September 4, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
topPTSA President's Message
Some may think I am a bit crazy, but on Tuesday evening, one of my favorite meetings of the school year will happen. It's a meeting the PTSA hosts which gives Principal Sean Priest the opportunity to welcome families to the new school year. Officially, we call this kick-off meeting the "Principal's Welcome," although personally, I like to think of it as a more casual "The State of the School" address.

At these meetings, Mr. Priest tends to share updates with families about the general focus for the year, as well as updates on construction, staffing and even District wide issues. Then, parents are given the opportunity to ask questions. Last week, as Sean and I were discussing some plans for this meeting, I asked him how long he would like to allocate for the Q&A and he responded, "As long as it takes to answer all the questions!" So, truly, if you have questions or need more information, this is a great opportunity to get the information you need.

Additionally, this is another great time for parents 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. Plus, it's a great time to JOIN as a member to our PTSA. We will have a table set up with membership forms and we are able to 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 student and staff at SHS.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is a chance for parents to sign-up as committee volunteers. Participation can take many forms and we have opportunities that vary in duration, time commitment and scope! We need your help on 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. If you are not able to join the meeting, but still want to do some committee work, please e-mail me at and I'll be sure to pass your name onto the appropriate team lead!

So, please join us tomorrow for the:

Principal's Welcome
Tuesday, September 5
At 7pm
in the
Multi-Purpose Room
Sequoia High School

September can be a crazy month for families. Back-to-school, whether for Elementary, Middle, High School or College, can be a challenge at its best and overwhelming at its worst. I hope you have survived that initial chaos, and that the first thirteen days at Sequoia have started off well for you and your children. We're looking forward to a great year of building community, having fun and supporting our students, families and teachers!

I hope to see you all on Tuesday!
Happy September -
Lauren Pachkowski
PTSA President  

New Faces Around School
This year Sequoia welcomes 8 new teachers and staff to our existing rock-star faculty line-up!

Here they are:

1) Monica Alcantar is a graduate of Sequoia High School. After teaching in San Jose, she is joining the World Language department, teaching Spanish.

2) Vicki Barone comes to us with many years of experience in English and instructional coaching. She taught in Salinas and Gilroy and will join the English department this year, teaching three sections.

3) Atiba Williams is a graduate of Menlo-Atherton High School and has taught in the district for several years, mostly at Redwood High School. He will be teaching P.E. at Sequoia this year.

4) Karen Arle has taught several years at East Palo Alto Academy. She is joining the staff of Sequoia and teaching English.

5) Leah Thomas taught in San Francisco before coming to Sequoia. She is joining the science department, teaching biology in the Health Academy and IB program.

6) Lilian Humphrey is the youngest teacher to join the Sequoia staff this year, teaching in the English department. She grew up in the Bay Area and did her student teaching in Campbell. 

7) Patty Vlakahos brings a wealth of experience in counseling from her time in South San Francisco School District. She will join the counseling team in our Guidance Department.

And last but not least, our new Instructional Vice Principal: Kristin Stout!

8) Kristin Stout has worked in the district for 20 years. Most recently as the Director of PD and Curriculum at the district office, she has taught at both Menlo-Atherton and Sequoia High School.

Other changes in certificated staff this year include:

* Melissa Perez- who has been promoted to Head Counselor
* Shari Schussel- now working as a counselor in the TRC
* Sophia Olliver- moved down the hall from IVP to AVP

We are so please to have you all at Sequoia!
Principal's Welcome Tuesday, Sept. 5
We hope to see you at the Principal's Welcome  tomorrow, September 5 at 7 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room.  
Come listen to Principal Sean Priest speak, followed by a question & answer time.  

Also, meet other Sequoia parents and find out more about PTSA activities; it's a great way to start off the year! 

