December 11, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
What is Athletic Director Melissa Schmidt doing at 5:30 in the morning?  At Sequoia, staff receives an email informing us which student-athletes will need to be released early for afternoon games.  The email comes early.  For a long time, I assumed the email was automatically generated, but a few weeks ago I noticed that the 'SENT' times varied slightly from day-to-day: 5:50AM, 5:52AM, 5:42AM, and 5:51AM last week.  This means that Ms. Schmidt is opening her computer, logging into her email, drafting a message (with an attachment), and hitting send before the sun is up on most days.  

Couple this with the fact that there's a good chance Ms. Schmidt was on campus the previous night until 7PM for soccer practice (she's the head coach of the Girls' Varsity team) or 9PM (for a Boosters meeting or Sports Awards Night) or 10:30 (for Varsity Football or quad Basketball).  If discipline and dedication are values we hope to instill in our athletes, they're being modeled at the top.

But Ms. Schmidt's dedication to Sequoia's student-athletes is about more than long hours and organization.  In her time as Athletic Director, she has shepherded the migration of the athletic registration process to a more efficient online platform, made it easier for all students to complete mandatory sports physicals, and partnered with the Positive Coaching Alliance to provide training for Sequoia coaches to ensure the development of character and integrity is on pace with the development of athletic skills on Sequoia teams.  Ms. Schmidt understands how vital a strong athletic program is to a high school and approaches her job as an instructional leader first and foremost.

The athletic field is a classroom where the intensity of emotion means that mastery and achievement are hard-earned, often painful, and sometimes life-changing.  Ms. Schmidt's strength as the leader of our athletic program lies in her ability to balance high expectations with an empathy for every student's background and unique set of experiences.  In a recent conversation, she reported to me how one of our coaches had recently counseled a player who had fallen behind in her classwork.  That he had helped her make a plan which put academics first and ensured the student felt supported impressed Ms. Schmidt.  "He gets it," she told me, "this is what we're about."


By the way, on top of being a stellar Athletic Director, an elite soccer coach, and an AP Statistics teacher, Ms. Schmidt and her husband are raising an awesome set of twins.  They're already wearing purple, Ms. Schmidt tells me, so the future of Sequoia sports is looking strong for many years to come.

Have a great week!
Let's Throw a Party!
We're over halfway there on sign-ups to help with our annual Holiday Staff Luncheon on Thursday, December 21. Help pitch in and  show our appreciation to our teachers and staff for all their hard work before we break for the holidays!    Click here  to provide a food item, donate a gift card, or help at the event (shifts from 10:00-12:00,  12:30-1:30  and 1:45-2:30).
Extra Evergreens Available
evergreen wreath
Thanks to everyone who purchased items from our evergreen sales! In case you missed the sale, we have a few items left that are available. If you are interested in buying wreaths, cedar garlands, centerpieces or reindeer, please contact Brett Gardner at . Prices are $25 for the wreaths and garlands, $20 for centerpieces and $18 for the decorative reindeer. Sales will run through Friday, December 15 so get your evergreens before they're gone!
Teacher Applications + SHSEF Funding + Motivated Parent Volunteers = Mini-Grants Galore!
From math dice, to medical equipment, to peer mediation training and so much more, Sequoia PTSA's Mini-Grant Program had another successful season providing over $10,000 to deserving projects this fall.  See the complete list here  and visit the PTSA website  to find out how to get involved in our programs.

Thank you to the SHSEF for making Mini-Grants possible!
Sequoia's Musicians Display Their Holiday Magic
On December 2nd, Sequoia's band and choir performed at Redwood City's annual Hometown Holidays celebration. This has become quite a tradition for both groups and is a great opportunity for students to have a festive presence out in the community. The music program also hosted its winter concerts this past week with orchestra and choir teaming up on Wednesday night, and both bands and jazz ensemble playing Thursday. The concerts featured a mix of seasonal selections and tunes from both Hollywood and Broadway, as well as more traditional concert literature.  In addition, Sequoia choir members sang for the Redwood City Women's Club holiday luncheon last Thursday.  Kudos to our musicians for spreading holiday cheer throughout the community! 

Above - The band at Redwood City's Hometown Holidays on Dec. 2.  Below - The orchestra at the Winter Concert last week, complete with snow during the performance of "First Snow."

Generosity Abounds
Your support for the Parent Center's annual  ADOPT-A-FAMILY  program has been wonderful with over half of the spots now filled! If you have not yet had a chance to sign up,  click here to contribute gifts to Sequoia families in need.  Items should be brought to the Parent Center by Tuesday, December 19

