October 17, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with committee chairperson Marlena Griffin to review our PTSA Mini-Grant requests for Fall 2016.  Sequoia teachers submitted applications for supplies, curricular materials, professional development, guest speakers, and field trips.  Pending final approval by the PTSA Executive Board, 28 grants will be awarded next week with another round of funding next semester; approximately $16,000 in all for the 2016-17 school year.

Over the years, Mini-Grants have underwritten a wide variety of items, from the day-to-day (graphing calculators, whiteboards, paper cutters, ebook readers) to potentially life-changing (field trip to the Stanford cadaver lab, ACT tests for AVID students, entry fees for mathematics competitions).  The PTSA works hard to market the program to staff members, compile and review each application, and stretch their budget to meet as many needs as possible.  

The Sequoia High School Education Foundation , through our annual campaign, provides the money for Mini-Grants.  Working with Marlena on Friday, and thinking about our upcoming kick-off to this year's campaign, had me considering what Sequoia would look like without the programs supported by the Foundation and the financial support of our community.

In addition to Mini-Grants, the SHSEF in 2016-17 will make the following items possible (just to name a few):
  • Over 120 new chromebooks in the hands of students every day
  • Bilingual staffing in the College Center
  • College Day and the PSAT
  • Release time for teachers to write letters of recommendation
  • Publishing of the Raven Report Newspaper
  • Reduced class sizes
Sequoia could not operate at the level it does without the Foundation.  Think about how Sequoia would feel without the innovative teaching and learning, the strong school-wide culture of 4-year college-going, and commitment to meeting the diverse needs of all of our students.  We would be a different school.  

It is well-documented how extraordinary schools benefit from the support of their communities to supplement programs and educational outcomes for kids.  There are schools in the Bay Area for whom local/community funding such as education foundations provides up to 1/8th of the budgetary pie.  At Sequoia, our growing foundation now accounts for about 1/66th of what we spend on students.  

I'm 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.  Given Sequoia's core values and ambitions to provide equitable access and outcomes to our diverse and expanding student population, a growing SHSEF and the ability to provide more resources is vital.

Look for information, such as the article below, on the 2016-17 Annual Campaign that is now underway and know that your contribution is as important in high school as ever.  Have a great week!


It's Not Too Late to Join!
You probably know that...
Sequoia's PTSA with the financial help of the SHS Education Foundation:

-- Offers thousands of dollars for Mini-Grants to qualifying teachers and students each year, and

-- Grants scholarships to juniors each spring.


And you may even know that... A few of our activities include:

-- Welcoming new Sequoia families and supporting Sequoia families in need,

-- Serving as test proctors in May to ensure that our kids can take IB and AP tests,

-- Treating our teachers to special lunches and espresso breakfasts several times a year, and

-- Hosting Safe and Sober Graduation activities for our graduating seniors each year.


But did you know that unlike some of the PTOs in middle schools where membership is automatic, Sequoia's PTSA is a membership organization that is part of a nationwide network that advocates for our schools, our students and our teachers?

Sequoia PTSA Membership is $15, and all parents, students and teachers are invited.  Click here for details.  Even if you can't attend our monthly meetings or participate in many events, we want you to be a part of this important organization. The greater our numbers the greater our voice, so now's the time join Sequoia's PTSA.

Food, Fun and Festivities! Don't miss the Sequoia International Festival  this Saturday, October 22nd! The Festival is from 12 to 4 PM on the field near Carrington Hall at Sequoia, and is a great event for the entire family.  Activities include: 
  • Live entertainment such as Sequoia Jazz Band and Arunei Underground, a drumming group;
  • A wide variety of Sequoia Club Booths hosting games and activities, which include GSA, Girls Learn International and Africause;
  • Make sure you don't miss our amazing food trucks, such as CaffeZoom and Dolce Sicilia!
We hope to see you there for this wonderful event, and for more information visit our website  or email

Also, if you can spare 1-2 hours on Oct. 22 to help with set-up, clean-up, or the event itself, please contact us at  You'll be working alongside other PTSA folks, so come join the fun!

SHSEF Updates Thanks to your past support, we will fund the following for the 2016-2017 academic year:

* Reduced freshman English, Social Studies & Biology class size

* College Center Assistant

* After school math tutoring

* Summer school for acceleration and enrichment

* Raven Report student newspaper printing

* Visual Arts materials

* Band and Orchestra instruments and repairs

* Parent Education speakers

* Staff development day

* PTSA Mini-Grants and Scholarships

* Freshman college visits

* ... and much more!

What's the SEQ Life Mobile App?
Want to get the very latest on what's happening in the Sequoia community?  Get the SEQ Life Mobile App, which is available in both the iTunes for IOS and the Google Play store for Android.  This app was created to:

1) Provide a way for students and parents to easily find information about school sports teams, clubs, performing arts groups, etc. 

2) Make it even more fun, cool and rewarding to attend Sequoia events such as games, performances and information nights. After you log in and create a profile, you can see lists of upcoming events.  Then when you attend those events, you can check in to receive points. These points accumulate throughout the school year and can be used to get free Sequoia STUFF (t-shirts, hats, fanny packs, etc.)!

