October 8, 2018     

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPrincipal's Message

Some teachers stand outside their classroom every day before class starts.  Students who enter get a "hello", a high five, or a smile.  Did you know, each time a student is greeted by a teacher in this way, their brain produces a little tiny shot of a peptide called oxytocin?  

Oxytocin counteracts the effects of another chemical in the brain called cortisol, a byproduct of stress and anxiety.  Trauma such as abuse and neglect can flood the brain with high levels of cortisol, making it difficult to learn.  This interference is especially true when the learning process requires persistent mental effort and rigor, such as when making mistakes, experiencing healthy struggle, and being stumped are integral.  
Now think about adolescent behaviors that frustrate you.  Impulsivity?  Procrastination?  Emotional release?  All cortisol at work.  The good news is that when playing cognitive roshambo, oxytocin beats cortisol.  Oxytocin is the rock to cortisol's scissors.  More so when consistent and predictable.

The emphasis on unconditional positive regard at Sequoia comes from our understanding of the cognitive science behind how trusting relationships in adolescents' lives bolster their academic success.  Home is, of course, a student's primary source of oxytocin (if you're reading this, it is likely that diet is healthy).  But between grades, activities, social life, college applications, sports -- students need all the oxytocin they can get. 

At Sequoia:
  • Half of our students qualify for Free & Reduced lunch.
  • 70% take at least one IB course.
  • 90% of Sequoia grads enrolled in colleges last year.
  • 100% of our students have felt stressed, anxious, pressured, disappointed.
  • Nearly all of them consistently persist anyway.
This is the pathway towards a healthy adulthood and a lifelong love of learning.  The extent to which our teachers apply cognitive and behavioral science toward relationship-building takes standing outside the door to a whole other level.  It underlies who we are as a school.  In education circles, one hears terms like whole child learning and social-emotional learning -- at Sequoia, it's just learning.
And this is what makes the work of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation so powerful.  Consider a few of our major initiatives:
  • AVID college visits that send 1st generation students across the state to see first-hand what their future holds.  100% of 2018 AVID grads were admitted to a 4-year college last year.
  • Bilingual college center assistants to help parents and students plan successfully for post-secondary success.
  • Summer School Geometry to allow students to accelerate, pushing themselves to be eligible for CSUs and UCs.
  • Our top level math courses (Linear Algebra, Differential Equations) to help prepare our high achievers for success in STEM majors at elite universities.
  • Annual full day release for each department to engage in meaningful professional learning and collaboration around instructional goals.
  • PTSA mini-grants, Visual and Performing Arts supplies, the student-run newspaper, and the Family Center.
  • Chromebook carts, chromebook carts, chromebook carts!
You know why a teacher can stand outside her classroom and give each kid a little oxytocin boost to start the day?  Because she's not pushing a chromebook cart down the hallway from the classroom where another teacher was using it in the previous period.  

The Foundation funding means that staff and volunteers are focused on running excellent programs, putting kids first, and not being bogged down with raising money.

This is the connection between our Annual Campaign and the importance placed on relationships when we think about outcomes for kids.  The Foundation doesn't fund "extra" things, it funds vital things.   I'm grateful not only for the generosity of this amazing community but for your understanding of how committed we are to educating each child at Sequoia.  Last year, we exceeded our campaign goals and this year, we aim to surpass that record with your help.  Thank you in advance!

Have a great week!

Final Week of Free Ice Cream With PTSA Membership 
We have 30 free ice cream coupons left from our PTA Membership Perks program to share with current 2018-19 members.  Enjoy some ice cream with your high school student while supporting the group that brings Sequoia Parents, Teachers and Students together.
2018-19 Sequoia PTSA members can get Buy One Cone Get One Free coupons for Baskin-Robbins.  Limit 2 per membership while supplies last.  Coupons expire 3/30/19.  Your hard copy coupons will be sent to you in the mail.  Just send an e-mail request to our Membership Chair Gayle Hoch at to reserve your coupons.
Haven't join yet?  Visit the PTSA store and buy your 2018-19 PTSA membership today to make yourself eligible for this delicious membership perk.
Back to top
Time to Dress Up Your Front Door... and Help the Class of 2021 Fund Grad Activities!
evergreen wreathCan you believe it's time to order your holiday evergreens from Sequoia?  The holidays may seem far off, but they'll be here before you know it!  Our order deadline is November 2, 2018, so we are officially kicking off the Sequoia High School Evergreen Sale!  Sales will support the Sophomore Class of 2021 Safe & Sober Graduation activities. 

We are offering beautiful and fragrant wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces for $20-25 each.  Plus, back by popular demand, an adorable decorative set of two reindeer for $20.  They will be available for pick-up during the first week of December.
This link will take you directly to our product and ordering page.  Payments can be made through PayPal or credit/debit card.

