Sequoia Sentinel
November 2, 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!
PTSA President's Message
Dear families, 

We are more than two months into the school year, and though this is a different school year, the teachers and students have figured out creative ways to continue learning. Sports conditioning is off to a smooth start, clubs are rolling and Homecoming was a huge success. Through the various areas at school, I am amazed at the creativity.

Check out the video for the Candyland Homecoming Rally The virtual Homecoming Rally incorporated the band students, dance team and student representatives from each class to make the video really interactive. 

Have you heard about "Pear deck" from your students? It is a presentation tool that allows the teachers to interact with the students as they present their slides. It makes learning more engaging and "less boring."

As of October 27, the state has moved San Mateo County into the "Orange" tier. This gives me a lot of hope on the next steps for our school district. The District is testing some approaches with very small cohorts and we should hear more in the next two weeks. 

Lastly, the Sentinel offers news and information for parents, while Sequoia’s social channels such as Instagram cater to students. This year, the communication team for the Sentinel has been experimenting with the format and content to connect the parents to the school and bridge the gap of in-person experiences. We are experimenting to include more content from the student activities, clubs etc. Please do let us know what's working for you and what would you like to see more of. Email us at

Our next PTSA General Meeting will be on November 10 @6:30 p.m. We plan to have some guest speakers and fireside chat with Sean Priest. Send in your questions for the fireside chat to

Welcome New Staff!
Kristen Anthony: English Department

Teaching English IV and IB English Yr 2, is Ms. Anthony, and preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. Ms. Anthony is from Severna Park, Maryland and Costa Mesa, California. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, and began teaching 20 years ago in Beyla (located in Eastern Guinea), as a member of the Peace Corps!

In-between Beyla, and her most recent teaching assignment in Malaysia, Ms. Anthony connected with and learned from colleagues in Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. She has primarily taught English and French, and says she is “continually amazed and inspired by both the particularity and the universality of the human experience.”

Despite all of her travels, Ms. Anthony says her favorite meal can be found right back where she started… “a whole mess o' Maryland blue crabs, steamed with Old Bay, piled on top of an old cable spool table in the backyard.” Now that sounds hard to beat!
Talia Cain: English Department

Teaching English I ICAP and English Support, is Ms. Cain, and preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. Ms. Cain is a California native, having grown up in Carlsbad, California - a county North of San Diego. She chose to stay in California to continue her journey and attended Chapman University. Ms. Cain completed her student teaching at Woodside High School and comes to Sequoia as a first year teacher!

While at Chapman University, Ms. Cain studied “how narratives in popular media can reinforce systemic racism and white supremacist ideology.” She worked with professors to develop and co-teach courses on Game of Thrones, dark tourism, selfhood and identity, and postcolonial literature. She facilitated a critical media literacy project at a local middle school, and served as a lead staff member at the Boys and Girls Club.

While observing and assisting in a variety of high school English classrooms, Ms. Cain conducted a research study on “how the hidden curriculum of school discipline routines can contribute to the disproportionate criminalization and school push-out of Black and Latinx youth.”

Perhaps you will hear her singing, or see her dancing, down the halls of Sequoia… her career alternative to teaching was to be a ballerina or a Broadway performer!
Parent Announcements
Nov 11: Veterans Day
Mark your calendar! In honor of Veterans Day, there is no school on Wednesday, November 11.
Nov 20: Making Dreams Come True dinner

Undocumented students, supported by their allies, will share the challenges they face as they pursue their educational dreams.

They will be sharing powerful stories through spoken word, music and song. This year we have created several packages to choose from, including everyone's favorite, La Victoria Burrito. We will also have an exclusive opportunity to have a more intimate dialogue with Dream Club leaders following the event.
Make a difference for a Sequoia student or family in need this holiday season!
SHSEF and the Sequoia Family Center invite you to participate in Sequoia's annual Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Project, a tradition started over 20 years ago.

Together, we can help Sequoia students in need and their families enjoy this holiday season with gifts that inspire joy, build community, and reduce stress. As you know, many of our Sequoia families are facing a particularly stressful time this year -- stretching their modest income across the winter months while dealing with serious illness, death, job loss, immigration crisis or homelessness AND, now, the pandemic. Giving will be 100% "contactless."

Please click here to see how you can help! Also, feel free to share this project on your social media, or to share it with friends, relatives or work colleagues who might be interested:

Questions? Please email Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair or call (650) 387-8390. Thank you! ¡Gracias!
Honey, where should we get our tree?
Help the class of 2021 when purchasing your Christmas tree! 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 and wreath. (If you happen to forget it, there will be extra flyers on the lot or just mention Sequoia High School!)

