September 11, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
topPrinciple's Message
Many families from all parts of our community have reached out to staff members or me personally over the last week in response to the last week's rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Whenever immigration is prominent in the public sphere (especially given the current climate of public discourse), increased uncertainty and anxiety for many of our students and families is to be expected. Stress from uncertainty and anxiety inhibits learning -- anathema to the business of a school.

In an effort to quell some of this uncertainty, the information below is intended to spell out SUHSD policies and protocols for undocumented students/families as well as answer questions you or your students may have as we move forward together. Together, our job is to provide a rigorous, high-quality education to all students who enroll in our school. The Sequoia community has a long history of being strong advocates and allies for students, especially those traditionally marginalized in society such as the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, LGBTQ, and, of course, our undocumented students.

An educational community empowers its students with knowledge. This work is of consequence, never more than in times of turmoil. My message to students who are awakening politically (or angry/fearful/confused about political events) is that education is their most potent form of resistance: get your diploma and go to college -- we're here to help you get there!

Reviewing of SUHSD Policies and Protocols

This resolution passed by the Board of Trustees in December 2016 reaffirms our commitment to educate and support all students regardless of immigration status. As the resolution states, we do not ask for immigration status when students enroll and we will not release student information we do possess without a warrant, subpoena, or court order. The resolution also references the U.S, Supreme Court case Plyer vs. Doe 457 U.S. 202 (1982), which holds that school districts have a constitutional mandate to educate all students residing within their jurisdictional boundaries, regardless of immigration status.

While we have no information that the schools may become a setting from which ICE will seek to enforce immigration laws, our protocols, if such a situation were to arise, are as follows:

In the interests of maintaining student safety and minimizing disruption to the instructional program, law enforcement officers (excluding a regularly scheduled school resource officer) coming onto campus in a non-emergency situation will be asked to check in with the principal. If the matter involves immigration, the superintendent or designee will be immediately contacted and involved. If a law enforcement officer enters a classroom without a school administrator present, the classroom teacher will immediately contact a site administrator and await instructions.


What is it? What is it not?

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is an Executive Order enacted during the Obama Administration to provide limited immigration benefits to children who accompanied their parents as undocumented immigrants to the US. Among these benefits is the ability to apply for employment authorization (and pay taxes). There is a rigorous screening process. It is not a pathway to citizenship. Deferred Action status can be revoked at any time.

Who was eligible?

DACA eligibility required a US resident to have been:
  • under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012
  • continuously residing in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 to the present.
  • entered the U.S. without inspection or fell out of lawful visa status before June 15, 2012
  • brought to the U.S. while under the age of 16
  • present in the United States on June 15, 2012
  • in school, graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces
  • never convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or more than three misdemeanors of any kind
  • not a threat to national security or public safety.

Current status of DACA
Attorneys General from 11 states threatened to challenge the constitutionality of DACA. In response to these threats, the current US Attorney General officially rescinded the program in a statement last Tuesday (9/5/11). Those currently protected under DACA were given six months for the program to sunset. Those eligible for renewal within those six months have until October 5th to complete applications to submit paperwork and fees to extend their protections for two more years.

Why it matters at Sequoia
Sequoia student leaders and staff members have long been on the front lines of this civil rights movement. The DREAM Club predates DACA by several years. Many graduates currently receive the limited immigration benefits provided by DACA. It's current status creates great uncertainty and anxiety for them. For example, several Sequoia graduates (including siblings of current students) are presently enrolled in graduate school and, without DACA, may find themselves with no way to obtain lawful employment upon completing their studies.

How can I get more information?

Good resources here, here, and here.

Thanks to the parents and families who make this community a place of friends for all students!


Sean Priest
Sequoia High School
650-367-9780 x60010
Did you know that there are 2,161 students enrolled in Sequoia so far this year? And that 300 students are participating in fall sports, 204 are taking performing arts classes, and 60 students auditioned for Sequoia's fall musical, Chicago? Parents learned about Sequoia by-the-numbers at this year's Principal's Welcome.

On Tuesday, September 5th parents gathered in th MPR to hear Principal's State-of-the-School address, meet new Instructional Vice-Principal Kristin Stout, and have questions answered about the new school year. 
To kick off the event, PTSA President, Lauren Pachkowski presented Mr. Priest with a mock check totaling $138,002.54 representing the volunteer hour value of 4,849 hours logged by last year's generous parent community!
Would you like to help make that check even bigger next year? Keep reading the Sentinel for volunteer opportunities - there's something for everyone - and don't forget to JOIN the PTSA - click HERE 

Reflections Art Competition Now Accepting Submissions!
Is your student creative? Perhaps your student is in an art or dance class, or participates in theater events. Or maybe your student makes art on his/her own, takes photos and carefully curates an Instagram account, or makes short videos, or writes poems or stories.

We would love to recognize his/her efforts. Please tell your students about Reflections, the PTA Arts Recognition Contest. reflections art program There are 6 possible categories in which to enter. The theme their art must address this year is "Within Reach" and as always, interpretation of the theme is up to the students' imagination!

An overview, the rules, and entry forms are available on-line at the California PTA website. Fruther information will shortly be available on   the Sequoia PTSA website under the Programs / Reflections tab and in the College and Career Center.  

The deadline is November 6, 2017.  For more information e-mail

September 16th, 8:30am
Don't Let the Stampede Pass You By!

