February 27, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
For years I've been dragging my kids to school events.  Some are more fun for a 4- and 6-year-old than others, but such is the life of an educator's child.  On balance, my kids are pretty patient.  This past Saturday, we put that patience to the test with a 7-hour marathon of Sequoia activities.  Reflecting on our way home, kids asleep in the back of the car, I remarked to my wife what a privilege it is to serve this community.

A rundown:
12:30 PM:  We arrive at Sequoia with the DREAMers Unite Conference in full swing.  Undocumented students and allies from schools across the Bay Area (we had over 200 sign-ups) hear presentations and participate in break-out sessions around immigration issues for young people.  We made it in time for the post-lunch keynote address from a Sequoia student.  She calls herself an ally -- the only documented member of her immediate family -- and speaks with eloquence about how she and her siblings balance academic success with being devoted sons and daughters of undocumented parents.  It is courageous and heartfelt and it throws sand in the face of attempts to simplify questions about immigration in this country.  I've heard this student speak before, but never with my daughter on my lap, leaning forward to capture every word.

2:15 PM:  We arrive at Santa Clara High School to catch the second half of the Sequoia Varsity Girls' Soccer second-round CCS playoff game.  The team notched the program's first playoff win earlier in the week after an overtime shoot-out against San Benito HS.  We're down 2-1 against a higher-ranked opponent.  In rapid succession, each miraculous defensive stand is followed by an excruciating near-miss on offense.  I update the group text our leadership team maintains to follow sporting events (e.g.,  "Very close with two shots on goal"..."Bahhh!" ).  The clock runs out on our season.  The exhausted players walk across the field to greet their families after Coach Melissa Schmidt's talk.  Their heads are held high.  I make sure that Emilia, still in her t-ball uniform from the morning's practice, understands what victory, in all its forms, looks like.

4:30 PM:  We've got some time to kill before dinner and our final event of the day, so we return to Sequoia to kick soccer balls around the field.  Zachary, my youngest, was particularly inspired by the athletic feats from the game and wants to work on his skills.  The temperature drops as the sun dips below the Emerald Hills and we are joined on the grass by two members of the Sequoia boys lacrosse team.  There's no practice, no coaches, they just want to run drills in anticipation of the upcoming season.  We greet them, get out of their way, and my wife (a proud Bruin through-and-through) reminds us of John Wooden's quote about integrity and what you do when no one's watching.

7:00 PM:  The house lights go down in Carrington Hall and the actors take their places for Sequoia's winter comedy: Tartuffe.  My main selling point with my kids on this one has been a beautiful set, opulent costumes, and wigs.  I figure the 17th Century French satire might go over their heads, but what kid doesn't like wigs, right?  Then the play starts.  The sets, costumes, and wigs are better than advertised.  The action is funny, topical, and delightfully crude.  The performers have committed 100% to the challenging (in form and function) dialogue.  My kids are rapt, if a little chatty (sorry if you were in the audience and wondering who kept whispering, "Where's Tartuffe?" -- that was my son).  The sophisticated satire, indeed, goes over their heads, but the flatulence is much appreciated.  I make note to talk to Zach and Emi about how much preparation and fearlessness goes into great theater, but they're asleep in the back seat of the car before we make it to Whipple.

I'm lucky to be inspired by the great things happening every day at Sequoia and proud to provide such amazing role models from all walks of life for my own kids.

Have a great week!

Meet Our Reflections Artists
Please join us on Tuesday, March 7 at 6:30 PM in the Sequoia Multi-Purpose Room  for a reception showcasing the work of the Sequoia students who entered the PTA Reflections Arts Recognition contest.  We have such creative, busy students; it is inspiring to see what they have written, drawn, shaped, composed, filmed, and photographed!

Come see the Photography entries and Visual Arts entries. Listen to the Musical Composition entries and see the Film entry.  Read the Literature entries.  And meet the artists, they are interesting and thoughtful people!  Light refreshments will be served.

Then stay for the PTSA meeting afterwards (7 PM) where we will be presenting the students with their award certificates and acknowledging all participants.  Hope to see you there!

Sequoia Sports Success Soars
Winter sports teams have been very this season, with lots of exciting playoff results!

Boys Basketball advanced to CCS!  They took a loss to St. Francis in the first round of the Open Division CCS playoffs last Friday, but will play M-A in the next round this coming Tuesday night (Feb. 28) at Sequoia.  They have also earned a bid to the Nor Cal playoffs.

Girls Soccer won in PKs in a thriller at Sequoia last Wednesday night (Feb. 22), securing a spot in the CCS quarterfinals for the first time in the history of the girls soccer program at Sequoia. In the quarterfinals, they played a tough match against the number 2 seed Santa Clara on Saturday (Feb. 25) and narrowly lost, 2-1.

The Wrestling team sent five wrestlers to the CCS tournament this past weekend, and had two athletes advance to the 2nd day of the CCS championships. 

Girls Basketball ended their season last Tuesday with a near loss to the higher seeded Lincoln High.

Congratulations to all our Sequoia winter athletes!

