November 18, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Student Flex Time Experiment Commences in December
On December 5th and 6th, Sequoia will begin experimenting with a new bell schedule.  During these two days, 45 flexible minutes will be shoehorned between the second block period and lunch.  Students will select from a variety of options on how to spend this time based on needs and priorities they identify.  They might attend a math tutorial, retake an assessment in a social studies class, finish a science lab, or work quietly in an English study hall.  Many schools have already implemented this type of schedule .  During the first week in December, and again for three weeks in March, we're going to see if it's a good fit for Sequoia.

The teachers, staff, parents, and students on Sequoia's Site Council and Leadership Team have been grappling with the question of how to create more time for the past 18 months.  Committees and subcommittees have deliberated on the relative pros and cons of shorter lunches and advisory periods, eventually landing on a regular (i.e., twice weekly) flexible period to be beta-tested this year with an eye on full implementation in 2020-21.

The flexible period supports several elements of our mission and value, both practically and ideologically.  For example, since a large and growing number of curricular teams in core academic subject areas have implemented or will be implementing more equitable, standards-based grading systems, opportunities for students to retake assessments have increased.  This takes time and unfortunately, the only time available is during lunch.  But lunch is (and should be) sacred time -- time to eat, laugh with friends, convene a club, shoot hoops, or sit under a tree and stare at the clouds.  

We are also mindful of the pressures on students to complete homework or get help from teachers. Students with after-school commitments such as performing arts, athletics, caring for a younger sibling, or a job will greatly benefit from an additional 90 minutes each week to complete their school work or get the help they need.  Down the road, flexible time built into the week will allow us to complete mandated surveys or assessments with limited interruption to regular instructional minutes.   Visits from college admissions representatives, career panels, counselor presentations, and mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation are other ideas students might benefit from during this time.  

There is a strong connection between autonomy in learning and academic success.  The needs of our students are varied.  The more we provide them with authentic opportunities to identify their own priorities and act on those findings, the more we strengthen the self-esteem and self-direction named explicitly as part of our Mission Statement .

We will communicate the purpose and procedures to all students in third-period classes on December 5 after regular teaching and learning conclude.  The following day, students will be responsible for choosing where to go and held accountable for being there and taking advantage of this time -- THEIR time.  It's an exciting new chapter for Sequoia and we're looking forward to seeing how it evolves.

Have a great week!
Mark Your Calendars
Ready for the Holidays? Honey Bear Tree Lots are Stocked

If you are looking for a Christmas tree this winter, remember that Honey Bear Trees will be supporting Sequoia High School Class of 2020.  Please consider buying your Christmas tree or wreath from Honey Bear and 15% of your purchase will be donated to the graduating class.  Take your flyer ( Spanish) to either 955 Woodside Road, RWC (opened November 16) or 1579 El Camino Real, San Carlos (opens November 23) so the funds are dedicated to Sequoia High School. 

Dream Club Dinner: Last Week to Purchase Tickets

The Dream Club's 10th annual fundraising dinner will be on Friday, November 22 in Gym 1 from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.  Click here to view the flyer.  This is a family-friendly event with door prizes, stories, art, culture, and plenty of good food.  All are invited to come learn about the experiences of undocumented students and show your support!  On-site childcare will be provided for children younger than 10 years of age.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students, or $125 per table of eightPurchase your tickets here.  For questions, please contact Jane Slater.
Do You Know Any Families Considering Sequoia for Their 8th Graders? Our Fall Campus Tour is Back!
On  Saturday, November 23, Sequoia HS leadership students will provide free tours of the campus to prospective students and families.  These tours will last approximately 30 minutes and will cover the physical layout of the campus and information about the academic, extracurricular, and social experiences of Sequoia from a student perspective.  Tours will also be accompanied by Sequoia PTSA volunteer parents who can provide insight from their points of view.   
There is no pre-registration required for the tours.  Tours will depart from the front steps of the school's main building.  The first tour will depart at 10:00 a.m. and subsequent tours will leave every ten minutes, with the final tour leaving at 11:00 a.m.  Contact Director of Student Activities Corey Uhalde with any questions.  

Parent Volunteers Wanted!
And... if you are a current Sequoia parent and would like to volunteer an hour or two of your time providing some parent perspective during the tours, please contact Lisa Hane.  Volunteering is fun and a great way to welcome new Sequoia families!

Make a Difference for a Sequoia Family in Need This Holiday Season!
Please join us in donating a gift to Sequoia's annual Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Project, a tradition started over 20 years ago by a few caring Sequoia teachers who bought their students-in-need gifts, paid for out of their own pockets.  Together, we can help Sequoia students and their families enjoy this holiday season with gifts that inspire joy, build community, and reduce stress.  Over 110 Sequoia families are facing a particularly stressful time this year -- stretching their modest incomes across the winter months while dealing with serious illness, death, job losses, immigration crises, or homelessness.  Please click here to see how you can help with one or two gifts, or gifts for a whole family!
With over 110 families' needs included, this is a long list to search through.  Here's a tip to help you find what you want fast: on the signup page, please click the box "Hide Full Spots" located in the upper right hand area of your computer screen to easily find wishes with no sponsors.  Also be sure to click on the orange box at the end of each list that says, "Show more spots".  Deliver your gift(s) to Sequoia's Parent Center (Room 129) on December 9 - 13th, between 8:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m.  Students will pick up gifts during final exam week so that they and their family can enjoy winter break with a little extra support from their Sequoia "family".
Please feel free to share this project with friends, relatives or colleagues who might be interested: 
Questions?  Please contact Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair,, (650) 387-8390.  Thank you!  ¡Gracias!

