Sequoia Sentinel
March 7, 2021
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Culinary Arts teacher Jacob Marotta made a decision at the end of last semester. Reflecting, like great teachers do, on what went well and how he might help his students lift themselves higher, he decided to double the number of cooking labs. After focusing on nutrition and kitchen skills, he recognized his students were ready for activities that would be an even bigger departure from their academic routine. But there was more.

He recognized, like great teachers do, that his content area is as much about the standards within his subject as it is about the kinds of skills that make all aspects of learning -- and life -- rewarding. Food is about community, learning from your mistakes, authentic feedback, adapting. You can master these things by rolling up your sleeves and washing, chopping, sautéing, seasoning, tasting, and serving. You learn by doing.

At first, Mr. Marotta was sensitive to the variety of home kitchens to which his students have access. Contrasting Sequoia’s marquee culinary arts lab, with its industrial ranges, kitchenaid mixers, deep countertops, and stocked drawers, his students were working with a spectrum of resources. He could ensure equity in the fresh and dry ingredients he distributed to students, but not where it would be prepped and cooked.

His hack: make labs less about the flawless execution of a recipe and more about the creative application of concepts and technique. The advantage of having a well-apportioned kitchen is tempered when inventiveness is emphasized. Calls by Mr. Marotta for clever interpretations of ramen, new twists on traditional pastry fillings, unconventional salad elements, all pushed students to expand their flavor palettes and grow as cooks through risk-taking.

It’s the same orientation to learning that we’ve seen succeed in other subject areas. Language arts long ago shifted its focus from grammar exercises to speaking, listening, and using text to defend claims. Justification is an anchor skill in IB History and Algebra I. This shift in core standards is perhaps our strongest bulwark against how disruptions in education might be overcome. Students graduate and become empowered adult learners rather than amphorae tossed into the sea.  

Successful adults build community, learn from their mistakes, seek authentic feedback, and adapt. Just like in Mr. Marotta’s class.

Have a great week!

March 8: informational meeting with Principal Priest 

Last week, Principal Sean Priest shared a note regarding in-person learning and communication from SUHSD. On Monday, March 8, 6:00 p.m., Principal Priest is holding a family informational meeting to talk about the details. 

Meeting ID: 962 9144 0752
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March 11: deadline to complete Intent to Return form

Beginning April 5, families will have a choice of having their students return for concurrent instruction two days every two weeks. As of April 19, or the first Monday after we enter the Orange Tier, up to 50% of students (based on socially distanced room capacity), will be able to return to campus for up to two days a week of concurrent instruction. Due to conflicts related to scheduling, students will not be permitted to move between in-person learning and the 100% virtual model. When families make their selection via this form, it is a commitment for the remainder of the school year.

In order to meet the needs of all families and maintain a safe in-person learning environment, completion of the Intent to Return form is required before your students can return to school to be part of the concurrent instruction model. Any families who do not complete their student(s) return form by Thursday, March 11 will not have the opportunity to return in person this spring.

For this gradual return, SUHSD has chosen to adopt a concurrent learning model, known by many as “zoomers and roomers” or “concurrent instruction”: teachers are in their rooms with a number of students while the remainder of the class is participating from home. All students will be using distance learning tools. THE PRIMARY MODE OF INSTRUCTION WILL CONTINUE TO BE THROUGH THE DISTANCE LEARNING PLATFORMS WE HAVE USED ALL YEAR.

Click here to see a list of the safety measures put in place.
Click here to see sample classroom diagrams.
Click here to review the Student Participation Agreement that each student must commit to honoring if planning to return to campus this spring.

To access the Intent to Return form: log onto the district's Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Click 'Message Center' and then click the 'Surveys' tab. Use the same username and password that is used to log onto Canvas. If you have multiple students, you will be required to complete a form for each student.
Superintendent office hours

Superintendent Crystal Leach will be holding regular office hours in English and Spanish through the end of the school year.

Click here for the dates and times in English and Español.
Make Sequoia PTSA your charity on AmazonSmile

Do you know there is a way for AmazonSmile to donate 0.5% of your eligible Amazon purchases to Sequoia High School PTSA? Here’s how:

  1. Visit
  2. Sign in with your credentials
  3. In "Your Account" under the "Other Programs" section, click on “Amazon Smile Charity”
  4. Search for and select "Sequoia High School PTSA"
  5. Start shopping!
  6. Remember to bookmark to make it even easier to shop at AmazonSmile!
Do you have questions for our Sequoia 2020-2021 PTSA Board? Reach Isha Bhatt, PTSA President and the rest of the team at
Our mission is to positively impact the lives of all children and families.
See’s Candy for Red Cross Club fundraiser!

