August 24, 2015
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
The start of a new school year is a great time to clear up long-held but inaccurate beliefs about Sequoia High School.  Correcting these misconceptions will hopefully provide new families with insight into our values and what drives us as well as practical advice to successfully navigate Sequoia and take advantage of its myriad resources.

"Zero and 7th period are optional"
Sequoia is able to offer a broad academic program which includes career academies and multiple specialized electives because of our 8-period bell schedule.  Students are scheduled into 0 and 7th period classes in order to meet as many course requests as possible (96-98% is typical).  This wouldn't be possible without having seven periods nor would it be possible to offer if 0 and 7th period were optional, even to scholar-athletes.  In other words, the Sequoia school day runs from 7:30 to 3:45.  It is important to note that, with a small number of special exceptions, students are not enrolled in 0 and 7th period classes at the same time.  

"The IB Programme is only for the most elite students"
We encourage and welcome students to take rigorous IB classes, especially students who are traditionally underrepresented in IB or AP courses.  60-70% of graduates from year to year pass at least one IB course.  A school goal is to increase that number.  What's more, assessments in many non-IB courses are aligned to IB courses to encourage and support students who want to push themselves and "jump tracks." Significant support is offered as part of the SAFE After School Program for students to be successful in IB classes.  The characteristics of the IB Learner Profile make their way into many Sequoia classes.  Most often, the IB programme at Sequoia is confused with the IB Diploma Programme.  In order to earn an IB Diploma, students must complete the most rigorous academic program offered at Sequoia, including multiple 2-year honors level IB courses, a special elective, hundreds of hours of community service, and an extended essay.  

"Sequoia's teaching staff is young and inexperienced"
The average Sequoia faculty member has been teaching for 11.4 years.  When brand new teachers are hired, it is most often out of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), with whom Sequoia has enjoyed a long partnership.  In line with the kind of learning we like to see, STEP teachers are trained with an emphasis on equity, differentiated engagement strategies, and collaborative, student-centered pedagogy.  Perhaps Sequoia's staff seems young because, at heart, they are.  Sequoia's teachers are reflective, life-long learners.  Sequoia's teachers innovate and work together daily to provide relevant, engaging instruction.   

"Sequoia's campus is less safe than other area high schools"
This misconception is easily dispelled by visiting at lunch and observing the smiling students, strong adult presence, and empty hallways 1-2 minutes BEFORE the tardy bell rings.  Sequoia's relatively low suspension and expulsion data (at the fore of outstanding progress district-wide) confirms what you see on our campus.  Factors contributing to Sequoia's safe and pleasant school climate are varied.  We have great families in our community who reinforce the value of education and are strong partners with the school (thank you!).  Our teachers and staff believe all students can be successful and come to school each day with unconditional positive regard for kids.  Finally, and most importantly, Sequoia upperclassmen pass down these values of kindness and tolerance to the new students as part of Sequoia's tradition of Unaliyi: A Place of Friends.

Have a great week!

Sean Priest
Sequoia High School Principal
Principal's Reception
Mark your calendars for the Principal's Reception next Tuesday, September 1, from 7-9 PM in the MUR.  This is a wonderful chance to meet Principal Sean Priest, who will speak and answer questions.  Also, come meet new AVP Gary Gooch!
Shopping for Back-to-School Supplies?
Purchases can help Sequoia!  If you find yourself in Office Depot buying school supplies, make sure you tell the cashier to credit your purchase to Sequoia High School.  A percentage of each purchase will go to Sequoia, thanks!

Jonathan Hoffman, English Dept. Chair, has a request!   smartphone_search.jpg
Have you "upgraded" your smartphone and still have the old one lying around? Mr. Hoffman is looking for working smartphones with chargers for Sequoia's English classes.  He wants to use them as tools for research, online quizzes, etc. While some classes use Chromebooks, these smartphones are great for simpler tasks and would be greatly appreciated!
Contact Mr. Hoffman at [email protected] for more information and where to drop them off.