Soliciting Superb Substitutes! 

graphic Are you a parent who would like to work one or two days per week at your child's school? If you have a college degree, all you need to do is pass a basic skills test ( CBEST), get fingerprinted, and you can sign up to be a substitute! Substitutes have very flexible schedules and can pick up jobs when it works for them or in a specific subject area like science or art.  We have other parents volunteering and working on our campus in different capacities and it is great to see the community support the school in so many different ways.  Having the best-qualified substitutes also helps with continuity of instruction when a teacher is out sick or at a district training program.

Next Steps: You can contact AVP Kristin Stout, Anilisa Manolache, or Katrina Grant at the District Office with any questions.

Can SHSEF Reach $630,000? Help Us Get There

purple donate button There is no question that our school and students excel because we have an engaged community of parents, business leaders, educators, and neighbors who are willing to invest in our students' education and futures.  Our annual campaign is in full swing and y our donations support enriched learning opportunities, better prepared teachers, and college-bound students.  Your gift also supports:
  • Chromebooks
  • Class Size Reduction
  • College Center Staffing and Programs
  • Visual and Performing Arts Materials
  • Afterschool Math Tutoring
  • Parent Education and Family Support
Our goal this year is to raise $630,000 to continue and expand the resources that make Sequoia a place where all students can thrive.  Please give today and make a difference in the lives and success of all our students!    

Sequoia Highlights
First Issue of 2019-20 Raven Report Released Last Week

The Raven Report team distributed its first issue featuring articles on climate change, sports, sleep, and coverage of the Minnijean Brown-Trickey assembly from only a week ago.  This project-based class keeps students on their toes with hard deadlines and industry-standard publishing practices.  Didn't get a copy?  Visit the online version to read the latest news from Sequoia's student body.  Want to support journalism at Sequoia?  E-mail Ms. Betsy Snow to learn about Journalism Boosters.

Authors for the latest Raven Report showcasing their articles.
California PTA News
In Memoriam

It is with deep sadness that California State PTA mourns the loss of life of PTA Unit President Misty Smith Walton from Oakland's Carl B. Munck PTA.  Her life and that of her unborn child were taken in a senseless shooting on November 12th.

Our extended PTA family joins Misty's family and friends in mourning her loss and expressing respect and gratitude for her selfless volunteering on behalf of her school, children, and her community.

California State PTA and National PTA continue to advocate for laws and policies to reduce gun violence, hoping to end such tragedies.
In This Issue
Nov. 18 - Dec. 6 
Lunch Hour 
End of Semester Art Show, Powell Gallery 
Tuesday, Nov. 19  
7:00 p.m.  
Boosters Meeting, Staff Rm.  
Wednesday, Nov. 20   
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.  
Winter Sportsmanship Night, Gym 1   
Wednesday, Nov. 20  
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  
Parent Ed Series: What's All the Buzz?, Woodside HS MUR
Friday, Nov. 22  
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.  
10th Annual Dream Club Dinner, Gym 1   
Saturday, Nov. 23   
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.   
Campus Tours every 10 minutes, Main Entrance  
Monday, Nov. 25   
B-Day Schedule   
Tuesday, Nov. 26   
A-Day Schedule 
Wednesday, Nov. 27 - Friday, Nov. 29  
No School
Thanksgiving Break  
Tuesday, Dec. 3   
7:00 p.m.  
End-of-Semester Art Show:  November 18 - December 6
Please stop by the Powell Art Gallery sometime in the next three weeks for Sequoia's End-of-Semester Art Show.  
The show will feature art from Drawing, Painting, Art I, Ceramics, Digital Photography and IB Art, years one and two.  All visitors to the campus during the school day (including to the Powell Gallery) will first need to check-in with the AVP office for a visitor's pass.

Latest Media Center Newsletter

Check out the Media Center's latest newsletter.  Ms. Snow, Sequoia's Media Specialist, distributes this guide to teachers and staff monthly.  The newsletter includes links to fun and helpful resources for students.

You Know You've Been Meaning To...  
...So click the purple button on the right and JOIN NOW!
Not sure if you have joined yet this 2019-20 year?  Check the latest Membership List from October 6, 2019.

Get Involved

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 Parent Education

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Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
What's All the Buzz with JUUL & Similar Vape Devices?
Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside
What do parents, students, and educators need to know about JUUL, vaping, e-cigarettes, and vape devices?
The Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit offers education for parents and teachers to prevent middle and high school students' use of e-cigarettes and vapes (including JUUL and other pod-based devices).
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission and light refreshments. Spanish interpretation will be available.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director of The Parent Education Series .