May 8, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Last Wednesday I sent an email to Sequoia families thanking you for all you do to make Sequoia the place it is and inviting you to join us in the " Stand Up for Public Schools " campaign on May 10.  We rely on the fundraising efforts of our Foundation to provide the high level of support and personalization Sequoia students need to reach their highest potential and be competitive and prepared for college and beyond.

A few hours after hitting the send button, I visited our two largest gyms which were both full of students absorbed in writing Paper #1 as part of their IB English HL Exam.  199 12th graders are enrolled in IB this year versus 193 enrolled in English IV.  Next year, we're projected to have 253 seniors enrolled in IB versus 207 in English IV.  Looks like we're going to need three gyms for the IB English test next May.

Although Redwood City and San Carlos feel like they're changing rapidly, Sequoia's enrollment demographics are consistent over the past several years.  A broader, more diverse IB enrollment is by design.  We are taking strong steps to address a persistent achievement gap by expanding access and supporting stellar outcomes for a more representative count of students.  Demographically (e.g., in the areas of ethnicity, eligibility for free/reduced lunch under federal guidelines, status as redesignated English-language proficient), it is critical to Sequoia's mission that our IB classes resemble the school population.  In terms of achievement, it is equally critical that our pass rate continues to match or exceed the district average .

This work speaks to the core of what Sequoia stands for. It's the reason why great teachers want to teach at Sequoia. Support from the SHSEF for teacher collaboration, smaller classes, professional development, instructional technology, and student support are absolutely critical to its success.  Providing opportunities for all kids to bring what they learn at Sequoia confidently into the world of college and career unites this community above all else.

Looking out at the sea of bent heads and volunteer proctors (thank you, PTSA!) during exams last week, I feel good about graduating seniors in the Class of 2017.  We are approaching the end of our SHSEF Annual Campaign for 2017-18 and need a strong finish to reach our goal. I know that the support of this community will continue to ensure opportunities for future classes of amazing Sequoia kids.

Thank you for your continued support -- for standing up -- and have a great week!


Stand Up for Public Schools: May 10
Join  SHSEF  and other neighborhood schools and districts in  STAND UP FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS , a day of giving to support our students.
On May 10th, make your contribution to support Sequoia High School!   This event is a great way for the Sequoia community to support Sequoia students and teachers by investing in  Academic Enrichment  programs like smaller class sizes College & Career  programs such as College Day for all Sequoia freshmen, and  Professional Development  programs like Staff Technology Training grants.

Make your donation and support Sequoia students!

School Registration for 2017-18
All families who are enrolled at Sequoia HS for the 2017-18 school year should have received a letter in the mail about online registration. Remember to complete your registration by May 19th at using the login information on your letter.

Do You Love to Organize?
Our Library Media team is preparing to organize the library and check in all of the textbooks that the students have used during the year.  We need volunteers from May 22 to June 8 to help out -- it's a fun way to meet other parents and to see a lot of the students!  If you're ready to do some lifting and get a little dusty,  sign up here   for a morning or afternoon shift.  Being there for even part of the shift will be helpful.  Thank you!

Enjoy a Night Out on the Bay!
9th, 10th and 11th grade Parents: Are you interested in a fun night on the SF Bay? Grad Night chaperones have almost as much fun as the graduates themselves. No, these students may not want to see you out on the dance floor, but you get a free midnight dinner, all the coffee you need to stay awake and best of all, you get an inside view of what your student will be doing on their own Grad Night. 

We have 3 wonderful chaperones so far and we are looking for 7 more volunteers. It truly is a fun event. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jill Berry at  or Donna Fiore at   Click here to sign up!

Seniors: IB Ceremony May 23
All seniors who have taken an IB class during their time at Sequoia are cordially invited with their families to the 2017 IB Ceremony on Tuesday, May 23 from 5:30-7:30 PM in Carrington Hall!   View the invitation here.
Todos los seniors que han tomado una clase de IB durante su tiempo en Sequoia están cordialmente invitados junto con su familia a la ceremonia de IB 2017: m artes, 23 de mayo, 5.30 pm a 7.30 pm  en el Auditorio Carrington Hall.  Invitación aquí .

Physics Students Quest for Data
With a PTSA Mini-Grant that was awarded in Fall 2016, the Physics Department was able to purchase another LabQuest for data collection.  LabQuests are tools that let students see an immediate graph of their data, enabling them to spend more class time focused on learning analytical skills.  With the number of physics students growing each year, the teachers appreciated t he additional LabQuest to reduce group sizes at lab stations, and have more students engaged in hands-on data collection and analysis on a daily basis. 

Ivana R. and Estela G. work at a LabQuest station during Physics class.

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

Make Your Reservation at Plaza Suite This Weekend
In Plaza Suite, theater legend Neil Simon rolls out three self-contained one-act relationship comedies, all set in suite 719 of New York City's Plaza Hotel.   In  The Visitor from Mamaroneck, a troubled suburban couple attempts to return to the scene of their honeymoon to recapture the love they once felt.  Act two, The Visitor from Hollywood, is a tale of a movie producer's attempts to seduce an ex-girlfriend, now a suburban housewife.   In the Visitor from Forest Hills, a bride has locked herself in the bathroom on her wedding day, with her parents desperate to get her out.

