September 7, 2020  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
The training of the minds

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"Education is not the learning of the facts, but the training of the minds" - Albert Einstein

This is the feeling that I took with me after the first three weeks of school and especially "Back to School" night. I hope you feel the same. The first three weeks have not been the same as "in person" learning -- yet, it's very different from what we saw in spring. We have a consistent schedule, the students are engaged, the teachers are continuing with the same solid curriculum and are offering plenty of hand holding to the students. 

The staff has worked really hard to make Distance Learning effective and engaging -- The new student orientation was a huge success and I was amazed at how the teachers have transformed the offline curriculum to online, especially in classes like Ceramics or ASB. 

"I have already made 3 new friends" or "I love the warm ups we do in our Math class" are some of the sentiments I heard from students last week. This makes me smile and re-enforces the Unaliyi spirit - which is a Cherokee word meaning "A place of friends."

Amidst everything that is going around us, the fires, the pandemic, the elections, at Sequoia High School, our children are being trained to think, to be independent and to be resilient. They are developing internal strength to navigate the world and they are growing deep roots to be able to handle the next bump on the road. 

Please mark your calendars for the PTSA General Meetings for the year. Hope to see many of you at these meetings, which are held once a month on the first or second Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Even when things open up and we start having these in person, we will continue to share them via Zoom, making it more accessible for the community to attend: 

Tuesday, October 6 
Tuesday, November 10 
Tuesday, January 12
Tuesday, February 2
Tuesday, March 2
Tuesday, April 6
Tuesday, May 4
June - TBD

With immense gratitude for our community,
Isha Bhatt, PTSA President
PTSA parent volunteer survey

We are launching a parent survey to help us understand and plan how we can leverage our community's skills and time to help the staff and students during this unprecedented school year.  Please help us by filling it out.  It will
take less than 5 minutes of your time. Thank you!
A message from the Booster Club

Sequoia Athletes, Families and Fans...

A HUGE Welcome to the New School Year of 2020-2021!!

On behalf of the Sequoia High School Booster Organization, I'd like to welcome you all to a new, and very different, school year. In our wildest dreams we couldn't have imagined starting a school year without Sequoia football games, cheerleading, concessions, clothing sales and all the other fall sports events.  This is how the school year has begun for decades, if not a century! Unfortunately, 2020 is just not having it! But are we going to let this dampen our Sequoia SPIRIT?!? No way! 

It is our mission that the SHS community with the help of Sports and Spirit Boosters, will adapt and thrive! Our Athletic Director, Melissa Schmidt, has been working tirelessly throughout the summer to the present moment in efforts to get our players out on the field/court/pool, etc. Announcements will be made soon about our adapted seasons, in person events and other sports/athletics related items. 

For those who are new to Sequoia, The Sequoia HS Sports and Spirit Boosters Organization has been created and run by Sequoia parents and our sole purpose is to raise money and spend money on our athletes, athletic programs and to increase school spirit. 

We need your support! Although we don't have our usual fall sporting events, we do have some ways to volunteer.  We are in need of a website and communications manager, a promotions manager (AmazonSmile, eScrip, events, etc.), and a volunteer manager. Also, we always welcome and appreciate new and returning parents and student leaders at our monthly meetings. Once we have your email address you will receive Booster announcements, volunteer opportunities, and of course we gladly welcome donations to help keep our programs running! 

Please join us for our first general meeting via zoom: September 15 @ 7pm
Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 947 6988 2240  Passcode: 235754

In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments or ideas to share, please feel free to contact or email me directly at or via cell/text 650.766.0962. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!!

Ann Berljafa, President 
Sequoia Sports and Spirit Booster Organization 
Thanks to our generous community, we raised $848K in 2019-2020!

Your donations to the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) help us support programs, services, and additional staff members to help all Sequoia students reach their highest potential, including college and career programs for our students. 100% of the class of 2020 was accepted into a four year college. As a result of our generous community, we are able to fund an additional full-time college counselor for this year.  Donate here.
You know you've been meaning to...

