September 24, 2018     

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPrincipal's Message
What was going on while students were at home last Monday during Professional Development Day?

I've often said there are two kinds of professional learning: the kind that tells us what we need to do and the kind that helps us think about the problems we need to solve.  

Monday, Sequoia High School staff joined the rest of the district in an in-service day at Menlo-Atherton High School.  Participants selected from over 40 morning and afternoon sessions ranging from how to support students' written analyses in history classes to rich dialogue in math classes (tagline for the session: "Never Say Anything a Kid Can Say").

Many teachers at Sequoia, I'm proud to report, facilitated sessions.  Others divided their attendance strategically with members of their departments or curricular teams in order to maximize the reach of the ideas offered.  The day did much to move us closer to the district's vision of rigorous, engaging, standards-aligned instruction with embedded language supports and meaningful technology integration, and Sequoia's vision of equity in access + equity in outcomes .

On the homefront, each department has taken a day this month to collaborate and grow in our teaching and learning.  These department release days are a tradition at Sequoia and are only possible through the generosity of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) .  Over the past four years, this time has been used to boost our practice in the:
  • Implementation of IB-aligned approaches to teaching and learning across all core content areas (2015)
  • Equitable evaluation of our grading practices to reflect the standards and skills students have mastered (2016)
  • Identification and sharing of best practices for differentiated learning to better meet the needs of all students (2017)
  • Facilitation of richer learning experiences for students through the alignment of standards, assessment, and grading (2018)
These release days are facilitated by members of our administrative team and planned with input from department chairs and curricular team leads.  It is intense, deeply involved work, and can only be accomplished by taking a full day away from the classroom to focus and dig in.  

In this setting, and by framing our work around our school mission and the core value of unconditional positive regard for kids, larger conversations can breathe and flourish.  How do we make rigorous standards-aligned learning more relevant?  What opportunities are we missing to build students' critical thinking skills?  What role does technology and digital literacy play in connecting academic standards with 21st-Century career readiness?

One comment from our feedback form best captured the spirit of intent behind this annual endeavor: "Today's Dept. Release Day was an excellent use of my time.  It was meaningful, useful, and productive.  Great group.  Great facilitation.  Oh, and lastly, I LOVE our school's mission statement ; it speaks to the spirit and intention of our work."

I hope, as members of our community, this week's message helps you appreciate our teachers' dedication to doing the work that needs to be done while ALSO thinking deeply about the problems we're trying to solve.  I know it inspires me every day.

Have a great week!

Family Center
Children's Corner in the Family Center
The Family Center is up and running!  We are hard at work making sure families complete their free/reduced lunch applications (see below for a chance to help!), providing lunch vouchers for those students whose applications are in the process of being approved, and providing discounted bus passes for those in need.  On the academic front, we are busy communicating with the College and Career Center and the IB Offices to ensure qualified students get an IB Scholarship or college exam fee waivers (PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP/IB).
What else do we do?  We provide various resources to families, such as referrals and connections to the Second Harvest Food Bank and assist families in transition.  Our doors are open to parents who would like to come to the Family Center and use a computer to check their student's grades/attendance.  Younger children are welcome and we provide a special corner just for them.

Through the support of a special donor, we were also able to provide laptops to four students who were in urgent need.  Additionally, ELAC officers are getting ready for this year's monthly meetings, the Staff/Teacher Appreciation Luncheon, and preparing to partner with the PTSA and the whole Sequoia community to launch the annual Holiday Adopt-a-Family Program.  We are also looking forward to working with the Prom Dress Donation Program during the spring, and so much more!

