August 20, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Top1Principal's Message
The spirit of UNALIYI at Sequoia 
The start of a new school year is a great time to clear up oft-told but inaccurate beliefs about Sequoia High School.  Correcting these misconceptions will hopefully provide new families with both insight into our values as well as practical advice to successfully navigate Sequoia and take advantage of its myriad resources.

"Zero and 7th period are optional."
Sequoia is able to offer a broad academic program which includes career academies, multiple specialized electives, core academic classes, and because of our 8-period bell schedule.  Students are scheduled into zero and 7th period classes in order to meet as many course requests as possible (96-98% is typical).  This wouldn't be possible without having seven periods, nor would it be possible to offer if zero and 7th period were optional, even to scholar-athletes.  In other words, the Sequoia school day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.  One important note: with a small number of special exceptions, students are not enrolled in zero and 7th period classes at the same time.

"The IB Programme is only for the most elite students."
We encourage all students to take rigorous IB classes during 11th and 12th grades, including students who are traditionally underrepresented in IB or AP courses nationwide.  60-70% of graduates from year to year pass at least one IB course.  Our school goal is to increase that number.  What more, assessments in many non-IB courses are aligned to IB courses to encourage and support students who want to push themselves and "jump tracks".  Significant support is offered as part of the after school program for students to be successful in IB classes.  The characteristics of the IB Learner Profile make their way into many Sequoia classes.  Most often, the IB programme at Sequoia is confused with the IB Diploma Programme.  In order to earn an IB Diploma, students must complete the most rigorous academic program offered at Sequoia, including multiple 2-year honors-level IB courses, a special elective, hundreds of hours of community service, and an extended research paper.      

"Approaching teachers with questions or concerns could backfire on my student."
The average Sequoia faculty member has been teaching for over 12 years.  When brand new teachers are hired, it is often out of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), with whom Sequoia has enjoyed a long partnership.  In line with the kind of learning we like to see, STEP teachers are trained with an emphasis on equity, differentiated engagement strategies, and collaborative, student-centered pedagogy.  This year, only one in three of our new teachers arrive without prior classroom experience. Perhaps Sequoia's staff seems young because, at heart, they are.   Sequoia's teachers are reflective, life-long learners.  Sequoia's teachers innovate and work together daily to provide relevant, engaging instruction. They are forward-looking.  While it is always best to encourage students to be the ones to advocate for themselves, Sequoia teachers anticipate questions and are the best source for direct information about what's happening in the classroom and with your student.

"Tension on campus between various groups of students is a regular disruption to the safety of a large public high school like Sequoia."
This misconception is easily dispelled by visiting at lunch and observing the laughing students, strong adult presence, and empty hallways 1-2 minutes BEFORE the tardy bell rings.  Sequoia's relative low suspension and expulsion data (at the fore of outstanding progress district-wide) confirms what you see on our campus.  Factors contributing to Sequoia's safe and pleasant school climate are varied.  We have great families in our community who reinforce the value of education and are strong partners with the school (thank you!).  Our teachers and staff believe all students can be successful and come to school each day with unconditional positive regard for kids.  Finally, and most importantly, Sequoia upperclassmen pass down these values of kindness and tolerance to the new students as part of Sequoia's tradition of Unaliyi: A Place of Friends.

Have a great week!

Sequoia PTSA Welcomes You! 
Let us help you clear your Back to School to-do list!
  1. Buy school supplies √
  2. Return textbooks from last year √
  3. Organize carpool √
  4.  JOIN the PTSA <- DO THIS!
Your $20 annual membership shows your commitment to a group whose purpose is to help make Sequoia a place where Parents, Teachers, and Students are welcome and can feel the UNALIYI spirit!

Our amazing PTSA parent volunteers...
  • work to allocate $18,000 in funds from the SHS Ed Foundation to provide mini-grants to student groups and teachers throughout the year.
  • coordinate the school wide Reflections Art Contest which encourages our students to submit original works in the areas of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.
  • give our Juniors college application experience through the Junior Scholarship Program
So please,  JOIN  and while you're at it, sign up your student and spouse as well!  We're looking forward to a great year and a PTSA that's stronger than ever!  
Having trouble buying your membership through the PTSA store?  Please let our Membership Chair know (
SHSEF to Grant Over $500K in 2018-19
The Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) w elcomes you to the 2018-19 school year! SHSEF broke all of our fundraising records last year and will grant over $500K to programs and staff this academic year to help every Sequoia student reach their highest potential. Thank you to our generous families, community members and local business sponsors!
Among our funding targets are:
* Afterschool Homework Center Staffing  
* Chromebooks
* College Center Assistant
* Freshmen Core Subject Class Size Reduction
* Performing and Visual Arts Materials
* Student and Staff Mini-Grants
* Teacher Development
* and much more!
Learn more about our programs, how to volunteer and make a donation online at to help us reach our $525K goal for the 2018-19 campaign.  
coffeeStaff Appreciation Coffee Cart

