November 25, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Messages of Gratitude From Our Sequoia Family

Heading into Thanksgiving week, members of our staff have once again shared their thoughts about the people and things for which they are grateful.  We return often to the topic of unconditional positive regard as a core value in our community. I've found that regular reflection on gratitude fuels this notion into action in our daily collaborations toward Sequoia's shared vision.  Reading through my colleagues' reflections of gratitude affirms just how strong our community is -- what a great way to start the winter!

Media Center Clerk Shannon Schadler is "grateful to come work in such a beautiful place, inside and out." and singles out the landscaping crew who "does a great job on the outside."  She is also grateful to all the Media Center volunteers.

Sequoia's IB Coordinator Lisa McCahon appreciates all that goes into making IB at Sequoia such a success: "As I am working to complete the 5 year IB evaluation (IB Self Study), it of course makes me look at all that goes into making this program successful and accessible.  I see how much work it takes.  So I am extremely grateful to all of the IB teachers at Sequoia who are charged with so much as they balance IB expectations and their regular District teaching requirements/expectations.  These teachers give and give.  They spend endless hours prepping, grading, analyzing student results to inform change in instruction, making curriculum changes to increase student success and meet IB's mandated changes, creating supports and scaffolds to help all kids, and much much more.  I am also extremely thankful for all the folks who did and continue to put large effort into our IB equity work.  Looking at the report makes me realize how many things we have implemented in the last five years to make IB equitable and we should all be proud.  There is still much work to do but I am so thankful for a staff who does not shy away from equity work but rolls up their sleeves and dives in."

Math teacher Suba Ramanathan is "thankful for my wonderful colleagues and friends in the math department.  When I had to step out of teaching to deal with a family emergency, Laura Larkin, Beth Peng, Katia Sterne, Laura Alexander, and Dayna Danielson spent hours of their personal time helping my students learn steadily until we settled on a long term substitute.  It made it easier for me to focus on my own woes and not worry as much about my students.  Thank you for your time and caring."

Nichole Vaughan is "thankful for my students and colleagues who teach me everyday (even though I'm the "teacher")."

Spanish Teacher and Teacher's Association President Edith Salvatore shares the following message: "I'd love to pre-emptively thank all parents who have the time and inclination to sign up as substitutes in our district.  We are facing a shortage of qualified substitutes, which makes it difficult for us to attend trainings and professional developments, or make the difficult decision to stay home when we're sick, not being able to be confident there will be a substitute or a colleague to watch our classes.  Substituting is a great way to see the truly wonderful experiences teachers create for your students, and to see them and their peers in a new setting, all while making a little extra money.  If you're available and interested, more information is available here ."

Martina Solinas , whose work as a therapist is vital to our STARS program, says, "I'm grateful to work with my STARS teachers, Aline Kaprive , and Carlo De Jesus .  They work hard, know how to laugh loudly, and have huge hearts and great compassion for the students we serve.  A shout-out to our awesome Instructional Assistants too!"

Special Education teacher Karol-Ann Coleman shares her gratitude for two of her close co-workers:  " Sofia Alcazar is one of our paraprofessionals who works compassionately with each student.  Sofia anticipates the needs of students and teachers.  Students light up when Sofia walks into a room because she is genuine and approachable.  As she moves from teaching to managing students' backpacks and binders, she also helps students maneuver through CANVAS to check their grades and manage their executive functioning skills on a daily basis.  Sofia is a staff ambassador who affirms that Sequoia is truly a place of friends."  

She continues in grateful appreciation of her co-teaching partner, " Debolina Dutta has great presence as she makes Biology fun!  Students come in whistling and singing after lunch in anticipation of learning about how Biology affects every aspect of their lives.  Ms. Dutta is not embarrassed to break out in song while using equity cards to ask questions about climate change, quantum physics, and about the air we breathe.  Ms. Dutta is grateful to have the opportunity to teach mindful students every day.  In fact, when Ms. Dutta leads Mindful Mondays, we have seen students gradually lean in to count their breaths, not being self-conscious about closing their eyes and actually experiencing how meditation can increase one's ability to perform better on an exam.  Ms. Dutta is open, authentic, and we are all grateful for her humble greatness."  