The app has some additional benefits as well, such as allowing you to purchase custom spirit wear (Sequoia receives a portion of the profits) and by compiling many of Sequoia's various social media accounts into one stream (under the social tab). We now have more than 950 unique users and are looking for parents to get involved as well! 

Also, we are looking for sponsors for the Sequoia app. If you have a local business that is looking to advertise in the Sequoia community, please contact Student Activities Director Corey Uhalde ( for sponsorship options.

Reserve Your Yearbook Now
There is a good chance we will sell out of yearbooks again this year, so reserve now to guarantee a book!  There are three ways for you to reserve one: 
  • You can log in to Infinite Campus and follow the payment link.
  • You can go to
  • You can make arrangements with our treasurer Mrs. Gordon.
Seniors: B aby pictures are due by Halloween.  Options for turning them in are:
  • Email a copy to Ms. Bray at
  • Bring your photo to Mrs. Gordon in the treasurer's office or to Ms. Bray in room 213 so they can scan it for you. If you leave it with us, don't forget to pick it up.
Community Meetings on Board Redistricting
In a recent email from the District, you received information that the Sequoia Union High School District Board approved to begin moving to "by-district" trustee elections.  Proposals for "by-district" maps will be presented at three community meetings:
  • Thursday, October 20, 7:00 p.m. - Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
  • Tuesday, October 25, 7:00 p.m. - Fair Oaks Community Center, 2600 Middlefield Road, Redwood City 94063
  • Wednesday, October 26, 7:00 p.m. - East Palo Alto Academy, 1050 Myrtle Street, East Palo Alto 94303
Spanish translation will be provided at all meetings.  The demographer that created the maps will be present along with district staff and legal counsel to receive your input and answer questions.

Freshman/New Parent Shout-Out
nullA big shout-out to the freshman and new Sequoia families who came to the welcome event at last Friday's football game despite the rainy weather! Also thank you to Lisa Miller for coordinating this Freshman/New Parent welcome and who was prepared with lots of swag and positive spirit!

Provide Input to SamTrans
SamTrans is conducting a study of youth mobility needs in San Mateo County, and they are looking for input from youth and the parents and guardians of San Mateo youth between the ages of 12 and 18.

To participate, complete this SamTrans survey.   Your input will help them identify initiatives for making it easier for youth to travel around San Mateo County.

In This Issue
Monday, Oct. 17
Collab Day

Tuesday, Oct. 18
7 PM - Band and Orchestra Concert, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 19
8:30 AM - PSAT, 10th and 11th grades
9th and 12th graders arrive after 12:10 PM

Thursday, Oct. 20
7 PM - SUHSD meeting on Redistricting, Carrington Hall

Saturday, Oct. 22
12-4 PM - Sequoia International Festival, front lawn of Sequoia

Monday, Oct. 24
Collab Day

Tuesday, Oct. 25
7 PM - Sequoia Parent Education: "Reforming the College Admissions Process," Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 26
6 PM - 9th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Oct. 27
6:30-8 PM - 8th Grade Info Night

Monday, Oct. 31
Deadline for Senior Portraits and for turning in Senior baby pictures

Tuesday, Nov. 1
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Wednesday, Nov. 2
7 PM - Senior Financial Aid Night, Carrington Hall

Friday, Nov. 4
Deadline for Reflections Arts Program submissions (3 PM) and PTSA Evergreens orders

Saturday, Nov. 5
10 AM - Campus Tours for prospective Sequoia families

Friday, Nov. 11
Veterans Day Holiday, No School
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En Español
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Parent Education

Sequoia Parent Education Series
"Turning the Tide - Reforming the College Admissions Process" with Lloyd Thacker, founder of the Education Conservancy
Tuesday, October 25, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Carrington Hall, Sequoia High School

Join us for a 'fireside chat' with Lloyd Thacker,  founder of the Education Conservancy and co-author of Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions.
College admissions should and can be a meaningful, productive, and healthful experience for all involved.  Come learn about national efforts to improve this formative process and about what each of us can do to help.      

Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.
Sequoia  Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the SHSEF, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founding Director, The Parent Education Series, at  or 650-868-0590 For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez,  Parent Center Coordinator, 650-367-9780, Ext. 63105

Community News

OktobeRun: Discount for Sequoia Students and Volunteer Opportunities
OktobeRun offers a fast, fun 5K race for runners and
walkers of all abilities. There will be lots of runners in Halloween costumes for this October 29 race starting at 7:45 AM in downtown Redwood City.  Current SHS students ONLY can enter this registration discount code "SHS" in the Coupon field for a discounted race fee. Make sure you say "Hi" to the Sequoia Cross Country team at the 5K turnaround and water station!
If you aren't running, join Sequoia volunteers at Water Station #2 on the half marathon course. Pre-race and race volunteers sign up here  for this job and others. Thanks for supporting Redwood City Education Foundation!