September 3, 2018     

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPTSA President's Message
If you only attend one PTSA meeting this year, tomorrow's Principal's Welcome event in Carrington Hall is the one.  Of course, I'd encourage you to attend the rest of the monthly meetings as well but tomorrow's is a bit different because Principal Sean Priest will welcome families to the new year with his annual "State of the School" talk.  His presentation will inform us on the general focus for the year, as well as updates on staffing, construction and district-wide issues.  Parents will then have the opportunity to ask questions so this is a great time to get the information you need.  In future PTSA meetings, Mr. Priest will open with a brief update and then we'll break for ELAC and PTSA business.
This meeting is also a good opportunity to connect with other parents.  Many of our PTSA leaders will be there to help out and are also able to answer questions you might have.  It's also a great time to JOIN as a member of our PTSA.  Membership forms will be available at the PTSA table and we accept cash or checks as payment for your $20 membership fee.  We count on your membership fee to help support the programs we provide to the students and staff at Sequoia.  Representatives from the Sports Boosters and the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) will be on hand to share information about those organizations. 
Last week, I dropped my oldest child off at college for the first time and it got me thinking how fast our family's time at Sequoia is passing.   Initially, I felt overwhelmed at Sequoia until I realized that showing up and helping out was the best way to learn my way around the school and community.   To my surprise it was actually fun and a great way to meet other parents and teachers.  Participation can take many forms and we have opportunities that vary in duration, time commitment and scope.  There are a variety of committees that support everything from Staff Appreciation events to Graduation Activities, from Mini Grants to Junior Scholarships, from the Reflections Art Program to helping proctor IB/AP tests in the Spring.  We'll have sign-up sheets to help you decide how you might want to get involved.   So, please join us tomorrow for the:    
Principal's Welcome Event
Tuesday, September 4 at 7 p.m.
Carrington Hall, Sequoia High School 
September can be a crazy month for families.  Back-to-school nights, whether for elementary, middle, high school or college, can be a challenge at its best and overwhelming at its worst.  I hope your family is settling into your new routine and that the first days at Sequoia started off well for you and your students.  We're looking forward to a great year of building community, having fun and supporting our students, families and teachers!  If you are not able to attend tomorrow, but still want to do some committee work, please e-mail me at and I'll be sure to pass your name on to the appropriate team leader. 

I hope to see you all on Tuesday! 
Happy September - 
Erika Pretell
PTSA President  

What Is The PTSA?   
Get Involved
The Sequoia PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) is part of a nationwide network of 4 million families, students, educators and community leaders working to improve education, health and safety conditions for our children.  There is safety in numbers!  Here are some the benefits our PTSA receives:
Guidance to Run Our PTSA - our volunteers are provided with resources, training and support so that we maximize the impact of the time we donate to Sequoia High School.
Established Financial Safeguards - our volunteers, events and finances are protected by low-cost group insurance.
Our Voices are Heard - our families have a mechanism to influence issues that affect our children that extend beyond the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District.
Our membership is our strength and our voice, and without our members, we wouldn't be able to do all the good things we do for children and families. Please JOIN the Sequoia PTSA today.
Having trouble buying your membership through the PTSA store?  Please let our Membership Chair know (
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Welcome to Our New Teachers/Staff Members!    
At our recent Back to School night, you may have noticed some new faces as you cruised the halls looking for your student's classes.  Feel free to give them an UNALIYI welcome and if you'd like to learn a little more about each new staff member, please click HERE

First year teachers:
Hannah Singh: English
Diana Nguyen: Social Studies 
Mary Alice Davis: Biology and Physics
Alex Lopez: English
Regina Sharp: Student Teacher/Intern
Teachers/Staff from other Sequoia Union District schools:
Laura Duran: Guidance Counseling
Pablo Aguilera: Social Studies
Fred Kessler: Guidance Counseling

Teachers/Staff who arrived from different districts or states:
Margaret Sullivan: Math
Andrea May: English
Liz Blackwell: Special Ed./English.
Jennifer De Rego: P.E.
Maggie Sharp: Math
Matt Miller: STARS Program

Teachers/Staff who returned to Sequoia after working elsewhere:
Jack West: Science Tech Support 
Allison Hyde: Bilingual Resource Teacher 

Other Staff:
Alejandro de Miranda: Psychologist 
Andrea Harris: Psychologist
Victoria Storr : Psychologist 
Christina Navas: Speech Therapist  
Marion Welch: Speech Therapist
Vera Parr: Speech Therapist

A big Sequoia welcome to ALL!
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Mini-Grant Applications are Now Open!  
It's Mini-Grants time!  Twice each year, the PTSA, through the support of the SHSEF, offers Mini-Grants to enhance the excellent education offered at Sequoia High School.  These grants are designed to encourage creative approaches to learning and/or to address compelling need which would otherwise go unfunded.  Students, teachers and staff may apply.  Application deadline is Friday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m.

