Sequoia Sentinel
October 12, 2020
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
I received one of my favorite emails of the year this week -- the PTSA Mini-Grant Committee Chairs are ready to meet and discuss the first round of applications. At Sequoia, PTSA mini-grants have historically underwritten a wide variety of items, from the day-to-day (graphing calculators, whiteboards, tablets, e-book readers) to potentially life-changing (field trip to the Stanford cadaver lab, college visits, entry fees for mathematics competitions). Our PTSA works hard to market the program to staff and students, compile and review each application, and stretch their budget to meet as many needs as possible. Distance learning has modified our needs, but I’m excited to see what new ways folks are being creative in classes and programs.

The Sequoia High School Education Foundation, through our annual campaign, fully funds the mini-grant program. No need for bake sales. Like mini-grants, the Sequoia Foundation leverages the dedication and generosity of our community towards addressing the areas of highest need for all students.

In addition to mini-grants, the SHSEF in 2020-21 will make the following items possible (just to name a few):

  • Reduced class sizes through certificated staffing
  • A second full-time bilingual counselor in Sequoia’s College Center
  • After School Academic Support and Tutoring
  • Supplementary supply budget for Science, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Publishing of the Raven Report Newspaper
  • Professional Learning and Program Development in Social Justice and Racial Equity
  • Parent Education Speaker Series
  • Funding for the Sequoia’s Family Center

Sequoia could not operate at the level it does without its foundation. Think about how Sequoia would feel without the innovative teaching and learning, the strong school-wide culture of four-year college-going, and commitment to meeting the varied needs of all of our students and families. The foundation is vital in moving us closer to our aspirations. We would be a different school without it.  

It is well-documented how extraordinary schools benefit from the support of their communities to supplement programs and educational outcomes for kids. It is also well-documented how perilous this kind of engagement can be when the mission of the school is subverted by a narrow set of interests, when the values behind that mission are not front and center. I feel very fortunate to work with a dedicated foundation board who understands the community it serves and truly walks the talk in its strategic fundraising efforts. 

I’m also proud of how far your contribution goes and appreciative that our community has consistently shown it recognizes the realities of public school funding and done its part to provide students the education they deserve. Keep your eyes and ears open for more news about the 2020-21 Annual Campaign and know that your contribution is as important as ever.

Have a great week!

Sequoia Highlights
That's So Raven - Episode 7
This week is the final episode of Season One of That's So Raven, so be sure not to miss it! We'll bring you highlights from the Presidential debate, an interview with Sam Fraley (a Sequoia graduate who overcame Guillain-Barre Syndrome to play Division 1 Football), and information about the Asian Student Union. You will also see some new faces in production! Visit YouTube to Subscribe and turn on notifications to keep updated!
Last call for PTSA Mini-Grants! Apply now!
Calling all clubs, teachers and staff! This is the final week to apply for a PTSA Mini-grant to enhance education at Sequoia. The PTSA is offering financial grants of up to $750. Applications are being accepted until October 15. Funds are provided to the PTSA through the support of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF).

What would benefit your school or community? Let the PTSA help address your club or organization's needs (equipment, materials, conference registration, or anything to kick start a creative initiative). Click here to learn more. Questions? Contact Mini-Grants committee chairs Shannon Chi or Adrienne Heist.
Show your school spirit with Sequoia swag!
Sequoia High School’s Booster Club supports our talented athletes and cheer teams. The funds we collect are put towards purchasing practice equipment, sound systems, uniforms, and other necessities that foster success and keep our student athletes and cheer teams safe. Support the Booster Club and show your school spirit by purchasing Sequoia High School swag here.
Sequoia sports starting workouts
Many of our sports teams are starting socially distant workouts. Please keep an eye on for info.

It you missed the Zoom meeting on October 8 regarding athletics for the 2020-21 school year, you can watch the recording here.

Feel free to reach out to Athletic Director Melissa Schmidt ( with questions.
Energy Usage Reduction Challenge
Climate change is here, and it’s bad news: NASA’s scientists say we’ve already acidified our ocean, melted large portions of the arctic, and created an increase in extreme weather events. Catastrophic events will continue to happen unless we drastically reduce our emissions.

It’s easy to feel like it’s impossible to make a change, but even little things add up. Do something for the planet by participating in our Energy Usage Reduction Challenge. All you have to do is:

You could win the grand prize -- a solar phone charger -- or other prizes such as eco-friendly chocolate and books! The submission deadline is October 31, and prizes will be sent out in November. Check out a few energy-saving ideas. Questions? Please contact Helena Landels.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 27% of US greenhouse gas emissions are caused by electricity production.
School Resources
Request library books from the Media Center!
The Media Center is now taking library book requests! Visit the school collection. Then, use the link in the announcements in your grade-level Media Center Canvas module (pictured) to request a pickup.

