August 12, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Welcome Back to School, Sequoia Ravens!
The engine is revved up for an awesome 2019-20 academic year. 

"Rigor" is our challenge.  A new year means a new opportunity for our students to achieve beyond what they might have previously thought possible -- and a new opportunity for the adults to find new ways to empower students to this end.

This, of course, looks different for every kid.  That a small percentage of students respond favorably to the "challenge" of a massive load of homework (the Hermione Granger regiment, if you will) shouldn't mean that we define success for every kid by this metric.  Giving everyone a time turner doesn't solve the problem.  We have to try and do better.  Balancing the needs of every student equitably with the resources and infrastructure of a large high school is our rigorous challenge.  But our size and the myriad of options for students become, in this regard, one of our greatest assets.

Another of our greatest assets, of course, is our people: teachers, staff, parents, and student peers.  Sequoia Ravens are defined by their intelligence, work ethic, creativity, and perhaps most importantly, empathy.  As in any human endeavor, relationships are crucial.  For rigor to be responsive to each student, there are essential elements of a rigorous academic environment which are common to all students.  These elements hinge on the relationships we build within our school community; they can be summarized as a continuum of questions a student needs to be able to answer affirmatively before truly rigorous learning can take place.  They are:
  1. Am I safe, understood, and valued here? (Security)
  2. Can I make this learning environment better through my contribution? (Engagement)
  3. Is what I'm doing here important in my life? (Purpose)
  4. Do I understand how the choices I make matter to my learning? (Empowerment)
  5. Are the limits of my growth defined primarily by my hard work? (Challenge)
These elements build on each other.  That is, you'll never truly answer "yes" to #5 until you've answered "yes" to #1-4.  It is incumbent on every member of our learning community to engage one another in these questions regularly.  I hope this lens can inform conversations you have with your students and help you shape their relationship to school this year.  As educators, these questions inform our instructional goals as well as our core professional values.  They frame the way in which we empower stakeholders to engage in the shared and ambitious work of creating equity in access and outcomes for all Sequoia students. 
I'm proud to report that a large swath of Sequoia teachers spent a significant portion of this summer pushing towards this vision.  The last few weeks have seen an uptick in the number of friendly faces on campus setting up classrooms, planning engaging lessons, participating in district professional development, or collaborating with colleagues. 
Likewise, programs such as Compass for rising ninth graders, IB Summer Bridge, English Language Learner Summer Enrichment, and Summer College Club are just a few of the opportunities provided to empower and challenge students.  This show of dedication and desire from teachers and students is not to be taken for granted.  I am inspired and amazed by the love of learning that defines our community.
First day of school procedures are as they've been for the past several years.  Beginning Tuesday night, August 13th, schedules will be available online through each student's Infinite Campus portal, provided the family has completed online registration.  Students who can't access their schedule the night before will be directed by staff in the main hall to their first-period classes, where they will receive a printed copy of their schedules.  Zero period will begin on the first day.
I can't wait to see all the students on Wednesday and launch another great year at Sequoia -- Go Ravens!

PTSA President's Message
Become a Part of Sequoia's Unaliyi Community  
Get Involved Shakespeare once said: I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks. 
I know how he feels.  School has not even started and already dozens of PTSA parents have stepped up to help with back-to-school events, including the Staff/Teacher luncheon, preparing New Teacher Gift bags, staffing the Welcome Back Check-In Help Desk, and assisting with class photos.  I am filled with gratitude, and it is not even the first day of school!
Throughout the school year, the PTSA, with the financial support of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF), offers Mini-Grants for teachers, scholarships for Juniors, and hosts several teacher appreciation events.  We will also assist in the proctoring of IB and AP exams next May.  The PTSA holds parent social events and helps provide a fantastic Grad Week experience for our graduating seniors.  I could go on with the numerous events we promote but instead, I'd like to encourage everyone to get involved with our Sequoia community, be it a little, a lot, or whatever your schedule will allow.
As the president of the PTSA this school year, I look forward to meeting you and getting to know our wonderful and talented community even better.  Our membership is open to all parents, students, and teachers of Sequoia and we'd love to have you join! 
So, why quote a quote from the Bard?
This, and next weekend, Sequoia will have the pleasure of hosting San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's production of As you Like It on our beautiful campus.  If you have the chance to see this free, family-friendly production, you won't be disappointed!
I wish you all a great start to the school year.
Lisa Hane 
Mark Your Calendars
Welcome back! With school starting on Wednesday, we are here to help you get your year off to a great start! 
  • 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. -   Freshman Ice Cream Social Flyer: Please join us on the front lawn (in front of the office) to meet other freshmen and their parents before the year starts.
  • 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Welcome Help Desk
  • 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Freshman and New Student Orientation: Students report to Terremere Field (football stadium); parents go to the tables near Carrington Hall.
School Photos
  • Freshmen will take photos during orientation
  • 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. - Sophomores
  • 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. - Juniors
  • 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. - Seniors ( These will be used for school ID cards and are in addition to the formal portrait session at the studio.)  
**NOTE - School dress code applies during school photos, and students will not be able to obscure their appearance with hats, wigs, non-prescribed eyewear, etc.  
Parking Permits
Save time the first week of school! Juniors and Seniors can pre-purchase parking permits before school starts at Sequoia's AVP office on:  
  • Tuesday, August 13 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Students must bring in the signed form (parent and student signatures required), and other items as outlined  here on the website.   
Information Resources