The Sequoia Red Cross Club is holding a See’s Candies fundraiser! All profits will benefit the Sequoia Red Cross Club and the American Red Cross. We hope to use profits to make care packages for healthcare workers and hospitals in and around the Sequoia community, as well as continue our support of the Red Cross while it helps communities in need. Click here to browse the spring and Easter themed candies. Orders will be shipped right to your door!
‘Dare to Donate’ senior class fundraiser

This past year we have seen how Covid-19 has drastically turned lives upside down and exacerbated the inequalities within education. Our ‘Dare to Donate’ fundraiser is to benefit Larkin Street Youth Services, a nonprofit empowering young people to move beyond homelessness. Our goal of $300 will provide $150 to Larkin Street Youth Services and the remaining will go towards 2021 senior class graduation activities.

We are asking for small donations of $5 (more would be greatly appreciated!). As we reach each dollar milestone, your donation grants you access to videos of the dares and challenges being performed by members of the ASB senior class. Click here for more information. 

Ways to donate: Venmo @olivia-meak or @alyssa-knopf - please indicate it is for the “Senior Class Fundraiser” or schedule a drop off of gently used clothes or other items.
May 4: speak to students - multimedia, filmmaking, communication & marketing professionals

The Sequoia High School Digital Arts Academy is hosting a symposium for the sophomores in our program to learn more about multimedia, filmmaking, and the broader topics of communication and marketing.

Join us for career roundtables where professionals will speak in small group formats about their careers, educational backgrounds, current job descriptions, and pros and cons in their field. The symposium will be held via Zoom on May 4, 9:25 - 10:15 a.m. RSVP here. For questions, please contact Faith Velschow.

Happy Women's History Month! Shoutout to all the beautiful women in our Sequoia community! This week on That's So Raven:

0:00​ Intro
0:56Women Icon Fact
2:04 Sports Interview with Damare Ward
4:21​ Outro/Credits

Episode inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
This has been a Sequoia ASB Production.
Meet me in the Media Center

Check out the Media Center’s latest newsletter and follow us on Instagram to keep up with upcoming events, author talks, and more.
Education Foundation
Your contributions create a positive impact

Sequoia High School Ed Foundation (SHSEF) relies on our community’s generosity to achieve fundraising goals, which helps bridge the gap between state and federal funding. SHSEF supports innovative teaching and learnings, college counselors, mental health resources and family programs to meet the varied needs of all of our students and families. Help SHSEF continue to support staff, projects and programs to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their highest potential. 

Contributions of all amounts create a direct and positive impact in our community. Donate Here.
The Parent Education Series

El propósito de esta charla es educar a los padres sobre la marihuana aclarando qué es y qué no es. Aclararemos conceptos erróneos para ayudar a los padres a sentirse capacitados para comprender los riesgos del consumo de marihuana y analizar cómo abordar el tema de la marihuana con sus hijos. Durante este conversatorio, Eduardo Torres, Especialista Principal en Prevención, FCD Prevention Works, se enfocara en contestar las preguntas mas comunes que recibimos sobre la marihuana. Registrarse.  

Now, more than ever, understanding the experiences of those different than us is a critical life skill. Join Donald Grant, PhD, Executive Director of the Center for Community & Social Impact, Pacific Oaks College, for a conversation about what it means to be an ‘anti-racist’ parent. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be provided. Register now.

Join us for a new Parent Forum with Eran Magen, PhD, founder of Parenting for Humans. This series will focus on parent-child communication and managing relationships with your child or teen. Register now.

Each person has a set of shared human needs – for support, expression, recognition, meaning, and connection. By closing the gap between who we are on the inside and who we show up as at home, work, or school, we create more meaningful connections, healthier communication, deeper engagement – and ultimately more powerful results. Ashanti Branch, M.Ed., is the founder and Executive Director of the Ever Forward Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides support for African American and Latino young men and women. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be provided. Register now.

In this webinar, Amanda Freeman, Program Director at RTS, will share the realities of online youth culture. You will come away with new resources to increase online safety for your children and teens, along with tips to spark family conversations. Register now. A Spanish version of this workshop will be offered on Thursday, April 22.
Community Resources and Events
March 15: Alumni Purple Patriot nominations due

The Sequoia High School Alumni Association is soliciting nominations for its annual Purple Patriot Award that honors individuals and organizations who have demonstrated outstanding service, or provided a significant benefit to Sequoia High School. Recipients will receive a framed certificate and have their name inscribed on a trophy displayed at Sequoia.

Nominees may be from Sequoia High School or the community at large and must be submitted no later than Monday Mar 15. Please indicate the nominee's individual or organization name, state why the nominee should receive this award, indicate specifically what role the nominee played in providing the service or benefit to Sequoia High School, and explain in detail what the service or benefit was.

Nominations may be submitted in writing to Sequoia High School Alumni Association, P. O. Box 2534, Redwood City, CA 94064; emailed to the alumni Association; or placed in the Sequoia High School Alumni Association mailbox near the Principal's office.
For questions please contact Ken Rolandelli, President of Sequoia High School Alumni Association, 650-368-0805.
March 19: SUHSD Middle College applications due

Click here for more information: SUHSD Middle College program.
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