Other ways that you can contribute to the community this season are through the Parent Center's  Toy Drive  (bring items to Room 129) and the Health Careers Academy's Coat Drive (bring new and gently used outerwear to Room 125;  see this flyer ) .
For Families of Juniors
It's hard to believe our students are about 18 months from graduation.  But it will happen faster than you think, and that means the Class of 2019 needs some parent helpers...NOW!!!   We are looking for more parents to join our already great team as we do fundraising and events leading up to graduation in June of 2019.  (The school does not host any activities beyond the actual graduation ceremony -- so it's all up to the PTSA/parents.) 
If you are interested in joining the team (or want more information) but haven't already been in touch, please contact Lauren Pachkowski to learn more.
Is Your Student Considering Middle College? 
Do you have a student who is interested in getting ahead and needs a different challenge? The Middle College program allows students to take both high school and college classes at Cañada College, enabling them to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously.  
The Middle College program is for students who:
  • Want the challenge and the variety of college course offerings 
  • Want to earn a high school diploma and start earning college credits now  
  • Can handle the freedom and independence of a college setting
  If this sounds like your student, please complete the application at: .   
Middle College students make education a priority in their lives, and take responsibility for their own behavior, learning, and success.  Four SUHSD instructors teach required high school English and social studies courses, as well as provide academic counseling and support for all Middle College students.  Middle College students have gone on to attend institutions such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Rhode Island School of Design, Oberlin College, New York University, Reed College, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Southern California, to name a few.  Several students have earned their Associates Degree prior to earning their high school diploma, thereby completing two years of college work and saving two years' worth of tuition.
Please note these important dates:
  • Information meetings: 1/18, 2/1, 2/13, 3/1.  All meetings are from 6:30-7:30 PM at the Sequoia Union High School District Office Board Room, 480 James Ave. Redwood City.  Families can RSVP here.
  • College placement test: 2/10, 3/10, at 9 AM or 1 PM.  The test is in Building 9, room 110 at Cañada College.  The test is required by the college and needed to accurately place students in college classes. Sign up here.
  • Applications due 3/23.
  • Family intake interviews will be conducted before 4/30.
If you have a motivated, enthusiastic, independent student who is ready to make the jump to college, check out Middle College for a new challenge! The program is accepting applicants in January-March for August 2018, our 20th year! Please call 306-3120 today for more information or visit the website
You're Invited to Help Strengthen Our Sequoia Community - Save the Date!
Join Sequoia families, new and old, at this year's Community Dialogue the evening of
January 16th at 7 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room.  Stay tuned for more info on this night of friendship and fun!
Last Week for Love Bags!
If you plan to order a Love Bag for the holidays, please do so by December 15th.  These bags are well-made, attractive and make great hostess and holiday gifts.  40% of each order placed goes directly to support our 2018 Safe & Sober Grad Week activities.

See this flyer for details.  Bags can be ordered at, enter code SEQUOIA.
Deck Your Halls with a Honey Bear Tree 
Purchase a Christmas Tree and Help the Class of 2018 
Sequoia 2018 Grad Activities receives 15% of the purchase price when you buy a holiday tree at  HONEY BEAR TREESBring this flyer when you purchase your tree and wreath.  (If you happen to forget it, there will be extra flyers on the lot.) 

Sequoia 2018 Grad Activities recibirá el 15% del precio de compra cuando usted compre un árbol de Navidad en HONEY BEAR TREESSimplemente muestre este folleto cuando usted compre su árbol y corona. (Si se le olvida, no se preocupe en la parcela abra más volantes disponibles.)
There are three locations convenient to our Sequoia school community:
  • 955 Woodside Road, Redwood City
  • 651 El Camino Real, Redwood City (RWC American Legion lot - new this year)
  • 2495 S. Delaware Street, San Mateo (San Mateo County Event Center)
Hours are 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM, 7 days a week.
In This Issue

Monday, Dec. 11
Collab day

Tuesday, Dec. 19
Adopt-a-Family gifts due at the Parent Center (Room 129)

Tue-Thu, Dec. 19-21
Finals ( see schedule here)

Friday, Dec. 22 
Winter break begins

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018
School resumes

Monday, Jan. 15
Martin Luther King holiday - no school

Tuesday, Jan. 16
7 PM - SHS Community Dialogue meeting, MPR

Thursday, Jan. 18
6:30 PM - Middle College info meeting, SUHSD office, 480 James Ave
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En Español
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Parent Education - All Are Welcome
M-A Parent Education Series
Devorah Heitner, PhD, Founder, Raising Digital Natives
Empathy is the App: Raising Thoughtful Kids in the Digital Age

Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)

2018 kicks off with nationally acclaimed media expert and author of Screenwise, Dr. Devorah Heitner! Join us for an inspiring presentation that addresses empathy, boundaries, and etiquette that can set kids up for a lifetime of success as digital communicators.
In the digital world, no skill is more crucial than empathy. Learn what it's like for teens to grow up in a world where school experiences, family life, and friendships are all shaped by digital connection -- and how you can share your own wisdom to help your kids become the best people they can be.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission and light refreshments.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by   M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at . For Spanish, contact Lilly Quiñonez, Parent Center Coordinator, at 650-322-5311, Ext. 50255. 
Woodside Parent Education Series
Eran Magen, PhD, Stanford University
Managing Emotionally-Intense Conversations with Your Teen
Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, MUR (Multi-Use Room)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside

Trying to offer support when your teen seems upset or stressed can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. 
In this highly interactive workshop, you will learn how to be more effective and comfortable offering emotional support when your teen is experiencing strong emotions such as stress, frustration, anxiety, or anger. You will also discover how to respond in a way that helps your child feel better and think more clearly, while strengthening your relationship. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, . For Spanish, contact Maricela Lopez, Bilingual Parent Liaison, at (650) 367-7263, Ext. 45323.