April 11, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
Does anyone else out there love a road trip?

Last weekend, my 6th grade daughter and I headed to southern California for an event she was competing in with her middle school classmates.  There we were, all Thelma and Louise, flying down the PCH with the sun in our faces and the wind in our hair... ok, ok, we were in my Toyota minivan instead of a 1966 Thunderbird convertible, listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on my car's CD player instead of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," but a gal can dream, can't she?

After the scheduled event was over, I surprised my daughter with a little detour before heading home.  I had secretly bought tickets to Disneyland and we were going to do the park together.  Neither of us had ever been so we had no idea what to expect, and she was pumped! I, on the other hand, was not. It was one of those things I knew I had to get over with eventually like ripping a band-aid off.  I was dreading the lines, the crowds, the commercial indoctrination...But to my surprise we had a fantastic day.  The long wait times for rides gave us a chance to talk together, we met people from all over California and beyond who were super friendly, and we both enjoyed the old-school Tiki Room (with a dish of pineapple whip on the side) as much as the Star Tours ride.  As we drove back to San Carlos the next day, we had lots of laughs remembering our experiences at "the happiest place on earth."

Our adventure taught me an important lesson about being open to something I thought I wouldn't like.  Take Sequoia's PTSA for instance (of course you knew I was going to bring that up didn't you???).  I know many folks shy away from getting involved perhaps fearing it will be endless fundraising (Not true! the Ed Foundation provides most of our budget) or irrelevant to the school (Not true! Just ask the IB department how helpful parent volunteers are to them, or ask a teacher about the coffee cart breakfast after Open House).  

The PTSA offers many opportunities (big and small) to be a part of the Sequoia community. And we'd like you to join us.  The next time you see a Volunteer Spot link (you'll see several in this newsletter), click on it and find some time to help out.  You'll be surprised that you will have more fun than you thought.
Happy Spring!
Lisa Hane
Festival, Scholarships, Elections and More!
All are welcome to attend our monthly PTSA meeting on Tuesday, April 12 at 7 PM in the MPR. We will hear from Principal Sean Priest, and have updates about current activities such as the International Festival and Junior Scholarships.  In addition, we will vote on our PTSA Executive Board for 2016-17, listed below.
  • President - Lisa Hane*                           
  • Exec. Vice President - Sian Davies
  • 1st Vice President - Jayne Sungail*                 
  • VP Communications/Historian - Grace Schulz*
  • Recording Secretary - Sherri Horan
  • Treasurer - Gayle Hoch
  • Auditor - Rachel Krueger
  • Corresponding Secretary/Mini-Grants Chair - Marlena Griffin
  • Parliamentarian - Lauren Pachkowski (appointed)
  • Grad Week Activities Chair -  Jill Berry and Donna Fiore (appointed)
(* Notes second and final time they may serve in this role)

View the full meeting agenda here; we hope to see you on Tuesday!

Help Award Junior Scholarships
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Junior Families: Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are now being accepted and are due Tuesday, April 19 by 4 PM.  Students may apply for up to two of the three categories: Academic Excellence, Community Service/ Involvement, and 1st Generation to College.  This is a great way to be recognized for an achievement before you apply to colleges, and it can provide you with a little extra money toward college too!

Non-Junior Families: We are looking for a variety of people (freshman parents, sophomore parents, senior parents), female or male, to volunteer to read the scholarship applications. Committee members usually review all of the applications, although if you have a preference for one of the categories (academic, community service, first generation to college) please let us know.  The time commitment will be during the last two weeks of April, involving some time to read the applications on your own, plus one committee meeting.  This is a rewarding way to directly impact the lives of our students! If you are interested, please contact us at

IB/AP Proctoring: Only 14 Spots Left!
A huge thank you to all the parents who have signed up for the numerous IB and AP proctoring jobs for the month of May!  We just have a few more spots to fill (particularly mornings); click here to help us complete this very important duty for our IB and AP classes.  Please sign up as soon as possible so that we have time to complete the brief clearance process that is required for volunteers placed in academic settings. Questions - contact Erika Pretell at

It's here!  Our Sequoia International Festival will take place on Saturday, April 16 from 2:00-6:30 PM on Sequoia's front lawn. This annual event showcases the diversity of our community and the passions and accomplishments of Sequoia students. There will be activities (carnival style), a film screening, a main stage with dance/music entertainment, and food trucks.  Enjoy the day with our Sequoia community, and grab a bite to eat at one of the food trucks before you go see the Sequoia Dance Show!

The PTSA is hosting a booth at the 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.  This is an easy way to make an impact at Sequoia, and a fun chance to meet other parents while enjoying the festival!

Wireless Tablets Mini-Grant
From the PTSA Fall Mini-Grants, math teacher David Lee used his grant money to buy three HP Elitebook tablet laptop PCs.  Mr. Lee shares about the impact of this mini-grant:

The funding I received allowed me to complete my 3-year project of having each of my 9 student groups have access to a tablet laptop PC that can be projected onto any one of three projectors wirelessly.  I can see what all 9 groups are working on simultaneously.  It has made the weekly class work much more beneficial to all students and myself since I can ask students to work on different or similar problems.  I am able to see where any confusion or misunderstanding of concepts are occurring without having to go from group to group.  The vision I had for this project is finally complete and fully implemented.  Thank you for your generosity!