Book yourself a room to see Plaza Suite in Carrington Hall on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13 at 7 PM -- tickets are available at

ConnectSHS Mentoring Completes Successful First Year
Friends for Youth's pilot program, ConnectSHS, has made a great impact on its freshmen participants. "I've felt more supported and it's made me feel that I am capable of everything," said a mentee. The program has provided mentors to fifty-five freshmen from the Student Aspirations Advocate Program (SAAP) to help them overcome challenges and successfully transition into high school. Once a week, students meet with mentors from a variety of backgrounds and careers to set academic goals, discuss opportunities and build life skills. "It's really nice to have someone to check in with you every week and get advice," said a freshman.
On field trips, students were exposed to murals and history in San Francisco, coding at the Computer History Museum, colleges, and soon a career tour, a professional soccer game and a leadership ropes course. They are also attending a Lunch Mentor Speaker Series.

Friends for Youth and SAAP will offer mentoring opportunities this summer and will return in the fall to support freshmen and continue with selected sophomores. Friends for Youth is also looking to start mentoring programs for 8th graders at Hoover and Mckinley (MIT) schools which are feeder schools to Sequoia HS. The goal is to provide a smooth on-ramp for students coming into high school. Friends for Youth is now  recruiting mentors for any of these programs! 

Friends for Youth also has a goal to raise $24,000 in new donations to help fund these additional programs.  Jim & Elena Prior, long-time Friends for Youth mentors and supporters, are so excited by the early results from ConnectSHS that they have offered to personally match 1:1 any donations received by September 30, 2017.

To get involved as a mentor or to contribute to this cause please contact
A bove and below - ConnectSHS students meet with mentors.

In This Issue
Monday, May 8
Collab day

Wednesday, May 10
Stand Up for Public Schools  day

Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13
7 PM - Sequoia comedy: Neil Simon's  Plaza Suite , Carrington Hall ( tickets here

Monday, May 15
Collab day

Tuesday, May 16
4 PM - Sequoia Choir Vocal Showcase, B Quad

Tuesday, May 23
5:30 PM - Senior IB Ceremony, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, May 24
7 PM - Pops Concert (Bands, Orchestra, Choir), Carrington Hall

Thursday, May 25
12:15 PM - Mandatory meeting for 10th graders interested in the IB Diploma (students only), Carrington Hall

6 PM - AVID Graduation

Monday, May 29
Memorial Day Holiday

Thursday, June 1
7 PM - Spring Sports Awards, Carrington Hall

Tue., June 6 - Thu., June 8

Wednesday, June 7
11 AM - Senior BBQ

6 PM - Senior Awards night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, June 8
11 AM - Senior Brunch, MPR

Last Day of School

Friday, June 9
10 AM - 2017 Graduation Ceremony, Terremere Field
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Parent Education

SUHSD Parent Education Mini-Series
"Safe and Healthy Teens"
Sequoia Union High School District Office - Birch Room
480 James Avenue, Redwood City
In a series of four SUHSD Parent Education Mini-Series events on "Safe and Healthy Teens," attendees will learn from leading mental health professionals, psychologists, and nonprofit organizations.

  • Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 10:00-11:30 AM - "Get Connected! Talking to Your Teen About Sexual Health," with Abi Karlin-Resnick, Executive Director, Health Connected 
  • Friday, June 2, 2017, 10:00-11:30 AM - "Help is a Text Away: How Crisis Text Line Saves Teen Lives," with Libby Craig, Regional Director, and Pamela Weiss, Crisis Counselor, Crisis Text Line
Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome!   Free admission.
Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the Sequoia Healthcare District and the Sequoia Union High School District. Special funding for this series from Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF).
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder & Director, The Parent Education Series,

Menlo-Atherton Parent Education Series
"Rethinking the College Arms Race: What Do Companies REALLY Want?"
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton CA 94025

We hear a lot about "21st century skills," but what does that really mean? What kinds of skills or qualities are companies REALLY looking for in their new hires? Does college make a difference? What about internships? 

Come hear from a panel of Silicon Valley professionals  responsible for sourcing talent for their companies. Learn  what matters most -- and what doesn't matter -- in making decisions about who to hire. Discussion produced and moderated by Dr. Don Williams, Palo Alto child and adolescent psychologist. 

Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by   the M-A PTA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder & Director, The Parent Education Series, at  cmargot@csmconsulting.netFor Spanish, contact Lilly Quiñonez, Parent Center Coordinator, at 650-322-5311, Ext. 50255.

Community News

AYSO Fall 2017 Soccer Registration
Registration for the boys and girls   AYSO  Soccer Menlo Park & Atherton Fall Season is now underway at

Walk-in registration is on May 13 & May 20 from 10 AM to 1 PM at the Hillview Middle School Library First-time players must register in person. Returning players  simply register online. $100 for kinderleague, $150 for first grade and older.

All can  participate, regardless of level (no try-outs). See you on the field!

Social Skills & Executive Function Boot Camp
Complimentary Info Session for Sequoia Families
For incoming freshmen through college
Flexible scheduling June through Labor Day

Is your teen exhibiting organizational issues? Time management issues? Disorganization of thought during writing tasks, not great at prioritizing, attentional challenges?
Or, has difficulty with figurative language? Social cues? Whether you are readying them for college or just beginning high school, this program is designed for changing patterns.
Talking Playhouse  (across from campus) is offering a crash course boot camp for high schoolers this summer and parents to set up successful systems for practice over the summer. Establish systems that allow your child to practice independently with successful neuroscience behavioral techniques that take action and work. An added benefit is the program is set up to work local or from afar.
As a parent of a teen at Sequoia, I am all too aware of how the teenage brain works! If you'd like to know more or t o set up your complimentary info session, please email .

P.S.: Did you know teens can lose up to 30% of new material learned if they don't keep a consistent program of practice over the summer?

Talking Playhouse | 155 Birch St, Suite 2, Redwood City | 650-678-9769