Sequoia Sentinel
January 4, 2021
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Editor's note: This week half our readership will receive the Sentinel on Sunday, the other half on Monday. We're running a test to see which day gets better open rates. Feedback is welcome and we’ll keep you posted on the results.
Principal's Message
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and restful break.

I heard someone tell me recently that the worst thing about light at the end of the tunnel is that you see, in some cases for the first time, what’s inside the tunnel. There is encouraging news every day. It feels like everyone I talk to knows someone who has received the vaccination for COVID-19. At the same time, we still have miles to go together and it is becoming clearer just how traumatic this pandemic has been.

Back in October, when it was announced that our district’s schools would finish the semester via distance learning, there was at least some relief in knowing how the next few months were going to play out. Parents and educators are planners. Predictability permits perfect planning.

We know we are beginning this second semester in the distance learning model our stellar team of professionals has designed and honed over the last several months. We continue to get better every day at facilitating engaging, interactive instruction. We will continue this semester to build on our success in bringing students to campus within the safety guidelines set forth by state and county health officials. Connectivity pods, student enrichment through co-curricular activities, academic support, and athletic conditioning will remain our priorities.  

I wish we could map things out more concretely at this time. I wish we could make a promise that, for example, the class of 2021 will have an in-person graduation or that 9th graders will have a proper on-campus orientation before they enter 10th grade. We can’t make those promises yet, but we’re doing everything in our power to get us there. 

The other aspect where this is all difficult for us as educators and parents stems from the desire to guarantee the best possible outcome for our kids. We typically tie these outcomes to results of standardized tests, college readiness, or other objective measures. I have been a part of much collective fretting about “learning loss” and plans for remediation over the coming years. Understandably, everyone is concerned that academic milestones will be impossible to meet. Furthermore, distress arises from the unknown long-term impact of not meeting those milestones on the timeline to which we’ve adhered over the past several decades.

But what if we’re wrong? Might these milestones now truly be obsolete? Instead of assuming that our students are getting lapped in some imaginary race around a make-believe track, what if we saw this singular moment in history as THE defining milestone of their development as successful, self-fulfilled, contributing adults in society. 

Our students have learned to be adaptive, flexible, and resourceful. Maybe they mastered a difficult concept in their math class by deep-diving on YouTube or by applying that concept to stretching the contents of their refrigerator into a week’s worth of lunches for their siblings. By masking when in public or sacrificing time with friends and extended family in order to help slow a global pandemic, they’ve learned what being a part of something bigger than yourself truly feels like. They’ve had to cope with loss. Whether a canceled sports season or a deceased loved one, that grief is real and probably unprecedented for our students.

It hasn’t been easy for them, nor smooth for the rest of us. True learning never is. But I’m going to reject the notion that our students are falling behind. In fact, I’ve noticed something lately when I interact with students who drop by campus. Maturity. Body language, eye contact, assertiveness: it all points to a wisdom our students now possess that wasn’t evident before. Adolescents, at this pivotal developmental stage between childhood and adulthood, are in many ways advancing at an accelerated rate.  

As we continue to see each other more frequently, advancing safely and incrementally to a return to in-person school I am looking forward, perhaps more than anything else, to listening to them. I am eager to learn from their experience and insight about how we all move forward. What world they want to help build when we come out of this tunnel together. I am so excited to hear the stories they will tell about how they survived this difficult time.

Best,
Sean
Announcements
Donate auction items

The Sequoia Boosters will hold an online auction in March to raise money for the organization. Please consider donating items to auction. Go Ravens!

Contribute to the 2021 Sequoia yearbook!

The 2021 yearbook is going to be a place for people to learn about our community and experiences during this time for many decades to come.

volunteers
Literacy volunteer needed

Stacy Wenzel is looking for a volunteer on Mondays from 8:45-10:10 a.m. in her academic literacy class. Volunteering will start Monday, Jan. 11.

New eBooks for you!

Our eBook collection is now accessible through your browser. Log in using your @seq.org credentials and let Ms. Snow know how it goes!

Check out the Media Center’s latest newsletter and Follow us on Instagram to keep up with upcoming events, author talks, and more.
Highlights
That's So Raven!
Check in next week for a new episode.
Education Foundation
Giving in 2021

As you take time to look ahead and create your goals and wishes for 2021, we hope you'll include SHSEF in your philanthropic priorities. Your donation will help ensure our students have what they need to succeed and make the most of this challenging school year. Gifts of all amounts create a direct and positive impact in our community. Help us make a meaningful impact in 2021.

To make your gift to SHSEF, Donate Here.
PTSA
Students honored for expressing themselves through art

Sequoia PTSA would like to recognize the 37 students who created an artistic piece for the 2020-2021 Reflections Art program. We are so proud of all the students who participated!

Do you have questions for our Sequoia 2020-2021 PTSA Board? Reach Isha Bhatt, PTSA President and the rest of the team at sequoiaptsa@gmail.com. Have questions about mini grants? Reach Adrienne Heist & Shannon Chi at sequoiaminigrants@gmail.com.
The Parent Education Series
Parent Ed Logo Horizontal
Parent Forum #6 (English): Helping Your Child or Teen Develop Good Habits

Friday, Jan. 15, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Live Event (Meeting)

Join Eran Magen, PhD, CEO of Circles of Support and founder of Parenting for Humans for a new parent forum. This series of (virtual) parent discussion groups will focus on parent-child communication and managing relationships with your child or teen. Space is limited, sign up early. Register here.
Prepared or Petrified? How to Be an Askable Adult for Your ‘Quaranteen’

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Live Event (Webinar)
 
Join Vanessa Kellam, Parent Engagement Manager at Health Connected, for a timely conversation aimed to inspire and equip parents to engage their 'quaranteen' in meaningful conversations about sexual health and relationships. Register here.
Digital Media and COVID-19: What Has Changed, What Hasn't, What's Next 

Thursday, Jan. 28, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Live Event (Webinar)

Strategist, analyst, author, and speaker, David Kleeman, SVP at Dubit, has been a global thought leader in children’s and youth media for 25+ years. In this live (virtual) event, Kleeman will explore the impact of COVID-19 on kids’ media, best practices in playful learning, and the integration of child/adolescent development and research across media, technology, and games. Register here.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, MA, Co-Founder and CEO, The Parent Venture (The Parent Education Series).
Community Resources and Events
Applications for SUHSD Middle College program due March 19

The SUHSD Middle College program at Cañada College will start accepting applications in January for the Fall of 2021. Middle College is a collaboration between the SUHSD and Cañada College. Students earn both high school and college credits, enabling them to complete their high school requirements and earn college credit simultaneously. All classes are held at Cañada College.

Learn more by watching this brief informational video. Interested students should speak to their counselor and attend our Parent/Student information sessions. All Q&A meetings will be held on zoom from 6:30-7:00p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 27
Thursday, Feb. 11
Tuesday, Feb. 23
Wednesday, Mar. 10  

Please check our webpage for zoom links and more information: Canada Middle College.
All application components must be submitted by March 19.
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