March 12, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
A 7-person team recently spent four days in our community talking to parents, students, and staff.  Among members of this team were a high school principal, an academy coordinator, a teacher, a teacher trainer, a vice principal, and an official from the Hawaii Department of Education.  Before their visit, they learned about Sequoia by reading a 300+ page report we had prepared. They visited every classroom on campus. These folks had no connection to Sequoia and their assignment was to look under every piece of furniture and white glove every surface.

I'm speaking, as those of you who follow this newsletter know, about our 6-year WASC accreditation visit.  They were here to evaluate our mission, goals, action plan, and instructional practices. The 50-page report they left behind was a glowing validation of the work we do in support of our mission .  It was a glowing report.  "A standing ovation," were the words used by Dr. Jacqueline McEvoy, the Sequoia District Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and Human Resources (herself a veteran of 24 years of WASC visits), to describe the visiting team's report.  

We make a promise through our mission that Sequoia is a school where the best and brightest young people in one of the most dynamic communities in America are launching themselves into meaningful young adult lives.  We live up to that promise through the integrity with which we approach our work.   Two out of five entering freshmen are below-grade-level in math but 75% of graduates take one or more rigorous college-level IB classes.  Equity in access.

As the college acceptance letters start to roll in for the class of 2018, we begin the season of celebrating the tremendous achievements of another group of seniors. This is my favorite time of year. In more quantifiable measures, our performance results on the California assessments (CAASPP) and IB tests continue to rise at a faster rate than district averages.  5-year trends in A-G Eligibility are likewise upward.  Equity in outcomes.

More importantly, Sequoia continues to be a school where strangers walk away after four days understanding what  unaliyi, a word they'd never heard before, feels like.  

These are things I hope you brag about to your friends when they ask about your child's' school.  For my part, I brag about you.   The success we've enjoyed at Sequoia would be impossible without the tremendous support from the parents. Our Boosters (VPA and Athletics), Education Foundation, and PTSA volunteers inject immeasurable energy into the day-to-day life of the school.

And now is the time to start building those teams for next year.  The PTSA, for example, has a wide range of open positions, from Executive Board to committee members or special projects or even a "PTSA Booth Manager" to set up the PTSA table and supplies for back-to-school night and 8th grade info night.  Working with the Sequoia PTSA is working for the mission of the school. Given what that mission states and our dedication to its realization for ALL students in our diverse community, volunteering at Sequoia is a significant act of civic engagement in 2018.  I am grateful to those who have given so much already and strongly implore those who want to find a new way to contribute to this special community to do so.

Have a great week!

Ritmo Latino Dance This Friday!
Students, staff and families are invited to a dance that celebrates the Latino heritage this Friday, March 16 from 6:30-9:30 PM in the Sequoia MPR

Buy your tickets now outside of the MPR during lunch, from the treasurer, or at the door. Bring a friend and dance the night away to a majority of Spanish music like banda, cumbia, bachata, reggaeton and much more!  See these flyers for more information (EnglishEspañol).
Another Visual Arts Show is Up!
Go to the Redwood City Main Library on Middlefield Road to see the most recent Visual Arts Show representing Sequoia's Visual Arts students.  The artwork is being showcased in the 4 display cases on the ground floor of the library.  It's a unique opportunity for us to show our amazing artwork to the public!  Bring friends and family to see the latest show of this year.  The show runs through the end of March.  

And many thanks to the Sequoia High School Education Foundation for their most generous support of the Visual Arts program!
Princess Project in Progress
Prom is around the corner, and the Princess Project is looking for help!

Do you have a senior student? Would she like to participate in our Princess Project Program and get a free Prom Dress ? If so, please come to the Parent Center, Room 129, for details and registration! The enrollment deadline is Wednesday, March 14, so please hurry!
If you have any gently used PROM dresses and/or accessories in your closet that you'd like to donate, please contact Mayela Ramirez at the Parent Center!
Sequoia's Musicians Host Festival
music notes
The Sequoia High School Instrumental Music Program is thrilled to host Sequoia's annual Sequoia Music Festival in Carrington Hall on Friday, March 16th.
Sequoia's two bands and orchestra will be joined throughout the day by six groups from our feeder schools. All groups will play three pieces and then receive feedback, ratings, and a clinic from two judges. 

