September 23, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Practicing a Mindful Approach at Sequoia 
graphic This afternoon's faculty meeting, like all our faculty meetings, will begin with a short mindfulness activity.  Teachers and support staff will sit in silence, focusing their intention while one of their colleagues guides them through an activity connecting mental activity with the physical world.  Breathing, for example.  It's a great way to turn down the volume on the noise from the day and commit oneself more fully to the task at hand.   

Since the 2014-15 school year, a growing number of teachers at Sequoia have integrated mindfulness curriculum with their students.  Each year, a cohort of teachers and support staff receive training in mindfulness strategies through our partnership with a project called Mission Be .

Classes with students reading below grade level as well as IB Diploma candidates benefit from these activities -- student stress comes in all shapes, sizes, and levels.   The curriculum includes a handful of mini-lessons teaching students how to identify stress or anxiety triggers, along with healthy strategies for coping.  It also includes making these habits a part of their daily learning.  Breathing exercises like the one we use at our staff meeting, for example, become part of a class's routine. 

This work is part of our acknowledgment that academic success extends beyond mastery of skills and content.  Too often, impediments to learning overwhelm teaching and learning goals unless the socio-emotional needs of students are proactively addressed.  We see a range of student responses to stress -- everything from a quiet shut-down to more urgent crises.  By providing students with the tools they need to manage the stress in their lives, we hope they'll be more productive learners at Sequoia.  More importantly, we hope they'll be better-adjusted adults finding success in whatever endeavor they choose after high school.

Our mission statement affirms our belief that the experience of being a Sequoia student transcends academics.  We are excited about how mindful practices can help empower our students towards not only educational success but self-esteem and self-direction.  As a staff, we are using these practices to maintain our own balance in a highly demanding profession.  I encourage our families to join us.  Here's an article with ideas for how to get started.  Or just take a minute, focus on each breath, try and slow down your thoughts, and see where it goes from there.

Have a great week!

Mark Your Calendars
IB Art Show: September 18 - 30
Powell Art Gallery at Sequoia 

Art 2019
One of the student pieces on display. 
Second-year IB Art students (all seniors) were given the challenge of creating a series of nine related artworks in 10 days.  A variety of 2-D and 3-D artworks are on display.  Each artist has provided a brief description of their intent and process.  Come and see the unique creations Sequoia students created to meet their challenge!
Note: The Powell G allery is open during the school day lunch-periods.  All visitors to the campus during the school day ( including the Powell Gallery)  will first need to check-in with the AVP office for a visitor's pass. 

Freshman Families: 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 Meeting 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.  This meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 2 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.

Laugh Along with Sequoia's Fall Musical, The Addams Family!
THE ADDAMS FAMILY, a comical feast that embraces the wackiness in every family, features an original story and it's every father's nightmare: Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family - a man her parents have never met. And if that wasn't upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother.  Now, Gomez Addams must do something he's never done before - keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia.  Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday's "normal" boyfriend and his parents.

Performances are October 24 - 27 (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday @ 7 pm, Sunday @ 3pm) in Carrington Hall.  Tickets ($20-adults, $15 students and seniors) are now available at and from the school treasurer

IB Updates

Linda Patience, our IB Secretary and CAS Coordinator, has retired.  She has been with the IB Program since it started and has been a pillar in making this program run.  We will miss her but we are also excited to welcome Magdalena Galvan, our new IB Secretary and CAS Coordinator.  Her contact is

IB Exam Registration:
IB exam registration has begun.  Students in a testing year will register for the May 2020 exam session with the IB Coordinator Ms. McCahon during the months of September and October.  Ms. McCahon will sit with every IB student testing to complete the registration process.  All changes to IB exam registrations must be made by November 1st. Also, all IB courses in a testing year cannot be dropped after November 1st.  After your student has registered, you will receive the IB fee letter in the mail.  Please read the following document for more information about payment methods.

Class of 2020: Enjoy Football and Friends While Raising Dollars for Grad Week
Come join Senior parents and students as we sell concessions during home football games.  Be a barista for a night making iced or hot mochas, serving other hot drinks, and selling freshly popped popcorn. 

