October 9, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
topA Message from our Principal

Ask your student what they think about Sequoia's cell phone policy. I predict their answer will be, at best, ambivalent. Brace yourselves for an eye-roll, perhaps -- gasp! -- the words "hella" and "lame". Teens, like adults, like to be able to use their phones whenever they want. They are not happy when an administrator confiscates their phone for the day (though, as one would expect in a place of friends, they almost always mind their manners when handing it over).

But teens, as we know, are full of surprises. Last Friday the SUSHD Board of Trustees was at Sequoia for one of their regular visits. For an hour they met with a representative sample of students to talk about teaching and learning, programs and activities, and campus life. In the interest of candor, I wasn't in the room. The cell phone policy came up. The students grumbled, of course. But in a twist, as relayed to me by the trustees, students acknowledged begrudgingly that not being able to use their phones at lunch and brunch encourages conversation and interaction. They get it!

Over the years, the rationale behind Sequoia's (increasingly anomalous) cell phone policy has shifted from a safety measure to way to engineer social development and campus climate. The ubiquity of smartphones is now a fact of life. We're only just starting to understand what this means for the human brain -- good and bad.

Sequoia teachers lean into technology to engage students, check their level of mastery, or communicate essential information and deadlines. There is a need to be mindful of students who, through choice or means, do not own smartphone, but the presence of devices undoubtedly enhances instruction. If learning is a social activity, and smartphones are a social tool, the value-add of bringing the two together should be self-evident.

At lunch and brunch, however, students talk to each other using their voices, ears, gestures, eyes, and smiles -- old-school analog emoji. If they want to visit with different groups in different parts of campus, they walk from A to B (and maybe notice along the way that the gingko leaves have recently turned to an electric autumn yellow). That the students in the trustees' focus group were aware of this benefit of our school cell phone policy is highly encouraging. That they appreciated it is inspiring. It indicates that other, more explicit, efforts to foster mindfulness on campus are taking root.

The SUHSD student trustee, a non-Sequoia student who participated in Friday's focus group, told me, "I'd hate it if I couldn't use my phone at lunch." She then went on to describe the tables full of students staring at screens and the shy kids who used phones as a substitute for making friends. "It's probably a good thing," she finally concluded.

As an educator and as a parent, I often feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to wellness and the use of personal technology. As with most things, balance and moderation seem to be the wisest path. We set boundaries with this in mind, working together to raise amazing children into successful adults. Holding boundaries is rarely fun. Thanks in advance for considering this the next time you have to come after school to the office to pick up your students confiscated cellphone from the AVP office [insert smiling emoji here].

Have a great week!


Freshman College Day - The Best Ever!

Last Tuesday, roughly 560 Sequoia Freshmen participated in our annual College Day. According to Hoxira Castenada, Sequoia's College Day organizer, "The purpose of college day is
give students the opportunity to step on a college campus and to experience college life. Students should not think of this as just another school field trip but rather they should consider this as an experience that could change their futures! Many of our students have not had the opportunity to visit a college campus so our aim is to have students use this day to consider attending a 4 year college as a real possibility. " Students participated in guided tours and enjoyed lunch in the various school cafeterias.

This year students went to one of the 10 nearby universities: University of Pacific, UC Berkeley, CSU East Bay, SF State, Dominican University of California, St. Marys, Santa Clara, San Jose State, UC Santa Cruz, and Sonoma State.
Thanks to Ms. Castenada for making this such a great and well organized day! 

Attention Freshman Parents:
Join us for Homecoming Fun!
Come meet other freshman and new families at our Football Welcome on Friday, October 20, 7:30 PM at the Sequoia/King's Academy varsity football game! Join us at the PTSA tent where we'll have coffee and snacks and be handing out spirit items to cheer on our team.  Then look for the purple balloons marking the Freshman/New Parent section in the stands. Wear your purple, and we hope to see you there!
All 'Class of 2018' Families Welcome to help Sell Concessions!
Thank you for your ongoing support of football concession sales. Now join fellow Senior parents for a few more opportunities as we sell concessions under the Friday night lights.