Welcome New Faculty 
Meet Gary Gooch, our new Administrative Vice Principal (AVP) for 11th-12th grades!  Gary Gooch graduated from Sam Houston State University in Texas with a B.A. in Journalism. He received an M.S. in Environmental Studies and his Secondary Teaching Credential from the University of Montana. Gary began his career in education at the postsecondary level teaching field courses in Ecology and Habitat Conservation. After 10 years in Montana, Gary moved to San Francisco and began teaching English at South San Francisco High School. Gary became an Administrative Vice Principal at El Camino High School in 2011, and from 2012 to 2015 he served as an Instructional Vice Principal.
Sophia Olliver has moved from AVP to Instructional Vice Principal.  Mike Kuliga continues as the AVP for grades 9-10.

More new faces at Sequoia!  Sequoia has been busy recruiting and hiring new teachers for this school year.  Currently 21 teachers have signed contracts, with another 3 preparing to come on board.  Below is a list of names and departments.  If you happen to be on campus and see a new teacher, please extend them a warm welcome.
  • Britt Broome - Special Ed.
  • Julie Davis - English
  • Donna Dela Calzada - Science
  • Lisa Gleaton - English
  • Ashley Gray - Social Studies
  • Jen Hale - English
  • Kayla Howard - Math
  • Allison Hyde - Social Studies
  • Ava Javid - Science
  • Nancy Ku - Math
  • Laura Kuras - Foods
  • Laura Luttrell - Math
  • Antonio Moreno - Math
  • Suba Ramanathan - Math
  • Greg Schmid - Science
  • Lance Thayer - PE
  • Jonathan Tomczak - Social Studies
  • Dustin Waters - Social Studies
  • Stephanie Weden - Science
  • Kimberly Zilles - Special Ed.
With the support of the Sequoia HS Education Foundation, on Thursday, August 13th the PTSA presented the new teachers with $150 grants as well as gift bags filled with back-t0-school goodies.

Thank You, Parent Volunteers!  null
We had many volunteer needs in the last couple of weeks, and our dedicated parents stepped up! Shout-outs to:
The Staff/Teacher Appreciation team led by Donna Fiore, Jennifer Marino, Jenny Bender and Merce Carroll who organized the Back-to-School Teacher Luncheon on Aug. 13!  Teachers, staff and administrators enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared and served by: Jill Berry, Gabriela Mendoza-Evans, Marta Roig, Terra Coakley, Natalia Menendez, Dorith Dooley, Jenn Bulka, Alisa MacAvoy, Laurie Mecchi, Hilary Paulson, Tobey Bergen, Sarah Pederson, Martha Valdovinos, Beth Walton, Jayne Sungail, Subathra Ramanathan, Rosemarie Campos, Michelle Griffith, Heather Alexander and Rose Lopez.  Thanks also to Howie's Artisan Pizza for the pizzas, and to Merce Carroll for the delicious homemade salads!

Welcome Help Desk and Photo volunteers:  Gail Horn, Dawn Johnson, Heidi Sjolund, Julie Snyder, Grace Schulz, Judy Adams, Beatrice Carrot, Jill Berry, Patricia Eisenberg, Adrienne Heist, Hilary Paulson, Gayle Hoch, Claire Cosentino, Kristine Westerlind, Lee Forrester, Rachel Krueger, Jayne Sungail, Donna Fiore, Alice Henderson, Kathy Croft, Marta Roig, and Julie Willett (whose kids have already graduated!).  We had returning members of the Sequoia community as well as new freshman family members providing friendly faces as students and families dropped by the Welcome Help Desk in the days leading up to the first day of school.

Library helpers: These volunteers stepped up with less than 24 hours notice to lend a hand to Mr. Shasky and Ms. Schadler - Mira Gillet, Marta Roig, Liz Noerdlinger, Julie Snyder, Grace Schulz, Mallory Stevens, Yeny Colocho, Jena Bloomquist, Debbie Daniele, Lisa Cresta and Stephanie Blau.  The extra hands were most appreciated as textbooks were distributed to our students.

Thank you all!

PTSA Membership Benefit: 
Did you know that the PTSA administers Mini-Grants twice a year, in the fall and spring? Last year our mini-grants, through the support of the Sequoia HS Education Foundation, totaled almost $15,000 and funded specific needs such as field trip costs, academic contest fees, and various supplies and equipment for classrooms. If you are interested in serving on the Mini-Grant committee, contact the PTSA at [email protected].

