March 6, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
When your sophomore son asks you to join him on a week-long field trip -- even if it's with about 100 other high school students from the Bay Area and beyond -- how else can you answer but, YES!?  He did and I did, and thus began a week-long Sojourn to the Past adventure. 

During President's week, we all found ourselves in Atlanta, Georgia to begin what was one of the most meaningful and exhausting experiences of my life.  As we traveled through Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas, we met living civil rights legends both known and unknown. Representative John Lewis spent several hours sharing his decades of struggle, taking questions and patiently posing for photos with excited students in the basement of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.  Joann Bland and Lawrence "Coach" Huggins were our teachers and guides as we walked the streets of Selma, Alabama -- the heart of the Black voter registration campaign in the 1960s -- and accompanied our students as they walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. At each new location and during all the activities, I was inspired by the focus and respect our students showed. They completed writing assignments, they read, and they were prepared as they delved deep into the struggles of the '60s.

As we criss-crossed our way through the historic south on buses that provided our transportation, eyes heavy from late nights and early mornings, I listened to conversations shared by teenagers getting to know one another -- sometimes laughing and singing, sometimes crying, but through it all pondering the question: How can we bring the principles of social justice and non-violence into our own lives as we fight to end racism and discrimination in our schools and communities?
We are living in a time where some of the very same issues faced by the civil rights activists of the past are the burning issues of today: police brutality, the right to vote, the right to education.  Our communities are being rocked by forces who seek to divide, not unite us. But after this past week, I am confident our youth with their indomitable spirit are willing and able to step up to the challenge to build a better future. It will not be easy, and our students learned that this week, but nothing worthwhile ever comes without a struggle.

I was so proud to be in the company of the fine students and teachers that made up the Sojourn trip of February 2017, and I hope you can come to this Tuesday's PTSA meeting and hear from the students themselves about their adventures!
Happy March!

Celebration, Information, Inspiration!
reflections art program Everyone is welcome to join us in the MPR for a very special PTSA meeting this Tuesday, March 7th!

6:30-7:00 PM: Join us for a CELEBRATION of student artists and see their work at our Reflections reception.

7:00-7:30: Get INFORMATION from Principal Sean Priest as he gives his monthly state-of-the school Q&A.

7:30-8:00: Stay for INSPIRATION from Sequoia's Sojourn to the Past student participants who will report back from their recent trip learning about our country's civil rights history, and will talk about what they are doing to support social justice on campus! 

PTSA committee members will also report on the Mini-Grant and Jr. Scholarship initiatives.  View the full agenda here. Come for some or all of the evening; it is guaranteed to be a night that will fill your heart with UNALIYI spirit!

Got Your Yearbook?
Yearbooks are still on sale for $90. Prices will go up to $100 after spring break, so order yours now! 
They can be reserved at  or with Mrs. Gordon in the treasurer's office.

Help Give Out Scholarships
Parents of freshmen, sophomores and seniors: We need a few good people to read applications for the PTSA Junior Scholarships. No parents of current juniors can be on the committee, although everyone else is welcome. During the last two weeks of April we will read through the applications, rank them, then have one evening meeting for final decisions.  This is a rewarding way to help Sequoia students get ready for college applications. If interested, please send an email to 

St. Patrick's Coffee Cart
Please help us provide morning snacks for our wonderful teachers the day after Open House. We are hosting a coffee cart to thank our Sequoia staff, and we need food contributions and a few volunteers to help on Friday, March 17th . Please consider  signing-up  to treat our deserving staff and teachers with a St. Patrick's Day pick-me up!

Yoga Classes Enhance SAC Classes
Special Education teacher Mary Phoenix received a PTSA Mini-Grant last fall to provide yoga instruction to the students who take Social Academic Communication (SAC) classes that she co-teaches with Rebeca Goodwin. Ms. Phoenix writes:

"We used our grants to hire a yoga teacher for 10 weeks. We were inspired by the results we saw during our previous 10 week yoga unit during spring semester 2016. After only two classes this year, we are already seeing positive changes in our students. At first, there are always some students who are hesitant to participate. Some of them feel self-conscious, or are unused to doing much exercise. The first week was challenging, although most of the students made an effort. This week, by the end of the class, all our students were participating and at least trying to do the various positions. 

The yoga unit fits in with our work on mindfulness and emotional regulation. All of our students experience some level of social anxiety, and many have sensory integration issues. Some of our students are so quiet that they do not participate in their classes, struggle to ever initiate a conversation, and have very limited peer interactions outside of class. Others can be disruptive in their classes, blurting things out while the teacher is talking, dominating discussions, and annoying peers by getting too close and/or being loud. Yoga allows our students to get in touch with their emotions, become more aware of how they occupy space with other people, and learn the executive function skills needed to respond to life's situations, rather than just being reactive."

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

Last Chance for LoveBags
Sales for LoveBags will end on March 31st!   See this flyer or visit and enter code 5ZF16 along with Sequoia High School Class of 2017.  We'll receive 40% back on each order received!  There is free shipping on orders of $75 or more, so do some early Mother's Day shopping, or find that perfect hostess gift or birthday gift today.  Thank you to everyone who has bought LoveBags this year to support our Grad Week activities!

In This Issue
Monday, March 6
Collab Day

Tuesday, March 7  
6:30 PM -  Reflections artists reception, MPR
 7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR (agenda here)

Friday, March 10
All day - Sequoia Music Festival, Carrington Hall:
9:10 AM - Sequoia Band performs
1:25 PM - Sequoia Orchestra performs

Monday, March 13
Collab Day

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

Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8
7:30 PM - Sequoia Dance Show, Carrington Hall

April 10-14
Spring Break

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.