For new Sequoia parents:  Get connected to the Sequoia community!  See our   Communication Resources List for various email distribution lists and helpful resources.  Sequoia's website is updated frequently so check back occasionally.

Sequoia's 13th Annual Alumni Picnic is on August 17, 2019

Be sure to save the date for the 13th Annual Sequoia High School Alumni Association's " Celebrate Sequoia" picnic, catered by Emergency BBQ.  The event will be held on Saturday, August 17, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the beautiful Sequoia campus. Pay for your picnic lunch by credit card or through PayPal.

Activities include: campus tours, Sequoia Choir, and cheer performances; a Purple Patriot award recognition for Sequoia parent volunteer Lisa Hane and aquatic program volunteers Dave Knochenhauer, Larry and Jeff Rice, all individuals who have significantly benefited Sequoia High School; a vintage car display.

All Sequoians are welcome (alumni, students, parents, staff, PTSA, Boosters, Education Foundation, and community members).  Tickets are $35 per person.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door at $40 per person.  Reservations are due by August 14 and may be made online, by calling (650) 592-5822, or by e-mail.

2019 Grads: Last chance to join the Sequoia H. S. Alumni Association for the price of your grad year -- just $20.19 (instead of the usual $50).  This lifetime membership will allow you to follow your fellow grads, read about Sequoia events, get information on reunions and other activities, etc.  (The Grad Year Special ends Aug. 15, 2019 )
We Need Just a Few More Hands and Items for Our Staff Appreciation Luncheon Today - Can You Help? 

Thank you to all who have signed up during this busy Back-to-School period.  Please spare a minute to see what is left on the sign-up list to make our Luncheon Luau for teachers and staff spectacular (shift times range from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.). 
This is a very fun event where you get to meet & interact with teachers and staff who are incredibly appreciative of the PTSA and all that the Sequoia families do to help kick-off another school year.  The luncheon is today, August 12, and items can be dropped off before 10:00 a.m. in the MPR.
Please email PTSA Hospitality Chair, Jenn DiGrande, with any questions or call/text 650-291-0884.


School Photo Helpers

Assist LifeTouch photographers with handing out name cards and organizing students.
  • Tuesday, August 13: Shifts are between 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday & Wednesday, August 29 & 30: Shifts are between 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, October 2 (re-takes): Shifts are between 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.  
Urgent - PTSA Welcome Volunteers Needed
Monitor the Help Desk to answer questions about Sequoia, or help check in students and parents at the Freshman/New Student Orientation.  No experience necessary, just enthusiasm.  Times are:
  • Tuesday, August 13: Various shifts between 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for Help Desk and Orientation volunteers

Media Center Helpers
Help kick off the school year in the Media Center from August 14 - 23  Volunteers will  assist students checking out books from the Media Center and serve as "runners" as needed--this entails going directly to classrooms to scan books.  These shifts are scheduled in 2-hour blocks from  8:30 - 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., and 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Class of 2020: Can You Believe You Have a Senior?
Join the Class of 2020 Football Concession Team ... Support a Safe and Sober Grad Night*

Come join Senior parents and students sell concessions during home football games.  Be a barista for a night making iced or hot mochas, serving drinks, and selling freshly popped popcorn.  Sign up for a shift at one of the Sequoia home games and have a blast.

Friday, August 30 vs. Woodside
Friday, October 11 vs. San Mateo (Homecoming)
Friday, November 1 vs. Menlo

*All proceeds go toward a Safe & Sober Grad Week.  Grad Week activities in June 2020 include Senior Brunch and Senior BBQ, as well as Grad Night itself, when our graduates cruise around the SF Bay on board a Hornblower Yacht.  
Come join the fun on one (or more!) of the Friday night football games.  Contact Rebecca Taylor with questions. 