Finally, Judy Romero shares her appreciation for Sequoia's wellness staff: "My sincere gratitude to everyone who works in the Teen Resource Center.  I am blessed to have such a great team!  Thank you for all you do."

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!


Help Sequoia Students and Families Look Forward to a Happier New Year - Make It Your Tradition! 
Over 110 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.  You can help!  Please join us in donating a gift to Sequoia's annual Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Project.  Together, we can help Sequoia students and their families enjoy a holiday season filled with gifts that inspire joy, build community, and reduce stress.  Please click here to see how you can pitch in with one or two gifts, or gifts for a whole family!
With nearly 700 needs, this is a long list to search through.  Hot tip: while on the sign-up page, click on the "Hide Full Spots" box located in the upper right hand area of your screen to easily find unclaimed wishes.  Also be sure to click on the orange box that says "Show more spots".  Students will pick up their gifts during final exam week so that they and their families can enjoy winter break with a little extra support from their school "family".
Why participate in this Sequoia tradition?
  • "What a lovely program.  I'm excited to help a local family in need." -- Community Neighbor
  • "I love giving gifts to other dads in our community.  Makes me feel a little less sad about missing my own dad this time of year." -- Community Neighbor
  • "My son will start at Sequoia next year.  We can't wait to join such a caring community." -- Future Sequoia Parent
  • "I still donate, even after all these years.  Sequoia is special.  Both my kids graduated from it."  -- Former Sequoia Parent
  • "It's become one of our family's favorite traditions.  My kids and I love selecting wishes, shopping for and wrapping the gifts together, using this as an opportunity to talk about community, kindness and thinking of others." -- Current Sequoia Parent
  • "This is a way for us to come together as a community, pool our resources, give back, and be more than just a group of musicians." -- Sequoia HS Bands
  • "I love the fun energy of Black Friday and Adopt-a-Fam. Let the shopping begin!" -- Community Neighbor
  • "Last year, we made our own cardboard tree with ornaments that had the donations written on them, which made it festive and fun for the employees to participate, track our progress, and feel the holiday spirit.  Our gifts were mostly donated by individual employees with a bunch picked up by the company as well.  Everyone felt great about it.  We really enjoy giving back to the community." -- Local Business Owner
  • "One of my favorite programs ever!" -- Former Sequoia Parent
Feel inspired?  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!

Honey Bear Tree Lots Ready to Make Your Homes Festive
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 or 1579 El Camino Real, San Carlos so the funds are dedicated to Sequoia High School. 

Your Donation to SHSEF is a Contribution to Every Student Who Attends Sequoia

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
2019 Fall Mini-grants Have Been Awarded! 
This year Sequoia received $18,500 from the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) for mini-grants, and we received nearly 35 applications (each up to $750).  The committee has given out just over $11,000 so far.  The remainder of the money will be granted through rolling applications, which will last until all of the money is distributed over the course of the school year.  Please encourage your students to apply.
In addition to providing funding for several classroom projects (including materials and innovative curriculum), we were pleased to receive an increased number of requests from students and clubs, which we were able to support. These grants will help:
  • the new Mock Trial Club with curriculum and recruitment efforts.  
  • the Trombone Choir branch out with some new sheet music.
  • the Anime Club delve into anime drawing with some new art supplies.
  • the Math Club enter the Math Madness competition.
  • the Model UN Club fund an expedition to the Berkeley Model UN Conference.
  • the Health Occupations Students of America Club (HOSA) host a lunch panel of medical professionals who will educate the students about working in the healthcare field.
  • the Robotics Team enter 2-3 tournaments.
  • the Best Buddies Club purchase supplies for their events that will help promote inclusion of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • the Young Feminists Club purchase tampons and pads for their pink boxes located in all of the classrooms as an initiative to destigmatize menstruation.
  • an IB student create a garden area for students to eat lunch as part of his Community, Activity, Service (CAS) project.
Please click on this link to view all of the innovative projects approved for Fall 2019 as well as past projects. 
A big thank you  to the following parents for reviewing all of the applications:  Angie Jones, Carolyn Arbuckle, Kristin Henige, Lisa Wagner, Jessica Rosenberg, Betsy Parkhurst,  Karen Latina, and  DeeDee Clarke.

