sequoia Stampede & Tot Trot .  It's a great Saturday morning event for the whole family. This annual event at the historic Sequoia High School track in Redwood City, CA, is arguably one of the most beautiful 5K's in the area.

Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are welcome.  The 5K Race starts at 8:30 a.m. and the Tot-Trot (2 laps around the track) begins at 9:30 a.m.

Distance is measured exact to 5k.  For registration and more information please visit our website.  Race sponsors and vendors are welcome to contact race administration.  Parents of student athletes are encouraged to volunteer to help with this event - please sign up here.  Sequoia Stampede is hosted by Sequoia Boosters to benefit Sequoia Sports and Cheer.

Sequoia staff can register for free.  At the end of registration, please enter coupon code "SequoiaStaff" for your complimentary registration.

Dance Show is Back - Get Your Tickets Before They Sell Out!
Dance show tickets are now on sale!   Every year, each show has been a sell-out event so make sure you get your tickets early.  Advanced purchases online are $14 each and ticket prices at the door are $20.  In celebration of 50 years of dance at Sequoia, we will have three shows this year:
  • Thursday, April 25
  • Friday, April 26
  • Saturday, April 27
All shows start at 7:30 p.m. in Carrington Hall.
IB/AP Exams in May

May 2019 IB exams are fast approaching.  IB exams will run May 3 - 24 this year.  Students will receive an exam packet in their IB classes next week.  The packet will include an exam calendar (with dates, start times, and location), exam tips, Answer Booklet instructions, and the IB Code of Conduct.  You can also find IB exam information online.  Here, you will find the calendar, exam tips, a list of the timed length for each exam, instructions on how to check your IB scores, and instructions on sending IB scores to colleges.  I encourage families to review this information thoroughly.  Please be aware that students are required to stay for the entire exam even if they finish before the end of the session.  Students are NOT allowed to leave early.  If you have any questions about IB exams, please direct them to Lisa McCahon, the IB Coordinator.
Please note, AP Exams are also held in May.  Dates will be posted on the IB calendar at the bottom. If you have any questions regarding AP testing, please direct them to Kristin Stout who oversees AP exams.

Opportunities: Volunteer Positions & Scholarships
We Need Proctors for IB and AP Exams in May!
Help proctor IB or AP exams between May 3 and May 24 for a few hours.  If your student will be participating in the IB program at some point and you can be available during the day, the expectation is to proctor at least once each year.
Please help us fill the 107 proctoring spots. Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see available spots .
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on

After signing up, you will be contacted via email by Elisa Nino-Sears, Sequoia's Volunteer Coordinator. There is a quick and simple clearance process for all volunteers placed in academic settings with students.

AP Contact: IVP Office: Kristin Stout 
IB Contact: IB Coordinator: Lisa McCahon
Media Center Needs A Few Helping Hands

Sequoia's new Media Center is up and running!  If you haven't already seen the new space, please check it out.  It looks wonderful and there is an exciting vibe as students are now using it daily not only to browse the books but also to use the supply of computers available.  We are seeking volunteers on Mondays to help out with text book check outs, scanning, and sorting. 

Additionally, we have spots throughout the week for assisting with managing inventory and additional support tasks, including greeting and orienting students, shelving books, etc.  Please sign up for whatever shifts fit your schedule.  Looking forward to seeing you at the Media Center!

Juniors: Last Chance to Apply for PTSA Scholarships!

Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are due Tuesday, April 16 by 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.  

This is a great way to get a head start on your college applications, to be recognized for all you've done to make Sequoia a better place, and to earn some extra money to continue your education!  Click here for more information and the application for junior scholarships.
Get Involved Get Involved in Sequoia's PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association)

The PTSA is looking for parents interested in being involved in Sequoia's teacher and student programs.  If you want to feel connected to your child's school experience and get to know other parents, teachers, and staff, please contact Meredith Park .  We have various volunteer roles available for next year.  Incoming Freshman parents welcome!
Last Week at Sequoia
Reflections Award Ceremony
(Left to right): Principal Sean Priest, Viki Young (2018-19 SHS Reflections Chair), Marta Olson, Amelia Wiggin, Nismah Ismail, Ximena Sanchez Martinez, Christopher Saravia, and Kate Sheehan (Photography Teacher)

Congratulations to the following students who received awards for their Reflections artwork and thank you again to all the participants, judges, teachers, and parents for their contributions to this year's Reflections Art Program!

Sequoia High School Honorable Mention
  • Janelly Baladad, for Nani, Photography 
  • Alden Cuhna, for The Love Found in a Best Friend, Photography 
  • Samantha Santos, for Supermom, Photography 
Sequoia High School Award of Merit
  • Katherine Hansen, for Remembering Heroes, Dance Composition
  • Aidan Kolokithas, for My Hero: My Mother, Photography
  • Amelia Wiggin, for Threat to Embrace, Literature
Sequoia High School Award of Excellence and District Award of Merit
  • Ximena Sanchez Martinez, for Dreamers: Heroes Around Me, Visual Arts
  • Marta Olson, for A Generation of Heroes, Literature
Sequoia High School Award of Excellence and District Award of Excellence, Advanced to State-Level Competition
  • Nismah Ismail, for Heroes Around Me, Film Production
  • Christopher Saravia, for Mother's Gaze, Photography
  • Anna Serrano, for They Tell Me, Music Composition
A Prom to Remember
Confetti raining down upon prom revelers at the stroke of midnight.