There are two locations convenient to our Sequoia school community:

955 Woodside Road, Redwood City
1579 El Camino Real, San Carlos

The lots open on November 20! Hours are 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., seven days a week.
Due Nov 15: IB exam fees
We are still processing IB exam registrations. As soon as we process your student's registration, we immediately mail the official IB Exam May 2021 bill and post the IB exam fee to Infinite Campus.

Thank you for your patience as we are experiencing delays with this process due to Distance Learning. Please know we are working as quickly as possible. Here is information on how to pay the fees:

Due by November 15

There are three ways to pay:
  1. Pay the IB fees online on your student’s Infinite Campus (IC) account with a credit card. Please note, IC charges a $3 credit card processing fee. IB exam fees will be posted in the fees tab after your registration.
  2. Pay by cash. Bring cash directly to the IB office in Room #130 on a Wednesday. Be sure to leave with a receipt as proof of payment. Discouraged due to COVID but if needed contact Ms. Galvan ( to ensure she is in the office.
  3. Pay by check. Make check payable to Sequoia High School. Please put student name and IB exams in the memo line. Mail the check to: Sequoia High School, Attention: Magdalena Galvan IB Office, 1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City, CA, 94062.

If your family is experiencing financial circumstances preventing you from paying the fees all at once, please contact Lisa McCahon to set up a payment plan. Thank you, IB Office.
Help your senior meet graduation and/or A-G requirements
Seniors and other students needing to complete credit recovery course(s) required for graduation and A-G requirements need to email their counselor if they have not already signed up, or have any questions.

Please note that counselors have already met with seniors to review graduation status, post-secondary plans, and sign up for Edgenuity. Email communication was sent to students and parent/guardians.
Seniors must complete credit recovery by May 28 for June 4 graduation.

Mr. Julio Calles is Sequoia's Edgenuity teacher. He offers virtual office hours for students on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6:00 p.m. Please email your counselor and Mr. Calles, for more information.
From previous issues...
Student Highlights
Due Nov 6: School report and letter of recommendation requests
Seniors applying for regular admissions to four-year colleges, who are still in the process of completing the school report and letter of recommendation request process for Common Application/Private Universities, must complete the process and schedule a 10 minute appointment with their assigned counselor by November 6.

This meeting is required in order to ensure that all action items and the SR/LOR request is complete. Please note that November 6 is the deadline for SR/LOR requests even if you have admissions deadlines during the month of January or beyond. If you should have any questions, please contact your counselor.
A photographic record of student life
Our very own digital photography teacher, Ms. Yurkovich, would like to share select work from her students. Their work is a great record of their first quarter distance learning. The recap captures life and nature in Sunrise to Sunset, Dominant Color, Simplicity, Rule of Thirds, Scavenger Hunts, & Steps in a Process. View the slideshow
That's So Raven
It's Spooks-tober on That's So Raven Episode 10! Our production team takes part in multiple competitions to see who has the best costume and pumpkin carving skills. Check out our Instagram story to vote for the winners!
Education Foundation Updates
Supporting our students and teachers
The mission of Sequoia High School Education Foundation is to support all Sequoia students in reaching their highest potential. SHSEF funds various professional development programs, including staff release day to analyze student work and staff technology training grants for continued education.

Investing in our teaching staff benefits all students. To support Sequoia students and teachers, please consider making a contribution to SHSEF, donate here.
The Parent Education Series
Parent Ed Logo Horizontal
Nov 4: Having Courageous Conversations About Race and Systemic Racism
Dr. Donald Grant, ED, Center for Community & Social Impact, Pacific Oaks College

Wednesday, November 4, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

Join Donald Grant, PhD, for a "Courageous Conversation" about Race and Systemic Racism in America today. Learn how to be a disruptor of anti-Black racism and discrimination by increasing your knowledge and empathic awareness.
Nov 5: Fostering creativity and innovation in an uncertain world
Steve Smith, PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara

Thursday, November 5, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., Online Event (Meeting)

How can we foster creativity and innovation in our kids, given today's highly unpredictable, uncertain world? Join Steve Smith, PhD, psychologist and professor at UCSB, for a webinar on Fostering Creativity and Innovation in an Uncertain World.
Nov 13: The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives
William Stixrud, PhD, and Ned Johnson, co-authors of The Self-Driven Child

Friday, November 13, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., Online Webinar

Join us for a San Mateo County-wide parent and community education event to support the health and well-being of children and youth during COVID-19!

In this engaging (virtual) presentation, Dr. Bill Stixrud, a clinical neuropsychologist, and Ned Johnson, founder of the tutoring company PrepMatters, offer research-based advice about how to help children and teens become more resilient, balanced, and motivated for learning.
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.
The Parent Education Webinar Series is sponsored by Sequoia Healthcare District and Sequoia Union High School District.
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. 

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
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