Thank you for your support!  Please contact Katie Hultgren at or Caitlin Schneider at with any questions.
Highlights from First PTSA Meeting  
ptsa logo
The highlight of the October PTSA meeting was hearing from Sequoia's head guidance counselor, Melissa Perez.  We learned that each counselor has between 350-380 students and the district added one additional counselor this year.  Melissa gave a summary of what the department will be focusing on each month.  
In October, they are giving presentations to the freshmen classes and introducing them to Naviance.  They are also hard at work writing college recommendations for our seniors.  Melissa's advice for parents: Please be patient with your kids. 
Everybody is invited to our monthly PTSA meetings and the next meeting is on Tuesday, November 13 in the MPR.  Please join us and become a member of the PTSA.  Your entire family can join for $20/person and help support Sequoia! 
Back to top
Attention IB and College Bound Families!   
How can you get information about the ICAP and IB Programs?  What are you and your student suppose to be doing each year to prepare for the college application process?  Get these questions answered and many more at the IB College Grade Level Meetings presented by the College Advisor, Teresa Ignaitis, and the IB Coordinator, Lisa McCahon.  All students wanting to attend a four year university and/or interested in or taking an IB course should attend with their parents/guardians.  All grade-level meetings are held at 6 pm in Carrington Hall.  
A separate meeting in Spanish will be held for parents at the same time in the College Career Center.  All students should attend the English meeting in Carrington Hall.
  • 11th Grade: October 10th
  • 10th Grade: October 17th
  • 9th Grade: October 24th
These meetings are the main way Sequoia disseminates information about college and IB to families.  We look forward to seeing you all there! For more information, contact: 
Lisa McCahon (
IB Coordinator
650-369-1411 Ext.#63103 
Reflections 2018-19: Heroes Around Me 
Give Voice to the Artist in You! 
Don't ignore your inner artist!  It's time to start working on your Reflections project for this year's Reflections theme, Heroes Around Me; tema,roes a mi alrededor.
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 on the Reflections page of the PTSA website HERE.  
Due date is Monday, November 5, 2018 at 3pm in the Attendance Office
Questions: Contact Viki Young, Reflections 2018-19 Chair at
Catch The Drowsy Chaperone this November
What's more fun than a musical? How about a musical about a musical?  
What's more fun than a wedding? How about four?
And what's more fun than 1920s prohibition? Well, that's easy! Spit takes and a "drowsy" chaperone, of course!  
Step inside the apartment of a Broadway enthusiast whose vision of his favorite musical comes to life on stage before us. This hilarious, toe-tapping musical will leave you humming along and wishing for another evening with these lively wedding guests. 
Performances for Sequoia's production of " The Drowsy Chaperone" are:
November 10, 16, & 17 at 7:00 p.m. 
November 11 at 3:00 p.m. 
November 17 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are available from the school treasurer, by phone 1.866.967-8167, or online at 
Gather Your Friends and Make Dreams Come True   
Mark your calendars for November 16, 2018 for Sequoia's 9th Annual Dream Club Dinner!  The dinner will be held in Gym 1 from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Now's your chance to attend one of Sequoia's most inspirational events and support a worthy cause.  The Dream Club works to raise awareness about the challenges that undocumented students face as they pursue their dreams of higher education.  This dinner is our biggest fundraiser and all proceeds go to our scholarship fund.  Tickets are $15 regular admission or $125 for a table of eight.  Click here for flyer
In This Issue

Monday, October 8
Indigenous People Day

Wednesday, October 10
8:30 a.m - 12:10 p.m.
PSAT for 10th and 11th Graders: modified B schedule after lunch
9th & 12th Graders:
1:00 p.m.
start time

Wednesday, October 10
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
IB 11th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

Tuesday, October 16
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
ANGST Screening,
Carrington Hall
Register Here

Wednesday, October 17
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
IB 10th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

Saturday, October 20
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Mock ACT,
Room 250

Wednesday, October 24
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
IB 9th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

Quick Links
Grocery Bags Need an Update? 
These bags are well-made, available in many different styles and great for gifts.  40% of each order placed goes directly to support our 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities. 
Check out all the different styles and order at 
Remember to use
Promo Code
at checkout. 

Unaliyi Cushion!
Show your school spirit and enjoy watching your favorite Sequoia games on a comfortable stadium seat cushion.  They feature our Unaliyi logo and have an easy carrying handle.
This fundraiser benefits seniors during 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities. 
You can purchase yours at home football games and online on our Webstore.

