November 13, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
I could write a profile every week about an education superstar at Sequoia.  There are more amazing staff members than newsletters -- exciting, innovative, and engaging professionals challenging kids on a daily basis.  Your students are the best resources on this topic, to be sure.  Hopefully, a light bulb remains aglow from time to time upon arrival home and you are able to coax a detail or two about who inspired them in school.  If not, keep trying!

One name likely not to come up is Elizabeth Guli, Chair of Sequoia's Special Education Department.  Only 33 students see Ms. Guli's name on their schedules.  Elizabeth teaches ELA Intervention (addressing the urgent needs of 9th and 10th graders whose reading ability is several grade levels below that of their peers) and Study Skills, where she provides direct services in support of the goals for the students on her caseload. 

Let's pause for a moment to consider the role of the case manager for students whose disabilities qualify them for special education services as part of an individualized education plan (IEP).  In addition to supporting the day-to-day academic success of the student, providing guidance about post-high school planning, and, in some cases, supporting behavioral goals, the case manager oversees the tracking and reporting of the students progress towards their unique IEP goals.  This is done by leading a team which meets (at least) annually and includes parents, the student, teachers, an administrator, and any other number of authorized adults as appropriate to the case.  Each case manager oversees around 20 students.

Ms. Guli's responsibility as department chair is to support Sequoia's case managers and, by extension, the 290+ students at Sequoia who are eligible for special education services.  She takes on this awesome responsibility with perspicacity and zeal.  Special education case managers are mandated by law to provide support for their students' disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible.  This means that most students receiving special education services spend almost the entirety of their day with non-disabled peers -- their accommodations often imperceptible.  Making recommendations to the team about what this looks like requires judgment.  

Ms. Guli sets the tone for her department with advocacy for equity, her work ethic, and her unconditional positive regard for all kids.  She sets the tone for the school by ensuring general education teachers have the tools and confidence to serve all kids in their classes -- to help students with disabilities thrive in the least restrictive environment possible.  She works with counselors and our Instructional Vice Principal to review individual schedules for every student with an IEP.  

Ms. Guli believes, as I do, that powerful learning occurs when teenagers are able to step outside of themselves and understand the perspective of someone with a different set of circumstances than theirs.  This is the root of cultural competency, empathy, and, in a strong sense, humanity.  Whether your student is receiving IEP services or not, we are all fortunate to have someone who understands this leading our Special Education program at Sequoia.

Have a great week!
Honoring Our Veterans
During their day off of school last Friday, the Sequoia Choir took time to sing for residents of the Brookdale senior living community in Redwood City.  The choir sang several selections, including the "Tribute to the Armed Forces" to honor veterans in the audience.  Kudos to our Sequoia singers for bringing joy to our community!

The Sequoia Choir performs for Brookdale residents last Friday.
Winter & Spring Sportsmanship Night - Tonight
Sportsmanship Night for winter AND spring athletes will be tonight, Monday, November 13th at 6:30 PM in Gym 1.  Everyone who plans to participate in a winter or spring sport MUST attend with a parent.  There will be a presentation by Athletic Director Melissa Schmidt, followed by a workshop put on by the Positive Coaching Alliance.
Sequoia's Fall Musical: Chicago 
Tickets Selling Fast!
THIS WEEKEND, come see Sequoia's fabulous student theatrical performers and musicians in this Tony Award-winning AND Academy Award-winning musical, Chicago!

In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband Amos to take the rap...until he finds out he's been duped and turns on Roxie. Sent to the Cook County Jail to await trial, Roxie and another "Merry Murderess" Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the "American Dream": fame, fortune and acquittal. This sharp-edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked immortal staging by Bob Fosse.

Performances are Nov. 17-19: Friday and Saturday at 7 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM.  Tickets are available at  This is a show you don't want to miss, so get your tickets before they sell out!

NOTE: Chicago features mature themes and may not be appropriate for all audiences.
Grab Some Friends and Head to the SHS Gym for an Evening You Won't Soon Forget!
Dream Club Dinner Tickets Available NOW!

Please join Sequoia students, families and faculty for the 8th Annual Dream Club Dinner this Friday, November 17th from 6:00-8:30 PM in the Big Gym.  Clear your calendar, open your heart, and get ready to be amazed - this special night is not to be missed!

On-site childcare will be available for kids under 10.  Adults $10, students $5, or purchase a table for $80. See this flyer for details. Questions? Contact Jane Slater at

Three Cheers for Sequoia's Generous Community!
Thank you to those who signed up to donate food items -- the Parent Center greatly appreciates your generosity!
Our food sign-up is full, but you can still help! 

The Parent Center could use some GENTLY used clothes and shoes (no undergarments or socks)...for men, women and children of all ages and sizes.  Additionally, there is a need for some GENTLY used blankets in twin, full or queen sizes.  So, if you have time to pull together some items that are no longer being used in your homes, please consider sharing them with our Sequoia community.  

