March 26, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Standardized test results should never be the sole measure of school success.  Graduation rates, college readiness rates (UC/CSU A-G eligibility, e.g.), grades, teacher retention, and student/parent perception data are just some of the many data points that help paint a more comprehensive picture of how well a school is performing.  Standardized tests do give us a handy way of identifying strengths and areas for growth among different subgroups based on like-measures, which is instrumental in helping us better serve our students.

Monday through Wednesday of this week (3/26-3/28), as well as Tuesday (4/3), Sequoia 11th Graders will take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (AKA CAASPP).  This is the fourth year we've administered this form of standardized assessment at Sequoia. It is adaptive, meaning test questions/prompts are, in part, determined by how students responded to previous items.  The test is only taken by 11th graders, but ALL students 9-11 completed interim assessments in November. The purpose of the interim assessments is to measure progress and help familiarize students with the testing format.  We review the results of the interim assessments as a staff (as well as the results of our All-School Literacy and Numeracy Assessments) to help target our instruction.

Each portion of the CAASPP test (ELA and Math) requires students to complete a performance task.  In ELA, this involves writing. In math, demonstrating analysis and reasoning is required (which also includes a written component).  The CAASPP is aligned with Common Core Standards. The key skill in both areas is the ability to defend claims with evidence: evidence from texts, mathematical reasoning, data sets, e.g..  I'm always a bit puzzled when I hear folks denounce Common Core. What do they have against kids using evidence to bolster an argument? Maybe the better question is, what do they have against kids holding others to the same standard?

Like last year, families will get a mailing with their student's individual scores from the state sometime this summer.  It is a six-page report containing both qualitative and quantitative feedback on student performance. Districts and schools will also receive individual and aggregate performance results.  This year's results are compared with previous years' results as part of the state's performance dashboard. Because only 11 th graders complete the test, however, there is no way to report individual students' growth.

Performance on the test will be used by California State Universities as a measure of college readiness for incoming freshmen, so scoring well could save time and money on placement tests for college-bound California high schoolers.
CAASPP results also outwardly reflect how we're doing as a school compared with our neighbors or other demographically-like schools statewide.  As such, the results matter for the community at large. Your student contributes to the good of the school by doing their best on the CAASPP.   Make sure your eleventh grader has a nice breakfast on testing days if you can!

Thanks and have a great week!


Revised CAASPP Dates
Juniors will have CAASPP testing on 4 days during the next two weeks.  For the dates listed below, classes will follow the  CAASPP bell schedule with juniors arriving at 8:30 AM and the other grades starting classes at 10:45 AM.
  • Mon, Tue, Wed (March 26-28)
  • Tuesday, April 3
Note that the above dates are different from the letter you received in the mail, as the dates were revised from the original posting.
It's Time for Sequoia Spring Concerts
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Come see 150 students take the stage over the next two weeks. This Tuesday night (March 27), jazz ensemble and both bands combined will play music from Hamilton, Star Wars, and the Incredibles

And next Wednesday, April 4, it's time for orchestra and choir, who will rock tunes from Moana and Slumdog Millionaire as well as a Led Zeppelin classic and SO much more. 

Both concerts start at 7 PM in Carrington Hall, and tickets are $5 at the door.
Express Gratitude to Sequoia Staff at the Espresso Cart
Help us thank our Sequoia Staff & Teachers after Open House by supporting the PTSA-sponsored Espresso Coffee Cart and Breakfast Treats on Friday, April 6

Our teachers really appreciate being perked up following the late night, so please consider signing up to help make this event special for our hard-working Sequoia team by either contributing a food item or helping serve hot beverages. If you have any questions, please contact Jenn DiGrande at
IB/AP Proctors: Don't Wait to Sign Up
Please  sign up this week  so we can get all our volunteers cleared before spring break. Getting involved at Sequoia is a great opportunity to get to know the process of the IB and AP exams.  Each year we have more students taking IB classes and exams. This year there are 4 weeks of exam sessions scheduled between April 27th and May 25th.
Parents may proctor an IB exam their student is taking, but please check with your student first to be sure he or she would be comfortable with this. 
Sequoia is an IB school that offers AP exams for some students.  We don't need as many AP proctors, but they are very important to us.  According to the AP rules, you may not proctor an AP exam that your student is taking. Also, the AP rules allow a proctor to sit during part of the exam.

Questions? Email Wendy Mandujano at
2018 Sequoia Prom Gallery
The Sequoia Parent Center is  collecting brand new and very gently used prom dresses for the  Sequoia Prom Gallery.  Donations may be dropped off at the Sequoia Parent C enter (Room 129) by Wednesday, April 4th. We are also accepting new  and very gently used shoes and accessories. If you have any questions, please contact Tammy Bené at

The 2018 Sequoia Prom Gallery will be held  Wednesday, April 4th through Friday, April 6th for any Sequoia student who feels discouraged by the cost of a prom dress. The Gallery will be open at lunch time and from 3:00-5:00 PM in Room 150. 

