April 18, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Tuesday through Friday of this week, Sequoia 11th Graders will take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.  AKA CAASPP; AKA SBAC.  It is an adaptive test, meaning questions students are asked are, in part, determined by responses they give to previous questions.  The test is administered through a web portal.  Our students will be given Chromebooks to take the test and provided headphones for listening portions.  

Each portion of the test (ELA and Math) will require students to complete a performance task.  In ELA, this will involve writing.  In math, demonstration analysis and reasoning will be required, which will also include a written component.  The CAASPP is aligned with Common Core Standards.

This is the third year we've administered this form of standardized assessment at Sequoia.  The test is only taken by 11th graders, but ALL students in grades 9-11 completed interim assessments in the Fall.  The purpose of the interim assessments is to measure progress and help familiarize students with the testing format.  

Like last year, families will get a mailing with their student's individual scores from the state sometime this summer.  It is a six page report containing both qualitative and quantitative feedback on student performance.  Districts and schools will also receive individual and aggregate performance results.  For the first time since we started with the implementation of CAASPP, we will be able to compare this year's results to 2015 baseline data.  

Standardized assessment should never be the sole measure of school success.  It is a useful tool to identify ways in which we can better serve our students.  For now, it's a norm-referenced snapshot of whether students are approaching, meeting, or exceeding standard in a set of skills.  California's plan is to have students complete the CAASPP in 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th grades.  I look forward, in the next few years, to being able to look deeper at growth over time and what value we're adding as a school and district.
Quick housekeeping: several all-calls have gone out already, but this another a reminder that 9th, 10th, and 12th graders need not report to school until 10:30 Tuesday through Friday.

Thanks and have a great week!
SBAC Testing This Week
Smarter Balanced testing will take place for all juniors from April 19-22.  All juniors should arrive no later than 8:25 each day of testing.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, students will work on the mathematics portion of the test, and the English portion on Thursday and Friday.  Each testing block is two hours long.  9th, 10th, and 12th-grade students should arrive at 10:30 for classes on April 19-22.  For a detailed class and testing schedule, please see the Smarter Balanced Bell Schedule under the quick links on our school's website.  Please also feel free to contact the IVP office with any questions.

SRO Ruiz Presents at PTSA Meeting
Last week at our PTSA Meeting, School Resource Officer (SRO) Diana Ruiz-Del Re, who was accompanied by one of our student campus safety aides Mayra, presented about the role of the SRO and safety at Sequoia.  The meeting was extremely informative, so we wanted to share words from Officer Ruiz ("RJ") with the wider Sequoia community:

There are days we all question what we are specifically doing to better our community. On days like that, I remember that our children are the most vulnerable members of society. It shakes one's sense of humanity when you hear how they fall victim to un-expecting crimes. We all remember being young na�ve teenagers, thinking we knew it all and then looking back and being thankful for all the times things could have gone wrong but went well. As an SRO, I take an integral part in watching, mentoring and guiding our youth in today's society. Day in and day out I work with troubled youth, when parents need to be at work or perhaps fail to see the risks their kids might be facing. At the end of every day, when the uniform is back in the locker and I'm headed to home to be with my loved ones..... that priceless feeling that I've provided to my community reminds me of how important my job really is.

If you see Officer RJ around campus, say hello!  She loves meeting members of the Sequoia community.

Sequoia Literary Magazine
Seniors Glenn Billman and Katie Fazio were awarded a Mini-Grant this past fall to to help publish a Literary Magazine. Learn more about it below:
We were very thankful to receive the PTSA mini-grant to help publish the first edition of the Sequoia Literary Magazine; the amount that was given is almost half of our total budget. Printing a magazine -- especially with images, color, quality, and enough copies to distribute to a large portion of the student body -- is incredibly expensive. We struggled to find a printer that would allow us to print the number of copies we wanted to distribute for less than $2,000, and we were reluctant to print fewer copies as we wanted as many students as possible to enjoy the Literary Magazine. 
We extended the deadline for accepting submissions by a month as we wanted to publish as many pieces as possible, and we more than doubled the amount of art we received by reaching out to teachers, hanging posters, and broadcasting on the announcements. 88 pieces were submitted in the form of plays, poetry, short stories, photographs, drawings, paintings, and digital creations. We were very excited to see our classmates' creative work and to share it with the rest of the school. Many teachers, parents, and most importantly, students, have told us how excited they are about this publication. Thank you again!

