January 14, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPrincipal's Message - Is This IB? 
It's a question worth asking about a variety of topics, large and small: 9th-grade World Studies curriculum, lunch options for students, which clubs/activities thrive, which texts our students read in English, even our school motto itself.  Answers to these questions have implications for all students, for school-wide goals, for our mission.  They even have, I'd argue, implications far beyond the wooded perimeter of Sequoia High School when we think about the various lives Sequoia graduates will lead and how they may impact our world.

A powerful recent twitter thread illustrates the concept of under-matching through the story of Tom Mueller, the son of a timber worker who today leads the SpaceX project to develop faster, more powerful rockets than humans have thus known.  His success, the story goes, has as much to do with his work ethic and talent as it does to a fortuitous question from a high school Geometry teacher.  "Tom," the teacher asked upon learning his student had an interest in aviation, "Do you want to be the one who fixes airplanes or the one who designs the airplanes?"

"Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not."

Last Monday, Sequoia teachers gathered at multidisciplinary tables in our beloved Multi-Purpose Room to take on the question, "Is this IB?" and using it as a frame for increasing rigor and access in classrooms across levels.  We re-acquainted ourselves with the IB Learner Profile and   IB Approaches to Teaching and Learning .  We dove deeper into the levels of skill proficiency and categories of inquiry needed to fulfill these requirements.  And even though IB tenets are infused in all classes at Sequoia, we resolved to strengthen our students' explicit understanding of how IB can affect their futures.  

We want to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity, such that every student's understanding of their many possible paths, broadens significantly between the first and last time they walk under the shadow of Argo Tower.  We want to continue to be a part of the stories the Tom Muellers of the world tell ("continue" because, as math teacher Laura Larkin reminded me, Sequoia graduate Chris Merian is one such story in his role at Hyperloop).  IB is a big part of this.
Road to Kitty Hawk: Interview with Chris Merian 
Road to Kitty Hawk: Interview with Chris Merian

Equity in access, equity in outcomes.   

Later in the morning, teachers re-organized into departments to self-assess and report which of the IB approaches to teaching and learning (teaching through inquiry, teaching through concepts, teaching developed in local and global contexts, teaching focused on effective teamwork and collaboration, teaching differentiated to meet the needs of all learners, and teaching informed by assessment) feature most prominently in their classrooms.  Findings were displayed around the room for colleagues to browse and reflect upon in a structured "gallery walk," which is a prevalent school-wide learning strategy familiar to Sequoia students.

On the following day, Sequoia hosted staff from all schools in the district.  A variety of options were available under the umbrella of the SUHSD instructional vision: to provide rigorous, engaging, standards-aligned instruction with embedded language supports and meaningful technology integration.  

Highlights included a popular talk in Carrington Hall with Dr. Carol Dweck and Dr. David Yeager about their growth mindset work at Sequoia and Menlo-Atherton High Schools, a session on Empowered Problem-Solving in mathematics, and a workshop on Next-Generation Science Standards ("Figuring out, not learning about").  In all, 53 unique sessions were developed and delivered by the SUHSD's stellar professional development team.

By the time Wednesday rolled around, our staff was fueled up with great ideas and inspired to put their knowledge into action, along with a renewed sense of mission and purpose for the second semester.  As the students arrived on campus and scampered to their first class of the day, our community of " active, compassionate, and lifelong learners " returned to life in full force.

This is IB.

Let's Talk! Sequoia Community Dialogue Tomorrow Night

This event is FREE. Dinner and childcare will be provided for attendees.  Spanish translation available.

Date:   Tuesday, January 15
Time:   6:45 - 8:15 p.m.
Location:  Sequoia High School MPR
Help build community as we share a delicious dinner and conversation with our fellow Sequoia parents and staff.  We'll enjoy some fun activities as well as talk about more serious topics, all with the goal of helping us get to know each other better while building bridges within our Sequoia community.  This event is sponsored by the Family Center with support from the PTSA.

Questions?  Please contact Elvira Macias at (650) 367-9780 x63110 or email at
2019 Winter Formal is This Saturday: Buy Tickets This Week  
It's almost time for one of Sequoia's favorite activities, the Winter Formal Dance!