The 2018 Sequoia Prom is Saturday, April 21st at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Prom dresses and accessories for selection at last year's Prom Gallery sponsored by the Parent Center.
Open House Is April 5th and Everyone Is Invited!
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Please mark your calendars and join us for our annual Spring Open House on Thursday, April 5th, from 7-8:30 PM. Open House provides an opportunity to explore the school, visit classrooms, talk with faculty members and gather information about the school's programs and offerings.  We hope to see you there!
Need a Break From Your Daily Routine?
Come see the Amazing Student Art on Display!
It's closer and cheaper than the DeYoung Museum! It is amazing and varied art: paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos, and mixed media including some digital art. Be wowed by the color, composition, and creativity! Flip through the workbooks to get a sense of the process of each student artist.  Read the very thoughtful artist's statements.  And then realize, wow! These are our students!
The Powell Gallery and Room 128 across the hall from the gallery are open during lunch (12:10-12:55 on block days and 12:20-1:00 on Mondays) through April 6, the day after Open House. Just get a Visitor sticker from the AVP office when you come.

And don't forget, the artists will be on hand during Open House the evening of April 5th and they would love to tell you about their work.
INSIDER TIP: If you have a chance, go during lunch.  There is so much to absorb and it's harder to do so during Open House.
Juniors: Apply for PTSA Scholarships, It's Easier Than You Think!
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
Alumni Association Looking to Honor a Purple Patriot - Nominate Someone Worthy of Recognition!
The Sequoia High School Alumni Association is soliciting nominations for its Purple Patriot Award, which  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.
In This Issue

Mon-Wed, March 26-28
CAASPP Testing Schedule

Tuesday, March 27

7 PM - Spring Concert: Bands, Carrington Hall

Friday, March 30
Cesar Chavez Day - No school

Tuesday, April 3
CAASPP Testing Schedule

7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

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

Saturday, April 21
7 PM - Prom, California Academy of Sciences

April 27-28
Sequoia Dance Show
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SUHSD Parent Education Series - All Are Welcome
Fostering Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence in Teens
Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
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.
What does it mean to be mindful?  And how can we support our kid's emotional intelligence? 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.

George Anders, Author
You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a "Useless" Liberal Arts Education
Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Carlmont High School, Performing Arts Center (CPAC)

Is your student taking the right classes? Will your child's college  major help get the right job offers? For more than a decade, the national spotlight has focused on science and engineering as the only reliable choices for finding a successful post-graduate career.
Come learn why resume-writing is fading in importance and why "telling your story" is taking its place. Author George Anders is a contributing writer at Forbes and the author of five books including NY Times bestsellers Perfect Enough and The Rare Find. Anders was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

Kiersten Hewitt, FCD Prevention Works
Just Say Yes: Encouraging Healthy Conversations about Substance Use and Abuse
Wednesday, April 4, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Sequoia Union High School District Office, Birch Room
480 James Avenue, Redwood City

FCD Prevention Works is the world's leading non-profit provider of school-based substance use prevention services. In this workshop, attendees will learn how to say "yes" to creating and nourishing a climate of prevention.

Kiersten Hewitt, FCD Executive Director, will discuss what parents can do to keep their kids healthy, and how they can learn to facilitate dialogue with their teens regarding substance use (alcohol, marijuana, e-cigs / vaping, etc.). 

Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! 
Free admission and light refreshments.
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
Register for Riley Run 
Riley Norton was a Central Middle School Student who would have been a 9th  grader this year. He passed away 4 years ago from a congenital heart defect, and we created an annual 5K in San Carlos to honor and remember him. 

This year, the Riley Run will occur on April 21 st  at 4 PM at the Brittan Acres upper playground. To register, please send your name and shirt size to . The $25 fee will be split between his 2 charities: Children's Heart Foundation and Camp Taylor. Please join us ! The cut off to register is March 30th if you want a t-shirt. 
Special Screening of Escalation: Tonight, March 26 
One Love invites the community to a special screening and discussion of the film Escalation at the Aquarius Theater in Palo Alto tonight, March 26th  at 6:30. The award-winning film will be followed by a discussion led by One Love's Bay Area Executive Director, Megan Shackleton, about a critical topic: how we can talk to young people, whether our children or students, about healthy and unhealthy relationships. 

One Love has had huge success reaching students in San Mateo Unified School District, and they are excited to include even more young people with this critical education. Escalation is an eye-opening and engaging film about one couple's relationship and how it escalates into abuse. Escalation has been viewed by over 220,000 students nationwide; come find out how you can lead this important movement in the Bay Area! 

To learn more about how you can talk to young people about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships please consider attending.  The film and discussion will help adults learn about how to support young people in your life in creating healthy relationships. Parents, educators and community members are all welcome! Please RSVP here; tickets are $20 .   For more information about One Love, click here.