September 16, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
An Eye-Opening Walk Through Sequoia 
socratic seminar Last Thursday, I took a walk with four Sequoia parents.  We started our walk in Ms. Belén Alvarez's IB Spanish class.  After a few minutes observing the students summarizing a reading with their peers, we took the stairs down to the quad past the Teen Resource Center on our way to Mr. Ortiz's Biology class.  We observed the students in Biology working in small groups practicing with lab procedures.  They each had a specific role to play and the success or failure in completing the task was predicated on their ability to focus and work collaboratively.

From Mr. Ortiz's class, we walked towards the Tea Garden, then into the main building to Mr. Aguilera's 9th Grade Life Skills/World Studies class.  We watched and listened as the students discussed the benefits and dangers of social media in a structured discussion format called a Socratic Seminar.  Following the discussion, they took structured notes and analyzed the qualitative data generated from their discussion. 

We concluded our walk where it had begun an hour earlier, in Sequoia's Family Center.  We reunited with our incredible Family Center Coordinator, Elvira Macias, who had also taken four parents, all ELAC members or officers, on a classroom walk.  Elvira organized this activity as part of a larger project she's undertaken in her role overseeing our English Language Advisory Council (ELAC).  In August, she led a 5-session Parent Empowerment Academy with the families of many of our incoming newcomer English learners.  

We all want to talk to our kids in a meaningful way about their hopes and dreams.  We want to ease the burden of the fear and anxiety dwelling at the intersection of adolescence and high expectations.  We all struggle to make these things happen.  When we find success, it is usually because our empathy is recognized by our kids as authentic and sincere.  Being involved as a parent makes this easier.  Finding new ways to provide opportunities for parents to better understand their students' experience, especially parents for whom this kind of access has traditionally been difficult, is always exciting... and fun.  This activity was one of the highlights of my week, in or out of work.

At the end of our classroom visits, we debriefed what we had observed the students doing: trends, surprises, etc..  I was encouraged by how consistently parents reported that the students were engaged and on-task -- how focused the classes were.

They also reported noticing how much time was spent with the students discussing topics among themselves and how little time the teacher spent in front of the classes holding court.  For most of the parents in the group, this was the first time they had observed an American high school classroom first-hand.  One father shared that he experienced newfound empathy for his son.  "He tells me he's tired at the end of the day and I never understood why... now I get it."

Have a great week!

Mark Your Calendars
Inaugural Fall Harvest Fundraiser is This Saturday!
If you haven't bought your tickets yet, this is the last week to purchase tickets for SHSEF's inaugural Harvest fundraiser on September 21, 2019 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.  Gather your friends to kick off another year of FUNdraising at the Harvest Furniture Store in Redwood City.  We hope you can join us for the silent auction, raffle, and festivities!

Get Your IB and 4-Year College Questions Answered

Get college application, ICAP, IB, and any college questions answered at the IB College Grade Level Meetings presented by College Advisor Teresa Ignaitis and IB Coordinator Lisa McCahon.  All students wanting to attend a four year university and/or interested in taking an IB course should attend with their parents/guardians.  All grade-level meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. in Carrington Hall.
A separate meeting in Spanish will be held for Spanish-speaking parents in the College Career Center at the same time.  All students should attend the English meeting in Carrington Hall.
  • September 18 - Sophomore meeting
  • September 19 - Senior Financial Aid Night in MPR 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
  • October 2 - Freshman meeting
Reflections 2019-20: Look Within 
Reflections Don't ignore your inner artist! It's time to start working on your Reflections project for this year's Reflections theme, Look Withintema, Mira Dentro.
Enter your artwork and reflect about its meaning to you in one of six categories:  
  • Dance Choreography
  • Film Production
  • Literature
  • Music Composition
  • Photography
  • Visual Arts
All entries w ill be recognized for their artistic achievement--participation itself is a meaningful contribution to the Sequoia community!  First-place finishers in each category enter the district competition.  District winners move on to the state level, and winners there ultimately compete at the national level.

Be sure to review the rules  on the Reflections page of the PTSA website.

Due on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. in the Attendance Office.  

Shadow Season: Help Welcome Potential Students and Parents 
We need your help to make the 8th Grade Shadow Program a success! Please sign up for a shift (or two) to help welcome potential Sequoia students and their parents.  The Shadow Program starts on Monday, September 23 and runs through the end of January, on Mondays onlyShifts are from 7:45 - 9:15 a.m.  It's an easy 90 minute opportunity to welcome people to Sequoia.  No special knowledge of Sequoia required, just a ready smile and welcoming attitude.  Thank you for your support!  
Feel free to contact Sara Mancini if you have any questions. 

MentorPlease Consider Mentoring a Sequoia Academy Student

"Last Fall, I came across an ad in the Sentinel just like this one, offering a chance to participate in the Mentor program.  I had never been an "official" mentor before but this program sounded do-able at only two hours a month for six months, so I signed up.  At the first session, the MPR was filled with students and their nervous mentors (well, I think the students were a little nervous too), all getting to know each other and beginning to share their stories.  None of us could have imagined how the year would turn out; that mentor and mentee could share their life experiences, teach each other important lessons, and in some cases, forge lasting friendships in just a few hours a month.

I was glad I signed up last year and I am excited to do it again this year.  If you have a little time each month and a desire to make a connection with a Sequoia student and share a little of what you know, the mentor program is the place for you.  And remember, no special experience is required!  Just bring an open heart and a desire to help our students.  Everyone is welcome!"

~ Lisa Hane
Want to learn more, or hear from previous mentors?  Come to our inaugural Mentor Mixer at Portobello Grill from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25RSVP here.
Click here to learn more about this opportunity and the 2019-20 Academy Mentor Program.  If you have questions, please contact Victoria Mitchell or Greg Schmid. 
PTSA Membership Growing... Grow with Us!   
The Sequoia PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) is part of a nationwide network of 4 million families, students, educators, and community leaders working to improve education, health, and safety conditions for our children.  There is safety in numbers!  
Here are some of the benefits our PTSA receives:  
  • Guidance to Run Our PTSA - our volunteers are provided with resources, training and support so that we maximize the impact of the time we donate to Sequoia High School.
  • Established Financial Safeguards - our volunteers, events and finances are protected by low-cost group insurance.
  • Our Voices are Heard - our families have a mechanism to influence issues that affect our children that extend beyond the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District.
Our membership is our strength and our voice, and without our members, we wouldn't be able to do all the good things we do for children and families.  Please  JOIN  the Sequoia PTSA today.

Having trouble buying your membership through the PTSA store?  Please let our Membership Chair Brett Gardner know.
... And while you're visiting the store, consider purchasing a Sequoia bleacher cushion to show off your school spirit at games; it'll provide a soft landing pad for yourself or a loved one.

Sequoia HIghlights
Thank You for Spoiling our Teachers After Back-to-School Night!
2019 Hospitality
Teachers and staff enjoying hand-crafted drinks and breakfast treats in the staff lounge.
THANK YOU to all of the families (including parents and students) who served hot espresso drinks and tasty breakfast treats to much deserving Sequoia teachers and staff members after a long day at Back-to-School Night.  Many teachers pre-ordered and received convenient in-class deliveries and others stopped in the staff lounge, but all enjoyed the delicious hard boiled eggs, mini-bagels, fruit, yogurt, granola, cream cheese, and peanut butter, as well as a hot beverage of their choice.  Each teacher and staff member expressed their appreciation and it was the perfect pick-me-up following back-to-school night! 

Volunteers from the PTSA hospitality team set up the breakfast spread, and leadership students jumped in to help with the deliveries.  Thank you very much to everyone who helped make this event special for our amazing Sequoia staff, including:  Susan Abramson, Noreen Abad, Anne Allen, Annie Baker, Alma Bejar, Margaret Brockman, Mykenzie Busser, Patricia Carpinelli, Kate Corpus, Kirsten Crum, Elaine De La Cruz, Jennifer DiGrande (Hospitality Chair), Roxana Dommer, Roy Dorling, Ines Farris, Adrienne Heist, Andrea Hernacki, Karen Horwitz, Marianne Jett, Tia Knuedler, Angie Lax, Susan Lier, Rose Lopez, Saba Malik, Sara Mancini, Janette McAfee, Holly Matsuo, Becky Morris, Elisa Neipp, Chris O'Hare, Christina Parsey, Jen Pedrotti, Marlene Rochon, Lisa Scheidecker, Caitlin Schneider, Kirsten Smith, Susie Vick, Sara Weissmann, and Viki Young.

A special shout out to our Leadership students who helped assemble orders and make deliveries - we cannot offer pre-orders without their help!!!

In This Issue
Tuesday, Sept. 17
4:00 p.m. - JV Girls Volleyball
5:15 p.m. - V Girls Volleyball
Sequoia vs. Jefferson
Gym 1
Tuesday, Sept. 17 
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Sequoia Boosters, Staff Lounge Rm 233
Wednesday, Sept. 18
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 
Sophomore IB/4-Yr. College Meeting, Carrington Hall (Spanish - Career Ctr.)  
Thursday, Sept. 19
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Sr. Financial Aid Night, MPR 
Thursday, Sept. 19
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Parent Ed: Making the Transition to College, MAPAC
Saturday, Sept. 21
6:00 - 9:00 p.m. 
Fall Harvest Fundraiser, Harvest Furniture Store, RWC
Wednesday, Sept. 25
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
Mentor Mixer, Portobello Grill   
Tuesday, Oct. 1
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 2
Photo Make-Up Day  
Wednesday, Oct. 2 
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 
Freshman IB/4-Yr. College Meeting, Carrington Hall (Spanish - Career Ctr.)  
Senior Portraits

Seniors should make an appointment with Prestige Portraits in San Carlos to get their senior portraits ASAP. Make the appointment now to get a sitting before Halloween. The time will fly by before you know it, so now is the time.
If you have questions, contact Ms. Bray.

Prestige Portraits
(877) 825-7922

Senior Students: Meet With Your Conselors

Please check your Sequoia email for instructions on how to book your mandatory appointment with your counselor to review your graduation & post-secondary status.

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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 the Higher Education Experience
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 .

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