We enjoy putting on this festival every year not only because it is a wonderful opportunity for our students to showcase their hard work and get a chance to work with other directors, but also because it reinforces the strong connections we have with other music programs in the area. The Sequoia Advanced Band takes the stage at 9 AM, Intermediate Band at 10:20 AM, and Orchestra at 1 PM. Come and hear some fantastic music!
Sequoia's Artists Recognized at PTSA/ELAC Meeting
Students who participated in the PTSA Reflections Art Program were recognized before parents and community members last Tuesday, March 6.  Their work was displayed at a reception, and student artists were on hand to represent their work.

Thanks goes to all the Reflections judges, with a special thanks to Rachel Levine for her tireless work in organizing this event for the past 3 years as a supporter of student artists.

Above - Reflections participants recognized by Principal Sean Priest and Reflections Chair Rachel Levine.
Below - Student art pieces on display.

Dreamers Unite and Strengthen Community Ties
On Saturday, March 3rd, Sequoia's Dream Club joined with Redwood City 2020, Redwood City Together, and LIBRE to host a conference titled, "A Day of Unity, Understanding, and Supportive Action." 75 attendees both young and old, were offered an agenda packed full of 20 workshops, keynote speakers, dialogue, and vital information on legal support and family preparedness.

Sequoia students played vital roles as organizers, participants and even as returning alumni who shared their experiences of life after high school. Lunch was provided and even the youngest community members had fun, age-appropriate activities.

We are proud that our Dream Club students know that while high school education is about research papers and exams, it is also about community engagement and support of those in need. Thanks goes to Sequoia's amazing teachers who participated making the event a great success!

Above and below - Dream Club students present workshops at the conference at Sequoia on March 3.

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag - a LOVE Bag!
James Brown got his bag, time to get yours!
We continue our Love Bags sale through April.  These bags are well-made, attractive, eco-friendly and make great 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.
Mini-Grant News: Breakout Box Builds Teamwork and Success!
Ms. Rebecca Goodwin was awarded a PTSA Mini-Grant for a Breakout Box educational activity, and here's her impact statement:

"The Breakout EDU boxes helped engage students with each other to solve puzzles. Breakout EDU games require students to use teamwork and critical thinking to solve these different puzzles. Once the puzzles are solved, the students open the locked box. Every student has strengths, and this type of immersive activity draws different strengths from each player, so everyone gets to contribute to solve the puzzles.

This platform gives students a unique opportunity to work together as a team with a common goal while being completely engaged. They are working on their skills of perseverance and understanding others. It's hard to work with others, especially if you (feel like you) know everything and don't need anyone else."

In spite of the boxes taking a long time to prep and assemble, Ms. Goodwin states, "It was totally worth it!"
Breakout boxes purchased by Ms. Goodwin using a PTSA Mini-Grant

Don't forget...If you received a Mini-Grant last fall and haven't completed your impact statement, PLEASE DO SO NOW!  It is so important for us to have the information about your project/activity, and we want to share your success with the whole community! Send impact statements to

Thank you to the SHSEF for funding this vital program.

PTSA Mini-Grants are generously funded by the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Would You  Like to See a Sequoia Supporter Recognized for Their Contributions?
The Sequoia High School Alumni Association is looking to honor a Purple Patriot and is soliciting nominations for its annual Purple Patriot Award. Recipients will receive a framed certificate as well as have their name inscribed on a perpetual trophy on permanent display at the high school.
The Purple Patriot Award is an annual award honoring both individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding service or provided a significant benefit directly to Sequoia High School. Nominees may be from Sequoia High School or the community at large.
Please indicate the nominee's individual name or organization name, stating why the nominee should receive this award. Indicate specifically what role the nominee played in directly providing the service or benefit to Sequoia High School and explain in detail what the service or benefit was.
Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Sequoia High School Alumni Association, P. O. Box 2534, Redwood City, CA 94064, or placed in the Sequoia High School Alumni Association mailbox near the Principal's office no later than April 13.
PTA Needs Your Help to End Gun Violence
This past week, another school shooting occurred on the campus of Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Any act of violence at a school or involving children and youth is intolerable.

California State PTA is continuing our efforts to demand an end to gun violence. We will be addressing gun violence, school safety and mental health issues with federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. on  March 13-15  during the 2018 National PTA Legislation Conference.   And, we need your help!  On  March 14 , stand together with PTA and "call out" your federal lawmakers to demand stronger gun-violence prevention legislation including:
  • Prohibiting the sale and possession of assault weapons including automatic and semi-automatic weapons
  • Mandatory background checks
  • Waiting periods for all firearm purchases.
Juniors: Apply for PTSA Scholarships!
Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are now being accepted and are due Tuesday, April 17 by 10 PM. There are three categories of scholarships to recognize students: academic success, community service, or achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges.   We have 20 scholarships to offer, each worth $250.