Sequoia HS Winter Formal
Happily Ever After
Saturday, January 19
Fox Theater, Redwood City
8:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Tickets will be available this week during lunch at the Student Activities Center:
Standard Ticket Pricing -  January 14 - 18
with PAL sticker - $45
no PAL sticker - $50

Tickets can also be purchased at the door:
At-Door Ticket Pricing - Saturday, January 19
All Tickets - $60

*Cash, Checks or Debit/Credit cards accepted
*Checks may be made payable to Sequoia HS
*Students with outstanding detentions will not be able to purchase tickets
*Please note that a PAL discount is applicable only to the holder of the card (one PAL card = one discounted ticket)

Guest Passes
Sequoia is happy to welcome guests from other schools, provided that a complete and approved guest form is submitted. No guest tickets will be issued without a completed guest pass, and the cost of a guest ticket will be the cost on the day that it is completed (example: If you purchase your ticket tomorrow during the one-day sale, but do not have your guest form completed, you will have to purchase your guest ticket at the regular price when you have the completed form ready). Guest forms may be picked up from the Student Activities Center or downloaded HERE.   

Please contact Student Activities Director Corey Uhalde ( with any further questions.   
New Year, New Mini-Grant Opportunities!  
As the New Year and the new semester get underway, it's time to make those resolutions into realities!  Perhaps a PTSA Mini-Grant can help!  The Spring 2019 Mini-Grants application opens this Wednesday, January 16, 2019 and closes on Friday, February 1, 2019
Twice each year, the PTSA, through the support of the SHSEF, offers Mini-Grants to enhance the excellent education offered at Sequoia High School.  These grants of up to $500 are designed to encourage creative approaches to learning and/or to address compelling needs which would otherwise go unfunded.  Students, teachers and staff may apply.  
Parents, is your student a member of a club or activity that is ready to take on a new endeavor?  Please encourage him or her to apply. Additional information and the application are available on the  PTSA website.
Would you like to be on the front row to some of Sequoia's innovative educational efforts?  Consider joining our team to help with the selection process.  If you have a few hours to review applications and meet with the committee, 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 Marlena Griffin and DeeDee Clark at  
Spring Sports - Is Your Student Ready? 

Badminton, Baseball, Boys Golf, Boys Tennis, Lacrosse, Softball, Swimming and Track & Field  
All Spring sports will start on January 28, 2019.  If you have not already done so, please make sure his/her physical is signed-off by their doctor and get cleared via SportsNet by January 21.   
You can print the form for the doctor off SportsNet and upload the completed copy back into your account.  See for information about tryouts. 
Parents Pull Together to Celebrate Teachers and Staff!  
2018 Luncheon
Teachers and staff enjoying community and a bountiful meal at the Staff Appreciation Holiday Luncheon.
2018 Luncheon
L-R: Gary Gooch (AVP), Sophia Olliver (AVP), Sean Priest (Principal), and Kristin Stout (IVP) decked out in seasonal best. 
Just before the winter break, Sequoia families treated all the Sequoia Staff and Teachers to a delicious holiday luncheon on Thursday, December 20th.  Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this wonderful event, and to our ELAC & PTSA coordinators, Elvira Macias and Jennifer DiGrande.  This festive lunch offered many homemade dishes including tamales, pozole, rice, beans, salads, desserts, etc. all of which was enjoyed by the teachers, staff, and administrators!  
Thank you to all who helped provide or make items, set-up, serve, clean-up, or supply gift cards for the raffle, it took many helping hands to deliver this special event, including: 
Elvia Acevedo, Adriana Agustin, Maura Alania, Yrma Ake, Meredith Armienti, Brenda Beltran, Jan Benway, Katie Benway, Valerie Bioc, Linda Burt, Maria Carmen Sanchez, Patricia Carpinelli, Merce Carroll, Lucia Castro, Marlene Chacon, Kirstin Crum, Teresa Cruz, Claudia Duran, Ines Farris, Claudia Flores, Michele Francesconi, Sandra Gamino, Shelly Gayner, Susie Gilbert, Maya Goetz, Marisela Gomez, Marlena Griffin, Lisa Hane, Adrienne Heist, Catherine Heller, Stacy Huisman, Ana Jimenez, Wendy Kelly, Angie Lax, Susan Lier, Susan Linkwitz, Ana Luna-Victoria, Sara Mancini, Rocio Martinez Delgado, Holly Matsuo, Sarah McCaughey, Jane MacFarlane Glasow, Olga Martinez Chavez, Jeanette Medina, Dora Merida, Jackie Melz, Rosa Molina, Elisa Niño-Sears, Amy Ollmann, Jasmin Peccei, Jennifer Pedrotti, Marisol Pineda, Lucio Pirir, Erika Pretell, Juana Resendez, America Reyes, Ofelia Reyna, Osvaldo Roblero, Rosalba Rodriguez, Irene Sandoval, Caitlyn Schneider, Anne Scholes, Grace Schulz, Jennifer Sharratt, Gabriela Sepulveda, Cathy Siri, Tessa Solomon, Greta Tiegel-Eastman, Loreto Vargas, Mailin Villega, Laura Vella-Fukuji, Adriana Yanez, and Viki Young.
Canvas - Tips to Connect with Your Child's Progress at School 
Canvas How-to for Parents
YouTube link to Canvas How-to for Parents