Sequoia's Varsity Girls Soccer Team after their historic win last Wednesday to advance to the CCS quarterfinals

Juniors: Apply for PTSA Scholarships!
Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are now being accepted and are due Tuesday, April 18 by 10 PM. The scholarships recognize students for their academic success, for community service, or for achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges.  

This is a great way to get a head start in your college applications, to be recognized for all you've done to make Sequoia a better place, and to have some extra money to continue your education!  Click here for more information on applying for PTSA Junior Scholarships.

Assistance from Voice Recognition Software
IB English and Health Careers Academy teacher Nicholas Muys expresses his appreciation for the "Dragon Naturally Speaking" voice recognition software that he was able to purchase with his PTSA Mini-Grant from Fall 2016:

"Because I am a slow typist on the best of days, the extensive written comments on IB oral assessments are very time-consuming for me to complete. I provide each student with at least 150-200 words of explanation for the marks I gave them on both their Further Oral Activity (F.O.A.) and the Individual Oral Commentary (I.O.C.). When you multiply the amount of writing times ninety students or so, the scale of the written comments is clear enough -- especially if we are providing students with the thoughtful and thorough feedback that, in part, makes these assessments the valuable learning experiences that they are.  So, being able to use Dragon's voice recognition software to write IB orals feedback has allowed me to provide thorough feedback in half the time, which helps the students, the IB office, and myself in equal measure.  Thank you! 
I also have already used Dragon extensively this year in the writing of student recommendations. I average about twenty to twenty-five student requests for recommendations annually, and I spend up to an hour and a half on each student. With the Dragon software, I easily cut that time in half, while still providing the kind of personalized feedback that our students have come to expect. 
To conclude,  I am now able to complete student-centered (but writing-heavy) tasks with greater efficiency, leaving me more refreshed at this time of year than any year I can recall. While I myself obviously benefit from being less burdened by the time required to complete tasks such as IB forms and letters of recommendation, I'd like to think that my 150 or so students also benefit from having a teacher still brimming with energy at this vital point in the year.  I am thus very grateful to the Sequoia PTSA for its grant award. Thank you for supporting teachers in the many facets of our work with our students."

PTSA Mini-Grants are funded by the Sequoia High School Education Foundation

Sequoia Crab Feed This Saturday!
Only 1 week left to buy tickets for the Crab Feed, purchase your tickets today!    Join us at the Crab Dinner & Auction on Saturday, March 4th at Redwood City's American Legion Hall. All proceeds benefit the Sequoia sports program and provide essential equipment, transportation, uniforms, and more for our student athletes!

Aside from the delicious all-you-can-eat crab dinner including pasta with homemade sauce, salad, bread and dessert, plus free beer and wine while supplies last, there are tons of incredible auction items available!  This year we are offering a cozy cabin in Bear Valley close to a lake, a West Shore Tahoe cabin and tickets to all your favorite sporting events like the San Francisco 49ers, Giants and Club Level Warrior tickets to name a few.

Join in the fun and support Sequoia sports at:

DREAMers Unite
The Dream Club hosted its 5th annual student conference on Saturday, February 25th. Club members prepared and facilitated workshops on a variety of topics including "Know your Rights," "Express Yourself Through Art" and "Taking Care of your Emotional Well Being." Over 175 students attended, coming from schools in Watsonville, South San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo and of course from our own district. Congratulations to the Dream Club on its successful conference!

Above and below - Attendees listen to presentations at the 5th annual Dream Club conference

In This Issue
Monday, Feb. 27
Collab Day

Saturday, March 4
6 PM -   Booster Club Crab Feed , American Legion Hall

Monday, March 6
Collab Day

Tuesday, March 7 
6:30 PM - Reflections artists reception, MPR
 7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Thursday, March 16
7 PM - Open House and IB Senior Art Show

Friday, March 17
Minimum Day

7 PM - Talent Show, Carrington Hall

Deadline to apply for Middle College

Friday, March 31
Cesar Chavez Day observed - No school

Tuesday, April 18
10 PM - Deadline to apply for PTSA Junior Scholarships
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Community News

Carlmont Parent Education Series
"The Psychology of Technology: Parenting the 'Always-On' Generation"
My Digital TAT2 - Erica Pelavin, LCSW, PhD, and Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet, LCSW, PPSC

Thursday, March 9, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Carlmont High School, Performing Arts Center (PAC)
1400 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont CA 94002

Join us for an engaging workshop with My Digital TAT2 on digital trends, psychological responses to social media, and the impact of social media on the adolescent brain. 
Just as the Google search has replaced the handshake, social media has become the new resume. As we move from being managers to consultants for our teens, staying actively involved is crucial to raising ethical and responsible digital citizens. This session looks at the issues that high school teens are experiencing and includes topics such as sexting, emotional responses to social media, and how to manage online reputations for college, work, and beyond.
My Digital TAT2 is a nonprofit organization that helps schools and communities address one of the most challenging issues facing families today: How to build the healthy habits and critical thinking skills we need to integrate technology into our lives in a constructive way. Its proven, face-to-face curriculum inspires conscious and responsible participation in our connected world. 
Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.
Carlmont Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the Carlmont PTSA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at  or (650) 868-0590.