August 21, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
School kicked off for students on Wednesday of last week.  With a few exceptions (single digits) all students grades 9-12 had located their classrooms and were in their desks learning by 8:40AM.  Joni Gordon, Sequoia counselor and 31-year veteran educator, remarked it was the smoothest opening to school she's ever seen.  Thanks to families for completing online registration prior to the start of school (helps tremendously getting us to a good start) and the PTSA volunteers who helped make 9th-grade/New Student Orientation a success and ran the help desk to assist students and families with fines, parking permits, and early photos in the days leading up to school.  

Of course, I have tremendous gratitude for our staff and teachers for their efforts in getting everything ready for the arrival of students on Wednesday as well.

Among those preparations is our annual kick-off meeting on Monday.  After district-wide convocation activities in the morning and another delicious luncheon hosted by the PTSA, Sequoia teachers and staff got down to business on Monday afternoon: introduction of new staff, nuts-and-bolts informational items for the year, and engaging in professional learning.  Someone a lot smarter than I once distinguished between the kind of professional development that tells us what we need to do versus the kind that helps us think about the problems we need to solve.  My preference for the latter guides the types of activities we engage in as a staff, especially at the start of the year.

One of the activities we facilitated was a set of readings aimed at teachers targeted at students at different grade levels.  Each of these readings was selected by one of the members of our administrative team, aligned with our mission and goals , and relevant to the one or more of our school-wide initiatives.  Here are the readings we discussed:

Our staff is committed to the belief that all students can achieve in a rigorous academic environment when the appropriate supports are in place.  We are ambitious in setting high expectations for our kids and dedicated to shepherding them to successful outcomes.  We are very much looking forward to new challenges and successes in the 2017-18 school year and thank families in advance for their partnership.

Have a great week!


Sequoia's Laura Larkin Selected for Robotics Leadership Conference

In July, math teacher and Sequoia robotics team advisor Laura Larkin was selected to attend a special leadership conference for mentors and teachers from the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology ) organization.  FIRST is the program in which our robotics team competes. Laura was one of only 12 mentors from FTC (our division for small robots), and 12 from FRC (big robots), selected from across the country to attend.  The conference was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force for promoting STEM education, and was held at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Laura started the robotics club at Sequoia about 12 years ago when a student, Nicholas Carlini, and his father, Giuliano, expressed interest in a robotics team.  Laura's approach for inspiring the team, which she wrote about in her application for the conference, is that "I let the students run the team while I am the 'guide on the side' and provide logistical support and supervision."
Laura writes about the conference: "We were treated like rock stars and had morning leadership and team building trainings, afternoon tours of robotics laboratories, wind tunnels, Space Command for geosynchronous satellites.  We also heard from Air Force Academy cadets and learned about opportunities in the Air Force.  It was inspirational to speak with the other mentors and we all shared some great ideas.  We ate in the Air Force Academy cafeteria, officers club, and fun restaurants in Colorado Springs. Everywhere we went, the military officers and presenters thanked us for teaching the next generation of STEM leaders. I am very excited to start the season." 

Read more about the conference here   and here .
If your student is interested in joining the Robotics Team, their meetings will begin the second full week of classes - watch for announcements at school!

Welcome Back Staff Luncheon
Welcome Back Staff Luncheon

Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped contribute food, supplies, and their time to make the August 14th Back-to-School Luncheon a success! Teachers, staff, and administrators enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared and served by parents, including salads, sandwiches, fresh fruit, chips, drinks, and homemade cookies. All of the Sequoia staff truly appreciated the luncheon hosted by the PTSA.

A special shout-out to the Hospitality committee: Jennifer DiGrande, Laura Vella-Fukuji, and Blanca Crispin, as well as all of the luncheon volunteers, including: Noreen Abad, Meredith Armienti, Annie Baker, Jan Benway, Alicia Bladen, Kara Cadagan, Marianne Cheatham, Sian Davies, Cheryl diTargiani, Susie Gilbert, Cynthia Giovannetti, Marlena Griffin, Gayle Hoch, Torri Horovitz, Stacy Huisman, Rachel Krueger, Susan Lier, Alisa MacAvoy, Janette McAfee, Sarah McCaughey, Patti Miller, Nancy Miyasaki, Grace Mizutani, Patricia O'Connor, Lauren Pachkowski, Caitlin Schneider, Maia Schneider, Anne Scholes, Grace Schulz, Jen Sharratt, and Danika Stanley.
Join The Sequoia PTSA!
Let us help you clear your to-do list!
  1. Purchase school supplies √
  2. Return textbooks from last year √
  3. Organize the carpool √
  4. JOIN the PTSA <- DO THIS!