Saturday 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!
Class of 2018:Join Friends for Football and Concession Sales
Come join Senior parents as we sell concessions during the home football games. Be a barista for a night making iced or hot mochas, serving hot cocoa and coffee and selling freshly popped
popcorn. All proceeds go toward a Safe & Sober Grad Week inJune, which include Senior Brunch and Senior
BBQ, as well as Grad Night, when our graduates cruise around the SF Bay on board a Hornblower Yacht.

Come join the fun on one (or more!) of the Friday night football games. Sign up for a shift at one of the Sequoia home games. Can't make it to the game? Sign up to donate items needed to run the concession stand. Click here to help out.

Friday, Sept 8 vs Skyline - volunteers still needed!
Friday, Sept 15 (JV only) vs Santa Clara
Friday, October 13 vs Menlo School
Friday, October 20 vs Kings Academy (and Homecoming!)
Friday, October 27 vs Woodside

Contact Adrienne Heist  with questions.

District Newsletter Available
Dear Sequoia Union High School District Community,
Welcome back to the new school year! We hope you enjoy the August edition of District's newsletter.

Estimada communidad de Distrito Escolar de Sequoia,
¡Bienvenidos al nuevo año escolar! Esperamos que disfrute de la edición de agost boletín del distrito.
Coffee Cart Thank You!
On Friday morning, parents and students served hot espresso drinks and tasty breakfast treats to much deserving Sequoia teachers and staff members. Some teachers pre-ordered and received convenient in-class deliveries and others stopped in the staff lounge, but all enjoyed the artfully decorated hard boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt, bagels, cream cheese & peanut butter, as well as a hot beverage of their choice. Each teacher and staff member expressed their appreciation and it was the perfect pick-me-up following back-to-school night and a great way to kick-off the labor day holiday weekend.

Volunteers from the PTSA hospitality team set up a festive breakfast spread, and leadership students jumped in to help with the deliveries. Thank you very much to everyone who helped make this event special for our amazing Sequoia staff, especially:

Parent Helpers - Carmen Alvarado, Blanca Crispin, Jennifer DiGrande, Cynthia Giovannetti, Lisa Hane, Rachel Krueger, Alisa MacAvoy, Hilary Paulson, and Mailin Villeda

Student Helpers - Ally Carmichael, Kelly Clarke, Abbey Haas, Anika Huisman, Yareli Solis, and Emma Taylor

Food Donors -

Noreen Abad, Judy Adams, Heather Alexander, Annie Baker, Oma Bomya, Jenn Bulka, Michelle Cheng, Dorith Dooley, Angelica Estrada, Cynthia Giovannetti, Julie Gleason, Ines Gomez, Marlena Griffin, Kate Hand, Janet Hart, Sherri Horan, Alex & Torri Horovitz, Stacy Huisman, Barbara Jakoby, Julie Juergens, Jocelyn Kelemen, Susan Leathers, Susan Lier, Sarah McCaughey, Alisa MacAvoy, Holly Matsuo, Jackie Melz, Gabriela Mendoza-Evans, Shannon Murray, Bob & Rina Nuti, Jasmin Peccei, Michelle Rout, Anna Sanchez-Salgado, Caitlin Schneider, Elvie Tomacder, Susie Vick, and Ann Weaver

Coffee Cart - Rich from Coffee Concepts

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

Monday, September 4
Labor Day, School Holiday 

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

Wednesday, September 6
6pm 12th grade College and IB Info Night -  Carrington Hall

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
Wednesday, 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


Getting Started on Your College Essays workshop, Sept. 27, 7-8:30pm

This workshop  for seniors includes writing exercises, the anatomy of essays, pacing suggestions, writing tips, and other key info in a supportive atmosphere limited to nine students. "This helped so much! It's so comforting to pleasantly dive into the essay process," said a student from the August workshop.

Given by local parent  and professional editor Heather Woods of Heartwood Editing. Cost:  $30. Location: Redwood City Downtown Library. RSVP here,  or see In addition, tips and other information are posted weekly on the Facebook site.
(" The meeting space is provided as a community service by the City of Redwood City. The City neither sponsors nor endorses this event nor the presenting individual or organizations.")