...So now's the time to Join the PTSA!  Click HERE

With your membership you can:
  • Be a part of Sequoia's community of parents, teachers and students who make our school welcoming, united, and engaged!
  • Lend your voice to the national PTA's fight against school funding cuts and for quality education for every student!
For questions about Sequoia's PTSA, contact membership chair Lisa Hane at
Zoom troubleshooting tips

Some helpful Zoom tips from SUHSD Technology:
  1. Please log in to each day before trying to login to your Zoom classes.  Zoom often logs users out each night.  This will help make the start of each class much smoother for everyone.
  2. If you have not yet done so, please be sure to register your Zoom account with  Here are the instructions for doing so in English and Spanish. Thank you!
  1. Inicie sesión en todos los días antes de intentar iniciar sesión en sus clases de Zoom. Zoom a menudo cierra la sesión de los usuarios cada noche. Esto ayudará a que el comienzo de cada clase sea mucho más sencillo para todos.
  2. Si aún no lo ha hecho, asegúrese de registrar tu cuenta de Zoom en Aquí están las instrucciones para hacerlo en inglés y español. ¡Gracias!
Become a tutor!
healthy cities tutoring

Orientation and training 9/15; great for earning CAS hours
Join our community of volunteers who range in age from 14-96 and provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to students for 30-45 minutes per week to improve their academic performance, engagement in learning, and self-esteem. 

This year with distance learning we are seeking volunteers willing to be trained in tutoring a student remotely once a week. We expect the need to grow this year and hope you or someone you know will get involved in this rewarding volunteer experience. 

If you are interested in learning more, please mark your calendar for our annual new tutor orientation and training, which will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, September 15. There are two identical sessions, 10-11 a.m. OR 7-8 p.m. Please RSVP via the links to attend whichever time is most convenient for you. 

For more information to become a Healthy Cities tutor, visit and click VOLUNTEER to complete the online application or email Healthy Cities Tutoring is recruiting volunteers - Reach a child. Touch a Family. Build a community.  
Sequoia Highlights
SNN releases highly-anticipated "That's So Raven" Ep. 2

"That's So Raven" - Ep 2

Last week Sequoia ASB released Episode 2 of its Sequoia News Network (SNN) program, "That's So Raven." In their own words, "We are the ASB class of Sequoia High School located in Redwood City, California. We upload videos of what is happening at Sequoia High School! Subscribe and turn on post notifications to keep updated!"
Media Center textbook distribution 

Textbooks were distributed last week on Tuesday through Thursday efficiently led by Ms. Snow, Sequoia's Librarian who manages the Media Center. Approximately 2300 books were distributed among all three days. It was also great to see Art teacher Ms. Da Costa Pinto and Ms. Waters, Ceramics teacher and Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, out there to supply students with materials that they may not have readily available at home. Navigating the maze of textbooks in the bike cage provided a chance for all involved to interact with students on campus and conveyed some sense of normalcy to getting back to school.  
Many thanks go to the following people who made it all happen: Mr. Gooch, Betsy Snow, Shannon Schadler, ASB students, and members of the Media Center Support Team: Aditi Hilbert, Andrea Hernacki, Annika Reinemann, Becky Morris, Carolyn Arbuckle, Christina Parsey, Christopher Kashap, Diane Jacobson, Isha Bhatt, John Leathers, Julie Stallings, Karen Ha, Katie Hulgren, Kerry Folan, Kerstin Schenk, Leslie Doohan, Linda Solon, Lois Silva, Margaret Brockman, Marianne Jett, Nani Kadrichu, Pamela Ehrlich, Roxana Dommer Scott Ellis, and Stacie Ciraulo. Let the
studying begin! 
vote Voting 101: An intro for first-time voters!