For those who are new, here are just a few reasons why you should JOIN this vital organization:

PTSA parent volunteers...
  • work hard every week producing the Sequoia Sentinel on-line newsletter to ensure you are informed.
  • work to allocate $15,000 in funds from the SHS Ed Foundation to provide mini-grants to students and teachers throughout the year.
  • organize teacher hospitality events to help create an environment where our teachers feel welcome and appreciated.

For those who have been around a while, no more excuses: JOIN

Whether you are able to be involved - a little or a lot, we can't wait to meet you!

Your $20 membership ensures that we can keep doing what we do best - make Sequoia a place where, Parents, Teachers, and Students are welcome and can feel the UNALIYI spirit!

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!

Mark Your Calendars!
Sequoia's Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) department has another year full of wonderful events planned, starting with the Band/Orchestra Fall Concert on October 19, and Chicago, the Musical, the weekend of November 17-19. View this year's calendar here and save the dates!
Alumni Picnic

This past Saturday, over 350 Sequoia graduates from the past 70+ years gathered to eat, reminisce, and raise funds for the Sequoia High School Alumni Association. Under the shade of the beautiful trees near the entrance to the main hall, the SHSAA held its 11th annual picnic and fundraiser. 

Sequoia High School Alumni

This year's event was extra special for two reasons. First, our very own Grace Schulz was honored with a Purple Patriot Award! Grace, as well as alumna Carolyn Abbott Livengood '52, were recognized for their ongoing work to support SHS as well as the greater community. Many thanks to these special ladies for the Grace Schulz and Carolyn Abbott Livengood '52ir contributions!

Additionally, over 70 years after her graduation, Ruth Bunyard Bielenberg from the Class of '42 was able to join the festivities. And the 'famed' Treble Clef choir had a mini reunion while serenading the guests with some classic SHS songs.

The day was rounded out by entertainment by the Sequoia Cheer Squad, a Live Auction to raise funds for the Alumni Association, and campus tours led by Principal Sean Priest.

For information about the Alumni Association see their website .

Staff Appreciation Coffee Cart
We need your help to support the PTSA coffee cart and tasty breakfast treats to show our appreciation for our Sequoia staff & teachers the morning after Back-to-School Night. Our teachers really appreciate being perked up, so please sign-up  and help make this event special for our hard working Sequoia team on Friday morning, September 1st, by either contributing a food item or helping serve hot beverages.
You've been great, but we still need help!

Back to school volunteer needs are wrapping up but we could use just a bit more help.

Can you spare an hour or two to help with photos on August 24th-25th and September 28th or in the library August 21st - 25th. The work is easy and fun and a great way to see the school as it swings back into action!

Sequoia Sentinel
It's Monday Morning again! We hope you are enjoying the Sentinel.  We welcome your feedback and input

If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel, please send the information to our article collection address  by the end of the day on Thursday. Guidelines for news submissions can be found on the Sequoia PTSA website

Class email lists: In addition to the Sentinel, the PTSA sends out grade-specific information during the year. Be sure that you are subscribed to your "Class of" list for EACH of your students! Visit the Stay Informed: Subscribe section of the PTSA website. 

With Kindest Regards,

Torri and Alex Horovitz
2017 - 2018 Sentinel Editors 

In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Thursday, August 31
Back-to-school night (6:30pm)

Friday, September 1
Minimum Day

Monday, September 4
School Holiday 

Tuesday, September 5
Principal's Welcome (7:00pm)

Quick Links
About Us 

Submit news to the Sentinel: For instructions, click here.

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En Español
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Parent Education

The Well-Balanced Student, Challenge Success, Stanford Graduate School of Education
Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 pm  
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City

When we are too focused on grades and performance, we deny our children the time and energy they need to tackle the demanding work of growing up. In this presentation, you'll learn how you can establish a healthier home environment for your school-aged student, reduce academic stress without sacrificing achievement, and increase your child's resilience, creativity, and well-being.

Challenge Success, founded in 2003 at the Stanford Graduate School of
Education, partners with schools and families to provide kids with the academic, social, and em otional skills need to succeed now and in the future. Mary Hofstedt, Ed.M., is the Community Education Direc tor for Challenge Success.  Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.

Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the SHSEF, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.

Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, via
email or 650-868-0590. For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, 650-367-9780, Ext. 63105

Community News

To See, or Not to See     ... Hamlet on Sequoia's Front Lawn
Saturday, August 26 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, August 27 at 4:00 pm
Ticket Prices: FREE

In 2017, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates 35 years as the Bay Area's acclaimed provider of free and accessible Shakespeare performances and education programs.

This year, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival has returned to Sequoia with their latest production and everyone's invited. The final Redwood City performances are on Saturday, August 26th at 7:30 and Sunday, August 28th at 4:00. Bring a blanket or a chair and come see some excellent free theater!  For more information contact them here.