April 25, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
My Alma Mater, a painting by artist and former Sequoia staff member Erica Aranyos, highlights three icons of our beautiful campus: the giant eucalyptus next to Carrington Hall, Argo Tower, and Mr. Cliff Krantz.  

Cliff arrives before almost everyone else each day and circulates campus, rain or shine, to empty the outdoor garbage bins.  Because the scavenging crows and the squirrels often create extra mess for him to contend with, we understand when he grumbles a bit while he goes about his business.  He remains in this state of constant motion throughout the day, responding to unexpected clean-ups large (clogged gutters) and small (burst milk cartons).  
Graffiti is removed within minutes of being spotted, the mess left by students after lunch and brunch is gone long before students exit their subsequent class.  In fact, I credit Cliff's model work ethic and dedication to the beauty of our campus as one of the strongest motivators for kids doing a pretty good job at cleaning up after themselves.  They get it.

Cliff is an aviation enthusiast.  Visit his workroom on campus and witness the aerial dogfight staged overhead with painstakingly built model airplanes from all eras (Russian MIGs, F-14s, Messerschmitts -- we are an IB school, after all).  He also serves as caretaker for a few campus cats who hide from the hordes of teenagers throughout the day but appear during the quiet breaks for a meal and quick conversation with Cliff.

Special schools like Sequoia exist because special people like Cliff go above and beyond each day.  When Cliff told me last month he would be retiring in June, I knew we were losing one of those special people.  I'm very lucky to work at such a beautiful place and I treasure the original My Alma Mater hanging above my desk donated generously to the school by Ms. Aranyos.  I'm glad that, in addition to capturing the beautiful front of campus, it also serves as a tribute to one of the many special people that make it so.

Have a great week!
Celebrating PTSA
Mark your calendars for our PTSA end-of-year celebration, where we will honor senior PTSA parents, install next year's Executive Board, and more!  Join us on Tuesday, May 3 at 7 PM in the MPR.

SUHSD Sequitur Newsletter
Read the April issue of the Sequitur District newsletter here!

Biology Brought to Life
Biology teachers Greg Schmid, Ava Javid and Octavio Rodriguez used their PTSA fall mini-grant to take their students on a special field trip:
We recently took Human Bio students to Stanford's Clinical Anatomy Lab for a tour of their facilities.  We were able to experience the tools and technology that medical students use in their training.  Student highlights included holding a human brain, touching a nerve, using a giant (table-sized) iPad to view sections of a human being, interacting with holograms, standing inside a virtual 3D ear and touring the undergrad campus.

This grant made it possible for students to see something they may never again have the opportunity to see.  For some, it showed the technical opportunities that relate to human medicine.

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

10th Grade Students: IB Meeting
Attention 10th grade families.... Is your student interested in doing the full IB Diploma? If yes, there is a mandatory 10th Grade IB Diploma CAS Meeting on Thursday, May 19th during lunchtime in Carrington Hall. This meeting is for students only. 

We will discuss the CAS (Creativity Action Service) requirement and review important deadlines for declaring your IB Diploma status. Students should arrive at the very beginning of lunch, 12:10 PM. We will start promptly. Again, this meeting is required for students wanting to pursue the IB Diploma. This meeting is not for parents/guardians. Students who have questions can email or come see Ms. McCahon in the IB Office, Room #141.

Enjoy an Evening of Comedy
Sequoia High School Drama's Spring comedy is David Ives' "All in the Timing."  This critically acclaimed, award-winning evening of comedies combines wit, intellect, satire and just plain fun.  The world according to David Ives is a very odd place, and his plays constitute a virtual stress test of the English language -- and of the audience's capacity for disorientation and delight. Ives' characters plunge into black holes called "Philadelphias," where the simplest desires are hilariously thwarted. Chimps named Milton, Swift, and Kafka are locked in a room and made to re-create Hamlet. And a con man peddles courses in a dubious language in which "hello" translates as "velcro" and "fraud" comes out as "freud."   
"All in the Timing" performs in Carrington Hall May 6 & 7 at 7 PM. Tickets ($15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors) are available from the SHS treasurer, at the door and online at"All in the Timing" contains material that may be inappropriate for pre-teens.

Raven Report Journalists Honored
Some of the Raven Report journalists attended the National High School Journalism convention in LA recently, and represented Sequoia very well!  Their website won 8th overall, with the judge commenting: "The top sites blended strong design with interactives, an awareness of the latest in social media (Snapchat, Instagram). The winning sites also had a good mix of story forms (video, audio, photo, text) and timely features such as graphics of the day or stories in photos."