Calling all runners! Join us for the most beautiful run in Redwood City: the Sequoia Stampede 5K Fun Run/Walk followed by the Tot-Trot.

The Sequoia Stampede and Tot-Trot is more than a 5K is a fun-filled, community event and one of the core fundraising events for Sequoia Athletics. The Sequoia Stampede gathers families, neighbors, friends, students, athletes and businesses together for the common goal of supporting Sequoia High School's athletic programs.

Parents can run the Stampede at 8:30am and then the kids (5 and under) can run the Tot-Trot (2 laps around the Sequoia track) at 10am. It's a great way to meet and spend time with community members and local businesses.

Challenge your teacher, your family, or yourself! If you have an 8th grader who will attend Sequoia next year, this is a great opportunity for your student to get to experience Unaliyi at our high school, to meet the teachers, and the community members.

Registration Costs:
Adults (age 19+) $30
Students/Military $15
Children (18 & under) $15
Tot Trot (5 & under) $10
Sequoia Staff FREE!
Love Bags
LoveBags are now available for purchase!  These bags are well-
made, attractive and make great hostess or birthday gifts. 40%
of each order placed goes directly to support our 2018 Safe & Sober Grad Week activities. See this flyer for details.  

Bags can be ordered at

Enter code SEQUOIA

The Germans Are Coming!

A group from our German sister school will be visiting next month and we still need two homes for them. According to one parent who has hosted many times before, "My family is always impressed with the intelligent, curious and well behaved students that have stayed with us. The conversations we have had with the students have been an education for my children. I highly recommend hosting a student in your home!" If you are interested please contact the German teacher, Mr. Thorsten Weitzel. 
The visit will take place October 22nd to 29th.
Sequoia After-school Focused Enrichment Program:
Something for EVERYONE!
Did you know that Sequoia has an amazing menu of FREE before and after-school opportunities for your student?
Activities range from badminton club, academic tutoring, culinary arts, robotics and more!

Check out the SAFE website to see this fall's schedule and view their information video.
Classes are beginning now and many have a drop-in format.
Questions? Contact program directors Brenda Soto or Evelyn Valencia

Unidos Jamás Seramos Vencidos!
"United We Will Never be Defeated" read one of the posters proudly held by a Sequoia student at a recent vigil in Redwood City protesting the President's decision to end the deferred action for childhood arrivals program, commonly known as DACA. 
While it was a difficult couple of days for many of our students  and their families after the announcement was made, student s in Sequoia's the Dream Club refuse to be discouraged andcontinue to raise awareness of the obstacles that undocumented students face as they pursue their dreams of an education. Club leaders spoke in front of a big crowd at the DACA vigil on Wednesday evening to much applause. Many Sequoia staff members and families were there to show their support.

If you would like to know more about Sequoia's Dream Club, mark you calendar for Friday, November 17th - the night of Sequoia's annual Dream Club Dinner!

Club Day Is This Friday!
Club Day is Friday, September 15th during lunch, in front of the school. If your student is new or just looking for a club to join,
 please encourage them to swing by any one of the many tables.  Who knows, they may find they are the next world chess genius or a master at anime, or ready to solve global warming, or maybe they just want to get happy!

Sequoia Sentinel
Another Monday! 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

TODAY Monday, September 11
No classes for students, professional development for staff

Saturday, September 16
Sequoia Stampede

Tuesday, September 27
6pm 11th grade College and IB Info Night -  Carrington Hall

Thursday, September 28
Photo Retakes 

Thursday, September 28
7pm Sequoia Parent Education, "The Well-Balanced Student"
- Carrington Hall

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En Español
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Parent Education

Lee Daniel Kravetz and Julie Lythcott-Haims
Social Contagion: How to Catch Resilience
Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton CA 94025

Register Here 

Join us for an enlightening conversation with Lee Daniel Kravetz, author of Strange Contagion: Inside the Surprising Science of Infectious Behaviors and Viral Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves, and Julie Lythcott-Haims, NY Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult and Real American (2017).

Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.

the M-A PTA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Tauheed Zaman, M.D.
Clearing the Smokescreen: The Evidence on Marijuana
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, WHS Performing Arts Center (PAC)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside

What does the current evidence show about marijuana (cannabis)? As a parent, what should you know about the potency of today's marijuana - "weed" - and its effect on the developing adolescent brain? Don't miss this critical presentation on "clearing the smokescreen" around marijuana. 

Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the Woodside PTSA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.

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


Sequoia Aspiration Advocate Program (SAAP) is looking for mentors!
If you are a parent or a current or former Sequoia student, consider becoming a mentor for our most at-risk youth during their critical transition into high school. Connect with them as they work towards their goals.
What students develop: Trusting relationships, academic engagement, healthy outlets, leadership skills.
What mentors give: Positive guidance, supportive friendship, exposure to opportunities, tools for success.
What a mentor's role is: Mentors meet in a team of students and mentors weekly for 1-2 hours. Students attend once a week during a teacher approved class. Freshmen mentoring sessions are held on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, periods 1-6, and sophomore mentoring sessions are held every other Friday, periods 2, 4, and 6. Sign up for one session a week or several. 
Please sign up ASAP. Program runs from September 19th, 2017 - May 25th, 2018. The program runs through the end of the school year, but hopefully your relationship with the student will be a life-long one, but it's ok if it's not...
If you are interested please fill out this FORM

Questions? Contact Evelyn Valencia at