March 28, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
On a recent Saturday, I was on campus with my young children.  The front of campus is prime terrain for bikes and scooters.  I was catching up on a few items that fell off the to-do list after a busy week.  An elderly man approached me and introduced himself as a graduate of the class of 1967.  After a few pleasantries he tells me about the school seal: the colorful mosaic beneath the tower dating back to 1933.  

"We have a tradition of never stepping on the seal," he remarked.

"I know, I'm the principal." I replied.

"That's interesting," he continued unsmiling, "because I noticed your children were walking all over it."

The pride Sequoia alumni have in their school is serious business.  Our annual alumni picnic attracts hundreds of people every August, from as far back as the 1940s.  In the last 10 years alone, The Alumni Association has dedicated a memorial grove, a veteran's memorial, and the Sequoyah statue in the foyer of the school.

Recent alumni make their mark by returning to campus regularly to catch up with teachers and enjoy performing arts and athletic events.  Over the past few years, we have tried to capture them in order to produce videos where they discuss their experiences at four-year colleges.  The videos are presented as part of the morning announcements for current students to see/hear about what college is like and how Sequoia sets you up for success.  We call them College Stories.  We just added two more to the library.

This June, a fifth generation Sequoia student will graduate.  The history of this school runs wide and deep in the community and beyond.  Sequoia has now thrived during three centuries.  You see it in the buildings, the trees, and the photos on the wall.  It's something that distinguished this campus and community.  Alumni know it, families know it, and students know it, too: we are part of something big and special.

Have a restful and joyous Spring Break -- and don't walk on the seal!

Planning Ahead for IB Exams
May 2016 IB exams are fast approaching!  IB exams will run May 2nd through May 20th this year. Students will receive a calendar of exam dates, locations and times, as well as exam tips and the IB Code of Conduct in their classes before testing. The calendar and exam tips are also available online on the IB page of the Sequoia High School website (under the Parents & Community tab). I encourage families to review the information online. 

Please be aware that students are required to stay for the entire exam. No students are allowed to leave early. Our exam release times are best estimates but please understand they can vary. If you have any questions about IB exams, please direct them to Lisa McCahon, the IB Coordinator, at [email protected].
Please note, AP exams are also in May. Dates will be posted on the IB calendar at the bottom. If you have any questions regarding AP testing, please direct them to Sophia Olliver who oversees AP exams.

- Lisa McCahon

Time Is Running Out!
First the good news:  More than half of the 75 IB/AP Proctoring spots have been filled.  (Thank you, fabulous parents!)  The bad news:  We are trying to fill the remaining 30 spots by the end of the week to allow sufficient time for the volunteer clearance process before the exams start May 2.  If you've been thinking about helping out, please don't wait any longer, sign up today.  And if you haven't been thinking about it - please consider giving just a few hours of your time for an easy but important role that is critical for our academic programming and our students.
To find out more and to sign up for a slot, click here.  After signing up, you will be contacted via email by Elisa Nio-Sears, Sequoia's Academic Volunteer coordinator. There is a quick and simple clearance process for all volunteers placed in academic settings.
Questions - contact Erika Pretell at [email protected].

Meet and Greet at PTSA Booth
The PTSA is hosting a booth at Sequoia's International Festival, for beverage sales and to greet incoming 9th graders! 
Click here to sign up to donate beverages (e.g., soda, water), to help with set-up or clean-up, or to staff the booth for just one hour on Saturday, April 16 between 2-6:30 PM.  This is an easy way to make an impact at Sequoia, and a fun chance to meet other parents while enjoying the festival!

Chemistry Calculations
Chemistry teacher Jamie Beacom reports on the impact of his Fall Mini-Grant:  

Thanks to the Sequoia PTSA mini-grant, I was able to purchase 72 scientific calculators for our Chemistry students. I distributed 24 calculators to each of the three Chemistry teachers (myself, Mr. Ton-tho, and Mrs. Gazulla) for use by our students. The main reason we wanted to get these calculators was that we were noticing a lot of students do not have their own calculators, they use their cell phones instead. Most phones don't have the exponential functions that we need in class. Simple calculations can be done with phones during classwork and homework, but the phones are not allowed for use on the exams. We wanted to have a supply of calculators for those students who don't have one or forgot to bring one for Chemistry exams.

One anecdote is that during the final exams in my class, I counted an average of 12 students in a class average of 32 that needed to borrow and use one of the purchased calculators from me.  So thank you very much for making sure that those students were not at a disadvantage during the final exam!

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

Cheer Team Competes in Nationals
Sequoia Varsity cheer team recently returned from Anaheim where they competed in the National Cheerleading competition. They competed against teams throughout Northern and Southern California, and Utah, in the Coed Varsity Show Cheer Novice division. They had  great performances for both days of competition, bringing home a 3rd place finish.  We are so proud of our Sequoia Varsity cheer team!

Dance Show Tickets
Tickets are selling fast for Sequoia Dance Show 2016!  Performances are Friday & Saturday, April 15th & 16th, 7:30 PM at Carrington Hall. Tickets can be purchased online at and are $14 in advance; $20 at the door. All tickets are for reserved seating only

Gimme a "T" for Teachers!
nullShout-out to teachers Kim Vinh, Laura Larkin, Allison Stafford and Guadalupe Navarrete -- and also Principal Sean Priest -- who have taken the time in their busy schedules to attend a PTSA Executive Board meeting this year!  At our meetings, they have provided updates about their departments and other happenings at school, and given feedback on the PTSA as well.  We truly appreciate their partnership in helping to make the "T" a balanced portion of our PTSA!

Photo Scavenger Hunt
Our classroom numbers are labeled with English as well as Braille characters.  Which classroom is this?

Last week's answer:
The logo of a castle was for the musical production Cinderella that was performed in the fall of 2011 at Sequoia.  See posters from other past productions in the hallway of the M-wing!

In This Issue
Monday, March 28
Block B Day

Friday, April 1
No school - Cesar Chavez Day observed

April 4-8 
Spring Break

Tuesday, April 12
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Friday, April 15
7:30 PM - Dance Show (tickets here), Carrington Hall

Saturday, April 16
2:00-6:30PM - International Festival, Sequoia front lawn

7:30 PM - Dance Show, Carrington Hall

April 19-22 (Tue-Fri)
SBAC Testing; modified schedule for all grades

Thursday, April 21
7 PM - Parent Education: How to Raise an Adult, Carrington Hall

Tuesday, April 26
7 PM - Pops Concert (Orchestra & Choir), Carrington Hall

Thursday, April 28
7 PM - Pops Concert (Bands), Carrington Hall

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Parent Education
Sequoia Parent Education Series
"How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success"
Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times Bestselling Author 
Thursday, April 21, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall 
Register here:  Admission is FREE.

In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.
Julie Lythcott-Haims is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law. She practiced law in the Bay Area before returning to Stanford as an Associate Dean, and then Assistant to the President. She spent a decade as the Dean of Freshmen, and in 2010 she received the university's Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award. To her students, she was affectionately known as "Dean Julie."
Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome! Spanish interpretation will be provided. 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, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at [email protected] or 650-868-0590.

Community News
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.