Thanks to all who have volunteered to date!!!  We have had a lot of fun with our popcorn sales! 

Haven't had a chance to volunteer yet?  It is not too late!  There are shifts available at two more games:
  • Friday, October 11 vs. San Mateo (Homecoming)
  • Friday, November 1 vs. Menlo

No time to work a shift, but still want to contribute?  Combine your volunteering with your family trip to Costco or Smart & Final!

 *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 both of the last two Friday night home football games. If you have questions, please contact Rebecca Taylor
PTSA Fall Mini-Grants!

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 the excellent education offered at Sequoia High School.  These grants of up to $750 are designed to encourage creative approaches to learning and/or to address compelling need, which would otherwise go unfunded.  Students, teachers and staff may apply.  Applications will be open from Wednesday, October 16th to Friday, November 1st.

Is your student a member of a club or activity that is ready to take on a new endeavor?  Do they have an idea for a project that will benefit Sequoia but requires funding?  Please encourage your student to apply.  Additional information is available on the PTSA page of the Sequoia High School website.

Parents: Would you like to be in the front row of some of Sequoia's innovative, educational efforts?  Consider joining our team to help with the grant selection process.  If you have a few hours to review applications and meet with the committee (usually 1 or 2 evening meetings per year), we would love to have you on board.  No experience is necessary, and there will be seasoned committee members assisting along the way.  This is a great opportunity for new as well as returning Sequoia parents to learn about the great projects happening in our school!

Contact our Mini-Grants committee chairs DeeDee Clarke and Karen Latina at to join the selection committee.
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.  

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.

Sequoia HIghlights
SHSEF Inaugural Harvest Fundraiser a Success

Principal Sean Priest addressing guests at the Harvest Fundraiser.
Sequoia High School Education Foundation held its first Fundraising Event on Saturday, September 21st and it was a tremendous success!  Over 100 guests attended the party at the Harvest Showroom on Veterans Blvd. in Redwood City and participated in a silent auction, raffles and other festivities.

Thanks to the Sequoia Student Choir for entertaining the attendees and a big thank you to owners of Harvest Redwood City, Karsten and Carolyn Iwers, for hosting the event.

Thanks also to the SHSEF Board and SHSEF Event Committee: Carolyn Arbuckle, Kelly Baird, Paula Ebejer-Moffitt, Christopher Kashap, Marni Rubin, Nina Shah, and Amy Walsh, for organizing this inaugural event.

Guests mingling and checking out silent auction items.
In This Issue
Sept. 23 - 30 
Lunch Hour daily
IB Art Show, Powell Gallery
Wednesday, Sept. 25
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Mentor Mixer, Portobello Grill, RWC 
Thursday, Sept. 26
4:00 p.m. - JV Girls Volleyball
5:15 p.m. - V Girls Volleyball
Sequoia vs. Capuchino,
Gym 1
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.)   
Friday, Oct. 11
4:00 p.m. - JV Football 
7:00 p.m. - V Football 
Sequoia vs. San Mateo, Terremere Field  
Saturday, Oct. 12
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Homecoming Dance 
Monday, Oct. 14
No School 
Indigenous People Day
Tuesday, Oct. 15
College Day for Freshmen 
Tuesday, Oct. 15
7:00 p.m. 
Boosters Meeting,   
Staff Rm. 
Wednesday, Oct. 16
8:30 a.m - 12:15 p.m. 
PSAT for 10th and 11th Gr. students. Modified B Schedule after lunch for ALL students. 9th and 12th Gr. 1:00 p.m. start time. 
MentorFind Out How to Become a Sequoia Mentor

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. 
Sequoia Bleacher Cushion

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.

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 Parent Education

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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 .

Community Events

Multi High School Girl Scout Troop Forming

This troop is based out of Redwood City and will be for Senior and Ambassador level Girl Scouts.  They will meet bimonthly on Sunday evenings between 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.  Troop activities will be girl-driven and will focus on earning each member's Gold Award, service activities, camping, Peninsula Day Camp counseling, participating in local Girl Scout events, and adventure outings.

Contact troop leader for more details: Lisa Perry,