October 24, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Our most recent faculty meeting began with a three-minute mindfulness activity.  Teachers and support staff sat in silence.  We focused with intention on breathing.  Led by English teacher Justine Rutigliano, it was a great way to clear away the noise of the day and commit ourselves more fully to the task at hand.  We're also modeling a strategy used by a growing number of teachers at Sequoia to support our kids.  

In the 2014-15 school year, Ms. Rutigliano was one of three teachers at Sequoia to pilot a mindfulness curriculum with her students.  Ms. Rutigliano's students that year included 9th graders reading below grade level as well as IB Diploma candidates.  Student stress comes in all shapes and sizes.  The curriculum included a handful of mini-lessons teaching students how to identify stress or anxiety triggers along with healthy strategies for coping.  It also included making these habits a part of the learning day-to-day.  Breathing exercises like the one we did at our staff meeting, for example, become part of a class's routine.

Last year, a second cohort of teachers and support staff were trained in mindfulness strategies through our partnership with a project called Mission Be .  This year two more cohorts will complete the training bringing the total up to 40, about 25% of Sequoia's staff.  

This work is part of our recognition that academic success extends beyond mastery of skills and content.  Too often, we know, impediments to learning overwhelm the process unless the socio-emotional needs of students are proactively addressed.  We see a range of student responses to stress -- everything from a quiet shut-down to more catastrophic crisis.  By providing students with tools they need to manage the stress in their lives, we hope they'll be more productive learners at Sequoia.  More importantly, we hope they'll be better adjusted adults finding success in whatever endeavor they choose after high school.

Our mission statement  affirms our belief that the experience of being a Sequoia student transcends academics.  We are excited about how mindful practices can help empower our students towards not only educational success but self-esteem and self-direction.  As a staff, we are using these practices to maintain our own balance in a highly demanding profession.  I encourage our families to join us.   Here's an article with ideas for how to get started.  Or just take a minute, focus on each breath, try and slow down your thoughts, and see where it goes from there.

Have a great week!

Have You Joined Yet?
Please take a moment to check that you have joined the Sequoia PTSA this year.  We know how it is to get busy and forget to do something you meant to. Membership is important, so click here to join!  

Dues is the second biggest revenue line for us, after funding from the SHSEF, that supports programs such as new teacher supplies and Mini-Grants for teachers and student projects.  Membership is also a vote of confidence and support for the programs that your PTSA hosts, such as this newsletter, the Reflections art program, and the freshman parent social. We would like the majority of the dues to be collected by November 1st ; please join this week.

Interested in Seeing What Our Kids Can Create...
reflections art program
And what's on their minds?   Then come join our PTSA Reflections Arts team! Reflections is a national PTA arts recognition program that covers six categories: Literature, Choreography, Musical Composition, Photography, Visual Arts, and Film Production.  

First, we need judges. So, if you have some time you're willing to spare, pick a category (or 2 or 3 or....) and let us know. The amount of time involved depends on the number of entries, but the general time commitment is estimated to be 1-2 hours between Nov. 4 and Dec. 1.  For some of the art categories, the work can be done online and/or at home.

We also can use people to help with displaying and promoting the entries and help with a Reflections reception in the Spring.

Please let us know if you are willing to help in either of these capacities -- email or Rachel Levine at  Thank you!

Festival Showcases Student Activities As a student manning my club's booth, a student journalist and an organizer, I truly made the most of the International Festival.  I arrived at 10 AM to set up on Saturday, whereas I would usually wake up at 10 AM.  But I was happy to help because the International Festival was an amazing opportunity where students can directly showcase their efforts, either through clubs or performances, to parents and the rest of the community. 

Parents and others around Sequoia have a chance to talk to high school students and see what is important to them through the students' endeavors with their clubs. Parents also don't usually have many chances to see what other high schoolers are like; most parents only know their kids and their kids' friends. The Festival is also a great way for clubs to promote themselves and fundraise. A stereotypical view of teenagers is that of a lazy, ingenuine faker, and I know many people, teens and adults alike, who match that description. But, as I was running around getting quotes and photos for the school's student-run newspaper, the Raven Report, I heard club members' honest and authentic reasons for joining the club. The International Festival was a valuable event for students, parents and the community, and all the hours of planning were worth it.

- Maddie Pei
Sequoia Junior

Above - Model UN Club hosts a booth.  Below - Enjoying games at the Happiness Club booth.

Campus Tours - Spread the Word; Help Greet Families 
On Saturday, November 5, Sequoia's ASB students will be leading tours of Sequoia's campus for 7th-8th graders and their families.  PTSA parents will also be present to help answer questions. If you are a current parent and would like to help , please contact the PTSA at 
Tours will depart from Sequoia's main entrance beginning at 10:00 AM, with the last tour departing at 11:00 AM.  Sequoia's ASB students will speak about programs and activities, and answer questions about daily life at Sequoia.  If you know of families who are interested in attending Sequoia, invite them to come to the tour to meet students, parents and administrators, and see our beautiful campus!
For further information, contact: Corey Uhalde, Director of Student Activities at  Campus tours will also be given on January 21, 2017.

Camera Obscura Field Trip
With the help of funding from last spring's Mini-Grants, Ms. Kate Sheehan brought Visual Arts students on a field trip last spring to the Camera Obscura Building near the Cliff House in San Francisco on Ocean Beach.   (photo credit: student Nate Burrill)

The Camera Obscura Building is an enclosed darkened room that acts as a camera.  A SF Parks and Recreation guide brought the students into the darkened room to let them through the lens on the roof.  The lens rotated so it gave a 360-degree view of Ocean Beach.  The image outdoors was projected onto a concave lens in the center of the room.

Students had lunch at the beach and then were able to take photographs of the old Sutro Baths located just below the Camera Obscura Building.  They did a slide show of images gathered at the field trip in their next class session.   Students got to see first hand how the first camera was made, and how the logistics of a single source of light and the use of a lens creates a photographic image.

PTSA Mini-Grants are supported by funding from the SHSEF

Festival Shout-Out
nullA huge shout-out to student  Clara MacAvoy for spearheading the International Festival this past weekend, along with her team members  Clara Epelman, Martina Silberman, Maddie Pei, and Grace Armienti!  Thank you also to student Cailey Horan for volunteering the entire day, and parents Jayne Sungail, Lisa Hane, Gayle Hoch and AVP Gary Gooch for all their help with planning. Congratulations to all who helped out or participated in any way, for contributing your Sequoia support for this event!

In This Issue
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
Collab Day

Deadline for Senior Portraits and for turning in Senior baby pictures

Tuesday, Nov. 1
6:30 PM - ELAC/PTSA potluck dinner, MPR
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

Nov. 18-20
Sequoia musical "Loserville," Carrington Hall

Nov. 23-25
Thanksgiving holiday
Quick Links
About Us 

Submit news to the Sentinel: For instructions, click here.

Find past issues of the Sentinel: 

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

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

Coming this week!  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.  Lloyd will be joined by Alice Kleeman, former M-A College Advisor.
College admissions can and should 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