We need your help stocking the PTSA coffee cart with tasty breakfast treats to show appreciation for our Sequoia staff & teachers the morning after Back-to-School Night. It's a late night, so our teachers really appreciate being perked up the next morning.
Please consider  signing-up to help make this event special for our hard working Sequoia team on Friday morning, August 31, by either contributing a food item or helping serve hot beverages.  
PhotoSchool-Wide Photo Days are Tuesday, August 21 & Wednesday, August 22 

LifeTouch Studios will once again be on campus for school-wide photo days.

School dress code applies during school photos, and students will not be able to obscure their appearance with hats, wigs, non-prescribed eyewear, etc. 

If you would like to purchase the photos ahead of time, click here.   Once you are on the LifeTouch website, click on the blue link in the center of the web page that reads: "Find your picture day and your picture day ID."  Follow the prompts from there.  Pre-purchasing is not required, but it will speed the process of purchasing photos.
School Photo Helpers Needed   
Assist LifeTouch photographers with handing out name cards and organizing students.   Sign up to help with photos.  
  • Tuesday & Wednesday, August 21-22: Shifts are between 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 28 (re-takes): Shifts are between 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Help Needed with Textbook Check-In! 
With the Media Center operating out of Room 128 this year, we are looking for volunteers to help with the mobile check-in process in classrooms, especially on Tuesday, August 21 and Wednesday, August 22.  Volunteers who are mobile as well as comfortable with a light tech task (scanning), please join us.  We can also use volunteers to help process new textbooks in Room 128.

Once our new space is ready, we will need an army of volunteers!  Thank you in advance for your dedication to the Sequoia Media Center.  Please report to Ms. Elizabeth Snow. 
  • August 15 - 24:  8:30 - 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
  • Two volunteers per shift - sign-up here.
Seniors - Mandatory Counseling  
Please check your email for instructions on how to book your mandatory appointment with your counselor to review your graduation & post-secondary status.  
Thank You to All Who Helped Make Our Back-to-School Events a Success!  
Staff Welcome Back Luau Luncheon
Thank you for all of the generosity from families who contributed to the Welcome Back Luncheon for Staff & Teachers.  The feedback was fantastic on the luau-themed luncheon that included teriyaki chicken, rice, macaroni salad, Hawaiian rolls, fresh fruits, yummy desserts, and delicious salads made by Merce Carroll.  A special shout-out to the Hospitality Committee led by Jennifer DiGrande, Laura Vella-Fukuji & Blanca Crispin.
We greatly appreciate all of the volunteers who helped delight the teachers, including: Andrea Hernacki, Anne Scholes, Carmen Alvarado, Blanca Crispin, Catherine Heller, Cheryl diTargiani, Edith Alvarez, Eiri Inenaga, Elvie Tomacder, Erika Pretell, Gigi Schmuckal, Grace Schulz, Jan Benway, Jane Taylor, Janette McAfee, Jasmin Peccei, Jasmine Kuramoto, Jen Holmes, Jen Pedrotti, Jen Sharratt, Jessenia Linares, Jocelyn Kelemen, Julie Juergens, Kate Wormington, Kim Sichlinger, Kirsten Smith, Laura Vella-Fukuji, Maia Schneider, Marianne Cheatham, Marianne Jett, Marisela Gomez, Marisol Pineda, Marlena Griffin, Merce Carroll, Pam Delgado, Patty Leeper, Saba Malik, Sam Tipirneni, Sarah McCaughey, Shelly Gayner, Sherri Horan, Stacy Huisman, Susan Lier, Susan Linkwitz, Susie Gilbert, Telesia Kanongataa, Wendy Kelly, Yolanda Menez.
PTSA Help Desk  
Thanks to Gayle Hoch for organizing and along with Tricia Smith, Saba Malik and Susie Gilbert, for sharing their smiles and pointing our families in the right direction at the PTSA Help Desk on Monday and throughout the day last Tuesday.  
Frosh Ice Cream Social 
On Monday, August 13th, the first ever "Freshmen Ice Cream Social" was held to welcome freshmen and their families to Sequoia.  It was a great hit (despite the organizers worrying nobody would attend!) . Over 100 students and their parents and guardians showed up, made ice cream sundaes, played "Freshmen Bingo" (the only teenager-approved game allowed), won some Starbucks gift cards, and generally seemed to really enjoy themselves. 
A huge shout-out to organizers, Heather Kirkpatrick and Dina Acreman, and their ice cream-scooping team, Karin Culverhouse, Lloyd Acreman, Natalie Henderson, and seniors, Jane Acreman, Ricky Viegas and Liam Crettol.  Here's hoping this will become an annual Sequoia tradition!
Highlights from 12th Annual Alumni Association Picnic
Kenny Ortega and Cheer
Kenny Ortega, Sequoia alum and renowned producer/director of hits such as High School Musical surrounded by Sequoia's Cheer Team 
A beautiful Saturday on Sequoia's vibrant campus was the backdrop for the 12th annual Alumni Association Picnic which was held on August 18, 2018.  Several hundred attendees enjoyed a BBQ lunch, caught up with friends from the past and were treated to performances from Sequoia's 2018-2019 Cheer team and the Chamber Choir.   
The emcee recognized the alumni who came from the furthest distance - Sweden - and the oldest class member represented - class of 1940 to the most recent member - class of 2017!
Chamber Choir
Sequoia's Chamber Choir with Principal Sean Priest and Choir Director Othello Jefferson 
Principal Sean Priest gave campus tours, allowing folks to revisit the "good old days" as well as see the exciting new changes that have enhanced the school. It is safe to say that a good time was had by all!