Do you want to vote, but don't know how? Read our introduction for first-time voters! Learn how to register to vote online, with simple, understandable instructions, written by youth for youth! The slideshow is available in English and Spanish. Please contact Sabrina Solon if you have questions.
Mental health, social and emotional resources

Judy Romero, MFTElvira Macias and guidance counselors Emilia Flores and Hoxi Castaneda recently held online parent meetings to discuss support offered through the Guidance Department. Recordings of these meetings are available in both English and Spanish on the Sequoia Family Center YouTube Channel and also in the Sequoia Counseling webpage for anyone who was not able to attend. 
A helpful list of school and community resources was also provided to students by Sequoia teacher Dy Nguyen in the English I course syllabus. Links and explanations of each are excerpted below.

The Sequoia community is very fortunate to have all these wonderful mental health, social and emotional resources available to us, particularly during this challenging time:

The Guidance Office has compiled a list of resources to provide students and parents support during Distance Learning. Resources are available in English and Spanish for Canvas, digital support, technical support, & more!

A resource to parents and helps them navigate the school system, answers questions, and makes referrals to school and community programs.  The Family Center can be found in room 129.

The TRC provides free confidential counseling, and youth development services to help students increase their academic performance, improve behavior and personal relationships, make positive decisions and set future goals. 

Sequoia High School Student and Family Needs and Resources
This is a list of resources for General Student Needs, Tech and School Needs, Housing and Food Support, and Mental Health & Wellness Resources.
SUHSD website for technical support and tutorials for Canvas, Zoom, and other digital supports.
In This Issue

Monday, September 7
Tuesday, September 8 
Tue/Fri Schedule: 2nd, 4th, 6th, 0-period

Wednesday, September 9
***Mon/Thu Schedule: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th-period***

6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 11th IB/College Grade Level Meeting

Thursday, September 10 
Mon/Thu Schedule: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th-period

Friday, September 11
Tue/Fri Schedule: 2nd, 4th, 6th, 0-period

Saturday, September 12
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Club Day
Quick Links

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 Parent Education

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Welcome to the NEW Parent Education Series
In response to COVID-19, we are offering free virtual events to support "Safe and Healthy Teens." Click here to register for The Parent Education Newsletter.  

The Anti-Racist Parent: Engaging Youth Through an Equity and Justice Framework
Victor Rios, PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara
Tuesday, September 15, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)
What does it mean to be an "Anti-Racist Parent"?  Join Victor Rios, PhD, tenured professor at UC Santa Barbara, TED Talk speaker, author, sociologist, and national thought leader on at-opportunity youth.
Dr. Rios will provide parents with practical strategies for being reflexive about anti-racism, and for having courageous conversations with their children, friends, and family.
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Parent Forum #3 (English) - Virtual Discussion Group  
Strengthening Communication with Your Child or Teen 
Eran Magen, PhD, The Center for Supportive Relationships 
Friday, September 25, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)
Join us for an all-new Parent Forum 2020-21 (English) with Eran Magen, PhD, founder of The Center for Supportive Relationships.  This series of (virtual) parent discussion groups will focus on parent-child communication and managing relationships with your child or teen.
Parent Forum #4 (English): Friday, October 30, 12:00 p.m.
Parent Forum #5 (English): Friday, December 11, 12:00 p.m.
Space is limited!  Register today to secure your spot in The Parent Forum.  
Parents and caregivers welcome!  Free admission.  The Parent Forum is an initiative of Sequoia Healthcare District, in partnership with The Parent Education Series / The Parent Venture.
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The Future of College Admission: More Questions, A Range of Answers?
Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor & Dr. Angel B. Pérez, CEO, NACAC
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)
In their 2019 Parent Education session "20 Years in College Admission - What Has Changed? What Hasn't?" Dr. Angel B. Pérez and Alice Kleeman provided perspective from both sides of the desk on college-admission-related issues. 
In this webinar, Angel and Alice come together again to offer a sequel, "The Future of College Admission: More Questions, A Range of Answers?" addressing these issues and more, in light of the uncertainty introduced by COVID-19.
Angel Pérez, CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), will be interviewed by Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor. 
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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 Facebook for the latest parenting news.

Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder and Director, The Parent Education Series. 
Community Events