April 20, 2020  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Community Empathy and the Path Forward 
I'm a parent.  My children are in first and third grades.  A week-and-a-half ago, I put on my mask, went to the hardware store and had them cut a large piece of showerback.  I lined the borders with brightly colored duct tape and converted a 42"x"72" wall on a kitchen island in my home into whiteboard for our daily schedule.  It gets updated each morning for homeschool and includes things like Readers Workshop, Online Math, break/snack, Yahtzee, etc. When I finished the project, I felt like an effective parent.  It was exhilarating.

A few times each day, my wife and I find ourselves trying to facilitate my kids joining a Zoom conference or access a google classroom page.  Passwords and links inexplicably change.  "Dad, I already did this one."  Simultaneously, we might be left-handing an email reply of our own or waiting (hoping not!) to get asked a question on the Zoom conference streaming into our heads via wireless earbuds.  In moments like these, we feel ineffective, both as parents and professionals. It's frustrating.  

I imagine what this scene might look like among our Sequoia households.  Sheltering-in-place amplifies the push-pull between teens insisting on independence (and hard-working parents needing it) while also craving structure and on-demand support.  I'm sure many of you feel like for one moment, this time is a gift and in the next moment, like the dam is about to burst.  If I were lurking on NextDoor or group texts, I'm sure I'd find plenty of venting among parents ("We haven't had any new work posted in a week!" or "Has this principal ever heard of bullet points?!?").  My wife and I have heard these voices among the parents of our children's classmates in the text chains we inhabit.

We've also noticed that we're only beginning to feel the scope and scale of all this.  Last week's 20% layoff at a friend's company was followed by a 40% salary reduction for another friend.  The lines at grocery stores get shorter while the lines at food banks get longer.  We are encouraged by the good news from public health officials but discouraged when our kids don't want to get out of bed because they're "over it".  Parents, we know you're trying to juggle knives on shifting sands, balancing your home and your work because the two, in many cases, are critically linked.  We see you.

From the beginning of this public health crisis, we've stressed the importance of putting home and family first.  Sequoia staff is working hard at holding our community intact, putting in extra effort to connect personally with every student on multiple fronts (teachers, counselors, aides, secretaries, administrators).  We're driving forward with learning, but making sure we're flexible, equitable, and authentic in how we assess that learning.  The move to P/NP grading was consistent with that.  While I know some of you disagree with the decision, it doesn't diminish the respect I have for what you're doing as parents.  

I've been so impressed with how much empathy our community has shown - students, staff, and families.  As we move forward, I want to remind everyone (especially parents), to extend that empathy to yourselves.  Be well this week.


Senior Families: Grad Events Update

graduation_cap.jpgAlternative graduation plans are in the works and seniors should be hearing from Sequoia this week about the new graduation plans.  In the meantime, a group of parents is working on some ideas for celebrating the Class of 2020.  If you are interested in helping to plan a future BBQ/Celebration for when the health restrictions are lifted enough to have a celebration, or if you have other ideas for celebrating our seniors, please contact Linda Burt or Lisa Miller.

All grad night ticket refunds have been processed through PayPal. It may take some time to show up in your account. If you have questions about the grad night ticket refund, please contact Gayle Hoch.

Update on PTSA Mini Grants

We have a challenge for you:
We are living in an unprecedented time dealing with the complications caused by COVID-19.  Can you identify a current need within our Sequoia community and come up with a solution to that need?  If your solution requires funding, we have about $3500 left from the Sequoia High School Education Foundation.  Each request can be up to $750.  Students, teachers, clubs and staff may apply.  If you are a parent, please encourage your students to come up with an innovative idea, and submit it to our committee. 
Here are some that have been added more recently during the open application period:
1)  Ms. Kaprive - Winchester Mystery House Fieldtrip
2) Dylan Shelley - Supplemental Reading Materials, $198.33
3) Ms. Yeager - College Pennants, up to $600
The application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 15, or until funds run out. 

Click here for a direct link to the application form and grant requirements.
Click here to see a list of projects that have already been funded this year.

Please contact DeeDee Clarke and Karen Latina with any questions at

Juniors: PTSA Scholarship Application Deadline Extended to May 10, 2020
moneybag_graphic.jpg Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships have been extended to Sunday, May 10, 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
Redwood City Resident Noah McDonough Captures the Grandeur and Beauty of Sequoia High School During "Shelter-in-Place"
camera.jpg Noah McDonough and his wife have been residents of Redwood City for about 20 years and currently live in the Mount Carmel / Eagle Hill area.  Noah has long admired the architecture, grounds, and Veterans Memorial at Sequoia High School during his daily walks past the school.  While we "Shelter-in-Place," Noah has put his creativity to work with these amazing drone videos of Sequoia High School and different parts of our beautiful city. 
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. 20 - 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!

The Sentinel 
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 Parent Education

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Welcome to the NEW Parent Education Webinar Series !  In response to COVID-19, we are offering free virtual events to support "Safe and Healthy Teens."  Click here to view NEW "COVID-19 Parent Resources" on The Parent Education Series webpage. Take care and stay well, everyone!

Keep Calm: How to Manage Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19
Mark Reinecke, PhD, Clinical Director, Child Mind Institute - Bay Area  
Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)  
(Zoom link provided upon registration) 
Join Mark Reinecke, PhD, Clinical Director and Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Child Mind Institute - Bay Area, for an online webinar to help you and your family navigate the stress and anxiety associated with COVID-19, school closures, and distance learning.  

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#Vaporized: Navigating Teenage Trends in Vaping, E-Cigarettes, and Social Media   
Erin Vogel, PhD, Stanford Prevention Research Center
Thursday, April 30, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)
(Zoom link provided upon registration)
Join us for a virtual event with Erin Vogel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow and social psychologist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.  This online webinar will cover vaping, e-cigarettes, social media, and their effects on adolescent health and well-being.

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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 . 
Community Events

Improve Your Spanish and Help Our Community Too! 
As a Sequoia parent and longtime volunteer with Upward Scholars, a local non-profit supporting adult immigrants so they can attend community college, I encourage you to take advantage of a recently launched Spanish Coaching program: HABLA MÁS.  Native Spanish speakers, who have completed training as Spanish coaches, are offering online Spanish lessons.  All levels are welcome and the first half-hour lesson is free.  Subsequent three lessons are discounted and additional lessons are $16/half-hour or $30/hour.

Middle school and high school tutoring is available.  All coaches are current or former Upward Scholars students who are facing significant economic challenges right now.  This is an opportunity to help truly deserving students while gaining genuine language skills.  For more information, please go to Upward Scholars or contact me, Jenni Leparmentier.  Thanks.