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

NON-JUNIOR PARENTS: We are looking for freshman, sophomore and senior parent volunteers to join the Junior Scholarship Committee. The commitment would be 2-3 hours reviewing applications, a 2 hour meeting in mid-April to assess the applications, and some follow-up emails. Email DeeDee Clarke at  if you are interested in joining our group. 

PTSA Junior Scholarships are generously funded by the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
In This Issue

Monday, March 12
7 PM - Parent Education, "Tech Sex and Teen Dating Relationships," Carrington Hall

Wednesday, March 14
7 PM - Meeting for Juniors applying to private, Common App or Coalition App colleges, Carrington Hall (Spanish version in Room 115)

Friday, March 16
All day - Sequoia Music Festival, Carrington Hall

Saturday, March 24
6 PM - Sports Boosters Crab Dinner, Hiller Aviation Museum

Tuesday, March 27
7 PM - Spring Concert: Bands

Friday, March 30
Cesar Chavez Day - No school

Wednesday, April 4
7 PM - Spring Concert: Orchestra and Choir, Carrington Hall

Thursday, April 5
7 PM - Open House

Friday, April 6
Minimum Day (schedule here)

April 9-13
Spring Break

Tuesday, April 17
10 PM - Deadline to apply for PTSA Junior Scholarships

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Parent Education - All Are Welcome

Tech Sex & Teen Dating Relationships

Vanessa Kellam, Parent Engagement Coordinator, Health Connected
Monday, March 12, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall

Join Vanessa Kellam of Health Connected for a thought-provoking discussion around the sexuality and dating culture of teenage digital natives.  Talking points will include the impact of social media and online pornography on relationships, and how parents and trusted adults can engage their children in open and honest conversations. 

Parents will receive helpful hints and learn what they can do to encourage a safe and positive dating landscape for their teens. Contrary to popular belief, teens want parental input and advice about sexual health and relationships. Come and be inspired to engage your teen in a new way! 

What Do You Consider Lethal? Parent-Teen Safe Driving Workshop
Leanna Clegg, Education Outreach Coordinator, Impact Teen Drivers
Thursday, March 22, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)

Automobile collisions are the leading cause of death for our nation's teens. The overwhelming majority of these crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions -- not "thrill-seeking" or deliberate risk-taking.

In this workshop, you will learn about:
  • Strategies to keep your teen safe on the road
  • Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) laws
  • The Rules of the Road for teen drivers
  • How YOU can stop the #1 killer of teens in America--distracted driving

Fostering Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence in Teens
Roni Habib, Founder, EQ Schools
Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Emotional Intelligence skills are more predictive of a person's long-term success than academic achievement. Teens who are emotionally intelligent are more resilient and optimistic about their lives. The best way for kids to learn these skills is through watching their role models practice it. 
Yet, what does it mean to be mindful?  And what does it mean to "emotion coach" as a parent? In this workshop, Roni Habib, founder of EQ Schools, will explore what our kids need to thrive and offer concrete tools to help us in our parenting journey.

Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation and light refreshments offered. Free admission.
Parent Education Series events sponsored by Carlmont PTSA, M-A PTA, SHSEF, Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series. 

Community News
March/Rally Against Gun Violence on March 24th 
A student-led rally will be taking place at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in affiliation with the March for Our Lives movement, as Bay Area teens advocate gun reform and school safety in light of the recent Parkland tragedy.
This event is being organized by Belmont Councilmember Charles Stone, Redwood City Councilmember Shelly Masur, Carlmont Journalism Adviser Justin Raisner, and students Sophie Penn (Carlmont), Holly Newman (Menlo-Atherton), and Ria Calcagno (Woodside).
There will be hundreds of protests across the nation on that Saturday, and the majority of them are being organized and spearheaded by teenagers. However, the rally at Courthouse Square will consist of a local focus geared towards middle and high school students in the Bay Area.
Attendees and participants will have the opportunity to speak, make posters, and write letters to members of Congress. There will be both pre-designated student speakers as well as a brief open mic session.
The March For Our Lives movement was created by a group of high school students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, after surviving the Feb. 14 school shooting.
Information regarding this event will be posted on Facebook on the event page titled "SM County March/ Rally For Our Lives," as well as on the Twitter page @NeverAgainRWC, and the Instagram account @marchforourlivesrwc.