The Family Center is in Rm. 129 and we hope you'll come by and say hello!
Elvira Macias
Bilingual Parent Liaison
Sequoia High School
(650) 367-9780 Ext. 63110
Back to top
Sequoia's Family Center Needs Your Help!   
Volunteer logo Do you have two hours you could share in the next week or two?  Sequoia's Family Center could use extra parent hands to help high-need students sign up for California's free and reduced priced lunch program.  This is a very rewarding experience as you will be helping parents take advantage of this important support program.  Help us make sure no Sequoia student goes hungry! 
The sign-ups are important not only for the free school meals for students, but also to qualify for federal programs such as Title 1, which brings in funding for instructional assistance.  No experience necessary to volunteer!  Elvira Macias, our Family Center Coordinator, will show you everything you need to know to be helpful with this process.  Spanish is a plus, but not necessary; any friendly, helpful parent can be a huge help!

Please SIGN UP to help here!
Questions? Please email Elisa Niño-Sears at
Back to top
Photo Re-takes on Friday, September 28
This is the last opportunity for students to re-take their school photos.  Please observe the school dress code. 
Thank you to all the volunteers who signed up to help LifeTouch this Friday and on prior Photo Days; it does take a village -- Dina Acreman, Judy Adams, Bonnie Alesna, Carolyn Arbuckle, Meredith Armienti, Gail Blomstrom, Linda Burt, Joanna Dagum, Sian Davies, Lisa Hane, Stephanie McCollum, Allison McNeilly, Victoria Mendiola, G. Mizutani, Caitlin Schneider and Jane Taylor. 
A special thanks to Grace Schulz for organizing the volunteers needed to assist LifeTouch in orchestrating Picture Days. 
Guest Speaker at Next PTSA Meeting 
Curious about how the Sequoia Guidance Department works?  Ms. Melissa Perez, Sequoia's new Head Guidance Counselor, will be making a special presentation at the next PTSA meeting.  Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about guidance services and the team behind it all.  Hope you can join us on Tuesday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Sequoia Cross Country Team's 1st PAL Meet
Noah Vauclair in the lead of the varsity boys race.
The Sequoia Cross Country Team competed in the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) Meet #1 at Half Moon Bay High School on September 18.  This event included 615 competing athletes from the 17 schools that make up the league, with 59 Sequoia runners participating.  The weather conditions were perfect for racing with temperatures in the low 60's and just a very slight breeze.
The varsity boys team included Noah Vauclair, Alonso Gonzales, Thomas Burt, Bradley Schulz, Weston Keitz, Alex Ferfas, and Eric Dubbel. They set a team record for this HMB course, placed 6th and 3 athletes recorded personal records (PRs). The team worked well together with the first four of our runners finishing in a close bunch, which is one of the keys to success in cross country.   
Beatrice Bugos leading a pack in the open girls race.
The Sequoia varsity girls team stepped up to the challenge and had an incredible 2nd place performance, trailing
Menlo-Atherton by a single point.  Five of our varsity girls set new PRs and the team also set a Sequoia record on the HMB course - a great accomplishment.  The varsity girls team included Gabi Cattalini, Yvonne Brien Miller, Sarah Fazio, Angie Salgado, Emma Sharratt, Shannon Coan and Brighid Bugos.
In every race, all of our Sequoia athletes dug deep as they sprinted to the finish line.  Two athletes, Jarren Brady and Joshua Navarro, completed their races while experiencing allergic reactions, a sign of true commitment to the team.  The big group of Sequoia athletes cheering on their teammates at different points around the course also showed how much this team cares for each other.  As a coach, commitment and team spirit is the true measure of a team, and these characteristics will assuredly bring our team great success in the future.
Congratulations to all our Sequoia athletes!
~ Coach McRae 
Reflections 2018-19: Heroes Around Me 
Give Voice to the Artist in You! 
A few submissions from the past. 
Reflections is a national celebration of student art. Unleash your creativity and start your project for this year's Reflections theme, Heroes Around Me; tema, Héroes a mi alrededor.
Enter your artwork and reflection about its meaning to you in one of six categories:
- Dance Choreography
- Film Production
- Literature
- Music Composition
- Photography
- Visual Arts
All entries will be recognized for their artistic achievement--participation itself is a meaningful contribution to the Sequoia community!  First-place finishers in each category enter the district competition. District winners move on to the state, and winners there ultimately compete at the national level.
Submissions can be applicable school assignments or your own creative project.  Background information on Reflections, rules, category descriptions, and submission guidelines available HERE.  
Due date is Monday, November 5, 2018.  
Questions: Contact Viki Young, Reflections 2018-19 Chair at
Attention Senior Parents - Many Donations Still Needed for Home Game Concessions or Help Run the Stand  
The Class of 2019 parents are working hard to raise funds for Safe & Sober Grad Week Activities that happen the last week of school in June:  Senior Brunch and Senior BBQ, as well as Grad Night itself, when our graduates cruise around the SF Bay on board a Hornblower Yacht.  Join the effort to make this a successful, safe and memorable week!
Football Concessions : Be part of the action during the Friday night home football games.  Chat with students and parents while making iced mochas, serving hot drinks and selling freshly popped popcorn.  Sign up for a shift at one of the Sequoia home games  (September 28, October 5  and  November 2) .  Can't make it to the game?  Sign up to donate items needed to run the concession stand.  Click here to help out!   
Contact Laura Nibbi (650-703-8877), or Diane Holman (408-335-5012) with questions.
Little Red Riding Hood Had Her Basket of Goodies For Granny - A LOVE Bag Could Be Just What YOU Need!  
Love Bags are now available for purchase! These bags are well-made, available in many different styles and great for gifts.  40% of each order placed goes directly to support our 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities.  Click on the flyer to the right for details. 
Check out all the different styles and order at .  Remember to use Promo Code  SEQUOIA18 at checkout.       

