Sequoia Sentinel
November 16, 2020
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
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Editor's note: There will be an early deadline for the Nov. 30 issue of the Sentinel due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Articles for that issue are due by Monday, Nov 23. Thanks in advance!
Principal's Message
Sequoia is expanding its partnership with Atlas, a digital tool and social app designed to support student mental health and wellness. Working with small groups of students (9th and 12th graders) over the last year, we have seen how Atlas empowers kids to care for themselves and strengthens the important relationships in their lives. Although we started our pilot program with Atlas in fall 2019, it has proven itself to be especially impactful during this era of uncertainty and isolation.

Atlas offers users access to a library of podcasts produced to alleviate stress, manage academic pressure, develop healthy relationships, and get better sleep. It provides students tools and techniques developed locally and drawing from multiple areas of evidence-based therapy to help young people live happier, more productive, and meaningful lives. Learn more via Common Sense Media or with this FAQ

Students will learn how to access these resources in their English classes. We will provide an opt-out form to any family that does not want their student to have access to these tools. There is no cost.  

Users will be identified as Sequoia students. School administrators will not have access to individual data, but we do learn which topics are drawing the most interest. This helps us address issues proactively. Based on the small sample of 9th and 12th graders already using the app, for example, we know the following topics have been among the most popular:

  • Work
  • Feelings
  • Negative Thoughts
  • School
  • Divorce 

Likewise, we know students have been practicing skills in the following areas:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-advocacy
  • Identifying emotions
  • Responsible Decision-making
  • Solving Problems

I believe in empowering students. I believe in the resiliency and courage of teenagers. I have seen countless examples of their ability to navigate rough waters over the year. I also believe in being explicit about the tools we can offer students to find their inner strength and harness their courage in healthy ways. We are confident that this tool will help in this area.

I’m grateful to the staff members who have driven this partnership, especially Special Education Teacher Dy Nguyen who has led the pilot program on our campus and worked closely with the Atlas team. We encourage parents and families to check out the app and support your student using this tool.  

Have a great week!

Welcome New Staff!
Daniel Gallegos: math department

Joining the math department this year to teach geometry 9/10 and algebra II is Mr. Gallegos, who hails from Redwood City. He spent the past two years at Sequoia as a Para I, and he is a graduate of Sequoia High School! Mr. Gallegos attended Rider University and Menlo College. After receiving his teaching credentials at Notre Dame de Namur University he joins Sequoia as a first year teacher. Mr. Gallegos works out for two hours per day and would be a personal trainer or financial analyst if he wasn’t a teacher.
Martha Leveque-Eichhorn: math department 

Also joining the math department this year to teach algebra initiative and algebra II, is Ms. Leveque-Eichhorn. Ms. Leveque studied at the University of Portland after growing up in Minnesota. She has five years of teaching experience, and not only does she teach math, she has also taught physics! Calling all fellow nature lovers... if she wasn’t teaching, she would be an environmental advocate or work in the national parks.
Parent Announcements
Three ways to help Sequoia students this holiday season!
  1. Apply to become a substitute teacher and help supervise student cohorts.
  2. Sign up to support families in need through our Adopt-A-Family Holiday Project. Click here for information.
  3. Join one of our volunteer teams by completing this survey to let us know how you can help.

And on behalf of the Sequoia community, a big THANK YOU to everyone who has offered their support during this year! Together we have:
  • Prepared hundreds of backpacks and school supplies for students,
  • Made over 200 deliveries to student homes,
  • Sewn over 700 cloth masks for students, and
  • Volunteered over 50 hours to help families sign up for the FRPL program and special SAT.

For more information, please email Elisa Niño-Sears, ATLAS Director & SHSEF Family Support Chair or call (650) 387-8390.
Sequoia Shadow Program for parents a success!
Thank you to all the volunteers for donating their time and talent to help make the virtual Sequoia Shadow Program for parents a success -- we had close to 100 families participate this year! Linda Solon, Katherine Schembri, Jo Jeffs, Victoria Mendiola, Michele Moyer and Lisane Drouin all participated in the parent sessions run by Corey Uhalde. Their perspectives, humor, and insight gave the prospective families a warm, welcoming introduction to Sequoia. Special thanks to Corey for a fantastic presentation and for making this a fun volunteering opportunity! 
8th grade Information Night is virtual and on-demand!
Each year, Sequoia opens its arms to welcome prospective students to the campus for an informational evening. Given the restrictive parameters of 2020, we have created a virtual interactive "8th grade Information Night".

For more information click here.
Nov 20: Making Dreams Come True dinner
Honey Bear Trees benefit class of 2021 - Lots open Nov 20!