Become A Sequoia High School Academy Mentor  
Volunteer for Themed 2-Hour Sessions One Thursday a Month, November 2018 through May 2019
Please refer to our website for more information.
Or contact our coordinator Victoria Mitchell at if you have questions.
Sequoia Sentinel
If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel, please email the article/blurb by the end of the day on Thursday.  See Guidelines for news submissions. 
Find past issues of the Sentinel at  
En Español
¿Quieres traducir este boletín ahora? Siga estas instrucciones para obtener una traducción:
1. Haga clic en "Click here" en la parte superior del correo electrónico: "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here."
2. Mantenga presionada la tecla Control (PC) y la tecla A para seleccionar toda la página, a continuación, mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla C para copiar la página entera.
3. Abra una página nueva del navegador web y vaya a
4. Coloca el cursor en la caja y mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla V para pegar el boletín completo en el cuadro de traducción.
5. Asegúrese de seleccionar "To: Spanish" en la parte superior de la página. Haga clic en el botón Traducir. La traducción al español debe aparecer en el lado derecho.
Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

ANGSTANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety
Documentary Film + Panel Discussion  
Tuesday, October 16, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City, CA
Thursday, October 11, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Carlmont High School
1400 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont, CA
Register for Carlmont Screening 

Join us for special screenings of IndieFlix documentary, ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, followed by a student panel. This is an opportunity for parents, students, and community members to hear from students about how anxiety impacts their lives. 
ANGST   features candid interviews with youth and young adults who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety. The film includes discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, as well as help, resources, and tools.
Parents, students (ages 10 and up), educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available. 
Presented by SUHSD Wellness Advisory Council (WAC) with support from Children's Health Council, Sequoia Healthcare District, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, SafeSpace, and The Parent Education Series.
* * * 
Ana Homayoun, author of Social Media Wellness
Social Media Wellness: Executive Functioning in the Age of Digital Media and Tech Distractions
Thursday, October 25, 2018, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)
In our always-on digital world, it can be hard for teens - and adults! - to successfully navigate online and IRL worlds. In fact, the  latest Pew research  suggests that both parents and teens are struggling with managing distractions.
With empathy, compassion, and humor, noted Silicon Valley Ana Homayoun discusses how the digital balancing act affects all aspects of our lives and personal wellness, and impacts students' academic abilities and social well-being as well as emotional and physical health.
Woodside Parent Education Series sponsored by WHS PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
* * * 
Heidi Kasevich, PhD, founder, Quiet Schools Network
QUIET: Unlocking the Power of Introverts
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 7:00pm - 8:30pm 
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
In 2012, Susan Cain wrote a landmark book called "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking." Quiet Revolution ( was launched soon after, with a mission of unlocking the power of introverts for the benefit of us all.
All too often, quiet kids are shamed into feeling  less than  their extroverted peers, who are more likely to enjoy group work, crowded cafeterias, endless socializing, classroom discussions, and reward- motivated activities. When they discover that they fall on the introverted side of the spectrum, introverted students all too often lose confidence in their ability to lead.
Dr. Heidi Kasevich  is the founder of the Quiet Schools Network, a coalition of schools dedicated to the Quiet Revolution manifesto: "Quiet kids can and must be raised to know their strengths."
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.
Charlene Margot, M.A. | CSM Consulting
650.868.0590 |
Community News

White Oaks Walk-a-Thon 2018 - Calling All High-School Volunteers!
It's time for the annual White Oaks Walk-a-Thon, where our pre-school through 3 rd  grade kids come out for an afternoon of fundraising and fun!
We're looking for high school volunteers to help with the Family Fun Day on Sunday, October 14th.  Student volunteers lead yard games, supervise the bouncy slide, hand out snacks and more.  It's a great way to get volunteer hours while helping out our local school.   
Visit White Oaks Walk-a-Thon 2018 to sign up.  Make sure to find volunteer opportunities specially marked for students.  Thanks in advance!
Opportunity to Support Local Theater and Gain Community Service Credit

West Bay Opera is recruiting 9th - 12th grade student volunteer ushers for its upcoming production of one of the most popular of all operas, "La
  • Volunteer role: Greet ticket holders, answer questions, and help them find their seats
  • Training: Provided at the theater, immediately before the performance
  • Service Dates/Times: 
    • Saturday October 20, 2018 6:45 - 8:15 p.m. and/or
    • Sunday October 21, 2018 12:45 - 2:15 p.m.

  • For more information: Please see attached flyer. Call (415-905-0286) or email West Bay Opera's Volunteer Manager Mr. Ron Susek ( ).

Do You Have a Student receiving Special Ed. Services?   
The SUHSD Transition Services Team is offering you and your student some exciting events:

Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Mills High School, Millbrae 

It's that time of year again when the San Mateo Commission on Disabilities is planning their annual Transition to Independence  resource fair promoting independence and full participation of people with disabilities in San Mateo County.  

Last year, we were honored to host at Sequoia HS and you can s ee photos from last year's fair at Sequoia HS  here .  This year, we continue to collaborate with community agencies, other school districts in San Mateo and The County of San Mateo Commission on Disabilities to put together this event.
Students and their caregivers can explore resources, visit information tables, attend workshops, activities and demonstrations.  This is a great event for parents and students to access resources such as Department of Rehab, Colleges, Employment, Mental Health, Independent Living, Leisure and more, all in one space!!!

Free food, Free T-shirts, Free SWAG, Free shuttle from Millbrae CalTrain Station to Mills HS.  Quiet area will be available for those with sensory issues.

Recommended Audience: Open to the public

For questions or more info, contact:
Gail Oytas
650-369-1411, x22373
Transition Specialist and WorkAbility Coordinator 183-03