It was a fantastic Friday night in the city for Sequoia's upper-classmen, as a record 671 students flocked to the historic Bently Reserve on Battery Street, San Francisco, for the 2019 JR/SR Prom.  This year's attendance eclipsed the previous high mark of 662 attendees at the 2017 event that was held at San Francisco City Hall.

The ritzy evening, aptly themed as  Midnight in Monte Carlo, provided a little of something for everyone... mock casino table games, a karaoke lounge, and of course a jam-packed dance floor, that rocked right up to the midnight finale when a magnificent confetti blast rained down on the students to a chorus of exalted cheers.

Special thanks to ASB Activities and Dance Commissioners Sabrina Martinez and Ruby Calderon Cortez, along with Alison Barrientos, Alyssa Williams, Emma Taylor, and Julia Banfield (among many, many others) who made this final dance of 2018-2019 something for Sequoians to remember forever!
In This Issue


Tuesday, April 16
10:45 Start Time
Shortened A-Day for Non-ELPAC Students

Wednesday, April 17
10:45 Start Time
Shortened B-Day for Non-ELPAC Students

Wednesday, April 17
4:00 p.m.
Media Center Grand Opening,
Media Center

Saturday, April 20
8:30 a.m.
Sequoia Stampede,
Terremere Field

Tuesday, April 23
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Incoming Student Welcome,
Gym 1

Thursday, April 25
Friday, April 26
Saturday, April 27
7:30 p.m.
Dance Show,
Carrington Hall

Tuesday, April 30
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Cheer Tryout,
Gym 3

Saturday, May 4
8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cheer Tryout,
Gym 3

May 3 - 24
IB/AP Exams
Quick Links
Read the Latest Raven Report
Buy Your Grad Tickets Now 
Visit the PTSA store
  to purchase your Grad Night Cruise tickets today!   
Find out all about grad activities here
IB Ceremony Needs Your Help!

Annual Sequoia IB Ceremony

May 30 at
5:30 p.m. in
Carrington Hall.
Parent volunteers of non-senior students are needed that evening to help make it all sparkle.  If you can help, please contact Glenn Bugos.  More information about the ceremony will be sent closer to the date.  
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
  to purchase your 2018-19 PTSA membership today, and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit and programs!
Interested in Being a Co-Editor for the Sequoia Sentinel?
Do you like making sure parents are in the know about events and activities at Sequoia?  We are looking for a co-editor to share in the weekly publication duties for this upcoming year.  Please contact Jocelyn Kelemen to find out more.
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

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

Denise Pope, PhD, Challenge Success, Stanford Graduate School of Education  
A Well-Balanced Perspective on Co llege "Fit"
Thursday, April 25, 2019, 7:00pm - 8:30pm 
Menlo-Atherton High School, Performing Arts Center (PAC)
The college admissions process can be a source of stress and anxiety  for students and parents alike.  In this interactive presentation, Dr. Denise Pope will explore strategies to help reduce unnecessary pressure around the college admission process.

Dr. Denise Pope  is a senior lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and the co-founder of  ChallengeSuccess , a non-profit organization affiliated with the Stanford GSE.  
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District. 
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Lily's Wings: An Anti-Trafficking Community Project and Play
Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
Lily's Wings is an original project and play produced by Fuse Theatre to raise awareness about human trafficking.  The program will include the play, a short introductory piece on human trafficking, and a panel discussion about HT awareness, advocacy, and finding support.
Open to parents, youth 13+,educators, and community members!  Free admission and light refreshments . Lily's Wings is a bilingual play in Spanish and English.
Special thanks to Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital, Fuse Theatre, and The Parent Education Series for their support of this premier event. 
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the M-A PTA, 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

Support for Teens by Teens!

The SafeSpace Youth Action Board in coordination with local mental health professionals is presenting "This Affects Us All: Helping a Friend in Crisis,"  a 90 minute workshop on how to help a friend struggling with their mental health, handle and defuse crisis situations, encourage help-seeking behaviors, and discuss difficult topics. This free presentation offered twice is for young people ages 11-20.
When: April 18,   6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Where: SafeSpace Community Engagement Center, 708 Oak Grove Ave. Menlo Park, CA  
Please register through Eventbrite.
In partnership with 7 Cups of Tea, SafeSpace now offers young people a new 24/7 compassionate listening app, SafeSpace Support Line. Teens can anonymously chat one-on-one about their problems with a non-judgemental trained active listener in multiple languages in a secure environment at any time, on their own device, at no cost.  The smartphone app is basically a supportive friend in one's pocket. This online emotional support service is not meant to replace therapy. Users can choose a random listener, or select one based on the life experiences, ethnicity, and expertise as provided on their profile.  The app provides an extensive selection of exercises, or personal growth paths, that help users gain skills and knowledge on specific issues that concern them, like social anxiety, stress, or loneliness.
SafeSpace is a local student-led organization that empowers young people to engage with their local schools and communities by creating and implementing initiatives to change the conversation around mental health by empowering peers to speak out, share with others and seek help when needed.
Lesley M. Martin, Ed.D.
Managing Director
SafeSpace Center 
708 Oak Grove Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
New generation, new conversation