Homecoming is Around the Corner - Get Your Seat Cushion and Enjoy the Game in Comfort and UNALIYI Style!   
Show your school spirit and enjoy watching your favorite Sequoia games on a comfortable stadium seat cushion.  They feature our Unaliyi logo and have an easy carrying handle.  This fundraiser benefits seniors during 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities. 
You can purchase yours at home football games and online on our Webstore. 


Have You Joined the PTSA This Year?    
ptsa logo
Click  HERE to join online or use the purple button above.  
D on't want the hassle of another online login?  Go old school!   Fill out the membership form in  English or  Spanish .   Put the form and your check in an envelope and drop it off at the school office.  We'll take care of the rest!
Ten minutes and $20 is all it takes to make our Unaliyi spirit stronger!
In This Issue

Friday, September 28
Photo Re-take Day

Friday, September 28
4:30 p.m. (JV)
7:30 p.m. (V)
Football - Seq. vs. SSF,
Terremere Field

Tuesday, October 2 
7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 3
7:00 p.m.
Senior Financial Aid Night,
English) &
Carrington Hall (Spanish)

Friday, October 5
4:30 p.m. (JV)
7:30 p.m. (V)
Football - Seq. vs. Hillsdale,
Terremere Field

Monday, October 8
Indigenous People Day

Wednesday, October 10
8:30 a.m - 12:10 p.m.
PSAT for 10th and 11th Graders: modified B schedule after lunch
9th & 12th Graders:
1:00 p.m.
start time

Wednesday, October 10
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
IB 11th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

2018-19 Visual & Performing Arts Schedule 
music notes  
Mark your calendars for this year's events from our Visual and Performing Arts Department.  Be sure to check the school calendar for the most up-to-date information about the music, theater and dance programs as each event nears!
Quick Links
dream club
Mark your calendars for November 16, 2018 for Sequoia's 9th Annual Dream Club Dinner! 
Now's your chance to attend one of Sequoia's most inspirational events and support a worthy cause.  More information to come.   
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  
En Español
¿Quieres traducir este boletín ahora? Siga estas instrucciones para obtener una traducción:
1. Haga clic en "Click here" en la parte superior del correo electrónico: "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here."
2. Mantenga presionada la tecla Control (PC) y la tecla A para seleccionar toda la página, a continuación, mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla C para copiar la página entera.
3. Abra una página nueva del navegador web y vaya a
4. Coloca el cursor en la caja y mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla V para pegar el boletín completo en el cuadro de traducción.
5. Asegúrese de seleccionar "To: Spanish" en la parte superior de la página. Haga clic en el botón Traducir. La traducción al español debe aparecer en el lado derecho.
Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety
Documentary Film + Panel Discussion
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Date & Venue: Multiple dates and locations