If you are a former Sequoia student and would like to join the Alumni Association contact:

Ken Rolandelli
President, Sequoia High School Alumni Association
Phone: (650) 368-0805
P. O. Box  2534
Redwood City , CA 94064-2534
In This Issue

Tuesday, August 21 &
Wednesday, August 22
8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Photo Day

Thursday, August 30
6:30 p.m.

Back-to-school night

Friday, August 31
Staff Appreciation Coffee Cart, Teacher's Lounge on 2nd Floor of Main Building

Friday, August 31
Minimum Day Schedule

Monday, September 3
Labor Day - No School

Quick Links
PTA Slogan
California State PTA Statement on Family Separation and the U.S. Administration's "Zero Tolerance" Immigration Policy
Sequoia Sentinel
If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel, please email the article/blurb by the end of the day on Thursday. See Guidelines for news submissions. 
Find past issues of the Sentinel at  
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Parent Education

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ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety
Documentary Film + Panel Discussion
Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall 
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City

What's causing the anxiety epidemic in our children and teens? Join us for a special screening of the IndieFlix documentary, ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, followed by a panel discussion with students, mental health professionals, and ANGST executive producer Karin Gornick.
This powerful new film features candid interviews with youth and young adults who suffer from, or have suffered, from anxiety. ANGST includes discussions with mental health professionals about the causes of anxiety, as well as help, resources, and tools for students and parents.
Parents, students (ages 10 and up), educators, and community members welcome! Spanish subtitles will be available. Free admission and light refreshments.
ANGST presented by SUHSD Wellness Advisory Council (WAC). Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by SHSEF, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series.
Charlene Margot, M.A. l  CSM Consulting
650.868.0590 |
Community News

Redwood City Community Theatre Presents: The Wedding Singer
In Carrington Hall
Friday, August 24 at 7:00 p.m. 
Saturday, August 25 at 7:00 p.m.  
Sunday: August 26 at 3:00 p.m.  
Tickets: Available HERE 
It's 1985 and rock-star wannabe Robbie Heart, who still lives in his grandmother's basement, is New Jersey's favorite wedding singer. He's the life of the party until his fiance, Linda, leaves him at the altar.  Shot through the heart, Robbie is so distraught that he makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. When he meets Julia, an admiring young waitress, Robbie falls madly in love. The only trouble is that Julia is about to be married to a Wall Street shark, and unless Robbie can pull off the performance of a decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.
With a score that pays loving homage to the pop songs of the 1980s, The Wedding Singer takes us back to a time when hair was big, greed was good, collars were up, and a wedding singer might just have been the coolest guy in the room!
More details can be found at
Free Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night's Dream in Redwood City
Front Lawn of Sequoia High School
Saturday, August 25 at 7:00 p.m.  
Sunday, August 26 at 4:00 p.m. 
Tickets: FREE Event 
The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is proud to present our 2018 Free Shakespeare in the Park production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
A Midsummer Night's Dream follows the misadventures of four young lovers, a group of aspiring actors, and a team of mischievous fairies as they all enter the woods outside Athens on a summer night. The ensuing hilarity and chaos create an evening filled with love and laughter. Bring your family and friends, a blanket, and a picnic to enjoy professional theater at no charge in a beautiful park setting near you!

No ticket or reservation needed - just come and enjoy the show!
Shows take place on the park-like grounds of Redwood City's historic Sequoia High School,
1201 Brewster Ave @ Broadway