May 11, 2020  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
How Do We Plan For Fall 2020?
I haven't had a conversation in over two weeks that wasn't at least partially about next year.  There are many questions, many concerns, and less certainty than preferable for anyone.  May is always the time of year where everyone's workflow shifts from the current year to the next, so thinking ahead is par for the course.  We've taken for granted how much we can take for granted from year to year.  We know to expect updates that will determine, in part, how the start of the 2020-21 school year will be different.  This means changing how we prepare for August at both the district and school site levels.

For the district, based on the best information available today, the superintendent's team has assembled a task force to plan for the three most plausible broad scenarios.  The first scenario has us returning to school in August much the same way we left on March 13.  The second scenario is where schools are still closed and we continue to serve students remotely.  A third scenario is a hybrid between the two, partial school opening to maintain some social distancing with a continued online learning component.

The task force consists of a representative 50+ member cross-section of the community: teachers, administrators, staff, parents, students, trustees, and consultants.  The group has been divided into subgroups to cover the various aspects of school operations (curriculum, learning environment, staff support, assessment, grading, e.g.).  The goal is to build on any successes we've had and lessons we've learned this semester in order to plan effectively for whatever updated orders our district receives from the county and state public health agencies.  The findings and recommendations of the task force will allow us to pivot quickly to whatever the state and county deems healthy and safe for students and families.

As a school, we are also putting a number of contingencies in place to prepare for the coming school year, in whatever shape it takes.  The week of June 1-5 will be set aside as teacher work days.  Faculty will audit what material was covered over the final 10 weeks of school and begin crafting plans for review, acceleration, and remediation in the fall.  Being strategic about how we bridge courses means communicating and collaborating.  I'm optimistic about Sequoia's chances for making up ground because we have a strong culture of teachers working closely together.  

I am doing a lot of listening.  Last week I was in the audience for a student panel organized by our Teen Resource Center and Youth Advisory Board.  We heard from students about their challenges this semester, both academically and socio-emotionally.  We know the weekly schedule is helpful.  We know that students need structure, encouragement, and interaction.

We also know that for many families, instability in basic human needs such as food and shelter will dramatically impact their ability to succeed.  As the economic picture comes into focus, we know families across our community will face hardship, maybe not to the extent of losing a home, but certainly enough to raise the level of stress and anxiety in a way that gets in the way of school performance.

I have heard questions ranging from how students will turn-in books to how the college application process will look next year.  As we get the information we need to answer these questions, we have a strong sense of priorities.  We also will continue to lead with our values: the importance of health, home, and family, the belief in every student's right to the best possible set of supports, and the desire to have assessment and feedback connect clearly and authentically to mastery of standards in an equitable way.

We will continue to communicate across platforms.  I am so grateful for the voices that I have heard from our community.  We can feel the love and care you have for our shared triumph in these challenging times.  Another Monday of another week... here we go!

Have a great week.


Double Your End-of-Year SHSEF Donation!

Gifts to SHSEF make a difference in the lives of our 2,100 students.  This year, we have a $630,000 goal to expand enrichment activities and support in the 2020-21 school year.

If you donate between now and May 31, your gift will be matched through a $70k challenge grant.

Donate today and provide an Education that Empowers.

Is Your Sophomore Interested in the IB Diploma Programme?

Interested in doing the IB Diploma? If your child would like to sign up as a full IB Diploma Candidate, here are the steps:
  1. Attend the IB Diploma CAS Zoom Webinar on Friday, May 15 from 11:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m. Link for meeting. See below for more details about the Zoom webinar. 
    • If unable to attend the webinar due to COVID related issues, please email Ms Galvan at no later than May 15. You will be emailed the recorded webinar and instructions for what you have to do to demonstrate your participation.
    • No student video cameras or mics will be shown or heard in the webinar format.
  2. Declare your IB Diploma status no later than June 1st (Firm deadline). We will send out a Google Form in lieu of a hard copy document
  3. Once you have completed your IB Diploma status form (online through Google forms), you will be emailed the mandatory CAS summer assignment. 
Zoom Meeting Details:
Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Webinar ID: 870 6362 1092

If you have any questions please email Lisa McCahon.

Sequoia Players to Perform a Zoom Play

Sequoia Drama is performing a Zoom play " 10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine" on Friday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m.  A link to view the show is on the Sequoia Players website.
If you're spending a lot of time at home, it can be a challenge to keep yourself occupied.  Luckily,  10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine is full of handy solutions, from putting on a musical with your pets, to becoming an announcer for a made-up sport, to falling in love with an inanimate object.  Hey, we promised handy solutions - we never said they wouldn't be strange.  
Whether or not you're inspired to take up origami and squirrel observation, Don Zolidis' new play is sure to bring a laugh to anyone who finds themselves unexpectedly indoors.

Special Membership Gift for Seniors from Alumni Association

The Sequoia H. S. Alumni Assn. is inviting all 2020 graduating seniors to join the Alumni Association for  FREE.  There is usually a grad year membership special (this year it would have been $20.20), but given the rare circumstances this year, the association wanted to offer the option to join for free!

