Sequoia Sentinel
June 06, 2021
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Editor's Note: Thank you for reading and contributing over the past year. Wishing the graduating class the best going forward, and may everyone have a wonderful summer!

The door to Sequoia teacher Tessa Yeager’s room was open so I popped my head in to say hello. She wasn’t speaking/gesticulating at her computer screen, so I stepped in cautiously, nodding to make sure it was okay. Tessa and I hadn’t had a chance to catch up for a while. A shame, because I always learn something new by talking with her. I admire her probity. She also makes me laugh.    

One of the best parts of my job is finding time to wander around campus and pop into classrooms. Creative problem-solving, sharing student successes, family news: kids, pets, parents. Having worked on such a quiet campus for most of this year, this element of community is one of the things I’ve missed the most.

Tessa and I chatted for a few minutes. Questions -- mine and hers -- arose about next year. I told her what I knew (no distance learning option) and what I didn’t (guidelines around room capacity and spacing). We talked about patience and healing. We talked about some of the graduating seniors.

I turned to her classroom of desks and dropped my head while pointing at the plexiglass shields. Sigh.

Following the best contemporary information we had (i.e, guidelines set forth by various agencies and experts), schools went all-in on plexiglass. The large shields installed early on in public-facing office spaces came first. Our support team of administrative support, campus aides, clerks, custodians, and many teachers were essential -- on campus very early in this pandemic when much was unknown and vaccinations were fantasy. 

Large quantities of trifold plexiglass shields fit to student desks were acquired incrementally. First to support testing, then connectivity cohorts, and finally to prepare for the return of staff and students. Balancing peril, expense, and urgency, we did what needed to be done. Today, we are flush with trifold plexiglass shields for student desks. The plexiglass shields felt worth fighting for at the time and may continue to make people feel safe in the short-term. But vaccination rates and their efficacy portends the inevitable obsolescence of plexiglass shields. I haven’t met anyone who likes how they look in a classroom.     

In my darker moments, I have visions of truckloads of plexiglass desk shields lumbering slowly out of the parking lot, spewing exhaust, bound for the landfill. Or worse, finding plexiglass on the
Pacific garbage patch. Forever.

Such a lament struck me looking out across Tessa’s room. Then she said something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since. “I was thinking the students would use them for individual whiteboards next year.”

Arising instantaneously from my sea of Lorax tears, the room now presented a different vision. A room full of students, presenting their ideas to one another, iterating together on a design, creating a diagram, a flowchart, or a data visualization. On a two-foot-high, trifold, erasable transparent poster board. Words, symbols, digits, images afloat. No computer screen required.  

We will indeed do this very thing. And others like it. We will focus not on what’s behind us but on the moment before us and around the corner. We will identify our assets and orient their deployment based on what best serves our students. The purpose and design of learning will continue to inspire us to make the most of our circumstances. To invent, reorient. We will learn from one another. I think we’ll also laugh and have some fun along the way.

We move forward as a community in this spirit in 2021-22. I am eager to continue to find inspiration beside you and laugh once or twice along the way.

Thank you for reading and have a great summer!

VSV: Very special volunteer

The PTSA would like to thank Jenn DiGrande for her many years of service to Sequoia. Jenn volunteered non-stop for the past 5 years while two of her children were students. Jenn’s daughter, Bella, is graduating this year, so Jenn will be moving on as well. Jenn has contributed in so many ways, but she is best known for her role as the lead of Teacher Appreciation. She has creatively planned countless events - from staff lunches to coffee carts to mailbox surprises to a staff room makeover. Jenn, thank you so much for all of the time and effort you have put into honoring our staff!

We are fortunate that Linda Solon has been working with Jenn this year, and is preparing to take over the Teacher Appreciation position next year. Thank you so much Linda for all that you have contributed and for stepping up in 2021/22.
Mini-grants in action - Staff lounge refresh in spring of 2021!
The PTSA is always looking for ways to show our amazing staff how much we value them! This year we worked to refresh the common-use room and make it more functional and comfortable. Mr. Gooch shows us the Faculty Lounge before the fabulous makeover.
Thank you, staff and teachers, for persevering over these challenging months and for all that you do for our students! Thank you to Carol Lopez who oversees this room by watering the plants, making coffee, and letting the administration know if anything needs fixing or cleaning up. More thank yous to Dee Dee Clarke, Jenn DiGrande, Megan Murray, and Mr. Gooch, who made this transformation a reality. This project was funded by a $750 mini grant as well as a donation from a Sequoia parent, Yael Goshen. Read more about it.
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.
Help us reach our goal
Thanks to our generous community, Sequoia High School Ed Foundation (SHSEF) has raised almost $600K! These contributions help support vital staff, projects, and programs not funded by district dollars. SHSEF’s mission is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their highest potential. 

Help us reach our goal of $640K. Donate today. Many employers will match your gift to SHSEF. Contact us to learn more.

Happy last day of school, Sequoia!
In the school year finale of That's So Raven, we reflect on the school year and pay a special tribute to our seniors.

