August 31, 2015
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
I hope nobody pictures dust, noise and chain-link fencing when they think of Sequoia High School.  Or if they do, I hope it is accompanied by excitement and anticipation.  As it were, three large construction projects are underway at Sequoia.  The largest of these projects is the expansion of the James Street parking lot and construction of a new classroom wing adjacent to the baseball field.  We are in the homestretch of increment one of this project (late September for those of you awaiting the release of additional student parking passes coinciding with the availability of more spaces).  Increment two will commence immediately thereafter with the breaking ground on the classroom wing itself.

The new classroom wing will include two science labs and eight general use classrooms.  Four of these rooms are designed to convert into mid-size meeting rooms for groups of 50-75 -- ideal for cross-curricular collaboration or community/parent meetings.  Multiple small break-out rooms will also be distributed throughout the building for small group collaboration.  Perhaps most exciting, the new wing will blend outdoor space, allowing teachers to facilitate activities in non-traditional learning environments.  Visitors to Sequoia often tell me it looks like a small college.  The new classroom wing will have the feel of a 21st century college.

Our second large project is the renovation of two classrooms within the existing building.  Room 128, in the main hallway, is being converted from a foods/home economics room to an innovative learning space.  The room will be large enough for multiple classes to collaborate.  Last school year, several Sequoia teachers pilot-tested innovative student desks and other furniture to help determine how to furnish this new room in a way that maximizes flexibility and collaboration in learning.  

Running simultaneously with this renovation is the conversion of the district food services kitchen into our new culinary arts classroom.  The new culinary arts class will provide students access to state of the art home cooking facilities as well as an industrial kitchen which will add a career technical component to the course.  There will be an industrial deep fryer. Mmmm.... 

The final project underway is capital repair work designed to ameliorate drainage issues that result from the slope created by our Tea Garden.  Those of you who have visited campus have seen the large trench near the Student Activities Center.  It's ugly, and the fencing around it to ensure safe passage for students and staff is obtrusive.  And while the project is less exciting from an instructional standpoint than renovations and new classrooms, the end result should mean fewer sandbags will need to be deployed during heavy rains at Sequoia.  This will greatly improve the quality of life for plant manager Cherry Stephens, her custodial crew, and the district maintenance staff. 

When I visited colleges with my students as an AVID teacher, I would always tell them construction dust on a campus was a good sign.  New buildings meant sound finances, exciting new facilities around the corner, and an eye on the future.  This is the case at Sequoia to be sure, even if it means a little dust over the next few months,

Have a great week!

Sean Priest
Sequoia High School Principal
Principal's Reception
We hope to see you at the Principal's Reception tomorrow night - Tuesday, September 1, from 7-8:30 PM in the MPR. The agenda will be:

7:00 - Welcome and brief announcements
7:05 - Mr. Gooch to speak
7:15 - Mr. Priest speaks, followed by question & answer time
8:00 - Social time to connect with friends, network, find out how to stay informed about school life, and learn about PTSA activities 

Also, refreshments will be served!
IB Deadlines for 11th Graders

Tuesday, Sept. 1st - Mandatory Lunch Meeting in Carrington Hall for 11th graders interested in doing the Diploma.


Tuesday, Sept. 15th - Deadline to declare your Diploma candidacy for 11th grade. Bring CAS Action Plan to IB Office and sign up with Ms Patience. No exceptions to this deadline.


Thursday, Sept. 17th OR Friday, Sept. 18th - Attend one day only. Mandatory Lunch Meeting in Computer Lab for 11th grade Diploma students. Learn the online CAS Managebac system to complete CAS requirement.


- Lisa McCahon, IB Coordinator


Shout-Out to Photo Helpers       null
Thank you to our parent volunteers who assisted at Photo Make-Up days on August 25 and 26! - Lauren Pachkowski, Marianne Cheatham, Marta Roig, Jennifer Marino, Hilary Paulson, Grace Schulz, Kristine Westerlind and Pam Delgado.

Coffee Cart Sept. 18        
We are hosting a coffee cart and providing healthy snacks for our Sequoia teachers on the morning after Back to School Night.  Please help make this a splendid event for our hard working teachers by either signing up to bring a snack item or come and help out with the event on Friday morning, Sept. 18.  Our teachers really appreciate this little pick-me-up perk! Thank you in advance!  :)

What's the "S" in "PTSA"?  
"S" is for Student!  Yes, students can also become members of the PTSA.  One of the benefits is that student members can apply for Mini-Grants, such as for their school club.  Also, juniors who are PTSA members are eligible to apply for Junior Scholarships.

Here are more reasons for students to join PTSA:
  • To gain leadership experience that you will utilize for the rest of your life.
  • So that YOU get to decide how your school can serve and affect YOU.
  • To enjoy benefits and discounts.
  • To share your own ideas and let your voice be heard.
  • To positively impact your community through service.
  • To make a difference for your generation, and the following generations to come.
Visit the Sequoia PTSA website to join!

School Photo Orders          
School photographs that were taken during either the Aug. 17 check-in day or the Aug. 25-26 make-up days can be ordered at with Picture Day ID: CB025100Q1.

In This Issue
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, MPR

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 4-Year College Bound 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. 14
8:30-12:10 - PSAT, 10th & 11th Graders

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

Wednesday, Oct. 28
6:30-8:30 PM - 8th Grade Information Night
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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.
Sparking Creativity: Imagining Tomorrow's Schools
Friday, September 25, 7:00-9:00 PM
Stanford University, Memorial Auditorium

Challenge Success invites you to our biggest parent education event of the year. This year's keynote speaker will be Tony Wagner, author and Expert in Residence at Harvard University's Innovation Lab.  He will be joined by Challenge Success Co-Founders, Dr. Denise Pope and Dr. Madeline Levine, for an interactive discussion on fostering creativity in schools and at home.

Register for the event here, or visit for more information.  Adults $10, students free.

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.