January 11, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
While students enjoyed the final hours of winter break last Monday, Sequoia staff was gathered in our multi-purpose room scoring the schoolwide literacy and numeracy assessments completed by students in November.  As you may recall, all students (9-12) completed the same tasks.  Expectedly, the writing of the 12th graders was more sophisticated and demonstrated greater command of skills such as organization and use of evidence than did that of the 9th graders.  Likewise with the math task.  It's a snapshot.

After we completed the grading, teachers discussed trends in small cross-departmental groups, identifying target skills in which students were exceeding, proficient, approaching, or still developing.  Based on this analysis (and this is where the fun starts), teachers next returned to their departments and brainstormed lesson ideas focused specifically on what they'd seen.  Growth in numeracy and literacy are school-wide goals, so it falls on all of us to address these areas.

Having spent over an hour grading numeracy performance tasks, English, Art, Spanish, or PE teachers are now equipped to see how their curriculum and instruction can support learning in areas such as graphing equations or number sense.  Likewise, math and science teachers have new insight into ways they can support learning when it comes to integrating relevant information from sources or addressing counterclaims in a comparative essay.   

Sequoia's size and complexity can seem overwhelming at times.  On Monday, however, it felt like a small school.  This kind of staff development has a direct impact on teaching and learning.  Our staff, which always thrives when collaborating, was focused and professional.  The core value underlying this energy and effort is that all kids can achieve at high levels and we can make a difference.  It was inspiring.

Hope your new year is off to as great a start as ours.  Happy 2016!

VPA Boosters Meeting Jan. 14
Come join the Visual and Performing Arts Boosters Club meeting on Thursday, January 14 in the Faculty/Staff Lounge (Rm. 233) from 7:00-8:30 PM.  All parents and those interested in supporting the VPA program at Sequoia are welcome!

SUHSD Sequitur
Click here for the January issue of the Sequoia Union High School District Newsletter!

Junior Families - Save These Dates!
Fundraising for the Class of 2017 Safe and Sober Grad activities has begun, and basketball concessions are a big part of this!  Save the dates for our quad games - January 22, 29 and February 5.  

Opportunities to participate include manning the concession stand and donating food items.  Keep an eye out for sign-ups that will be posted soon.

Are You Staying in the Loop?
There are many ways to stay informed about happenings at Sequoia, such as this Sentinel newsletter, email blasts from the school administration, School Loop, and more.

To help you know what the main communication avenues are, and how to subscribe to those lists, the PTSA has created a Communications Resource List that can be found on the Sequoia website.

Guidance Twitter Account
Follow @sequoiaguidance for updates on college visits, scholarships, scheduling and other counseling-related news.

Can You Spare an Hour on Jan. 30?
Ever wish you could have had some help with your decision on where to send your child to high school?  Share your insights with prospective families at the Sequoia Campus Tours on Saturday, January 30. Tours will run from 10 AM until about noon, and you just need to tag along to help answer questions on the tours, which will be led by ASB student leaders.

Contact if you can help; come for some or all of the time.  Thanks for your help!

Shout-out to students Abby Hartzell, Clara MacAvoy and Hannah Dosen, this year's International Festival chairs, for getting the ball rolling and gathering forces to make this year's International Festival a success.  The festival will be on Saturday, April 16th. If you would like to be a part of this fun event that will involve students, parents and the wider community, please reach out to Abby and her team at:  Everyone is welcome!
Photo Scavenger Hunt
Here is another one of the various Sequoia seals on campus, have you seen it?

Last week's answer: This lion fountain head is at the southeast corner of the main building, as you walk from the main entrance toward the MPR.

In This Issue
Monday, Jan. 11
Collab Day

7 PM - Senior Financial Aid night, MPR (English) & Carrington Hall (Spanish)

Wednesday, Jan. 13
6 PM - 8th Grade IB Info Meeting, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Jan. 14
7 PM - PSAT meeting,  Carrington Hall (English), Room 115 (Spanish)

7 PM - VPA Boosters Meeting, Faculty Lounge

Saturday, Jan. 16
8 PM - Winter Formal, Fox Theater

Monday, Jan. 18
No school - Martin Luther King holiday

Saturday, Jan. 30
10 AM - 8th Grade Campus Tours

Tuesday, Feb. 2
7 PM - PTSA Meeting

Fri, Feb. 12 & Mon, Feb. 15
No school - Lincoln's Birthday and Presidents' Holiday

