March 14, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Last week I wrote on how cool today's teenagers are.  How, in particular, the things for which they're criticized often reveal some of the coolest aspects of their character.  Take the ubiquity of personal devices and social media.

One of the reasons we prohibit cell phones during the school day is we want kids to talk to one another during brunch and lunch.  I recognize, however, that in their endless electronic communication during the other waking hours of the day, teens are interacting with text.  They're using the skills of reading and writing to express themselves.  They are an active audience for self-expression of hundreds of their peers.

The digital natives chronicle and reflect with language on their experiences at a rate much higher than generations before.  As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about how to support kids in their path to self-actualization, I see this mostly as a positive.  How many of our peers journaled assiduously?  Moreover, weren't the ones who did in most cases better off for it?   

Often, they are forced to solve problems creatively within the confines of whatever social media platform they're using (twitter's 140-character limit, e.g.).  And, of course, creativity flourishes in many cases.  One Sequoia junior has over 100k followers on Snapchat (which I still don't fully understand but believe may be the most creative medium among the various platforms and am constantly trying to imagine ways in which it might be used as a learning tool).  A few years ago, another Sequoia student racked up over 50k followers on Instagram with his photos and witty descriptions of junk food.

Kids with whom I speak think this is cool.  I'm inclined to agree.  Social media is not perfect, but it provides a lot of kids an outlet to reflect on identity in a creative and often liberating ways.  Athletes can express their love of music.  Mathletes can express their love of the Golden State Warriors.  Kids today know they generally share a lot more common ground than superficial outward appearances might indicate.  The jock-nerd paradigm is an anachronism.

Perhaps these personal connections explain why I find today's teenagers to be more empathetic than those of a generation ago. Of course, their moods can change on a dime with perceptions of unfairness and condescending (founded or otherwise) often serving as the catalyst.  Some things never change.  After attending the 2016 Sequoia Awards last week, however, I can testify that many of our young adults are channeling their empathy and sense of justice into incredible community projects.  The 14 Sequoia High School students honored are the tip of the iceberg in terms of our kids doing cool stuff with their time and energy.

As we round the corner into the home stretch of this school year, I'm looking forward to more opportunities to celebrate kids.  Here, here!  Like I tell my non-educator, non-parent friends all the time: teenagers (especially Sequoia teenagers, but I'm biased) are cool.

Have a great week!
Spring Open House
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Sequoia's Open House will be Thursday, March 17 from 7:00-8:30 PM.  You are welcome to roam the school, visit classrooms, talk with faculty members, see your student's work, and gather information about the school's programs and offerings.

Also be sure to stop by the 11th annual IB Art Show where the amazing portfolios of our IB Art seniors will be displayed.  The show will be in Powell Gallery from March 17-31.

Note that the next day - Friday, March 18 - will be a minimum day for students.

Books for GSA Library
A Mini-Grant to Ms. Dy Nguyen allowed the Gay-Straight Alliance to purchase LGBTQ-themed books.  This grant allowed them to expand the club's personal library where Sequoia students can access the books in the safe space of the club.  This library will allow students that are typically under-represented in the school's curriculum and library to access books that represent backgrounds in which they may identify.  The hope is that the library is in the safe space of the GSA club and that students will feel safe to check out and read books that can help them.

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

SAT Prep Class Starts March 19
Is your student wondering what the new SAT will be like?  An SAT prep course will be held at Sequoia starting on March 19. This class is being offered by Kaplan for half the normal price. Take advantage of this opportunity to save money and attend this class on our own campus!  See this flyer and return it to the College and Career Center as soon as possible.  We need 3 more students to enroll in order for this class to take place.

Sequoia Seniors Awarded for Community Service
Congratulations to the 14 Sequoia High School winners at last week's Sequoia Awards held at the Sofitel Hotel.  The Sequoia Awards recognizes 27 Redwood City seniors for extraordinary community service contributions and academic success.  Scholarships range from $5000 to $25,000.  It was a fun and inspiring event, our kids are amazing!  The award winners were:

Babak Amerian
Dalia Barrientos
Claire Bugos
Blake Carbonneau
Mijal Epelman
Elisa Guizar
Jennifer Lazo
Abby Lopez-Ramirez
Blanca Mu�oz
Emma O'Hara
Jessica Robles-Diaz
Jordan Sandoval
Kristoffer Sjolund
Sadie Rhen (2016 Outstanding Youth)

Can You Pick Up a Few Bagels?
Thank you to all who have signed up to 
help with staff treats the morning after Open House! We need a few more food items to make this event complete.  
Sign up here, thank you! 

Reporters Want Your Feedback
So you're reading the Raven Report, Sequoia's fabulous student-published monthly paper (click here for the new issue that was published last week), and it sparks a conversation around the dinner table or it gets you thinking as you drive to work.  Maybe you're mad, maybe you are inspired.  Well...the Raven Report wants to hear about it!

Contact the Raven Report with your feedback or ideas at [email protected] or  Our student journalists are constantly striving to make the paper relevant, topical and engaging for all the readers, students and parents alike!