Proceeds from the Class of 2018 Football concessions go toward a Safe & Sober Grad Week in June.

See your friends and their smiling children as they step right up to our purple PTSA tent up for freshly popped popcorn or a delicious, homemade mocha!

Click here: to  Sign up for a shift today!
  • Friday, October 13 vs Menlo School
  • Friday, October 20 vs Kings Academy (and Homecoming!)
  • Friday, October 27 vs Woodside

Contact Adrienne Heist at with questions.

Looking for something to hold all your Halloween Candy???

How about a LOVE Bag?

Love Bags are now available for purchase! These bags are well-made, attractive and
 make great hostess or birthday gifts. 40% 
of each order placed goes directly to support our 2018 Safe & Sober Grad Week activities.

  See this flyer for details.

Bags can be ordered at Enter code SEQUOIA

If you Haven't Already ... Place Your Yearbook Order Now!

Thinking about a fun end-of-year memento for your student? Consider a SHS yearbook. See below for ordering details.

Yearbooks are now $90 and can be reserved three ways...

  1. Online at
  2. On Infinite Campus, choose the "Payment" option and find your way to the yearbook
  3. With Mrs. Gordon in the treasurer's office
Seniors Now and Then.  It's time for Portraits and Baby Pics!

Senior Portraits should be taken by Halloween. Call Prestige
 Portraits and make an appointment that works for you. You can confirm your choice of pose in room 213 if needed.

Prestige Portraits, 990 Industrial Road, Suite 102, San Carlos, CA 94070. 650-597-1433

Senior Baby Pictures should also be submitted by Halloween.
Baby pictures can be emailed to Ms. Bray at or They can also be brought to Ms. Bray in room 213 or Mrs. Gordon in the treasurer's office for scanning.

Remind your student to be looking out for Senior Polls and Quotes - information to be revealed soon. And remember ...

All members of the Sequoia community are welcome to contribute ideas and content to the yearbook. Contact Ms. Bray at

Reflections Art Competition - Still Open!

How many times have you said to your student, "That drawing (or essay, or composition) is AMAZING! You should enter it into a competition?

Well, here's your chance to mention it again and here's their chance to participate!

We would love to recognize his/her efforts. Please tell your students about Reflections, the PTA Arts Recognition Contest. reflections art program There are 6 possible categories in which to enter. The theme their art must address this year is "Within Reach." How they interpret it is up to them.

An overview, the rules, and entry forms are available on-line at the California PTA website. Further information is available on the Sequoia PTSA website under the Programs / Reflections tab and full instructions are available in the College and Career Center.  

The deadline is November 6, 2017.  For more information e-mail

Want to Deck Your Halls With Some Boughs?
Order Your Evergreens and help the class of 2020!

Can 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 4, 2017, so we are officially kicking off the Sequoia High School Evergreen Sale! This year the sale will support the Sophomore Class of 2020 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 reindeer for $18. They will be available for pick-up during the first week of December (exact dates TBD). This link  will take you directly to our ordering page where you can pay through Paypal or credit/debit card.

Thank you for your support, and please contact with any questions.

Safe and Sober Grad Night Hornblower Cruise

Don't miss the boat!

104 Seniors have already purchased grad night tickets! We still
 have room for more. Tickets are available here.

Don't be left high and dry.

Questions please contact Jayne Sungail

Talent Show Try-Outs! French Club is looking for Your Student!

Does your student have a talent they'd like to show off? Sing,
 rap, play an instrument, write poetry? Everyone's welcome to  sign up for the French Club Talent Show! Come to Carrington Hall on Thursday, October 12th during lunch, during seventh and after school for more information or to audition contact Ms. Chin

Sequoia Sentinel
Another Monday! We hope you are enjoying the Sentinel.  We welcome your feedback and input

If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel, please send the information to our article collection address  by the end of the day on Thursday. Guidelines for news submissions can be found on the Sequoia PTSA website

Class email lists: In addition to the Sentinel, the PTSA sends out grade-specific information during the year. Be sure that you are subscribed to your "Class of" list for EACH of your students! Visit the Stay Informed: Subscribe section of the PTSA website. 