Would You Like to Host a Foreign Exchange Student in Fall?
~ Education and cultural exchanges create prospects and open new horizons.

German Exchange 2019
Exchange students tour Castle Ronneburg with their German hosts.

Every summer American students and parents visit their friends from Sequoia's German sister school, the Kopernikusschule Freigericht (located 20 miles east of Frankfurt).  This year, five American guests were welcomed into their host family's home, became a part of their lives, and explored the area. Together with German students from last year's exchange as well as this year's exchange, the visitors from California discovered the Castle Ronneburg, a place where you can step back into the Middle Ages - or at least see what life was like back then, torture chambers included.  The tour was followed by an archery session and a falconry show.
"Being an American host family has been very rewarding for us and we enjoyed our trip to Germany very much.  Now we look forward to our next German son who will visit this fall," say Jennifer and Randy Webb from San Carlos.  Their son, Miles (a Senior at Sequoia), will be hosting Fynn from Kopernikus School in the Fall.  
If you would like to become a host family (for the week of September 30th to October 7th), please contact teacher Thorsten Weitzel who has been organizing this international exchange project for the past ten years.

Sequoia Highlights
Sequoia Alumnus Scores a Star in Hollywood

Alumni Kudos to alumnus Kenny Ortega on being honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.  The ceremony was held on July 24, 2019.  

Kenny Ortega was a cheerleader while at Sequoia, graduated in 1968, and is known as a producer, director, and choreographer.  He directed the High School Musical series and choreographed movies such as Dirty Dancing, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller's Day OffClick here to find out more about Kenny Ortega.
In This Issue
Monday, August 12
5:30 - 7:00 p.m. 
Freshman Ice Cream Social, Front Lawn
Tuesday, August 13
8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
Freshman Orientation
Tuesday, August 13
1:00 - 4:30 p.m. 
Photo Day for Grades 10-12 
Wednesday, August 14
First Day of School
(Traditional Schedule) 
Saturday, August 17
10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 
Alumni Picnic, Sequoia Campus
Saturday, August 17 & 24 
7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 18 & 25 
4:00 p.m.
Monday, August 26
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 
Fall Sportsmanship Night
Friday, August 30
3:30 - 9:00 p.m. 
1st Home Football Game vs. Woodside, Terremere Field 
Friday, August 30
10:00 - 11:30 p.m. 
Welcome Back Dance 
Monday, September 2 
No School, 
Labor Day 

Quick Links
Sequoia Sentinel
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 Parent Education

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Terri Givens, PhD, CEO, The Center for Higher Education Leadership
Making the Transition to College: An Insider's Guide to Higher Education
Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
What should you and your student know about making the transition to college?  How can high school prepare your child for a successful career in higher education?  Join author, educator, and higher education expert Terri Givens, PhD, for an insider's look at the college experience. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
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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LIKE: The Impact of Social Media On Our Lives - An IndieFlix Original Production
Documentary Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Thursday, September 26, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Performing Arts Center (PAC)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside
Join us for an exclusive showing of LIKE , the new documentary that explores the impact of social media on our lives.  By understanding the impact of technology on the brain, we can learn how to navigate it more safely with our teens.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation (subtitles) will be available.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Maria Furtado, Executive Director, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL)
The Good, The Bad, and The OMG of College Admission
Thursday, October 17, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City
Parents and students have been conditioned to fear the college admission process, and in so doing we often fail to see the good moments and the positive outcomes. Join Maria Furtado, ED, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL), for an insightful discussion about the college admission process.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by SHSEF, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director of The Parent Education Series .


Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It

Saturday, August, 17 & 24, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August, 18 & 25, 4:00 p.m.

Sequoia High School Campus 
1201 Brewster Ave @ Broadway
FREE Admission

Celebrating its 37th year,  San Francisco Shakespeare Festival brings its performance of  As You Like It to Downtown Redwood City for 3 weekends in August!  Shakespeare in the Park will offer 3 evening shows on Saturdays and 3 late afternoon shows on Sundays while providing an opportunity to see high quality, professional theater in the relaxing outdoor setting of Sequoia Campus, free of charge.  Treat yourself to some Shakespeare this August, for a moment that is sure to please.  

Free Shakespeare in the Park began in 1983, with its debut production of The Tempest in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.  It is now one of the major free Shakespeare programs in the nation.  Read more here.

How to Start Your College Essays Workshop on August 21

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This practical and engaging workshop gets new seniors ready to tackle their college application essays.  Heather Woods 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.
August 21, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Woodside Plaza.
Cost: $35.