Sequoia Sentinel
September 21, 2020
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Quick access at your fingertips: View the Sequoia High School Calendar and the Fall 2020 Distance Learning Schedule
Principal's Message
As many of you read in communication from Superintendent Leach, schools in our district will remain in distance learning for the remainder of the first semester. Designing for success in learning means working backwards from an intended outcome. It has been difficult for our staff to be as thoughtful and strategic as they would normally be without a clear endpoint. Good teachers are planners. Although DL is not the ideal way of doing school for anyone, knowing what our learning environment will look like for 14 consecutive weeks (something we would’ve taken for granted a year ago but perhaps never will again) provides a welcome dose of certainty and predictability. Breathe in, breathe out.
The work continues with great urgency to continue to bring people together to prepare for what comes next. In the way our students might look forward to a new release from a favorite musician or YouTube, we await updates to the Pandemic Recovery Framework from the San Mateo County Office of Education. In anticipation of the county moving from Purple to Red along the state recovery framework, we will work with the collective bargaining units for teachers and classified staff, our purchasing department, our professional development team, our human resources team, and district leadership to prepare for how to best build towards a new phase in pandemic education. We will lead with our values and give voice in an equitable way to our community members in order to make the highest priority problems are the problems we’re putting our energy into addressing.  
A beautiful example of this comes by way of a project underway currently at Sequoia. We know that trust and engagement with a wider network of families, resulting in more equitable distance learning opportunities for our students, can be greatly enhanced with personalized interaction. A team of teacher leaders designed a process for prioritizing students most at risk for falling behind during distance learning (failing multiple classes in previous semesters, poor online attendance, e.g.). Commitments were made to maintain weekly contact with families of these students -- answering questions, hearing concerns, advocating. Each volunteer staff member (teachers, classified staff, administrators) will take responsibility for a small case load of students and families to partner with over the next few months, It’s about empathy, expectations, and the belief that every students wants to be successful in their learning. It’s about Unaliyi.
We will learn and accomplish so much from these partnerships, just as we will learn much from what we’ve heard from teachers and families over the past several months. Our fates are aligned. One story we will tell will be the story of how we came together, listened to each other, and lifted those around us up when they fell. I look forward to sharing more stories about ways our community lists one another up over the next few months. I’ve already got a pretty good list going.
Have a great week!
From the Editors
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 use this *new* Google Form by the Thursday before publication. See Guidelines for news submissions. 
The PTSA executive board wants to hear from you
Do you have questions for our 2020-2021 PTSA Board? Please reach out at
Isha Bhatt, President
Karen Ha, EVP
DeeDee Clarke, 1st VP, Special Projects
Cynthia Wiggin, 2nd VP, Comms & Outreach
Adrienne Heist & Shannon Chi, 3rd VP, Mini-Grants
Kate Corpus, Treasurer
Lisa Hane, Auditor
Natalie Henderson, Recording Secretary
Martha McDaniel, Historian
Sequoia Highlights
ASB Student Help Directory
Sequoia's ASB members are available to help all Sequoia students with questions about specific classes, curricular and extracurricular activities, and more! Check out the ASB Help Directory on the Sequoia High School website.

Each ASB member has a personalized profile with areas of strength and contact information. ASB is working hard to help Sequoia students feel that sense of individual connection that is so much a part of our school!
Sequoia debate finishes 2019-20
season with historic performances
Coached by two nationally-recognized Stanford debaters, Sequoia's debate team continued their forward momentum last school year, finishing the season with historic performances from both its JV and varsity teams. On the JV side, two Sequoia freshman teams advanced to the quarter-finals at the prestigious Santa Clara and Stanford Invitationals. On the varsity side, three teams finished within a single point of advancing to the state championships in Santa Monica. The team is excited to build on their successes this upcoming season, which will be 100% online.

The team welcomes students at all levels—beginner through expert! If your child enjoys arguing, wants to become a better public speaker, needs CAS hours, wants to learn more about the world, or just wants to have fun meeting new people, encourage them to join the team for its New Debater Welcome on Friday, September 25 at 4 p.m.!

For more info and for the practice Zoom link, please ask your student to email, or to visit their Instagram at @sequoiadebate. Practices will be held via Zoom on Fridays from 4-5:30 p.m.
"That's So Raven" Ep 4
This week on episode 4 of "That's So Raven," we focus on the importance of young voters and the launch of ASB's new SEQ Life App which you can download now in the IOS and Android Stores!

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!"
SUHSD reopening schools plan update

On September 16, 2020, the Board of Trustees approved the staff’s recommendation that the District continue with distance learning for quarter 2 of the Fall semester. This was a difficult decision to make as a district because we know in-person instruction is the best way to serve our students, and we are deeply disappointed that the conditions in our community do not allow us to safely bring our students back to school campuses at this time.