Tenth Anniversary Dream Club Dinner a Total Success!

Attendees of the 10th Annual Dream Club Dinner packed Gym 1.

Last Friday night, Gym 1 was packed with friends, family, and city and state officials who gathered in support of Sequoia's Dream Club.  Over 400 folks attended and many who had not purchased tickets were turned away at the door (sadly!) as capacity was reached for the event.  Dream Club students and Sequoia teachers spent many hours in the weeks leading up to the dinner carefully preparing a program that included student created art, a fundraising raffle, a welcome by SUHSD Superintendent Mary Streshly, Redwood City Council Member Alicia Aguirre, and Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo.  Yosimar Reyes, an undocumented poet and playwright from San Jose, and immigration activist Sheryl Munoz-Bergman rounded out the presentation.

But hands down, the highlight of the evening was the participation of every member of the Dream Club.  Students served as masters of ceremony, presented a dance performance, and told their personal stories of overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of extreme government threats.  Dream Club alumni were on hand to demonstrate that determination and fearlessness can lead to success in their lives after Sequoia.

Financial contributions were made by those in attendance, adding to the Dream Club Scholarship Fund which helps students realize their dreams of a college education.  Next year, when November rolls around and Dream Dinner tickets go on sale, grab a friend or two and get your tickets - fast!  You will be happy you did!

Thanks to all the Dream Club students and kudos to teachers Jane Slater and Scott Stalder-Skarmoutsos, and retired teacher Kate Sheehan for their amazing efforts!

Sunny Skies and A Beautiful Campus Welcomed Potential Sequoia Families

Students lead a group of visitors past the new soccer fields on their tour through the campus.

On Saturday, families of current 8th grade students (and possible incoming Sequoia freshmen) gathered on the school's front steps and were greeted by Activities Director Corey Uhalde, student tour guides, Principal Sean Priest, and PTSA parents as they prepared to tour our school.  Following the welcome, over a hundred visitors broke into smaller tour groups which were led by students who answered the many questions about Sequoia life, academics, facilities, experiences, and culture.

Thanks to student guides Victoria Aguilar, Nicolette Cruz, Jake diTargiani, Roxie Dobrer, Jasmine Esquivel, Paul Graf, Anika Huisman, Alyssa Knopf, Warren Kriese, Rohma Malik, Collin Mavrinac, Hanna Mills, Ben Murray, Travis Reeves, Kyra Schechter, and Mia Terzic.  Thanks also to PTSA parents, Jane MacFarlane Glasow, Shannon Chi, and Lisa Hane for coordinating and supporting this annual effort to show off our school to the wider community and demonstrate our UNALIYI spirit!

In This Issue
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.  
Tuesday & Wednesday,  
Dec. 10 & 11    
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.  
Winter Concert, Carrington Hall 
Monday - Thursday,
Dec. 16 - 19 
Finals Week, see Bell Schedule  
Tuesday, Dec. 17    
7:00 p.m.  
Booster Meeting, Staff Rm. 
Dec. 20 - Jan. 6, 2020
No School
Winter Break
Tuesday, Jan. 7
School Re-opens 
Substitutes Wanted! 

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.

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

End-of-Semester Art Show: Powell Gallery till 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.

You Know You've Been Meaning To...  
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Not sure if you have joined yet this 2019-20 year?  Check the latest Membership List from October 6, 2019.

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Community Events

See Sequoia Students Perform in Redwood City's Nutcracker Ballet
Enjoy the Bay Area's most family-friendly Nutcracker performance at the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City on Friday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 8 at 2:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.   
Ballet America's show has it all: professional dancers will perform alongside 100 ballet students and local dancers, including Sequoia's very own Julie Trundle, Jodie Trundle, and Fiona Krantz.  Ticket prices start at $15 and are available here.
See you at the Nutcracker!

 Parent Education

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