This week on That's So Raven:
2:00 Announcements
2:47 Senior Tribute
6:33 Weather
7:21 Admin Reflection
11:12 Outro/credit

“That’s So Raven” is a Sequoia ASB Production.
2021 IB summer assignments for 2021-2022 school year

If you are a student taking an IB class next year, please be sure to complete any required summer assignments. The following IB classes have summer assignments for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • IB English year 1
  • IB English year 2
  • IB French year 4
  • IB French year 5
  • IB ESS
  • IB physics
  • IB bio year 1
  • IB bio year 2
  • IB business & management
  • IB visual arts year 1
  • IB visual arts year 2

Please visit the IB page on the Sequoia website to access summer assignments for the IB classes listed above.
Aug. 21: Class of 2020 reunion

Hey class of 2020 - a special invitation just for you! Join your classmates for a one year reunion BBQ on the Sequoia campus! A chance to relive memories, share adventures from the last year and get those yearbooks signed IN PERSON! 

What: Class of 2020 reunion at Sequoia Alumni picnic
When: Saturday, August 21, 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Where: Sequoia Campus
Cost: FREE for 2020 Seniors - ticket cost covered by the 2020 Grad Activities team ($40). There are a limited number of tickets so please reserve soon, and only reserve if you are certain you can attend. 

Aug. 21: 14th annual Alumni Association picnic
Be sure to save the date for the 14th Annual Sequoia High School Alumni Association “Celebrate Sequoia” picnic, catered by Bianchini’s Catering, being held on Saturday, August 21, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the beautiful Sequoia campus. Activities include campus tours; cheerleader performance; Purple Patriot award recognition for Sequoia parent volunteer, Michal Roof, and student organizations March for Our Lives Sequoia Union and Sequoia Science Olympiad, who have significantly benefited Sequoia High School.

All Sequoians are welcome (alumni, students, parents, staff, PTSA, Boosters, Education Foundation, and community members). Tickets are $40 per person. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door at $45 per person. Reservations are due by August 18 and may be made online at, by calling 650-592-5822 or e-mailing
Yearbook update
Yearbooks will be delivered to Sequoia this summer -- we will be in touch with students who have reserved a book with the logistics of pick-up. Stay tuned for more information! We will sell out, so if you haven’t already, make sure you reserve yours today. Our code is 7268. Please send any yearbook questions to Yearbook Adviser Eileen Bray
One for the books
Congratulations to all our Sequoia athletes on their short, but sweet, 2021 seasons! The Boosters are inspired by your resilience, and proud of the way you rose to the unprecedented challenges of the past year. We wish our senior Ravens well as they graduate to the next chapter of their lives, and look forward to welcoming our underclassmen back to the field, court, and pool next year. We support you and we believe in you!
Thanks coach!
2020-21 Sequoia sports would not have been possible without the leadership, flexibility, creativity, hard work, and dedication of our wonderful coaches and administration. Thank you to the head coaches, assistant coaches, and parent coaches for making sure all Sequoia teams had a season this year. Special shout out to Athletic Director, Melissa Schmidt, for pushing to make it possible!
Summer spirit

Don’t lose touch with Sequoia Sport & Spirit Boosters over the summer. Check our website for updates on new membership levels, spirit gear, and volunteer opportunities at Sequoia Sports Boosters, and follow us on Instagram.
Free gift for the class of 2021
To congratulate you upon your graduation, the Sequoia High School Alumni Association is offering you a FREE lifetime membership! 

As a member, you will receive copies of our newspaper, Smoke Signals, where you can follow the activities of the Association and the school, find news about other alumni, and receive reunion information. We look forward to having you as a member of the Sequoia High School Alumni Association!
If you are interested, please send your information (name, address, phone number and personal email) via email or regular mail to S.H.S.A.A., P.O. Box 2534, Redwood City, CA 94064-2534 by August 15

Click here for more information or call 650-592-5822.
Start your Summer Literacy Experience!
I am excited for you to start the new Summer Literacy Experience. You can start earning your summer literacy badge anytime. If you want to be an official summer reading ambassador, complete your requirements before July 1

To get started, visit, where you will find grade-level instructions and examples. 

To submit your work, go to
These resources are on the Media Center website. I look forward to hearing about your summer engagement.

-Ms. Snow
Return books to the book drop!

Please return books using the BOOK DROP located at the top of the steps to the Media Center entrance, on the left. We need all books back, even those from last year. We don't charge fines for overdue books!

Questions? Go to the Media Center website. Check out the Media Center’s latest newsletter and follow us on Instagram.

Join Mary McGrath, Executive Director of Safe and Supportive Schools; Molly Henricks, Coordinator of School Safety and Risk Prevention; and Shana Karashima, Coordinator of Multi-tiered Systems of Support, for a special Community Resiliency Model (CRM)® training for parents and caregivers. Register now / Registrarse.

Join Heather Woods of Heartwood Editing to learn what goes into an essay, explore UC and Common App essay prompts, and get writing and planning tips. Register here.
Mission InspirEd hiring blog writers
Mission InspirEd, a student-run nonprofit organization based in Seattle, is currently hiring blog writers. Authors will write blog articles on varying topics regarding education and access to education. Contact Rishi Sujit if you are interested in this opportunity.
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