Sequoia 2021 Grad Activities receives 15% of the purchase price when you buy a holiday tree at HONEY BEAR TREES. Bring this flyer when you purchase your tree.

For more information, click here: Honey Bear Trees
From previous issues...
Student Highlights
Leaf Beasts!
Teenagers can be silly and spontaneous, right? Sometimes it's a challenge to pull those fun qualities out of students. In Ceramics classes, I teach that "playing" is a huge part of the discovery process in art, and that mistakes are expected, accepted, and respected! In this project, we focused on a project from artist Baku Madea, who is inspired by nature. Click here to see and enjoy our playful LEAF BEASTS!
(image from project by illustrator and artist Baku Maeda)
November Media Center newsletter!
Check out the Media Center’s latest newsletter with links to creative and helpful resources for teachers and students. Follow us on Instagram to keep up with upcoming events, author talks, and more.
That's So Raven
This week in the 12th episode of "That's So Raven" we focus on the student wellness and mental health app Atlas, a post-election interview, alumni insights, and sports trivia. Follow us on Instagram.
Education Foundation Updates
SHSEF Donations at Work
Sequoia High School Ed Foundation (SHSEF) relies on our community’s generosity to help bridge the gap between state and federal funding.
Thanks to your generous support, Sequoia is able to offer:
  • Class size reduction for 5 freshman courses.
  • An additional full-time College Counselor.
  • More Chromebooks and tech resources to support distance learning.
  • Expanded family support and mental health resources.
  • At home supplies and equipment, including art kits, musical instruments, and science and learning materials.
To make a SHSEF contribution, donate here.
The Parent Education Series
Parent Ed Logo Horizontal
Nov 17: A Healthy Approach to College Admissions
Dr. Donald Grant, ED, Center for Community & Social Impact, Pacific Oaks College

Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., Online Webinar

Join us for "A Healthy Approach to College Admissions," a (virtual) event presented by Challenge Success, Stanford Graduate School of Education. Attendees will learn practical strategies to help reduce unnecessary pressure around the college admissions process, and ways to support their student’s overall well-being and readiness for life in college and beyond.
(Spanish) Exploring Community College and Transfer Programs 
Cleve Freeman, Counselor, Director of the Transfer Center, Foothill College

Wednesday, November 18, 5:00– 6:00p.m., Live Event (Webinar)

Join us for this special presentation in Spanish to learn more about community college and its transfer programs! Cleve Freeman has been a counselor at the community college for more than ten years. He is a counselor and the director of the transfer center at Foothill College.
Mindfulness and Self-Care Workshop for Parents and Caregivers
Carin Winter, Founder and CEO, Mission Be

Thursday, December 3,12:00 – 1:00p.m., Live Event (Webinar)

Join us for an interactive workshop with Carin Winter, CEO of Mission Be, to learn mindfulness practices for self-care and stress reduction. In this webinar, Carin will explore mindfulness practices (breathing techniques, visualizations, affirmations) that can be shared with your entire family.

With 20+ years of experience as a former clinical social worker and yoga teacher, Carin brings a wealth of mindful wisdom to her work with students, teachers, and parents.

Along with the sponsors listed below, this event is also sponsored by Sequoia High School, Woodside High School, and Peninsula Health Care District.
Parents, students, educators, clinicians, and community members welcome! Free admission. The Parent Education Series is sponsored by Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF)Sequoia Healthcare District, Sequoia Union High School District, and The Parent Venture.
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. 
Mini-Grant inspires online learning!
Last year Ms. Chin, one of our French and English Language Development (ELD) teachers, received a Mini-Grant to purchase a subscription to is a wonderful digital program allowing students to create their own digital books with images and voice recordings. The books are placed on a digital "shelf" where students can peruse their classmates' books like a real library! This has been essential during distance learning, allowing Ms. Chin to look at students' work in real time and assist them with editing. Being able to record voices is especially useful for students to be able to practice oral language production. Thank you, Ms. Chin, for your innovative approach!

Check out examples of student books (with permission) from French 1 and ELD 1.
by Anthony Aguilar Rosales
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
Community Resources and Events
Train to become a tutor on November 17!
Join our community of volunteers ranging in age from 14-96, who provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to students. We are seeking volunteers that can commit to tutoring remotely once a week for 30-45 minutes. As a volunteer, you can be part of helping a student improve their academic performance, engagement in learning, and self-esteem!

This is also a great opportunity for students to earn CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) hours!

If you are interested in becoming a Healthy Cities tutor, please attend our annual new tutor orientation & training via Zoom on Tuesday, November 17 from 7p.m.- 8:15p.m. RSVP here.

For more information visit and click VOLUNTEER to complete the online application, or email
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