During the next few months, we will continue to provide updates. You can always learn more details about how the school year is unfolding by attending Board meetings virtually or by visiting our distance learning webpage: Sequoia Union High School District Fall 2020 Reopening Schools Plan.
Be a part of the virtual shadow program
The Shadow Program, run by Student Activities Director Corey Uhalde, is a great opportunity for incoming 8th graders to get a feel for Sequoia even if just virtually. Corey also hosts a parent information session and needs a few current Sequoia parents to lend their knowledge during a one-hour Zoom call.

We need parent volunteers for one-hour shifts on various morning and/or evening sessions beginning October 13. Shifts are from 8:30-9:30 a.m. or 7:00-8:00 p.m. During Corey's presentation, from time to time he may ask you to chime in with your personal experience. No special knowledge of Sequoia required.

Please consider participating; it's a fun opportunity to make someone's first impression of Sequoia overwhelmingly positive. Please sign up here if you would like to volunteer. Feel free to email Sara Mancini if you have any questions. Thanks for your help!

And by the way, if you know of any families who have 8th graders interested in shadowing at Sequoia, share this link to register for Sequoia's modified 2020-2021 shadow program.
Download the SEQ Life app today!
Available in the IOS and Android Stores.

  • Get updates about upcoming Sequoia events
  • Connect to Sequoia's social media accounts
  • Browse the video library of past projects
  • Quick link to "That's So Raven" weekly news broadcast
  • Access all of Sequoia's online virtual help resources
  • Quick Connect to the Sequoia HS website
  • Order Apparel

Be sure to TURN ON Notifications in order to get the most up-to-date information.
Cap and gown ordering and graduation information - senior parents & students
Senior parents and students are invited to attend a Zoom meeting this Wednesday, September 21 at 1:00 p.m. which will provide essential information on:
  • Ordering caps and gowns
  • Class rings
  • Graduation announcements
  • Class of 2020 memorabilia

Meeting ID: 968 8595 1319
Passcode: i847ZH
Supporting our students to reach their highest potential
Thanks to your generous donations to the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) in 2019-2020, this school year SHSEF is able to fund an additional full-time college counselor and continue to help students with technology access. The additional funds raised last year will also support enrichment activities, anti-racist education resources, mini-grants, and mental health programs to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their highest potential.

To make a 2020-2021 SHSEF contribution, Donate here.
Senior portraits
Seniors, please schedule a senior portrait appointment as soon as possible. Try to get your picture taken by Halloween; Thanksgiving at the latest. Questions? Contact Sequoia Yearbook Adviser Eileen Bray.
Sequoia spirit wear still on sale!
Need a new sweatshirt? Want to sport your Sequoia pride with a t-shirt? Sequoia ASB and the Sequoia Boosters Club have partnered with Goetz Brothers Sporting Goods to bring you an online apparel store. Our core items will remain available throughout the fall. Please visit the Sequoia Online Store! 
Support Sequoia all year long

Copy and paste SHSEF's AmazonSmile link below onto your browser bar for quick access to future contributions while shopping!

Need funding to jumpstart your inspiration? PTSA Mini-Grants may be the way to go
Students and staff: Mini-Grants are coming in October! Through the support of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF), the PTSA is able to offer financial grants to enhance education at Sequoia. The grants of up to $750 are designed to inspire creative initiatives to learning and/or to address a compelling need that might otherwise go unmet. Applications will be accepted from October 1-15.

Students involved in clubs or other activities who have an idea for a project that will benefit the school, but need funding, are encouraged to apply. Additional information and the application can be found on the PTSA page of the Sequoia High School website.

Contact Mini-Grants committee chairs Shannon Chi or Adrienne Heist at to join the selection committee.
Improve your Spanish while supporting adult immigrants
Learn or improve your Spanish and support adult immigrants too!

While we’re still sheltering in place, please consider this great opportunity for you or your kids:

Habla Más is a Spanish coaching program from local nonprofit Upward Scholars in which native Spanish speakers, all trained as Spanish coaches, provide online Spanish lessons for kids of all ages, as well as adults. All levels are welcome and the first half hour lesson is free. Habla Más presents a unique opportunity for you or your kids to learn or improve your Spanish AND help college students, who came to the US as adults, support themselves while continuing their education.

Four weeks into online learning, and...
How are you doing?

Hopefully you have been able to “meet” your student’s teachers, check out Canvas, and maybe you attended one or more of the PTSA-sponsored “Ask Sean” Zoom info sessions.

If you’re reading this, you are learning about many activities that are taking place “around” school as reported in the PTSA volunteer-produced Sequoia Sentinel newsletter.

Many of you have reached out to help with volunteer needs as school has gotten off the ground and for that we say, THANK YOU! There will be many more opportunities to come.

With all the back-to school activities on your to-do list, you may have forgotten one important part of school involvement - joining the PTSA!

Each year your Sequoia PTSA forges a strong supportive environment for parents, teachers and students alike and this year is no different.

PTSA membership fees are yearly, so now’s the time to join or renew your commitment to this valuable organization!

Check out our website for more information about PTSA initiatives, class activities, upcoming meetings, and more! We can’t wait to meet you!