Parents, is your student a member of a club or activity that is ready to take on a new project?  Please encourage him or her to apply.  Additional information and application are available on the PTSA website.

Would you like to be on the front row to some of Sequoia's innovative educational efforts?  Consider joining our team to help with the selection process.  If you have a few hours to review applications and meet with the committee, we would love to have you on board.  No experience is necessary, and there will be seasoned committee members assisting along the way.  This is a great opportunity for new as well as returning Sequoia parents to learn about the great projects percolating in our school!  Our fall meeting will be held on Thursday, September 20 at 7 p.m.

Contact our Mini-Grants committee chairs Marlena Griffin and DeeDee Clarke at
Senior Parents: Help Your Class Earn Dollars for Grad Night by Helping with Football Concessions! 
The Class of 2019 parents are working 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 14, 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. 
Love Bags are Here!
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.  See this flyer for details.
Check out all the different styles and order at  Remember to use Promo Code SEQUOIA18 at checkout. 
Looking for a Soft Landing as You Watch Sequoia Sporting Events?
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
Attention IB Families!   
How can you get information about the ICAP and IB Programs?  What are you and your student suppose to be doing each year to prepare for the college application process?  Get these questions answered and many more at the IB College Grade Level Meetings presented by the College Advisor, Teresa Ignaitis, and the IB Coordinator, Lisa McCahon.  All students wanting to attend a four year university and/or interested in or taking an IB course should attend with their parents/guardians.  All grade-level meetings are held at 6 pm in Carrington Hall.  
A separate meeting in Spanish will be held for parents at the same time in the College Career Center.  All students should attend the English meeting in Carrington Hall.
  • 12th Grade: September 5th
  • 11th Grade: October 10th
  • 10th Grade: October 17th
  • 9th Grade: October 24th
These meetings are the main way Sequoia disseminates information about college and IB to families.  We look forward to seeing you all there! For more information, contact: 
Lisa McCahon (
IB Coordinator
650-369-1411 Ext.#63103 
For students testing this year, registration will take place in class in September and October.  Please read about payment instructions here
In This Issue

Monday, September 3
Labor Day - No School

Tuesday, September 4
7:00 p.m.
Principal's Welcome, Carrington Hall  

Wednesday, September 5
6:00 p.m.
IB 12th Grade Info Meeting, Carrington Hall

Thursday, September 13
M-A Parent Ed. - Mindful Parenting, MAPAC, Atherton

Monday, September 17

Professional Development Day - No School

Principal's Welcome
September 4
7:00 p.m. 
Sequoia seal library window  
We hope to see you tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. in Carrington HallPrincipal Sean Priest will speak about the latest developments at Sequoia, followed by a question & answer session.
Also, meet other Sequoia parents and find out more about PTSA, SHSEF and Booster activities; it's a great way to start off the year!
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
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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Mindful Parenting: How to Raise Kids While Reclaiming Your Sanity
Leah Weiss, PhD, Stanford University, Author: How We Work  
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 7:00pm - 8:30pm 
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton, CA 94027 
How can you raise children and teens who are more creative, compassionate, and resilient? 
Join us for a lively discussion about what parents can do to remain mindful - and not go insane! - while navigating the ups and downs of raising kids. Using self-compassion methods and tips and tricks to stay mindful on any given day (yes, even the hectic ones), Dr. Leah Weiss will lead attendees towards a calmer and more purposeful parenting path.

Leah Weiss, PhD, MSW, is a teacher, researcher, and meditation expert at Stanford University specializing in the application of mindfulness and compassion. Her new book, How We Work, launched in March 2018.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Spanish subtitles and light refreshments will be offered. FREE admission.
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 |
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