AP and IB Proctoring Spots Available
We need your help! From May 2-19 hundreds of Sequoia juniors and seniors will take IB and AP Exams. We rely on parent proctors for exams and the deadline for volunteer sign-ups is March 28 (to allow for the clearance process described below). Thanks to our wonderful Sequoia community, 21 of the approximately 80 proctoring spots have already been filled by parents like you. We are very grateful! But we need all the spots filled to meet strict IB and AP requirements, specifying the ratio of proctors to student test-takers.  New spots have just been added. 
Our IB Programme is growing rapidly, with more IB test-takers each year, requiring more proctors. Exams cover classes such as IB History, IB English, IB Spanish and more. Sequoia also offers several AP classes, such as AP Statistics, which culminate with an AP exam. Proctoring is a great opportunity to see what the exam process looks like if your Sequoia student is considering IB or AP classes in the future.  
IB and AP proctoring guidelines differ.  As an IB exam proctor you will be on your feet and roaming during the entire exam period, and you can proctor an exam your student is taking. As an AP proctor, you can sit for part of the exam, but you cannot proctor an exam your student is taking. 
For all tests, you do not need any special knowledge of the subject.  A teacher will administer the exam.
To find out more and sign up today,
 click here. We would be extremely grateful if you could consider signing up for two time slots. Thank you! Within 1-2 weeks of signing up, you will be contacted via email by Elisa Nino-Sears, from Sequoia's academic volunteer department (also known as ATLAS). She will help you through a very simple online clearance process for all volunteers placed in academic settings at Sequoia. It keeps our Sequoia campus safe. Questions - contact Erika Pretell at [email protected].

null Thank you to the photographers who have contributed to our photo scavenger hunt this year - Alice Henderson, Hilary Paulson, Glenn Bugos, Grace Schulz and Penni Sibun.  If you have photos or suggestions for other items that can be included (e.g., unique items, or an artistic view of something on campus), please send them to [email protected].  

Photo Scavenger Hunt
Spring is in full bloom, including on the Sequoia campus!  Where can these Sequoia-colored vines be found?

Last week's answer:
This seal is over the center of the stage in Carrington Hall.

In This Issue
Monday, March 14
Collab Day

Wednesday, March 16
7 PM - Mandatory meeting for Juniors planning on attending a Common App and/or Private College, Carrington Hall

Thursday, March 17
7 PM - Open House

Friday, March 18
Minimum Day (schedule here)

Monday, March 21
Collab Day

Friday, April 1
No school - Cesar Chavez Day

April 4-8 
Spring Break

Friday, April 15
7:30 PM - Dance Show

Saturday, April 16
2 PM - International Festival
7:30 PM - Dance Show
Quick Links
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Community News
Organizational Management & Social Skills
Organized Thinking Skills are the first order of managing strategies for improving social skills and organization. Understanding metacognition, prioritization, sequence of events needed, inferencing, cause & effect, prediction, social deductive reasoning, abstract language such as humor, idioms, metaphors, etc. This skill set includes cognitive and logistical thinking skills for planning as well as impulse control, time management, attention, and working memory (your kiddo ever forget names or new information, concepts or items like their lunch, etc.?). 

This summer your child will learn how to start difficult tasks, organize steps for any process, how to build and schedule a plan, cohesive brainstorming and idea generation with explicit structure (using Design Thinking processes), support to help with forgetfulness, working memory & mnemonics tricks, chunking & categorizing, cause & effect with prediction & decision making, sensory exercises to aid in self regulation with attention & impulsive distractions, perspective taking and evaluation for recalibrating and checking into a schedule. You as parents will learn effective strategies to maximize the organized brain and procure positive social thinking and interactions.

Activities include designing video games (no coding) to motivate with exercises, brain games with smart apps, designing smart phone apps (no coding), organizing fun events, cooking, etc.

- College Apps Organization: Weekly from April- June and 5 additional seasons over summer.
- Executive Function/Organizational Life: June 27-August 31st
- Social Skills classes is designed to connect with others and reduce social anxiety: June 27-August 31
- Writing Sensibilities: June 27-Augst 31st
Times/Days: Arranged according to mutual schedule availability. Individual or small group.

Redwood City Together Caf� hands_together_sand.jpg
Tuesday, March 29, 5:30-8:00 PM
Sequoia High School MPR

You are cordially invited to Redwood City Together's 3rd annual caf�. Come share your stories, experience immigrant youth art, celebrate our diverse community, and foster a welcoming environment for all. March 29, 2016 from 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM at the Sequoia High School Multipurpose Room. Dinner is free. Childcare and interpretation are available. RSVP:

Redwood City Together is Redwood City 2020's Welcoming Initiative, which aims to create a welcoming environment for all in Redwood City and North Fair Oaks.


Usted est� cordialmente invitado a Redwood City Together's tercera cafe annual. Venga a compartir sus historias, experiencia arte de los j�venes inmigrantes, celebre nuestra comunidad diversa, y fomente un ambiente acogedor para todos. El 29 de marzo 2016 de 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM en el sal�n de usos m�ltiples en la escuela secundaria de Sequoia. La cena es gratis. Cuidado de ni�os y la interpretaci�n est�n disponibles. RSVP:

Redwood City Together es una iniciativa de bienvenida de Redwood City 2020, que tiene como objetivo crear un ambiente acogedor para todos en Redwood City y North Fair Oaks.

Stanford Teen Sleep Study
The Stanford University Department of Psychiatry is currently conducting a study to help teens (14-18) 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 or doctoral therapist under the supervision of 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 Teen Sleep Study 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.