Please see attached flyer for details.  This offer is also included with your senior packet.
Senior Athletes: Last Week to Apply for Memorial Scholarship
Judy Carmona was a true supporter of softball here at Sequoia. She had two daughters, Angie and Missy, who played all 4 years at SHS.  Judy's husband Paul also coached the team when their girls were playing.  Judy had great school spirit and was a wonderful supporter of Sequoia sports.  Judy passed away at an early age from cancer, so the Boosters decided to have an annual scholarship in her name.

Eligible students are seniors who have participated in at least one season on a Varsity team (or equivalent, when sports do not have a V team), and whose family has been a Sequoia Sports Boosters member in the current school year.  Applications are due at 7:00 p.m. on May 15, 2020.

See the full eligibility requirements
Any Last Minute Ideas a PTSA Mini Grant Could Fund?
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.  
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

Sequoia Highlights
Class of 2020 Cap and Gown Day

Volunteers ready to congratulate graduates on cap and gown distribution day.
A HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers who helped make last Wednesday's Class of 2020 Cap and Gown Day a success.  While the day in no way makes up for all that the Class of 2020 is missing out on this year, we hope they got a little taste of how much they are loved.  It was great having the teachers out there all day cheering as the seniors drove up.  The ASB students did a wonderful job on the posters that lined the fence.   Thanks to Sean Priest, Gary Gooch, Melissa Schmidt, and Terry Ignaitis, who greeted the seniors as they drove up and handed them their cap and gown.  The custodial staff was amazing helping with the setup, traffic control, and clean up.  Jill Kadlec designed the awesome signs that you now see all over town celebrating our Sequoia Seniors.  Wendy Turner spearheaded the Class of 2020 t-shirts.  Ann Berljafa and the Sports Boosters gave all seniors a cute laptop Raven sticker. 

It was truly a collaborative project between the Administration, PTSA, Sports Boosters, and ASB. 
It took 30 days to plan and execute this first of its kind Sequoia Senior grad activity; during a shelter in place, while supporting our families and working, and while attending remote college visits.  
Thank you to the following people who made this happen (and please forgive us if we missed you, it was not intentional!): Carolyn Arbuckle, Ann Berljafa, Gail Blomstrom, Christina Carrier, Sian Davies, Jennifer DiGrande, Leslie Doyle, Dione Duran, Brett Gardner, Gary Gooch, Lisa Hane, Adrienne Heist, Kristin Henige, Teresa Ignaitis, Marianne Jett, Jill Kadlec, Chiyomi Kuroki, Andrea Lanham, Patricia O'Connor, Sean Priest, Melissa Schmidt, Rebecca Tom, Wendy Turner, Corey Uhalde, Heather Weber, Sabine Won, and Viki Young.
If you missed picking up your cap, gown, sign, or t-shirt (only size small t-shirts are left), please see the email that Gary Gooch sent all seniors.  Please contact Gary Gooch with any questions about the pick-up. 
The Grad Team is not done, we are planning a future BBQ and a tribute to the Class of 2020 for the school.  Please contact Linda Burt  if you would like to be part of the planning of these activities.
~ Linda Burt, Lisa Miller, and Gayle Hoch
Class of 2020 Grad Team Co-Chairs

Students Honored for Expressing Themselves Through Art   
Reflections The PTSA last week celebrated the 10 students who created an artistic work for the 2019-20 Reflections Art event.  Last Fall, students submitted pieces based on this year's theme, Look Within! ( Mira Dentro!).   They were honored via Zoom, prior to the PTSA General Meeting last Tuesday. 
Marta Olson (for Literature) and Denise Carillo (for Visual Arts) advanced to the 17th District PTA level where they each earned an Award of Excellence.
2019-20 Sequoia Reflections Participants!

Duncan Adams
Madeline (Mac) Brennan, SHS Honorable Mention
Denise Carrillo, 17th District Award of Excellence
Estevan Dominguez
Sarah Hansen, SHS Award of Merit
Ava Liu
Isabelle Simon, SHS Honorable Mention
Alyssa Sawyer
Lily Weissman, SHS Award of Merit
Marta Olson, 17th District Award of Excellence

Thank you to the judges, Greg Close, Elizabeth Gomez, Christina Parsey, Rachel Levine, and Viki Young.
Student Panel and the YAB During COVID-19
On Thursday, May 7th, a group of 9th-12th graders from various Sequoia programs, including the Youth Advisory Board, shared their experiences with distance learning and provided lots of great input to teachers and staff about how to best support students during this time. These students also recognized teachers since it was Teacher Appreciation Week! 
This discussion panel was organized by Sequoia's Teen Resource Center in association with the Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a student-led organization at Sequoia comprised of a dozen students who advocate for students by identifying students' needs, collecting  data, working towards solutions, and presenting information to the faculty on making improvements within Sequoia.  The YAB also provides  peer-to-peer support for students and receives peer education through a partnership between Sequoia's Teen Resource Center and Star-Vista's Youth Development Initiative.  During this COVID-19 shelter-in-place, YAB's focus has shifted specifically to supporting student's mental health and addressing alcohol and substance abuse.  The YAB is sharing mental health resources through the Media Center website and on social media platforms to connect students.  You can learn more about the work of the YAB in this Raven Report article.
Annual Sequoia Awards Recognizes Student Volunteers

On March 12, the Sequoia Awards recognized community volunteers among high school students, businesses, and individuals.  As Redwood City's premier scholarship program, a total of $200,000 was awarded and each recipient received $5K - $25K.  Among the recipients this year were many Sequoia students:

Corporate Scholarships
Maria Chavez
Jasmine Esquivel
Michelle Estrada
Daniel Sajuan
Sandra Landa Sanchez

Community Scholars
Nicole Cruz Mariche
Leslie Zaragoza
America Nava (with Distinction)

Outstanding Student Award
Maria Casique

Read more about the Sequoia Awards and the full profiles of all the recipients in the official program from the ceremony.

Welcome, Incoming Freshmen - Virtually

graphic The SHSEF hosted a successful Incoming Freshmen Welcome Webinar on April 23.  Parents and students received a welcome from Principal Priest, the PTSA, SHSEF, VPA, Sports Boosters, and a diverse student panel.  Over 200 families attended our English and Spanish sessions.

A huge shout out to everyone who made this happen:  Principal Sean Priest, SHSEF Board Members John McAfee and Carolyn Arbuckle, SHS Activities Director Corey Uhalde, Athletic Director Melissa Schmidt, PTSA Pres. Lisa Hane, SHSEF Pres. Tessa Solomon, Booster Pres. Ann Berljafa, and VPA Rep Pamela Ehrlich.  Our fantastic panel of students  Sophia Rivera, Isabel Lopez, Sofia Rodrigues Bravo, Ashley Barraza-Casarez, Javier Niño-Sears, Isabelle DiGrande, Jacob Crosby, and Caitlin Dulsky provided information on a variety of interests and let incoming students know what it means to be part of Sequoia UNALIYI.
Please help us by passing along the link to the recorded events to new families. 
Spanish -
The Unaliyi Spirit Keeps Spreading
Ms. Betsy Snow sporting her new Sequoia purple mask.

Ms. Betsy Snow's day was brightened by the surprise delivery of goodies recently, courtesy of the ASB and PTSA.  The gift basket included shelter-in-place essential items such as bath bombs, toilet paper, fruit, chocolate, cookies, cleanser, and masks.

"Thank you, PTSA and ASB for the amazing gift basket!! I feel honored (and a little guilty) to have received this generous gift!  These masks are the best!" said Ms. Snow.

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:
  • Media Center May Newsletter
  • The Raven Report is filled with new stories reported by our Sequoia writers -- from hobbies to fill the time to thoughts on grades, distance learning, etc.
  • Create At Home offers opportunities to explore all manners of creativity through art education.
  • 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

Until Jun. 4  
Distance Learning in Effect
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Parent Ed. Webinar: Navigating Remote Learning
Friday, May 15, 2020
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
10th Grade IB Diploma Zoom Meeting   
Friday, May 15, 2020
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Parent Ed. Forum #1: Managing Difficult Conversations  
Friday, May 15, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Sequoia Players Zoom Play - " 10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine
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 
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. 
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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!

Navigating Remote Learning: Parent-Teen Conversation and Q&A
Ana Homayoun, Education consultant, author of Social Media Wellness    
Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)  
(Zoom link provided upon registration) 
Are distractions making it more difficult for everyone to get work done? And are you trying to find a sense of routine within your family with less irritation?  
For nearly two decades, Ana Homayoun has worked with teenagers on executive functioning skills - organizing, planning, prioritizing - and her work focuses on helping students complete work and promote overall wellness. 

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske
The Parent Forum #1 (Virtual Parent Support Group)  
Topic: "Managing Difficult Conversations with Your Child or Teen"  
Eran Magen, PhD, Founder of The Center for Supportive Relationships
Friday, May 15, 2020, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)
(Zoom link provided upon registration)
Are you feeling the need to connect with other parents during COVID-19? Struggling with kids and teens during shelter-in-place orders? We are here for you!
Parent Forum #1: Friday, May 15, 3:00 p.m.
Parent Forum #2: Friday, May 22, 12:00 p.m.
Join us for an all-new "Parent Forum" with special guest Eran Magen, PhD, founder of The Center for Supportive Relationships. This two-part program will focus on parent-child communication and managing relationships with your child or teen.
Space is limited! Register today to secure your spot in The Parent Forum.
Parents and caregivers welcome! Free admission. The Parent Forum is sponsored by Sequoia Healthcare District and The Parent Education Series .
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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 The 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

How to Start Your College Essay Online Workshop for Juniors on June 10, 2020
Heartwood Editing Logo Learn what college essays need and explore what to write about in this practical workshop for a small group of rising seniors. Heather Woods of Heartwood Editing creates a comfortable environment to ask questions and reflect.  
Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 
Time: 7:00 - 8:45 p.m.; via Zoom 
Cost: $35; workshop packet included 
Learn more, see more dates, and register at