Have questions about using Canvas?  Check out this handy video guide created for parents of Sequoia High School District students by Menlo-Atherton High School teacher, John Giambruno.  It covers the basics as well as some cool features that the average person might not already know.
Reflections Art Contest: Thanks and an Update 
2018 Reflections
One of the submissions in this year's Reflections Contest based on the theme, Heroes Around Me.
Congratulations to all Reflections participants, and thank you to the parents and community members who helped judge the entries:   
Linda Burt, Greg Close, Francesca Draughon, Victoria Dye, Elizabeth Gomez, Adrienne Heist, Andrea Hernacki, Eva Iglesias, Nicholas Lamb, Rachel Levine, Judy Liang, Lisa Miller, Jana Paquette, Christina Parsey, Mike Ryan, and Danielle Sunshine
Special thanks to Viki Young for chairing the committee, and our English and VAPA teachers for encouraging their students to participate. 
All entries will be celebrated at the Reflections Reception in April 2019 and winning entries will move on to the next stage in the contest.  Meanwhile, stop by the art display case on the first floor of the main building to see some of the entries.    
Current Sophomores and Juniors: Middle College Program

The SUHSD Middle College program at Cañada College is now accepting applications for Fall 2019.  Middle College is a collaboration program between SUHSD and Cañada, enabling students to complete their high school requirements while earning college credit simultaneously.  All classes are held at Cañada College.   
Interested students should talk to their counselor and attend our Parent/Student information nights in the Birch Room at the SUHSD Office (480 James Ave., Redwood City) on one of the following nights:  
  • Thursday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 31 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m.

All applications must be submitted by March 15, 2019.  Read more about the program on the Sequoia website or Canada College's website.

In This Issue


Tuesday, January 15
6:00 p.m.
8th Grade IB Info Meeting,
Carrington Hall
(Spanish in Room 215)

Tuesday, January 15
6:45 - 8:15 p.m.
Sequoia Community Dialogue Meeting, MPR

Wednesday, January 16
7:00 p.m.
Parent Ed.: College Admissions (Session is Full)
MA-PAC, Atherton

Thursday, January 17
7:00 p.m.
PSAT Info Meeting,
Carrington Hall

Saturday, January 19
8:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Winter Formal,
Fox Theater, Redwood City

Monday, January 21
No School

Thursday, January 24
6:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting,
Birch Room, SUHSD Office

Saturday, January 26
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
8th Grade Campus Tours,
Front of Main Building

Class of 2020: Help + Donations = $$ for Fantastic Grad Activities 
We will be doing two more fund-raising concessions on
Friday, January 25 and 
Friday, February 8.  Please sign up to donate concession items or help staff the concession booth for a shift -- it is a lot of fun!  If you have any questions, contact  Brett Gardner.
Class of 2019:
Buy Your Grad Party Tickets Now 
Celebrate graduation aboard the HORNBLOWER YACHT! 
Cruise starts at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 7 until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.  You and your fellow graduates will enjoy a 3-hour party cruising around the San Francisco Bay.  The evening will include food, music, dancing, photos and other fun activities.  Transportation to and from the event is included. The bus will return to school around 4 a.m.  Click here to purchase.
Where Did you Find That Purple Cushion?  
At the
 Soften bleacher seats with this comfy portable cushion, and show off your Unaliyi spirit!
Quick Links
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
  to purchase your 2018-19 PTSA membership today, and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit and programs!
Sequoia Sentinel 
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 email the article/blurb by the Thursday before publication.  See the following Guidelines for news submissions.  
Find past issues of the Sentinel at   
En Español
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Parent Education

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Parent Ed
Lynn O'Shaughnessy
Lynn O'Shaughnessy, College Financial Expert, author of The College Solution
Winning Strategies for Finding the Right School at the Right Price
Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by WHS PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.  

Lynn O'Shaughnessy, College Financial Expert, author of The College Solution
Winning Strategies for Finding the Right School at the Right Price
Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall

Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by SHSEF, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.  
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is a nationally recognized college expert, higher-education journalist, speaker and educator.  Her No. 1 goal is to help parents with teenagers become smart college shoppers as they search for schools. 
Come hear expert information on the following topics - and more!  
* First steps to take when starting the college search
* Four sources of college money and which will most benefit your family 
* Strategies to increase college admission chances
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Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at .
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