Sequoia Sentinel
April 4, 2021
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
PTSA President’s message

While the teachers and staff are heads down planning for in person learning, we at the PTSA have been busy. Our staff appreciation team -- Jennifer DiGrande, Linda Solon and DeeDee Clarke have planned a nice welcome for our teachers. 

The staff appreciation team has also been working on a "secret project" through the many months of Distance Learning. We have remodeled the teachers lounge! A new staff lounge will welcome the teachers as they start coming back on campus. It will be equipped with a microwave/toaster oven, a coffee cart, and a lot of personal touches like plants and cute coffee mugs. The team has worked really hard to make this happen. Huge thanks to Jennifer DiGrande and DeeDee Clarke for making this vision a reality. 

Lastly, we have been busy filling out our Board Positions and Committee positions for next year. I would like all your voices to be heard and would love for some fresh faces to join the PTSA. Our community at Sequoia High School is diverse in many aspects -- culture, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, the various middle schools the students come from and students living in Redwood City and San Carlos. I want the PTSA Board and the various committees to reflect this diversity. It would be great to get some dads on the board as well! The time commitment can be flexible and suited to you. If you would like to be part of the board, please shoot me an email, I would love to have a conversation with you. 

Take care
Show teachers and staff we care!

Now that our teachers are back on campus, let’s show them some gratitude! Over the next month, we will be filling the staff lounge with grab-and-go treats for our dedicated teachers and staff. Signup today to contribute a treat and contact Jenn DiGrande with any questions. Thank you for your help in showing our appreciation!
Apr. 5: Tickets on sale for Grad night on June 4

What is Grad Night? It’s a late night party that begins on the evening of Friday, June 4, and ends on Saturday morning. This fun event gives grads a chance to celebrate together in a safe and sober environment. Tickets will be on sale April 5 at our PTSA webstore for $75! The ticket price includes food, drinks, activities, and entertainment. Click here to purchase tickets!
Apr. 25: Deadline for for juniors to apply for PTSA junior scholarships 

Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are now being accepted. Applications are due by Sun, April 25, 10:00 p.m. There are three categories of scholarships: academic success, community service, and achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges. We have 20 scholarships to offer, each worth $250. Click here for the application and more information
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.
IB May 2021: Calculated route approved

Sequoia's request to switch from the exam route to the calculated route for the May 2021 IB assessments has been approved! Student IB scores will be based on official assessments (IA’s or Internal Assessments) and predicted grades. Predicted grades are assigned by IB teachers and will reflect what they expect the student to achieve based on the candidate’s work. IB has instituted predicted grades protocols to ensure they are fair across schools for each IB subject. IB has also put protocols in place to ensure that colleges view the calculated and exam route equally. Colleges will not be aware which students took the exam versus the calculated route. 

Refunds will not be issued with this new calculated route because students are still receiving a final IB score that will be recognized by colleges. IB continues to have administrative costs associated with grading, scoring, communication with colleges, and the issuing of certificates and diplomas.

Thank you for your patience as we figured out the best option for IB students.   
Join our on-campus volunteer team!
Hello Sequoia parents,

Thank you for your continued support of Sequoia and your willingness to help out as a volunteer this school year. We are so grateful for the many ways you all have pitched in this year. 
Sequoia is excited to welcome back students for in-person, concurrent instruction beginning April 5. To ensure the process goes smoothly, we need adult volunteers to assist with our new morning, brunch and lunch routines. Thank you for checking your calendars and signing up HERE!