Please be sure that all items are truly GENTLY used and CLEAN when considering them for donation.  We do not want to create an overwhelming situation for our volunteers with sorting, purging and cleaning so please be thoughtful in what you donate.   These donations should be dropped off in the Parent Center by Tuesday, November 14th.  

And STAY TUNED for donation opportunities when our Adopt-A-Family sign-up goes live after the Thanksgiving Break.

Honey, Where Should We Get Our Tree From This Year?
Help the Class of 2018 When Purchasing Your Christmas Tree This Season
Sequoia 2018 Grad Activities receives 15% of the purchase price when you buy a holiday tree at  HONEY BEAR TREESBring this flyer when you purchase your tree and wreath.  (If you happen to forget it, there will be extra flyers on the lot.) 

Sequoia 2018 Grad Activities recibirá el 15% del precio de compra cuando usted compre un árbol de Navidad en HONEY BEAR TREESSimplemente muestre este folleto cuando usted compre su árbol y corona. (Si se le olvida, no se preocupe en la parcela abra más volantes disponibles.)
There are three locations convenient to our Sequoia school community:
  • 955 Woodside Road, Redwood City - opens 11/18
  • 651 El Camino Real, Redwood City (RWC American Legion lot - new this year) - opens 11/25
  • 2495 S. Delaware Street, San Mateo (San Mateo County Event Center) - opens 11/24
Hours are 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM, 7 days a week.

Shout-Out to Class of 2018 Parents
A HUGE shout-out to those parents and siblings of the Class of 2018 (and a couple from the Class of 2020) for volunteering their evenings to work Football Concessions this fall. They spent their game time selling mochas and popcorn to raise funds for a Safe and Sober Grad Night for our Seniors next June. And thank you to those who took time to shop for the much-appreciated supplies. It took a community! Your efforts are appreciated by all of the students and parents from our next graduating class.
First and foremost, thanks to concessions coordinator extraordinaire Adrienne Heist who tirelessly made this year's football concession sales a fun place to be on Friday nights!

Others who volunteered their evenings this Fall include:
Judy Adams, Bonnie Alesna, Natalie DeMarco (class of 2024), Lonnie Gee, Lisa Haaga, Matt and Emma ('24) Heist, Kristin, Paul and Rowan ('24) Henige, Andrea Hernacki, Yadell Hernandez, Sherri Horan, Suzanne Hughes, Grace Mizutani, Arthur Navarro, Laura Nibbi, Jasmin Peccei, Kevin Pruhsmeier, Beth Robertson, Ginger Silverman, Danika Stanley, Jayne Sungail, Douglas Villeda and Karen Wray.
... and those who donated items or money include (some gave time AND food!):
Tracey Ardwan, Jenn Bulka, Bill Cotter, Roland Funk, Stacey Giles, Janet Hart, Katie Hultgren, Stacy Huisman, Rachel Krueger, Ana Luna-Victoria, Cheryl Mejia, Subathra Ramanathan, Anne Scholes, Anne Singler, Bridget Walton, Heather Weber, Chris Woo and Makiko Yokoi.  Special thanks to Vicki Barvich for an extra donation to the Class of 2018 Grad Activities fund.
Resources for Victims of California's Wildfires
From the California PTA - Spread the Word

California State PTA's mission is to positively impact the lives of all children and families - a mission that is always important but especially so during times of crisis. The state of California has been devastated by wildfires this fall and they can be unsettling, and dangerous, for children to experience. Learn how to help children cope with wildfire at

A public health emergency in the state of California has been declared due to the wildfires, and the Trump Administration has approved California's request for direct aid to those in Napa and Sonoma counties who have suffered losses due to the wildfires. Survivors who live in Sonoma and Napa counties can now apply online for federal Individual Disaster Assistance at or by phone at  800-621-3362 or (TTY)  800-462-7585.

Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. More information on the federal Individual Disaster Assistance program is available at Learn more about the hazards of smoke and precautions you can take from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Love Bags - Fill Them with Thanksgiving Leftovers!
We continue to run our Love Bags sale through mid-December.  These bags are well-made, attractive and make great hostess gifts and holiday 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.
In This Issue

Monday, Nov. 13
Collab Day

6:30 PM - Winter and Spring Sportsmanship Night, Gym 1

Tuesday, Nov. 14
Thanksgiving donations due in the Parent Center, Room 129

Nov. 17 - Nov. 19
Fri & Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM
Fall musical, Chicago! ( tickets here)

Friday, Nov. 17
6 PM - Dream Club Dinner, Gym 1

Wednesday, Nov. 22 thru Friday, Nov. 24
Thanksgiving Holiday - No classes

Tuesday, Dec. 5
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Wednesday, Dec. 6
7 PM - Choir and Orchestra Winter Concert, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Dec. 7
7 PM - Bands Winter Concert, Carrington Hall

Tue-Thu, Dec. 19-21
Finals ( see schedule here)

Friday, Dec. 22 
Winter break begins

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Parent Education - Events Open to Everyone
Last Parent Education Event of the Fall - Don't Miss Out!

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,