February 1, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
Imagine being the PTSA president and seeing this note in your inbox:
"Hey folks, where do you need a volunteer next? jenn;=)"
No kidding, this is for real! This person just made my week!  

Sure, we are all over committed these days; with work, family, and community obligations. But sometimes it is possible to take a look around and see where there's a need to be filled and just jump in.  Participation can take many forms. 

For example:  Last week, I was chatting with a parent of a Sequoia freshman.  We spoke of the challenges new Sequoia families have when navigating through school, especially in the early days. We were talking about the recently published communications document and she said to me, "You know, I helped develop that document."  I paused and then realized that yes, during the freshmen welcome football game this fall, our own Grace Schulz, Sentinel Editor, spoke at length with a freshman parent who wanted to know who to call, or e-mail, and what link should be followed to answer the many questions that new (and returning!) families have.  That conversation and the suggestions made by that parent were the genesis of our helpful communication tool (found in the "quick links" section of Sequoia's homepage).  That interaction also gave a new parent a way to get involved, to volunteer! She found where she could contribute and we all benefitted.
As the second semester unfolds, the PTSA is looking for help of any shape and size.  Do you have a couple of hours in the evening to work with the Mini-Grants or Junior Scholarship committees? Do you have daytime availability to help the team that coordinates all the excellent teacher appreciation events?

If you have a little more time and want to play a bigger role to be a part of some of the long-term decisions made at Sequoia High School, check out this issue's article below from PTSA Nominations Committee Chair, Alice Henderson, and be a part of the PTSA leadership team.
Oh and while I'm at it, ANYONE in the family can help out.  We are always looking for enthusiastic grandparents, aunts and uncles, and dads to help our rock star moms who are often the most frequent volunteers.
Regardless of where you see yourself, follow Jenn's lead and drop us a line at [email protected] or come to a PTSA meeting.  You'll have fun, we promise! 

Lisa Hane
PTSA President
AVP Mike Kuliga To Speak At PTSA Meeting Tomorrow
Tomorrow - Tuesday, February 2nd at 7:00 PM - AVP Mike Kuliga will speak to families about Sequoia's school emergency preparedness and evacuation plans.  Everyone is welcome to join us in the MPR!
Following Mr. Kuliga's talk, Ilba Prego from Nicaragua Summer Exchange will offer a presentation about Spanish summer exchange opportunities for high school students. In addition, there will be informational materials from Sequoia's summer Spanish language exchange program available at the meeting. Please come and find out about these fun and affordable educational opportunities!

Yoga In Social Academic Communication Classes
Students in the two Social Academic Communication classes (beginning and advanced) are each currently engaged in 10-week yoga programs, thanks to combined funding from the PTSA Mini-Grants and Sequoia High School.  The SAC classes address the needs of students who struggle with understanding the complexities of social communication.  Many of the students are on the Autism Spectrum; others have diagnoses such as Social Communication Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Specific Learning Disability, Tourettes, or Emotional Disturbance.  All experience some level of social anxiety and emotional regulation dysfunction.

These issues impact not only peer social interactions, but also family and work relationships.  Academics are also compromised, especially those subjects which require the ability to understand different perspectives and to think flexibly.  The yoga program is helping these students to improve their ability to regulate their own emotions and to be more mindful of their interactions with other people.

SAC students in yoga class, funded in part by the Mini-Grant submitted by Rebeca Goodwin and Mary Lydon Phoenix.

Thank you to the SHSEF for helping to make the Mini-Grants Program possible!  

Mini-Grants Are Open Again!
The second round of the 2015-16 Mini-Grants 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 March 11, 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.

Looking For A Few Good People
If your New Year's resolution was to get more involved at Sequoia, we can help. The PTSA is looking for a few people to join the board next year. If you are interested in more information please contact Alice Henderson, parliamentarian, at [email protected].

Grad Night Tickets - Early Bird Price Ends Feb. 5
Senior families - remember to buy your grad night ticket!  The early bird price of $65 will go up to $80 per ticket after February 5th.  Tickets will be sold on campus this Thursday and Friday during lunch (Feb. 4-5) and again at the last quad game Feb. 5 against Woodside.  Tickets may also be purchased online at the Sequoia PTSA Store.

Also, please remember that all seniors and their parents need to sign a senior contract to participate in all of the graduation activities the last week of school including the graduation ceremony.  If you are not sure if your child has a signed senior contract, please have them go to the AVP office to verify if it is on file.  

A big thanks to all those who helped with the 8th Grade Campus Tours on Saturday!  The many families who visited our campus enjoyed great weather along with insights from the numerous ASB student leaders who guided the tours.  ASB tour guides were:  Shayan Weeresakera, Brennan Cattalini, Ayanna Brewer, Danielle Amaya, MacKenzie Utley, Caitlin Gilbert, Caitlin Williams, Louis Bulka, Grace Weber, Brianna Rosales, Liam Menendez-Brennan and Jackson Peyton.

In addition, parent helpers Chris Woo, Hilary Paulson, Marta Roig, Susie Gilbert, Christine Peterson and Alice Henderson answered questions and made the families feel welcome.

Parent Chris Woo speaking to 7th/8th grade families at Campus Tours last Saturday.

Photo Scavenger Hunt
We have a few sea creatures displayed at our school, such as this jellyfish.  Have you seen it?

Last week's answer: The "33" is part of the Sequoia seal on the patio of the school's main entrance.

In This Issue
Monday, Feb. 1
Collab Day

Tuesday, Feb. 2
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Thursday, Feb. 4
7 PM - Community College Information Night, MPR

Monday, Feb. 8
Collab Day

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

Tue, Feb. 16
6 PM - Spring Sports Info Night

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

Feb. 19-21
Winter Play - Rehearsal for Murder
Quick Links
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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 [email protected] or (650) 868-0590. For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, at (650) 369-1411 Ext. 63105.

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 [email protected] or (650) 868-0590. For Spanish, contact Lilly Qui�onez, Parent Center Coordinator, at (650) 322-5311 Ext. 5255.

Community News
Drop-In Beginning Yoga Class
Revitalize your body, calm your mind, and renew your spirit!

WHAT:  Beginning/Level 1-2 Yoga Class.  No experience needed.

WHEN:  Tuesdays 9:00-10:15 AM and Fridays 10:00-11:15 AM

WHERE:  St Peter's Parish Hall, 178 Clinton Street, RWC
(across from Sequoia HS - as you are facing church, enter far right side, go up the steps, 2nd door)

COST: Yoga offered by donation to the teacher

WHAT TO BRING:  Your own mat if you have one (otherwise there are some to borrow), towel and/or blanket, strap (if you have one), water bottle

Questions, contact:  [email protected]