Check out the Media Center’s latest newsletter, distributed to teachers and staff monthly. The newsletter includes links to creative and helpful resources that teachers can share with their students. Follow us on instagram to keep up with upcoming events, author talks, and more.
Voting 101: An intro for first-time voters!
Do you want to vote, but don't know how? Read our introduction for first-time voters! Learn how to register to vote online, with simple, understandable instructions, written by youth for youth! The slideshow is available in English and Spanish. Please contact Sabrina Solon if you have questions.
Sequoia Academy Mentor Program
Would you like to transform the trajectory of a Sequoia student? Become a Sequoia Academy mentor. For less than two hours a month for six months, Sequoia High School Academy mentors work one-on-one with students from the Digital Arts Academy or Health Careers Academy on career-related skills.

Adults can support a student by sharing your knowledge and experience about how to take steps towards a successful and rewarding career. Join our team! Whatever stage you are in, our students can learn from your career journey. Please refer to our website or contact our coordinators Greg Stein or Gregory Schmid for more information about how to participate in this year's virtual program.
Assist proctors of special SAT exam
Sequoia is preparing to host a special administration of the SAT exam on Wednesday, October 28.

In order to host the exam, we need 12 adult volunteers to assist our lead proctors with checking in and supervising test takers.

The exam will be held inside the two gyms on campus. Masks, physical distancing, temperature checks and other health protocols will be strictly enforced.

  • Volunteers for this 10/28 exam cannot be relatives of any student taking the test on that day.
  • This exam is subject to cancellation pending the county's public health status.

This exam is only for 12th-graders who have not had the opportunity to take the exam due to the cancellations last spring. Please note that all available student test spots have been reserved for this exam date. This exam is FULL.

For more information about possible future exams this school year, please stay tuned for announcements from Sequoia’s College & Career Center.

To volunteer, please sign up here. For more information, please contact Elisa Niño-Sears, ATLAS Director.
Sequoia March for Our Lives Club
March for Our Lives is a nationally recognized, student-led demonstration advocating for common-sense gun reform and campaigning against gun violence.

The club welcomes all students from Sequoia High School who are willing to support Sequoia MFOL through letter writing, education on politics, hosting influential booths/events, and promoting campaigns between state and county advisors. Sequoia MFOL is providing students with the power to be a leader! Club meetings are every Tuesday from 1:05 to 1:40 p.m. To join the club, have your student complete this form.

Moreover, the chapter is participating in the national voter registration initiative “Get the Vote Out Campaign.” Given that this election will be incredibly impactful in the history of the United States and the world, Sequoia MFOL sees it as crucial to engage teenage voters and parents in participating in the American democratic process. As such, the chapter is promoting students ages 16+ to pre-register to vote. Learn more >

The club is hosting a raffle to incentivize students to pre-register or register to vote. Any student who shows proof that they have registered — either through a tagged selfie of MFOL on Instagram (@mfolsequoia) or an email to — will receive a raffle entry to win one of three $20 Starbucks gift cards.
Youth Advisory Board and Peer Mediators Club
Want to get involved and make a difference at Sequoia? Youth Advisory Board (YAB)
and Peer Mediators are both clubs on campus that work on supporting students and elevating their voices! Questions about either club, please reach out to Alicia Siese.
YAB works towards identifying issues that impact students at Sequoia. This advocacy club conducts school-wide assessments to identify issues and works towards making improvements. The club empowers students to make lasting changes while learning great leadership skills. Learn more >
Peer Mediators support students by teaching the club members conflict resolution skills. The students then apply the skills to help mediate conflicts that might arise amongst the student body. Learn more >
Sequoia Special Delivery
Have an hour? We could use your help delivering critical school materials to wonderful students-in-need who do not have a safe way to get to school right now to pick up their items. This will be a HUGE stress relief for these students, parents and their teachers! Learn more or sign up here.

How does this work? You'll pick up your assigned deliveries, then deliver at a time that works for both you and the student/parent, who must be home to receive the delivery. These deliveries are "contactless drop offs."

Can my (current) Sequoia student volunteer for this? Unfortunately, no. For many reasons, we can only accept adults for these volunteer jobs. Questions? Please contact Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair.
Education Foundation Updates
Supporting students during distance learning
While the Sequoia community is not together on campus right now, Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) is working to ensure students have the resources they need to succeed during distance learning. This year SHSEF is funding an additional college counselor, more Chromebooks, tech resources, at-home supplies, and equipment (including art kits, musical instruments, and learning materials). Thank you to the supporters who helped us reach our 2019-2020 goal, which supports staff, programs, and other resources for this school year. To make a SHSEF contribution, Donate here.
Holiday evergreens in October?
With the holidays just around the corner, the Sequoia High School evergreen sale has officially begun! Sales support the Sophomore Class of 2023 Safe & Sober Graduation activities.

Offerings include beautiful and fragrant wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces. New this year is a large 28” wreath, and back by popular demand, we have an adorable decorative pair of reindeer.

The deadline is Monday, November 2, so click here to place your order today! Your high-quality items will be available for pickup in early December. Thank you to the many families that order each year, we appreciate your support!
Contact Molly Johnson with any questions.
Don't ignore your inner artist! It's time to start working on your Reflections project for this year's Reflections theme: I Matter Because...Tema 2020-21: Yo Importo Porque…

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 will be recognized for their artistic achievement, and 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 and category information on the Reflections page of the PTSA website.