Here are the FAQs:
  • What do I need to do to get cleared to be a volunteer on campus? It's a simple two-step process that we will walk you through. Step 1 is with the HR department. Step 2 involves setting up a Frontline account to complete our school's online "health check" before entering campus each day.
  • Can I get vaccinated as an education worker if I volunteer at the school? Yes! While our district cannot organize an appointment for you, our understanding is that you would be eligible to get the vaccine. We can provide documentation of your volunteer service as needed. The choice to get vaccinated is totally up to you, it is not a requirement for your volunteer service at this time.
  • Will there be a training where I can get more info and ask questions? We had a short training in March and we will gladly send you a link to the recording.
  • Do I need to sign up at a reliable, regular time each week? Although we do count on volunteers showing up reliably, we understand that lives are busy and often unpredictable. Please do not sign up if there is a high chance you will need to cancel at the last minute. At the same time, you don't need to commit to a regular day and time - we welcome occasional volunteer help whenever you have time. Thank you!
Questions? Please contact: Elisa Niño-Sears, Director | ATLAS, Sequoia High School, (650) 387-8390.

Check in next week for the return of That’s So Raven with a new episode!
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
Help Sequoia recover

As Sequoia re-opens and we shift to recovery and reconnection, we are ever more committed to supporting an education that empowers all Sequoia students. Thanks to our generous community we have raised over $400k to date. Our community’s contributions have made a huge difference and have helped fund the following this school year: 

  • Expanded family support (gift cards and masks)
  • Technology & internet access for under-resourced students
  • Additional full-time college advisor
  • On-site SAT testing
  • At home science, art, and learning kits

Invest in Sequoia to help ensure our students have what they need to succeed and make the most of this challenging school year. A gift of any size can make a difference at Sequoia. Donate today. Many employers will match your gift to SHSEF. To learn more, contact us at
The Parent Education Series
What does it mean to be a success? To be a good parent? Like all mothers, Emily Rapp Black had ambitious plans for her first child, Ronan. Everything changed when Ronan was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare and fatal degenerative disorder.

Rapp was forced to re-evaluate everything she thought she knew about parenting. She would have to learn to live with her child in the moment; to find happiness in the midst of sorrow; to parent without a future. Register now.

What impact does cannabis have on the young, developing brain? How does marijuana use affect brain chemistry, learning, and memory formation? Can marijuana be addictive?

Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the current research on cannabis and adolescent brain development with Dr. Tauheed Zaman, an addiction psychiatrist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF, where he serves on the task force for marijuana policy reform. Register now.

Mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression, have increased since the start of COVID-19. When should parents seek help?
Join a panel of medical and mental health experts including Shashank Joshi, MD, Professor and Director of Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of School Mental Health at Stanford University, to learn the warning signs of mental health concerns, when to seek professional help, and how to find mental health resources in your community. Register now.

Drawing on nearly two decades of scientific research, this live (virtual) event will explore: What is purpose? Why does it matter? How can we - as parents - help our children and teens discover their purpose in life?

Kendall Cotton Bronk, PhD, is a professor of psychology in the Division of Behavioral & Social Sciences at Claremont Graduate University. She is the Principal Investigator at the Moral Development Lab, a research organization aimed at understanding how young people develop a sense of purpose. Register now.
Community Resources and Events
Summer Stem Institute applications open
The Summer STEM Institute (SSI) is a six-week virtual summer program for high school students. The program was started by educators, students, and graduates from Stanford, Harvard, and MIT to continue educational opportunities during COVID-19. Last year, SSI received over 2,450 applications from students in 78 different countries. Applications for SSI 2021 are now open.

The program consists of three main parts: 

  • Research and data science bootcamp: Students learn how to design and conduct data science research projects and how to apply statistical and machine learning methods to address scientific questions with real-world impact.
  • Masterclass lecture series: Students are connected to accomplished young adults around the world to learn about entrepreneurship from Forbes 30 Under 30 recipients, science research from International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) grand prize winners, and other topics from speakers with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • Mentored research project: Students complete a research project through a rigorous, hands-on learning experience under the guidance of mentors. Previously, students have worked in a variety of fields, from computational biology to quantum physics.

Click here to apply and learn more about SSI.
Trouble Sleeping?

The Reducing Risk study is a UCSF clinical trial for an online sleep and mental health intervention for teenagers. Click here for more info.
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