Sequoia Sentinel
November 23, 2020
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Editor's note: There is an early deadline for next week's issue due to the holiday: articles for Nov 30 are due TODAY. Happy Thanksgiving!
Principal's Message
Once again for Thanksgiving week, I’ve collected a sample of Sequoia staff members’ reflections about the people for whom and things for which they are grateful. It has been my experience that consistent, frequent, and intentional focus on gratitude serves as a source of strength in our daily lives. Reading through my colleagues’ reflections affirms much of what makes our community so strong.

We’ll kick things off with Instructional Associate Kathy Ishibashi, who is “thankful for each of the mod/sev SPED students I have the privilege of working with because they teach me every day about kindness, joy, and compassion.”

Social studies teacher Lidia Cuffman also turned her attention to the Sequoia students. “At the end of every lesson,” she says “so many kids take a moment to unmute themselves to say goodbye or thank you, and it reminds me every class what a wonderful student body we have at Sequoia.”

Mme. Karina Chin is “thankful for all of my lovely students who make me laugh by just being themselves!”

More love for Sequoia’s kids from English teacher Emily Devoe, “I've never been more impressed by Sequoia students. They are brilliant and compassionate and resilient. They share their passions and their joys and their struggles online, even though we've never met in person. They make me proud to be a teacher, and especially a Sequoia teacher.”

New teacher Jared Bitz shared some personal shout-outs: First to "Tony Relator, for being a wonderful and cooperative colleague,” and to students “Emma Heist and Mathew Ruiz for always having positive energy in class and asking great questions.”

New to Sequoia and the profession, Talia Cain is “grateful for my colleagues on the 9th grade English team who have been so supportive and collaborative during my first year of teaching!”

“Thank you to all my colleagues in the World Languages Department for welcoming me so well and being so patient with me by keeping me updated with important information about the school and the curriculum,” says Juana Marchal, also new to Sequoia. “Now I feel happy and with the feeling of belonging to Sequoia as my favorite school during my professional experience! Thank you all for making me feel so good in my new school!”

Judy Romero, who oversees Sequoia’s Teen Resource Center, is “grateful for all the TRC staff and our wonderful Youth Advisory Board. Shout out to our amazing Counseling Department, College and Career Center, Family Resource Center, AVP Office, Miki Cristerna - Intervention Counselor, and Evelyn Valencia for all she does for our students. The Health Office Team, Claudia Rendon and Michelle Murray for never hesitating to support our students. Susie Bass and Linda Gordon for always reminding me about self-care. And finally, Sequoia's Admin Team for always having my back. I feel blessed working with such dedicated staff and students.”

Social studies teacher and Health Academy Coordinator Ashley Gray is grateful to colleagues for “stepping up to the immense challenges our students/families are facing with the pandemic/distance learning, as well as for rallying and supporting each other as needed too.”

Art teacher Mozy De Costa Pinto reflects on how “through this challenging and far from ideal year, I am thankful for Sequoia and our community -- families, students, and staff. I wouldn't want to be working anywhere else! Thank you to all my art 1 and IB art students who are persevering through the challenges of remote learning. Many times you have brought smiles to my face...thank are what keeps me going. Thank you to my colleagues -- you are my grounding. Thanks for the laughter, guidance, friendship, and camaraderie.”

Finally, Adili Skillin recognized a colleague for her transformative contribution to Sequoia: “Ms. Henderson for all the work she has done quietly for Sequoia and the community.”

I hope everyone feels the same warmth of gratitude in reflecting on those with whom you work and spend time each day as we do here at school. Have a great long weekend and thank YOU for your partnership in making Sequoia such a special place!

Welcome New Staff!
Elena (Laney) Teaford: algebra 1 initiative

Before joining the math department, Ms. Teaford student-taught with Nancy Ku at Sequoia. She was raised in Davis and hails from Portland, Oregon. She attended Williams College and taught for two years at a boarding school where she also coached cross-country and track. As a student, English was the most challenging class for her, and ceramics was her favorite!
Lauren Yurkovich: photography

“Ms. Y” has ten years’ experience teaching drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and even math. She hails from Saudi Arabia and attended the California College of the Arts. Before joining the visual and performing arts department, Ms. Y worked at Redwood School. She has also been a rock climbing instructor at a Boy Scout camp!
Parent Announcements
No school Nov. 25-27
There is no school Wednesday through Friday this week in observance of Thanksgiving. Enjoy your holiday!
Come speak to digital filmmaking/multimedia class via Zoom!
Are you a video producer, graphic designer, social media content manager, or do you know one who would be willing to speak with Sequoia students? We are seeking parent and community volunteers with relevant experience to speak with students in our digital filmmaking/multimedia class. We would like to offer 30-plus minutes of live Zoom interactions; our dates are flexible and we will work around your schedule! The class meets on Mondays and Thursdays from 10:25-11:35 a.m. (3rd period) Click here for more information
8th grade info night is on-demand!
Each year, Sequoia opens its arms to welcome prospective students to campus for an informational evening. Given the restrictive parameters of 2020, we created a virtual interactive "8th grade Information Night."
Student Highlights
Leaf Beasts

Teenagers can be silly and spontaneous, right? Sometimes it's a challenge to pull those fun qualities out of students, says ceramics teacher Christle Waters. Read more.
That's So Raven
This week's episode features a mental health tip and a sports conditioning update.
Make a visit to the Media Center!
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.
Education Foundation
Thank you for your support
SHSEF supports the innovative teaching and learning, the strong school-wide culture of four-year college-going, and commitment to meeting the varied needs of all of our students and families. The work we do is vital to moving us forward towards our aspirations; we would be a different school without the support SHSEF provides.

Here are some of the services SHSEF supports:

  • Reduced class sizes through certificated staffing
  • A second full-time bilingual counselor in Sequoia’s College Center
  • After School Academic Support and Tutoring
  • Supplementary supply budget for Science, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Publishing of the Raven Report Newspaper
  • Professional Learning and Program Development in Social Justice and Racial Equity
  • Parent Education Speaker Series
  • Funding for the Sequoia’s Family Center

Help us reach our 2020-21 Campaign goal of $630k. The suggested donation is $1,200 per student, but all donations regardless of size make an impact.

To make a SHSEF contribution, donate here.
Mini-Grant inspires online learning
Ms. Chin used a Mini-Grant to purchase a subscription to for her French and English Language Development classes. Learn more.
Do you have questions for our Sequoia 2020-2021 PTSA Board? Reach Isha Bhatt, PTSA President and the rest of the team at Have questions about Mini Grants? Reach Adrienne Heist & Shannon Chi at
From previous issues...
The Parent Education Series
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Join us for an interactive workshop with Carin Winter, CEO of Mission Be, to learn mindfulness practices for self-care and stress reduction for parents and caregivers. Sign up today.
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