Sample pieces that were included in the Sequoia Literary Magazine, by Taradash, Navarro, and Hartzell (left to right).

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

Only 11 More IB/AP Proctors Needed
Please consider being a proctor for our IB/AP Exams.  By supporting the proctoring of the exam, you thus support not only our students testing, but teachers, staff, and other students school-wide who continue to learn and grow in our classrooms during testing days.  Thank you for all you do to continue to support this great community of ours; we truly could not make this sort of testing possible on such a large scale without your support!
Sophia Olliver
Instructional Vice Principal

Community Enjoys International Festival
null Sequoia Students were the shining stars at Saturday's International Festival.  Organizers Abby Hartzell, Hannah Dosen, and Clara MacAvoy spent months preparing for this fun day, and their hard work paid off!  Over 10 student clubs staffed booths offering games, baked treats, art, and demonstrations. Sequoia Jazz Band and Choir, plus individual students Max Fletcher and Nate Bartoshuk were among those who provided entertainment on the front lawn main stage while families ate delicious food and soaked in the sun. ASB students were on hand to help throughout the day.  
A big thank you to the club advisors who were on hand to help with several student booths. In addition to the work of the students, thanks goes to the many parent PTSA members who, with their usual generosity, stepped up to help, providing beverages, setting up and breaking down the festival, staffing the ticket and prize booths and welcoming incoming 9th grade families. Despite a weekend that was already stuffed to the brim with activities including Sequoia's Dance Show, the Redwood City STEAM Festival, hosting students from France, and SAT/ACT prep tests just to name a few, our students and families came through with their usual Sequoia spirit to help make International Festival 2016 a success. THIS is what Sequoia students can do!

Interested in a Moonlight Bay Cruise?
To all Junior, Sophomore and Freshman parents - who don't also have 2016 graduating students: 

We are nearing our Safe and Sober Graduation week for the 2016 Seniors.  One of the big events is the Moonlight Grad Night Cruise of the San Francisco Bay on June 3. We need volunteers from parents (and family friends, other relatives, older siblings, etc.) to attend as Chaperones.  We need a total of 10 Chaperones.  Three parents have already volunteered so we need 7 more.  This is a fun trip, and speaking as a parent who attend as a Chaperone last year - it is a heartwarming experience to watch these wonderful young people spend their last night as a class together. 

More details will be sent in a separate email blast, but if you are interested please contact Pam Ross at [email protected] or 650-346-4605.

Junior Scholarship Applications Due Tomorrow!
Add a description Juniors, don't forget to turn in your applications for the PTSA Junior Scholarships by Tuesday, April 19 at 4 PM!  Applications must include:
  1. Hard copy of the cover sheet with your transcript, submitted to Ms. Ignaitis in the College & Career Center; AND
  2. On-line application completed on the PTSA website.
Photo Scavenger Hunt
Here's a blast from the past - a view of the Sequoia Campus (and bay) in 1930! 

Last week's answer:
This seal is on the cabinet in the lobby of Carrington Hall.

In This Issue
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

Monday, April 25 
Collab Day

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

Tuesday, May 3
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

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

Saturday, May 14 - Prom

Tuesday, May 16
6 PM - Math Awards

Wednesday, May 17
6 PM - EL graduation

7 PM - Music Concert and VPA awards, Carrington Hall

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Community News
75th San Carlos Chickens' Ball
Many Sequoia parents will be performing and the SHS Jazz Band will be featured as pre-show entertainment on opening night, April 29th! The San Carlos Chickens' Ball is an original, energetic, variety show put on by the community to benefit the San Carlos PTA. Celebrating our 75th year, the show is not only the oldest tradition in San Carlos it is the longest running PTA fundraiser in the US. All proceeds raised from the show provide San Carlos students with performing art opportunities. BUY TICKETS NOW! Show dates are April 29, 30; May 1, 6 and 7. 

San Carlos AYSO Registration
Registration for Fall AYSO, for Boys and Girls ages 3-18, is now open.  Registration dates and locations include:
  • May 1, 9 AM-2 PM at the San Carlos Youth Center
  • May 4, 4:30-7 PM at Pump It Up, Belmont
  • May 7, 9 AM-2 PM at Burton Park
Save $15 if you register at one of our in-person events and before May 31st!  Pre-register online at  More information is available on this flyer.

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 the former Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising at Stanford University. Since leaving Stanford in 2012, Julie has been pursuing an MFA at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

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, 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, [email protected] 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.