Teachers, staff members, club leaders, and students are eligible to apply, as long as they are a member of the PTSA.  Join today!  Remember that membership must be renewed every year. Thank you for your support!
In This Issue
Monday, August 24
Collaboration day
Tue-Wed, Aug. 25-26
Picture Make-up Days

Tuesday, August 25
7:00 PM - Fall Sportsmanship Night & Booster Meeting, Carrington Hall

Monday, August 31
Collaboration day

Tuesday, Sept. 1
Lunch - Mandatory meeting for 11th graders interested in doing the IB diploma, Carrington Hall

 7:00 PM - Principal's Reception, MUR

Wednesday, Sept. 2
6:00 PM - 12th Grade College and IB Diploma Info Night, Carrington Hall

Monday, Sept. 7
No School - Labor Day

Wednesday, Sept. 9
6:00 PM - 11th Grade College Info Night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Sept. 17
6:30-9:00 PM - Back-to-School Night

Monday, Sept. 28
Picture Re-Take Day
Tuesday, Oct. 6
7-8 PM - PTSA meeting, MPR

Wednesday, Oct. 7
6:00 PM - 10th Grade College Info Night, Carrington Hall

Monday, Oct. 12
No School - Staff Development Day

Wednesday, Oct. 21
6:00 PM - 9th Grade College Info Night, Carrington Hall

Quick Links
About Us 

Submit news to the Sentinel: [email protected]. For instructions, click here.


Find past issues of the Sentinel: 
En Espa�ol
�Quieres traducir este bolet�n ahora? Siga estas instrucciones para obtener una traducci�n:
1. Haga clic en "Click here" en la parte superior del correo electr�nico: "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here."
2. Mantenga presionada la tecla Control (PC) y la tecla A para seleccionar toda la p�gina, a continuaci�n, mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla C para copiar la p�gina entera.
3. Abra una p�gina 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 bolet�n completo en el cuadro de traducci�n.
5. Aseg�rese de seleccionar "To: Spanish" en la parte superior de la p�gina. Haga clic en el bot�n Traducir. La traducci�n al espa�ol debe aparecer en el lado derecho.
Parent Education
Sequoia Parent Education Series
"Raising Teens with Mindfulness, Resilience, and a Growth Mindset" - with Leah Weiss Ekstrom, PhD, and Fred Dillon, HopeLab
Thursday, September 24, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
Join Leah Weiss Ekstrom, PhD, and Fred Dillon from HopeLab for an insightful discussion of how to raise teens with mindfulness, resilience and a growth mindset. Don't miss this special opportunity to hear from the experts! 

Leah Weiss Ekstrom lectures on compassionate leadership at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and teaches at Stanford's Compassion Cultivation Program (CCARE), founded by HH the Dalai Lama. In addition, Leah leads Compassion Education and Scholarship at HopeLab, an Omidyar Group research and development nonprofit focused on resilience. Fred Dillon plays a key role in shaping HopeLab's new initiative to promote human resilience and inner values through social tech innovation. 
Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members are welcome!  Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be provided.  Free admission; register here.
Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the SHSEF, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
For more information, contact Charlene Margot, Founding Director, The Parent Education Series, at [email protected] or 650.868.0590
For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, 650-369-1411 x 63105.
Menlo-Atherton Parent Education: How to Raise an Adult
 Wednesday, August 26, 7:00 PM
"Overloaded, Underprepared, and Far from Ready for Adulthood" - An evening with Julie Lythcott-Haims, Denise Pope, and Maureen Brown
Location: Menlo-Atherton High School Performing Arts Center, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

Join Denise Pope and Maureen Brown, co-authors of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids, and Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.  Don't miss this special opportunity to hear from our nation's leading voices in the effort to reduce student stress and help our kids lead happy, healthy, balanced lives!

Community News
Does Your Teen Have Trouble Sleeping?
The Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University is conducting a study to help teens go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.  The treatment involves use of a light device that is placed by the child's bedside and flashes periodically throughout the night. Teens also meet for four sessions with a licensed psychologist at Stanford University to learn about sleep and strategies to improve sleep. The paid study requires completing a sleep diary daily for five weeks. Please contact the Zeitzer Laboratory at [email protected] or (650) 725-7767.

Teenagers ages 14-18, enrolled full-time in 9th-12th grades, may participate. Click here for a flyer with more information.