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

Eckford Inspires Students
On March 31, Sequoia was proud to host Elizabeth Eckford of the Little Rock Nine for a standing-room-only assembly in Carrington Hall.  In what will be her only California appearance this year, Ms. Eckford spoke to our attentive and engaged students on the value of education, the power of language, bullying, not being a silent witness, and how we can all be someone's hope.  

Elizabeth, known best as the subject of this iconic photo, also addressed her own introverted nature and how, "even if you're shy, you can have steel."  She was interviewed by staff from the Raven Report and had lunch with a student panel following her presentation.  Hats off to our students and staff for being a great audience and to teacher Ashley Gray for organizing the event.

Shout-Out to Our Dancers
nullShout-out to all the students involved in the Sequoia Dance Show this upcoming weekend - our Advanced Dance and Intermediate Dance classes, with special appearances by the Sequoia Choir and some guest senior boys!  These students have been working diligently for months to prepare for the performances.  There are still some tickets left (; don't miss this chance to see the artistic talents of our Sequoia students!

Photo Scavenger Hunt
Here is yet another one of the numerous Sequoia seals that appear on our campus.  Where is it located?

Last week's answer:
The Braille characters were for classroom LL-2.

In This Issue
Monday, April 11
Collab Day

Tuesday, April 12
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR (agenda here)

Wednesday, April 13
6:30 PM - Local Control Accountability Plan Community Forum, District Office, 480 James Avenue

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

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

7:30 PM - Dance Show, Carrington Hall

Monday, April 18 
Collab Day

Tuesday, April 19
4 PM - Deadline to apply for PTSA Junior Scholarships

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
10 AM - SUHSD Parent Education: "Saving Jake: When Addiction Hits Home," District Office

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

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

Friday, May 6 & Sat., May 7
7 PM - Spring Play: All in the Timing, Carrington Hall

Saturday, May 14 - Prom

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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.

Julie Lythcott-Haims is packing auditoriums across the country in discussion of her new book, NY Times bestseller How to Raise an Adult. In her book, 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 national treasure...this book is a must-read for every parent who senses that there is a healthier and saner way to raise our children." - Madeline Levine, PhD
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. 
For more information, contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at or 650-868-0590.  For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, 650-367-9780, Ext. 63105
Kepler's Books to offer sales of How to Raise an Adult with author book signing.

SUHSD Parent Education Mini-Series
Join us for a SUHSD Parent Education Mini-Series on "at-risk" teens. These workshops will focus on substance use/addiction, suicide prevention, and parent-teen communication. Free admission. 
1) "Saving Jake: When Addiction Hits Home" with award-winning author D'Anne Burwell, M.A.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 10:00 - 11:30 AM
Sequoia Union High School District Office, Birch Room
480 James Avenue, Redwood City

An epidemic of prescription drug addiction is sweeping across the nation, impacting our youth in every neighborhood and community. In her award-winning memoir, D'Anne Burwell shares her powerful personal story -- a family grappling with a teenage son's drug addiction -- that transcends addiction and speaks to us all. Join us for a compassionate discussion on what every parent needs to know about the prescription drug and opioid epidemic in our communities. 

D'ANNE BURWELL holds a Master's degree in education and advocates for families of addicts through radio commentaries, parent mentoring, speaking engagements, and her resource-and-information website, She lives with her husband in Silicon Valley.

2) "Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) Training" with Alejandro Martinez, PhD, Stanford University

Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Sequoia Union High School District Office, Birch Room
480 James Avenue, Redwood City
Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) trains you on how to recognize and respond to an individual in psychological distress and how to get this person the help they need. You will know how to recognize the warning signs of someone in distress and possibly prevent a suicide. You will be introduced to three simple steps that can be used to help someone in distress:
> how to talk with someone in distress
> know how to offer hope
> know how to get help for these individuals

DR. ALEJANDRO MARTINEZ is a clinical psychologist and Senior Associate Director of the Counseling and Psychological Services at Vaden Health Center, Stanford University. Workshop open to parents, mental health professionals, and community members. 
3) "Mastering Difficult Conversations with Your Teen" with Eran Magen, PhD, Stanford University
Tuesday, May 10, 10:00 AM - 12:00 noon
Sequoia Union High School District Office, Birch Room
480 James Avenue, Redwood City
Trying to offer support when your adolescent seems upset or stressed can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. In this 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. These techniques can be used to address difficult topics of conversation. 
DR. ERAN MAGEN 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. 

For more information, contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, or 650-868-0590
Parent Education Series events are free and open to SUHSD parents, faculty/staff, addiction/mental health professionals, and community members. The Parent Education Mini-Series is sponsored by the Sequoia Healthcare District and the Sequoia Union High School District.

Community News
It's On Us: What Students Need to Know to Prevent Sexual Assault
WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 2016, 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
WHERE: Foothill College - Appreciation Hall - 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Tanvi Jayaraman, Stanford University student and creator of student-led campaigns to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, will present critical facts that students need to know, as well as provide them with concrete strategies for prevention. This event is geared for high school students of all gender identity and orientation. Tanvi is a senior at Stanford University, and a campus leader in prevention programing and strategic campaigns for the prevention of sexual assault and other gender-based violence.