Due date: Friday, November 13, 2020. A link for online submission through a Google Form will be available on the PTSA website at the link above.

Questions: contact Meredith Park or Margaret Brockman @ or (650) 743-1695.
Make your voice heard on November 3rd
Prop. 15: More money for schools and local communities! Requires that commercial and industrial real estate property worth $3 million or more be taxed on current market value, raising as much as $11.5 billion in additional funding for schools and local communities. It protects all homeowners and renters by maintaining tax protections for ALL residential property. Learn more here and/or pledge your vote here.
Prop. 16: Restores critical equal opportunity policies in state hiring, contracting, and education This constitutional amendment, placed on the statewide ballot by the legislature, asks the voters of California to vote on permitting the use of race, gender, and ethnic diversity as factors (but not decisive factors) in education including college admissions, government hiring, and government contracting. It would restore affirmative action in California and level the playing field so that all Californians can succeed. Learn more here and/or pledge your vote here.
Watch a short video made by Shereen Walter, our Director of Legislation, and Carol Kocivar, our Legislative Advocate, about why PTA supports Propositions 15 and 16.
Freshman and Junior class reps wanted
The PTSA is looking for reps for the Freshman and Junior classes. No experience necessary! For Freshmen, we are looking for someone to spearhead a community-building event for all of our new freshman families. Zoom escape room? Trivia night? The call is yours, and a budget is provided!

For the Junior Class, we are looking for someone to organize basketball concessions and/or create a new fundraiser. All proceeds go to the Junior class graduation activities fund for their Senior year.
If you are interested, please reach out to
The PTSA board wants to hear from you
Do you have questions for our Sequoia 2020-2021 PTSA Board? Reach Isha Bhatt, PTSA President and the rest of the team by sending email to
Have questions about Mini Grants? Reach Adrienne Heist & Shannon Chi by sending email to
The Parent Education Series
Parent Ed Logo Horizontal
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission. The Parent Education Webinar Series is sponsored by Sequoia Healthcare District and Sequoia Union High School District.
For videos of popular events, visit our YouTube and Vimeo channels, and connect with us on Facebook for the latest parenting news. Register for The Parent Education Newsletter.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder and Director, The Parent Education Series. 
Optimizing Our Children’s Relationship with Food
Maya Adam, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford School of Medicine

Wednesday, October 14, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)
How can you optimize your family's relationship with food? Join Maya Adam, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Director of Health Media Innovation, Stanford School of Medicine.
Finding the Right School at the Right Price
Lynn O’Shaughnessy, College Expert, The College Solution

Friday, October 16, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is a nationally recognized college expert, higher-education journalist, speaker, and educator. She is the founder of The College Solution, a resource to help families with teenagers become smart college shoppers as they search for schools, especially during COVID-19.
Navigating Emotionally Intense Conversations with Your Child or Teen
Eran Magen, PhD, Founder, The Center for Supportive Relationships

Thursday, October 22, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

In this interactive (virtual) workshop, you will learn how to be more effective and comfortable offering emotional support when your child is experiencing strong emotions such as stress, frustration, anxiety, or anger.

Dr. Eran Magen is the founder and scientific director of the Center for Supportive Relationships which provides relational skills training for parents, school districts, high education institutions, healthcare professionals, and private corporations.

Parents, students, educators, clinicians, and community members welcome! Free admission. This presentation is sponsored by Carlmont PTSASequoia Healthcare DistrictSequoia Union High School District, and The Parent Venture.
The Future of College Admission: More Questions, A Range of Answers?
Dr. Angel B. Pérez, CEO, NACAC & Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor

Thursday, October 29, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

Dr. Angel B. Pérez, new CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), joins Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor, for a wide-ranging interview on a variety of college admission issues and trends, in light of the uncertainty introduced by COVID-19.
Community Resources and Events
Join Challenge Success for reVISION 2020
Join Challenge Success Friday, October 23 at 11 a.m. for an exciting 45-minute livestream event hosted by Challenge Success Co-Founders, Dr. Denise Pope and Dr. Madeline Levine, and featuring keynote speaker Lori Gottlieb - registration is free.

Challenge Success is an educational non-profit focused on what matters -- student well-being and engagement with learning. Challenge Success works to shift attention away from extrinsic markers of success such as standardized tests, GPA, and selective college admissions, which we know can negatively affect the social, emotional, and academic health of kids.

The reVision 2020 virtual parent education event and fundraiser will share specific tips and strategies for educators, students, and families in this unique time of need, as well as highlight the important work. You can register for the Challenge Success reVision 2020 event here.
Learn or improve your Spanish while supporting adult immigrants!
While we’re still sheltering in place, please consider this great opportunity for you or your kids: Habla Más is a Spanish coaching program from local nonprofit Upward Scholars in which native Spanish speakers, all trained as Spanish coaches, provide online Spanish lessons for kids of all ages, as well as adults. All levels are welcome and the first half hour lesson is free.

Habla Más presents a unique opportunity for you or your kids to learn or improve your Spanish AND help college students, who came to the US as adults, support themselves while continuing their education. To learn more, go to
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