With UNALIYI spirit,
Your 2020-2021 Sequoia PTSA membership team

PTA power panel & association mtg 9/22
As a PTA Leader in San Mateo County, please join us this Tuesday evening for the 17th District PTA Association Meeting to hear from both local and state PTA leaders! Register at this link

California State PTA Vice Presidents - Heather Ippolito, Deb Johnson, and Michael Morgan - will share tips on their areas of expertise for these challenging times: communication, family engagement and membership. Meet parent Jean Liu, our local advocate for increasing money for schools - Yes on Proposition 15: Schools and Communities First!

All PTA/PTSA members in San Mateo County are invited to attend this event. Questions? Contact Colette Rudd, Vice President of Leadership.

Networking 6:45 p.m. -- Meeting 7 p.m. -- Followed by Q&A via Zoom
Meeting ID: 986 1161 6020 Passcode: 182449
PTA education funding advocacy update
Have you filled out your 2020 census?
  • Only 63% of U.S. households have responded, as of early August.
  • Census deadline is ending a month earlier than planned (!) on 9/30.
  • Why is being counted important? So many reasons, including school funding for the next decade!

Are you ready for Election Day on 11/3?

Vote Yes on Prop. 15 “Schools & Communities First” this November
It's time to start working on your Reflections project
Don't ignore your inner artist! It's time to start working on your Reflections project for this year's Reflections theme I Matter Because...Tema 2020-21: Yo Importo Porque…

Enter your artwork and reflection about its meaning to you in one of six categories:
  • Dance Choreography
  • Film Production
  • Literature
  • Music Composition
  • Photography
  • Visual Arts

All entries will 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, and winners there ultimately compete at the national level. Be sure to review the rules and category information on the Reflections page of the PTSA website.

Due date: Friday, November 13, 2020. A link for online submission through a Google Form will be available on the PTSA website at the link above. Questions: Meredith Park or Margaret Brockman @ or (650) 743-1695.
The Parent Education Series
Parent Ed Logo Horizontal
We offer free virtual events to support "Safe and Healthy Teens." Click here to register for The Parent Education Newsletter.  
Exploring the Community College Transfer Programs
Panelists: Bernie Day & Cleeve Freeman

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

Do you know about the community college transfer programs? 

Universities, both public and private, eagerly admit community college transfer students because of their excellent preparation and performance. Discover how community colleges can help students expand their transfer opportunities and options.

Parents, students, educators, clinicians, and community members welcome! Free admission. The Parent Education Webinar Series is sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District and Sequoia Union High School District.

Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, MA, Founder and Director, The Parent Education Series.
Parent Forum #3 (English) – Virtual Discussion Group
Eran Magen, PhD, Strengthening Communication with Your Child or Teen
Friday, September 25, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Meeting)

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. Parents and caregivers welcome! Free admission. The Parent Forum is an initiative of Sequoia Healthcare District, in partnership with The Parent Venture.
Educators Weigh In: What Matters Most During COVID-19?
Panelists: Parul Chandra, Lexy Eaton, Lisa Otsuka, Georgia Walton 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020, Online Event (Webinar)

Info & Tickets: Details coming soon! 
What matters most during COVID-19? Teachers are working hard to ensure that kids are learning – but what is most important for our children's health and well-being in this uncertain time? 
Come hear from a distinguished panel of educators – preschool to high school -- from Encinal Elementary School (MPCSD,) Hillview Middle School (MPCSD), Menlo-Atherton High School (SUHSD), and Stanford’s Bing Nursery School. 
Family Nutrition: Optimizing Our Children’s Relationship with Food
Maya Adam, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford School of Medicine
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)
How can you optimize your family's relationship with food? Join Maya Adam, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Director of Health Media Innovation, Stanford School of Medicine. Parents, students, educators, clinicians, and community members welcome! Free admission. This Parent Education Mini-Series presentation is sponsored by Sequoia Healthcare District, Sequoia Union High School District, and The Parent Venture.
The Future of College Admission: More Questions, A Range of Answers?
Dr. Angel B. Pérez, CEO, NACAC & Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

Dr. Angel B. Pérez, new CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), joins Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor, for a wide-ranging interview on a variety of college admission issues and trends, in light of the uncertainty introduced by COVID-19. Parents, students, educators, clinicians, and community members welcome! Free admission. This presentation is sponsored by M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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 Resources and Events
College Experience Panel
Wondering what a top college experience is like? The Seattle Advocates for Education is hosting a free, online College Experience Panel, bringing in speakers from Stanford, Harvard, Brown, Penn, Cornell, and Berkeley to talk to you! Gain insight on the college experience to learn about specific colleges, social life, internships, research, studying, and more. Ask your questions during the Q&A!

The event will be on Sunday, September 27 at 1 p.m. via Zoom. Learn more & sign up at Limited spots available!
Sentinel Newsletter:

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 use this *new* Google Form by the Thursday before publication. See Guidelines for news submissions and Archived Sequoia Sentinel Newsletters
For those who wish to subscribe or resubscribe (we cannot add you back if you initiated the unsubscribe authorization at any point), please use the button below.
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