Junior Xavi Boluña presented in a session about his work with Global Student Square.  Three students took home national write-off awards: Rio Popper got an excellent award for news writing, Maddie Pei won honorable mention for feature writing and Trevor Crowell won honorable mention for sports writing. Only 12 percent of students who entered received an excellent award; 19 percent received an honorable mention. 

Congratulations to our journalists!  Check out their excellent work by reading the latest issue of the Raven Report!  

Sequoia Hosts French Students
From April 15-24, Sequoia families hosted 24 students from our French sister school in Muret, near Toulouse.  The French exchange students attended Sequoia classes, toured San Francisco, and experienced various everyday activities of California teen life.  Some highlights included attending the Sequoia Dance Show, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, shopping in Union Square, and doing a night tour of Alcatraz!  

Sequoia will be sending students to Toulouse in June of 2017, when they will also spend a few days in Paris.  Kudos to Mme Chin for coordinating this enriching exchange program, and to all the host families for showing Sequoia hospitality to our guests! 

French students and Sequoia host students say au revoir at SFO yesterday.

Shout-Out to Grad Activities Donors
null The Safe and Sober Grad Activities Committee for the Class of 2016 would like to take a few moments to thank and recognize the individuals below for giving a donation to the grad activities fund.  These donations help to offset the costs of the grad activities that totals about $28,000 and includes a BBQ, Brunch and the grad night celebration.  A big shout out goes to these individuals who donated the funds during our Direct Drive in the fall of 2015.  It is never too late to donate either monies or time.  In the next few weeks we will be asking for volunteer help via Volunteer Spot, and if you are not able to volunteer, donations are still being accepted at this link.

Safe & Sober Grad Activities Donors for Class of 2016
Lisa & Jon Bamford
Stephanie & Steven Blau
Lisa & David Cresta
Jill & James Davino
Joan & John Fazio
Kim & Malcom Fliege
Tricia & Mark Loveland
Lauren & Matt Pachkowski
Kris & Mark Salvoni
Dana & James Sanderson
Judy & David Sloan
Diana & Harrison Smith
Beth & Ian Walton
Jennifer & Randy Webb
Lisa Pokorny & Greg White

In This Issue
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

Monday, May 2 
Collab Day

Tuesday, May 3
10:30 AM - SUHSD Parent Education: "Question, Persuade, and Refer Training," District Office

7 PM - PTSA end-of-year celebration, MPR

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

Tuesday, May 10
10 AM - SUHSD Parent Education: "Mastering Difficult Conversations with Your Teen," District Office

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

Thursday, May 19
Lunch - Mandatory meeting for 10th graders interested in IB diploma, Carrington Hall

Tuesday, May 24
5:30-7:30 PM - IB Ceremony, Carrington Hall

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Community News
College Essay Writing Workshops
Rising seniors: Wondering how to approach the new UC Personal Insight Questions for the 2016-17 application season?  Get help with the new UC essays as well as Common Application essays at a Peninsula College Advising Personal Statement Workshop this summer.  All workshops led by college writing instructor and advisor Beth Harrison (

There are still some openings for June, July and August workshops.  Need-based scholarships are also available.  For more information and to register visit:

How to Write that Winning College Essay
Friday, May 13, 7:30 PM at Albany High School

College admissions expert Gabrielle Glancy speaks on How to Write That Winning College Essay -- In this talk, I will outline the techniques I have developed to help students unlock their stories, free their imaginations, and go on to write winning college essays.  I will also be discussing the new, hot-off-the press University of California Prompts (which they are calling Personal Insight Questions), and giving advice about how to tackle these.  (There are eight prompts, of which students must choose four.  Essays must be no more than 350 words each.)

Click on this link for more information and to buy tickets.

Managing ADHD-Like Behaviors and Executive Function
It is hard to manage organizational skills when impulse control is a challenge! Come understand as a parent how to better manage your child in day to day life tasks and thinking to improve self esteem and organizational systems.

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.?). 

You will learn the support structure that will allow you to actually work with your child in a different and more successful way to achieve both your goals. These systems are especially key for those in students in their junior/senior (incoming) years so they are prepared for successful planning independence when they go off to college.

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

Parent Education
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

An epidemic of prescription drug addiction is sweeping our nation, impacting youth in every neighborhood. 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. 

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
Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) offers training on how to recognize and respond to an individual in psychological distress. In this workshop, you will learn how to recognize the warning signs of someone in distress and possibly prevent a suicide. 

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

Trying to offer support when your adolescent seems upset or stressed can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. In this interactive 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.

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.