Thursday, Feb. 18
7 PM - Sequoia Parent Education, Finding the Right Fit / College Search, Carrington Hall

Feb. 19-21
Winter Play - Rehearsal for Murder
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Community News
Nicaragua Summer Exchange
Is your student looking for an opportunity to improve his/her Spanish? We're on a mission to make Spanish fluency affordable, authentic and impactful! The Nicaragua Summer Exchange and the University of Leon have partnered to offer a dynamic high school summer experience in colonial Granada and Leon.  Better than a student tour -- gain a lifetime of skills in Latin America's only high school summer exchange. This program allows students to immerse themselves in the culture and language of Nicaragua while spending time in the quaint colonial city of Granada. Many students from this area have taken part in this program which also includes family stays and a community service component. We offer AP Spanish support, and gap year without program fees, internships and college credit.  Want to learn more?  Visit  Come learn more about the program: 
  • January 27, 2016 - 7- 8:30 p.m. Library, Henry M. Gunn High School.  Summer Opportunities!
  • January 28 and February 4, 2016 -  6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Redwood City, Downtown Library Meeting room, 1044 Middlefield Rd, RWC.
Parent Education
Sequoia Parent Education Series
"Finding the Right Fit - A Conversation about the College Search" - with Maria Furtado, Executive Director, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL)
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Carrington Hall, Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City

Join Maria Furtado, Executive Director of Colleges That Change Lives, for a conversation about helping your student find the "right fit" for college. Colleges That Change Lives, Inc. (CTCL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process. CTCL supports the goal of each student finding a college that develops a lifelong love of learning and provides the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life beyond college.

Maria Furtado has worked in higher education for over 20 years. Maria speaks all around the country to students, parents, and counselors about college rankings and popular misperceptions about college admission, the strength and worth of a liberal arts education, and offers tips for students and parents on how to manage the college search.

Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! Free admission.
Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available.
 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, at or (650) 868-0590. For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, at (650) 369-1411 Ext. 63105.

Woodside Parent Education Series
"Distracted Driving Workshop" - with Kelly Browning, PhD, Impact Teen Drivers (California Highway Patrol)
Thursday, January 14, 2016, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)

Automobile collisions are the leading cause of death for our nation's teens. The overwhelming majority of these crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions, not "thrill-seeking" or deliberate risk-taking. Teen drivers are at the highest risk: the crash rate (per miles driven) for 16 years olds is four times that of adults. 

In this workshop, you will learn about: 
  • Strategies to keep your teens safe on the road
  • Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) laws
  • The Rules of the Road for teen drivers
  • How YOU can stop the  #1 killer of teens in America--reckless and distracted driving
Since 2007, Impact Teen Drivers has emerged as a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the pervasive yet 100% preventable crisis of "distracted driving." Impact's mission is to change the culture of teen driving, thereby saving lives in this and future generations of drivers. 

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.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at or (650) 868-0590. For Spanish, contact Maricela Lopez, Bilingual Parent Liaison, at (650) 367-7263 Ext. 45323.

Menlo-Atherton Parent Education Series
"Mastering Difficult Conversations with Your Teen" - with Eran Magen, Ph.D.
Thursday, February 4, 2016, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
Menlo-Atherton High School
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

Trying to offer support when your adolescent seems upset or stressed can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. In this highly interactive 90-minute workshop, you will learn how to offer emotional support comfortably and effectively when your teen is experiencing strong emotions such as stress, frustration, anxiety, or anger. You will learn how to respond in a way that helps your student feel better and think more clearly, while strengthening your relationship.
Eran Magen, Ph.D., is the founder and scientific director of the Center for Supportive Relationships, which provides relational skills training for school districts, higher education institutions, healthcare professionals, and private corporations. Dr. Magen received his MA in education and PhD in psychology from Stanford University. 
Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.
 M-A Parent Education Series events are free, sponsored by the M-A PTA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District. This event is open to parents, faculty/staff, and community members.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at or (650) 868-0590. For Spanish, contact Lilly Quiñonez, Parent Center Coordinator, at (650) 322-5311 Ext. 5255.