September 14, 2015

Celebrating Sequoia High School's 120th Anniversary!
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Melissa Perez was inspired to push herself as a high school student.  She took rigorous classes and graduated from a 4-year college.  She credits the positive messages from adults she encountered at school for her success, her college/career advisor and guidance counselor among them.  She knew she wanted to give back to the community from which she came, but exactly how she would do so remained an open question.  After college, she was drawn to education, working as an instructional aide and a bilingual guidance information specialist before completing her credentialing to become a counselor at Sequoia.

Melissa, like Guadalupe Navarrete, Shari Schussel, Joel Rebello and Joni Gordon, is one of the busiest staff members on campus.  On any given day, she is to be found facilitating an interactive lesson with a class, meeting one-on-one with 12th graders, writing one of 60+ letters of recommendation, consulting on scheduling issues, organizing interventions for struggling students, or dropping everything to support a student in crisis.

Come spring time, Melissa juggles middle school visits with meetings with at-risk seniors, the 20-30 minute one-on-one meetings with 9th-11th graders to discuss their 4-year plans and course selection for the upcoming year, and responding to the 60-80 emails she receives daily.  On top of these duties, Melissa takes on the work of serving on the AVID site team, participating in Sequoia's IB Equity leadership team, and serving on site council.

Because so much of the work of our counselors takes place behind the scenes, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate how much they do to serve kids. As head counselor Guadalupe Navarrete will tell you, there is a tremendous passion for empowering students present in the daily work of Sequoia's counseling team.  Every kid has a story, and the counselors are often the staff member who knows that story best.

I am tremendously proud of the dedication and professionalism of our counselors.  The smooth opening to the school year can be credited in large part to their attention to detail and efficiency.  The dramatic increase in the percentage of students graduating from Sequoia eligible for UC/CSUs can be attributed to their focus on A-G requirements and targeted outreach to students on the cusp.

Each of our counselors shares Melissa's passion and dedication to the success of all students.  Each of them sees their role as vital in strengthening our local and global community.  Melissa, Sequoia High School Class of 2003, inspires me through the success she's had giving back to her school.

Be sure and say hello to our counselors at Back-to-School Night this Thursday.

Have a great week!

Sean Priest
Sequoia High School Principal
Back-to-School Night: Thursday, Sept. 17
Come at 6:30 PM to hear the band and orchestra, and to visit Sequoia's clubs and organizations in the main hall.  Don't forget to swing by the Education Foundation table to find out how you can provide support; and of course, the PTSA will be on hand to answer questions about membership and the PTSA in general. 

Remember to fill out and bring the flyer sent by AVP Mike Kuliga last week, so you can find your way around as you visit your student's classes starting at 7 PM.
Club Day
Club Day is Wednesday, September 16th during lunch, in front of the school. Last year 37 clubs participated, and according to Mr. Uhalde, "anywhere from 40-50 are expected this year" - a Sequoia record!

If your student is new or just looking for a new club to join, please encourage them to swing by any one of the many tables.  Who knows, they may find they are the next world chess genius or a master at anime, or ready to solve global warming, or maybe they just want to get happy!

Photo Retakes: Sept. 28
If your student would like to retake their school photo, or has not been photographed yet, they may do so during school on Monday, September 28.

We need 4 volunteers total to take shifts during this final day of photo-taking.  Sign up here - thank you for your help!
null Shout out to this year's class advisors! The class advisors for the 2015-2016 school year are:
  • Freshmen (Class of 2019) - Rob Poulos
  • Sophomores (Class of 2018) - Kimberly Zilles
  • Juniors (Class of 2017) - Adili Skillin
  • Seniors (Class of 2016) - Laura Luttrell
The class advisor's job is to help facilitate the efforts of fundraising over the course of one or multiple years, as well as to provide guidance and support during class competitions such as hallway decorations, dress-up days, rally competitions, etc.  Thank you to all these staff members for stepping up to help our kids above and beyond classroom teaching!

Mini-Grant Season Is Open!        
Happy 2015- 2016 school year!  The Mini-Grant program is being offered again by the Sequoia PTSA to serve as many Sequoia High School students as possible. Grants are available from $50 to $400. Please apply if you are a teacher, staff member, club leader, or student. To apply, you must be a member of the PTSA. Go to the PTSA Website for complete instructions. The deadline to apply is no later than October 7th, 8 PM.

 Mini-grants that are more likely to be funded are:
  • Requests that benefit more than just a few specific students, with the goal of benefiting the entire SHS community through the Mini-Grant program
  • Requests that will also provide benefit for Sequoia in future years or future Sequoia students
  • Requests that impact a wide variety of grade levels
  • Creativity
  • Compelling need
Examples of support could include supplies and equipment, publications, such as books, magazines, newspapers, instructional CDs, videos, and software, electrical or electronic equipment, construction materials for small projects, admission fees, or teacher stipends for new programs.