Join us for special screenings  of IndieFlix documentary, ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, followed by a student panel.  This is an opportunity for parents, students, and community members to hear from students about how anxiety impacts their lives.
ANGST   features candid interviews with youth and young adults who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety. The film includes discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, as well as help, resources, and tools.
Parents, students (ages 10 and up), educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available. 
Dates & Details:
Thursday, October 11
Carlmont High School
1400 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont, CA
Tuesday, October 16
Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City, CA
Presented by SUHSD Wellness Advisory Council (WAC) with support from Children's Health Council, Sequoia Healthcare District, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, SafeSpace, and The Parent Education Series.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series.
Charlene Margot, M.A. | CSM Consulting
650.868.0590 |
Community News

Let's Talk About Sex! 
logoHealth Connected, the organization that provides Sequoia's sex education curriculum is currently collaborating with several statewide agencies that support comprehensive sex ed, and some AMAZING parent advocates, to create a campaign to celebrate #LetsTalkMonth this October.

#LetsTalkMonth promotes frank talk about sex between teens and "tweens" and the adults they trust to promote youths' well-being.  You can read more about it at #LetsTalkMonth.

Parents want to see the kids in their lives happy, healthy and thriving. Comprehensive sex ed in schools, along with open dialogue at home, can help make this a reality. October is #LetsTalkMonth - a time to promote open, caring conversations about sex and relationships within families. Follow   Health Connected on Facebook (@healthconnectedorg) the entire month of October for amazing tips and resources to have these discussions in your own home!

If you think comprehensive sex ed is important for teens, and that parents play a vital role in this education, join us! Be an advocate - follow, like, and share our posts!

Jennifer Rogers  |  Communications Manager & Senior Health Educator
Health Connected | P: 650.367.1937, x20 | F: 650.367.4940
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Do You Have a Student receiving Special Ed. Services?   
The SUHSD Transition Services Team is offering you and your student some exciting events:

Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Mills High School, Millbrae 

It's that time of year again when the San Mateo Commission on Disabilities is planning their annual  Transition to Independence  resource fair promoting independence and full participation of people with disabilities in San Mateo County.  

Last year, we were honored to host at Sequoia HS and you can s ee photos from last year's fair at Sequoia HS  here .  This year, we continue to collaborate with community agencies, other school districts in San Mateo and The County of San Mateo Commission on Disabilities to put together this event.
Students and their caregivers can explore resources, visit information tables, attend workshops, activities and demonstrations.  This is a great event for parents and students to access resources such as Department of Rehab, Colleges, Employment, Mental Health, Independent Living, Leisure and more, all in one space!!!

Free food, Free T-shirts, Free SWAG, Free shuttle from Millbrae CalTrain Station to Mills HS.  Quiet area will be available for those with sensory issues.

Recommended Audience: Open to the public

For questions or more info, contact:
Gail Oytas
650-369-1411, x22373
Transition Specialist and WorkAbility Coordinator 183-03 

Navigating Conservatorship  
Monday, November 05, 2018 
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Sequoia HS, Multi Purpose Room

Come join us as lawyer Alexis Lynch helps us understand the benefits and legalities of conservatorship. 

From her  website :
"Working with families to ensure their disabled family members were protected through conservatorship became Alexis' passion.  She launched her own practice to focus solely on this need.  She prides herself on her friendly and compassionate approach to representing clients within the special needs community."
Students and their caregivers currently open or eligible for Regional Center (GGRC) services are welcome!
For questions or more info, contact:
Gail Oytas,
650.369.1411 x22373 
Transition Specialist and WorkAbility Coordinator 183-03