With Kindest Regards,

Torri and Alex Horovitz
2017 - 2018 Sentinel Editors 

In This Issue
Upcoming Events

Wednesday, Oct. 11
PSAT for 10th and 11th grade students

Tuesday, Oct. 17
7pm - College Financial Aid Information Night - 12th grade students and families,
Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 18
6pm - 9th grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Oct. 19
6pm - Band and Orchestra Concert, Everyone Welcome!

Friday, Oct. 20
7:30 - All freshman and new families welcome - Terremer Field

Saturday, Oct. 21
8pm - 11pm - Sequoia High School Homecoming Dance

Wednesday, October 25
Tips, Tales & Truths for Teens: Advice from a College Admissions Expert - 7pm Carrington Hall

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Parent Education - Events Open to Everyone
Join One Love CEO Katie Hood for a special Escalation screening and discussion

On October 18th One Love's Bay Area office will be hosting a special screening of Escalation followed by a discussion led by One Love CEO Katie Hood.  RSVP now.

Escalation is an eye-opening and relatable film that follows a young relationship from their very happy beginnings to a tragic end. The screening of Escalation and discussion will be held from 6:30-8:30PM at Aquarius Theater in Palo Alto.
Come learn how to talk to young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships and ways that you can bring this critical conversation to your community.

When: Wednesday, October 18th at 6:30 PM
Where: Landmark Aquarius Theater, Palo Alto
Who: Parents, Educators, and Community Members  
RSVPGo here to RSVP, and please pass along the invitation to your network!

Cynthia Colón, Ed.D. 
Tips, Tales & Truths for Teens: Advice from a College Admissions Expert 
Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Sequoia High School - Carrington Hall 
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City 

Whether your student is the first in your family to attend college, has siblings in college, or parents who graduated from an Ivy League institution, applying to college is new to YOU. Tips, Tales & Truths for Teens offers a practical road map to follow throughout high school. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments. 

Cynthia Colón, Ed.D. 
Tips, Tales & Truths for Teens: Advice from a College Admissions Expert 
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School - Multi-Use Room (MUR)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside 
Whether your student is the first in your family to attend college, has siblings in college, or parents who graduated from an Ivy League institution, applying to college is new to YOU. Tips, Tales & Truths for Teens offers a practical road map to follow throughout high school. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments. 

ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety - Documentary Film + Panel Discussion 
Thursday, November 9, 2017, 7:00pm
Carlmont High School - Performing Arts Center (CPAC)
1400 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont 
Join us for a special screening of the new IndieFlix documentary, ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, followed by a panel discussion with ANGST co-producer Karin Gornik. This powerful film  includes discussions with mental health professionals about the causes of anxiety, as well as help, resources, and tools for students and parents.
Parents, students (ages 10 and up), educators, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments.

Eduardo Briceño, Co-Founder & CEO, Mindset Works Growth Mindset Parenting: The Myths, the Meanings, the Approaches
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Menlo-Atherton High School - M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

What is Growth Mindset Parenting? Parents often wonder what they can do to change their child's mindset from fixed to growth. The good news is that mindsets can change, and there are strategies you can use to see a big difference in your student's challenge-seeking behavior. Join us to learn about the latest research in growth mindset - the myths, the meanings, the approaches.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments. 
The Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Carlmont PTSA, M-A PTA, SHSEF, Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series,


Silicon Valley Jazz Festival - Hear Sequoia's Jazz Band Jam with the Greats!

The city of San Carlos is hosting the
FIRST EVER Silicon Valley Jazz Festival. 

Burton Park will be hopping on Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22 from 11am to 6pm. Sequoia students will share the stage with Jazz greats Donald Brown, the Dave Miller Trio with Rebecca DuMaine, and the Pascal Bokar Band, along with students from Central Middle School, Carlmont, and Woodside and many others!

Bring your lawn chair and settle in for some fantastic music!

Visit this link for more information: