May 20, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Sequoia's 2019-20 Schedule is Being Built for:


2049 students with 

134 full-time and part-time teachers assigned to

205 "active" courses in

106 classrooms (plus gyms, dance studios, woodshops, etc.)


Those are the essential building blocks.  From there, the following key priorities are (among those) considered:
  • Student course requests (Elective and Core Academic)
  • Graduation requirements
  • Remediation for students below grade-level in Math and English (e.g., students who read at a 3rd-grade level)
  • English Language Development for newcomer students
  • IB Diploma requirements
For the schedule to function in practice, it must:
  • Have balanced class sizes
  • Minimize the number of students with "open" periods
  • Provide all teachers with at least one free period per day
This is the puzzle we tackle each year: a schedule for every student that sets them up for success.  It's not an easy or quick project. Building the master schedule is a year-long process, but begins to eclipse other aspects of IVP Kristin Stout's job around March.  The puzzle must be completed in a way that maximizes our resources, satisfies as large a number of interests as possible, and stays true to the mission of Sequoia .  Ms. Stout, over the last two years, has proven to be more than up to the challenge.
Like any puzzle, there is software that simplifies the computational tasks.  From there, consensus-building and relationships fuel the process.  Problems with multiple solutions and diverse stakeholders require a clear set of guiding principles and shared vision.  Fortunately, we have broadly-shared leadership contributing to the endeavor in the form of department chairs, counselors, and district support.  A school's master schedule is its DNA or, as one colleague once said to me, "Show me your school's master schedule and I'll tell you what your core values are."

I've always appreciated the extent to which our students and parents have understood the complexity and fragility of the master schedule -- how moving one or two students from one class to another can really throw a whole bunch of things out of whack.  I hope folks understand that this balance is maintained not for some sort of bureaucratic end, but instead to make our master schedule at Sequoia reflect what we value as a school and community.

Despite the scope and complexity of the endeavor, it's one we embrace as a school.  As we approach the end of May, it's a good feeling to watch the pieces falling into place for next year.

Have a great week!


Opportunities and Appreciations
Grad Week Activities - We Need Lots More Help!

Senior parents:
The 2019 Grad Week Committee is planning end-of-year events:
  • BBQ lunch on Wednesday, June 5
  • Brunch on Thursday, June 6
  • Grad Night cruise on Friday, June 7

Please view this Sign-Up to help donate items and/or volunteer your time at these fun celebrations for our students!  Sign-up needs include food items, volunteering during the BBQ and Brunch, and helping with check-in for Grad Night. 

Non-Senior parents:
We already have a few chaperones for the Grad Night cruise but need a few more.  Enjoy a night out on the SF Bay (including a free midnight dinner!) from late Friday evening, June 7 through early Saturday morning, and get an inside view of what your student will be doing on their own Grad Night.  Click on the June 7 tab for this opportunity.

End-of-Year Textbook Check-ins 

We need your help with scanning-in the tidal wave of textbooks during the last two weeks of school.  Depending on teachers' schedules, we may also need "runners" who can go to classrooms to help scan books.  Additional tasks may include sorting, boxing and/or shelving books along with whatever other Media Center tasks arise in real-time.  Thanks in advance for "going with the flow"!

Shifts will be from 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. every school day starting on May 28, 2019 through June 7, 2019

Refreshments will be provided to thank volunteers for supporting our successful new Media Center during the school year!

Help Make Graduation Day Ceremony Run Smoothly

If you don't have a student graduating this year and would be willing to lend a hand to help make the ceremony on Friday, June 7, 2019 go smoothly, please sign up to hand out graduation programs or hand out diplomas.  Sequoia's graduation ceremony is always a joyful and moving experience, so here's your chance for a sneak peak at what's in store for your future grad.  Thank you from Mr. Uhalde and Ms. Ignaitis!

Hand out Graduation Programs
2 volunteers needed
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Hand out Diplomas 
15 volunteers needed
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Junior Families: Make Your Child's Graduation Activities in 2020 a Blast! 
Attention Class of 2020 families! Plans are underway for the 2020 Grad Night.  Our fundraisers for this spring are concession sales at Sequoia's 2019 Graduation Ceremony and candy lei sales to students graduating from 8th grade.  
Both events will go toward funding the Class of 2020's graduation activities, and we need your help to make both as successful as possible! Please sign up to donate items to these events or to help sell.
On Our Way to $525,000!

SHSEF  is grateful to our business partners.  Thanks to their generosity, we've raised over $30,000.

Do you have a soon-to-be new driver?  Check out Bay Cities Driving School for lessons.


Mark Your Calendars
Senior Families: Celebrate Your Student's Successes at the IB Ceremony on May 30, 2019

ib2019 All seniors who have taken one or more IB classes during their time at Sequoia are invited, along with all  their families and friends, to the 2019 IB Ceremony on Thursday, May 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Carrington HallView the invitation here.  This is a wonderful evening to celebrate all the students who challenged themselves with IB classes.  Students will take the stage to announce their plans for college and give shout-outs to all the Sequoia teachers who inspired them along the way.  Light refreshments will be served.

Student speakers will also share why "We Are IB!" and some students will earn awards.  IB stoles to be worn at their graduation ceremony will be distributed.    

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Todos los seniors que han tomado una clase de IB durante su tiempo en Sequoia están cordialmente invitados junto con su familia a la ceremonia de IB 2019: jueves, 30 de mayo, 5.30 a 7.30 p.m. en el Auditorio Carrington HallInvitación aquí­.
Sequoia Highlights
Sequoia Athletes Break Records

John Horan broke the oldest Track and Field record at Sequoia (set in 1956).
On Saturday, May 11th, thirteen Sequoia athletes competed at the CCS Track and Field Trials at Gilroy High School.  These athletes competed against the very best of the CCS and represented our school well in both their performances and their sportsmanship.  
Our 4x100 boys relay team of Michael Simon, Henry Utecht, Lucas Adamson, and Connor Poulos ran their second-fastest time of the season.  All but Henry will be returning next year, which makes for a promising relay team in 2020.
Sarah Fazio battled through an injury and showed incredible determination in her 800m race.  She finished the season with improved personal bests in the 800m and 1600m.
Two of our athletes set new all time personal records.  Alonso Gonzales broke through the 2 minute barrier for 800 meters with a time of 1:58.87.  And Gabi Cattalini lowered her school record in the 800m to 2:21.42.  
Our jumpers competed valiantly, with Henry Utecht narrowly missing out on qualifying for the CCS finals in both the high jump and the triple jump.  He capped off an outstanding track and field
season during which he won league championships in the high jump and long jump, and took second place in the triple jump as well as running a leg on the 3rd place 4x100 team at the league championship meet.  Karina Bender (high jump), and seniors Savvy Newton (long jump and triple jump) and Gianna Colombo (triple jump), all competed well against a talented field, with Karina winning all-league honors.
 Savvy won the league championship in the long jump and earned all-league honors in the triple jump, while Gianna won second place in the league championship. 
Kudos to our three athletes who qualified for the CCS Finals.  
  • Julie Trundle in the pole vault
  • John Horan in the pole vault
  • Yvonne Brien Miller in the 3200m
Julie Trundle pole-vaulted to a league championship and school record this season. 
At the CCS Finals on Friday, May 17th, these three athletes faced the formidable task of competing in a pressure packed meet where only the top three athletes advance to the state championships.  Unfortunately, none of these superb athletes advanced, but all should be proud of their season's accomplishments.
  • Julie won the league championship in the pole vault and improved her personal best by an incredible 2 ft. 6 in., upping the school record to 11 ft. 6 in.
  • John set a new school record in the pole vault with a height of 14 ft. 7 in. and won the league championship for the second consecutive year.
  • Yvonne ran a superb race at the CCS Finals, setting a new school record in the 3200mwith a time of 11:02.85, and won a medal for her 5th place finish.  Yvonne also earned all-league honors in both the 1600m and 3200m.
Congratulations to all our athletes on an outstanding season. 
Yvonne Brien Miller won 5th place at the CCS Finals in the 3200m and all-league honors this season.
College Signing Day
AVID students proudly displaying their college pennants on College Signing Day.

There was much excitement and energy in the room last Friday at Sequoia's Second Annual College Signing Day for senior AVID students.  AVID students from all four grades, as well as their teachers and guidance counselors, were in Carrington Hall to cheer and applaud Ms. Yeager's and Mr. Stalder's 42 graduating seniors.  The majority are first-generation college-bound students.  As students' names were called, they walked up to the podium where they were presented with a College Signing Day certificate and the pennant of the college they will be attending.  Then each student took the mic to announce where they would attend in the fall and signed a display on the stage, which was decorated with the logos and pennants from each of the colleges. 

For the second year in a row, all Sequoia AVID seniors were admitted to a 4-year college, and all will be heading to college next fall.  We are so proud of these students' hard work and accomplishments!  A huge shout-out to Sequoia teachers, counselors, and administrators for supporting their efforts, and congratulations to their proud parents.
Sequoia Mentor Program Continues Successful Growth
SHS Academy Mentor Program just wrapped up another successful year!
This year, we had over 80 volunteers from our community who worked one-on-one with students from the Digital Arts and Health Careers Academies as mentors.  Mentors and students met once a month over a seven month period.  Each mentor's goal was to provide support and guidance to their student for a future beyond high school.  The themes of the sessions included Mentor Bio/Interview, Personal Inventory, Resume Development, Mock Interviews, Career Share-out, and Goal Setting.
Mentoring responsibilities included structured activities with their student and responding to student emails.  The mentors worked hard to impart the career skills students need to succeed in life.  Even though teachers demonstrate these skills daily, it is impossible for them to give all 30 students in each class the same one-on-one attention that a mentor can provide.  As an invested adult from the community, these dedicated mentors helped our students learn how to be successful in following their path, and motivated them to continue on to higher education.
Please refer to our website o r contact our coordinators, Victoria Mitchell or Gregory Schmid, for more information about how to participate in this program in 2019-2020.

In This Issue

Tuesday, May 21
4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
ELD Graduation,

Tuesday, May 21
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Pop Concert,
Baseball Diamond or Gym 2

Monday, May 27
No School
Memorial Day

Thursday, May 30
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
IB Ceremony,
Carrington Hall
June 3 - 6  
Final Exams 
Wednesday, June 5 
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Senior Awards Night, 
Carrington Hall  
Thursday, June 6  
Last Day of School 
Friday, June 7
10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Graduation Ceremony 

Friday, June 7
8:00 p.m. - past midnight 
Grad Night,
Hornblower Cruises, SF 

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
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   
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 Community News

How to Start Your College Essays

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This practical and engaging workshop gets upcoming seniors (hello class of 2020!) ready to tackle their college application essays.  Heather of Heartwood Editing creates a comfortable environment for up to 12 students to learn, reflect, write and ask questions.

"Helped calm me down :)," wrote one participant.  
Cost: $35
Location: Woodside Plaza  
Select from multiple dates this summer: May 29, June 12, June 26, August 7 or August 21. Learn more and register .

 Parent Education

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Happy Summer!  SUHSD Parent Education Series will resume in Fall 2019.