Football Concessions Help Needed
Booster Snack Shack needs help selling concessions during JV and Varsity home football games. Openings are available from 3:30-5:00 PM, 5:00-7:00 PM, and 7:00-9:00 PM. Parents, please bring a friend and/or your Sequoia student to help us for a shift, and get FREE admission to the games! Sign up here or email  All proceeds benefit our teams!  Go Sequoia!
School Directory             
As you may have noticed, a link to the Sequoia Parent/Student Directory is shown in the upper right section of your School Loop bulletins.  The directory may also be found here

Candidates Forums 
Wed., Sept. 23, 7 PM - Come and listen to the candidates running for the 
Sequoia Union High School District Board.  This event, organized by the League of Women Voters, will be held in the Birch Conference Room of the District Office, 480 James Avenue, RWC.  Click here for a flyer.

Thu., Oct. 8, 6:30-8 PM - The San Mateo County Office of Elections in partnership with Innovate Public Schools will host a Redwood City Candidates Forum on Education to be held in Carrington Hall. The structure of the event will be an organized sit-down forum in which candidates for the Redwood City Council, Redwood City School District, and the Sequoia Union High School District will share their platforms and answer pre-prepared questions.  All candidates, incumbents and challengers have been invited to attend.  Sequoia High School Social Studies teacher Ashley Gray is working with colleagues and students to publicize and organize the event which we hope will be well-attended by teens and families alike.  More information here.

Happy Birthday Sequoia!
We are enjoying hearing about multi-generation Sequoia HS families!  Continue to tell us your stories at, by Sept. 25, so we can write about them a future Sentinel article. Please include graduation years and first names of your Sequoia alumni family members.
Coffee Cart - Last Chance to Help!   
Thank you to everyone who has signed up to help with the coffee cart or provide healthy snacks for our Sequoia teachers on September 18, the Friday morning after Back to School Night.  We still need a few more people to bring food items; this is an easy way to show your appreciation for our teachers!  Click here to sign up.

Reusable Love Bags Sale
Love bags 2015-16
Help "Spread the Love" and keep our environment free from disposable bags.  Pick from a variety of products including reusable shopping bags, stash it bags, cooler bags, backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, and more!  All proceeds go towards the Safe and Sober Grad Activities Week for the Class of 2016.

Order online at Enter our school ID, 6ZF15, on the page that asks for your shipping information. Online orders will be shipped directly to you. If you prefer to see a catalog and pay by check, please email Cecilia Canale.  Orders should be placed by Friday, September 25th.
In This Issue
Monday, Sept. 14
Collab Day
Wednesday, Sept. 16
Lunchtime - Club Day

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

Sept. 17, 18 (attend one)
Lunch - Mandatory meeting for 11th grade IB Diploma students, Computer Lab

Friday, Sept. 18
Minimum Day schedule

Monday, Sept. 21
Collab Day

Monday, Sept. 28
Picture Retake Day
Tuesday, Oct. 6
Freshman College Day
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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Community News
Navigating the Tides of Adolescence
Monday, September 14, 7-9 PM
Harman Auditorium, Sacred Heart Prep
150 Valparaiso, Atherton
"Navigating the Tides of Adolescence" is a panel discussion on the challenges facing our teens today, including stress, pressures of social media, mental health, and wellness. Panelists include Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of the highly acclaimed book, "How to Raise an Adult" and former freshman dean at Stanford University; and Dr. Steven Adelsheim, Stanford child psychologist and Director of Community Partnerships at the Stanford School of Medicine. The panel will be moderated by Rachael Myrow from KQED.  Register at:; or view this flyer for more information.

Discussion topics include:
  • Components that contribute to a teen's autonomy and decision making
  • Social stigma, suicide prevention, and academic stress
  • Impact of social media and peer pressure
  • Strategies to promote a balanced, attainable lifestyle
  • Discussion of current research and implications for practice
  • Local resources for education, prevention, intervention and crisis response
Parent Education
M-A Parent Education Series and Kepler's Books Present:
"Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain" - An evening with Dr. Daniel J. Siegel

Wednesday, September 16, 7:30 PM - Doors open at 6:30 PM
Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center (PAC)

The Peninsula Arts & Letters and Kepler's Books are pleased to bring internationally acclaimed author and UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel to the M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC) to present his new work: Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

Dr. Siegel will share the exciting neuroscience behind the heightened social, emotional and creative energy that drives teen behavior. Between the ages of 12 to 24, the brain changes in important and, at times, challenging ways. In "Brainstorm," Dr. Siegel dispels a number of commonly-held myths about adolescent behavior and demonstrates that during these years children learn vital skills, such as how to leave home and enter the larger world, connect deeply with others, and safely experiment and take risks. 

Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, Siegel explores exciting ways in which understanding how the brain functions can improve the lives of adolescents, making their relationships more fulfilling and less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.
The event is open to parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members.  Tickets are available here.  Kepler's Books will offer sales of Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.
This special evening is presented in partnership with the M-A Parent Education Series and Menlo-Atherton High School. 

Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founding Director, The Parent Education Series, at or 650.868.0590.

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
This session will explore the science and application of mindfulness, resilience, and a growth mindset. Learn practical, evidence-based tools that will help your teen not only bounce back, but actually learn from setbacks. Come 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 or 650.868.0590
For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, 650-369-1411 x 63105.