August 22, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
This week all students will be presented with Sequoia's school-wide behavioral expectations assembly in Carrington Hall.  The assembly will provide clarification on policies around electronic devices, the dress code, student conflict, bullying, tardiness, and the closed campus.  See the Campus Control Policy page on the website for more detailed information.

At the heart of the assembly is the simple expectation we have for all kids: Be nice and make Sequoia the school you want it to be.  Our philosophy behind the safe campus climate stems from the principle of unconditional positive regard.  We do not believe in passing judgment on the character of an individual based on a bad decision they may have made.  We recognize that good kids do bad things and our best chance of turning a disciplinary event into an educational event comes from appealing to students' best selves.  

We seek the lowest level of intervention necessary to remediate the student's behavior.  If a student is suspended from school, it is because we have exhausted other interventions or because the physical or emotional safety of others is threatened.  We look at discipline events as opportunities for a student to make the situation right.

We also recognize that change will be a process not an event.  If a student has never made an apology to an adult, the first time they're asked to do so will probably sound neither sincere nor contrite.  It's a first step, however, and our goal in some cases is to improve behavior over time.

Increasingly, we have seen incidents of bullying migrate online.  Anonymous Instagram accounts, Snapchats, or message boards provide students with avenues for harassment and cruelty (for an interesting read on why kids bully, see the article here).  The trust we have built up with kids through our philosophy of unconditional positive regard means that these incidents are regularly brought to the attention of an adult on campus.  

Protecting students from bullying and keeping Sequoia a safe place every day is as important as anything we do.  We will take every action in our power to this end.  We appreciate students who bring this repugnant content to the attention of administration swiftly.  I encourage all students to do the same if this type of thing crosses their path -- as they have been doing.

We are partners with parents in this endeavor.  Ask your students about the assembly today.  Have a conversation about the kind of online bullying they've seen.  Remind your students how serious we take this type of behavior.  Remind them also of the damage their words, gossip, and "likes" might bring upon their peers.  Sequoia is not a place of anonymous internet bullies.  We're better than that!

Have a great week!
Sean Priest, 

Join Us!
This is the first full week of school, and it's time to finish the to-do list!  To Do:
  • Buy the last few school supplies (NOTE:  At Office Depot, tell the cashier to have your purchase benefit Sequoia HS, and 5% will go towards our school!)
  • Finalize the carpool schedule
  • Join PTSA!
Please finish your list by joining now. The newsletter you are currently reading is funded and created by your PTSA.  The three minutes it takes to join makes a difference, so please become a member today.  In addition, please consider having each parent and Sequoia student join our PTSA.  Your membership matters!  

HOT TIP:  If you prefer to pay in cash or via check, please visit the PTSA table near the main entrance on Sept. 1 during Back-to-School Night. 

Be in the Loop
There are many ways to stay informed about happenings at Sequoia, such as this weekly Sentinel newsletter, the Daily Bulletin sent out by the administration, the College & Career Center email list, and more!  View this Communication Resources list for information on how to access these important resources.
9th, 10th, 11th grade families: The PTSA sends out grade-specific information during the year on topics such as college info meetings and grad week planning, so make sure you are subscribed to the PTSA class email lists for EACH of your students.  Visit in the "Stay Informed: Subscribe" section, or contact [email protected] with questions.

Got Coffee?
Our staff can always use a good cup of coffee in the morning!  The PTSA is hosting a coffee cart and tasty breakfast snacks to show our appreciation for our Sequoia teachers the morning after Back-to-School Night. Our teachers really appreciate being perked up, so please consider signing up to help make this event special for our hard working teachers on Friday morning, September 2nd, by either bringing a food item or  helping serve hot beverages.

School Photos
For students who did not take their school photos last Tuesday, photos will be taken this Thursday and Friday (Aug. 25-26) during the school day.

Proofs packages will be sent home in a couple of weeks, which will have photo ordering information in them.

Meet Our New Teachers
Welcome to Sequoia staff members who have arrived this fall or during the spring semester of 2016!  
  • Minu Dave - English/Journalism
  • Martine Demailly - Math
  • Ashley Dever - Science
  • Anne Frost - English
  • Claire Heritier-Kirby - Social Studies
  • Aline Kaprive - Special Education
  • Hillary Martinez - English
  • Robert Moaeveni - Math
  • Courtney Murphy - Math
  • Renita Okon - English
  • Beatriz Orozco - English
  • Michelle Peyton - Social Studies
  • Arnold Posada - Science
  • Brad Ramezane - Social Studies
  • Anthony Relator - Math
  • Danielle Sattler - Special Education
  • Eva Stephens - Special Education
  • Drew Riddle - Social Studies
Parent Natalia Mendez prepared beautiful PTSA gift bags for our new teachers that were presented at the staff appreciation luncheon on Aug. 15. In addition to desk-top goodies like staplers, pens, scissors, and post-its, each bag included a "New Teacher Grant" enabling teachers to purchase up to $150 worth of supplies to help launch their school year.  Thank you PTSA parent Natalia for the effort and SHSEF for the funding!

(Photo above - New teachers Brad Ramezane, Minu Dave, and Renita Okon with their PTSA Gift Bags.)

Parents Welcome Staff and Students
Staff Luncheon:  Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped contribute treats and time towards making the Staff/Teacher Back-to-School Luncheon a success on August 15th! Teachers, staff, and administrators enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared and served by parents. A special thanks to Merce Carroll for making delicious homemade salads, and to Nino's Pizza in San Carlos!

Luncheon volunteers were: Adrienne Heist, Chris Woo, Donna Fiore, Jen Sharratt, Kara Cadagan, Laura Vella-Fukuji, Lisa Miller, Rachel Krueger, Susan Lier, Tammy De Marco, Torri Horovitz, Karin Lubeck, Diane Holman, Marianne Cheatham, Athena Bradley, Marlena Griffin, Betsy Parkhurst, Lee Forrester, Lauren Pachkowski, Kim Hartman and Gayle Hoch. Thank you!

School Photos and Help Desk:  We also had many parents help with school photos and the PTSA Help Desk on Aug. 15-16. Volunteers were:  Lisa Hane, Gayle Hoch, Sian Davies, Lauren Pachkowski, Marlena Griffin, Sherri Horan, Grace Schulz, Katherine Frazer, Bonnie Alesna, Judy Adams, Kate Connors, Steve Donovan, Brenda Reeves, Torri Horovitz, Susan Lier, Sabine Won, Susie Gilbert, Maria Martin, Scarlett Mineta and Gabriela Mendoza-Evans.  Thank you for helping to welcome our students and families back to school! 
Thanks from SHSEF
A tremendous THANK YOU to all our supporters!  Your donations provide:
  • Class Size Reduction
  • After-School Math Tutors
  • IB Math Staff
  • Chromebooks, Tablets & Graphing Calculators
  • College & Career Counseling Assistant
  • PTSA Mini-Grants
  • Freshman College Day
  • PSAT Day
  • Student-Run Newspaper "Raven Report" Printing
  • Staff Development Day
Our 2016-2017 Campaign will soon be underway.  If you'd like to participate, go to to donate by credit card or through PayPal, or to print a donation form to pay by check.

SHS Alumni Association Picnic/BBQ - A Great Success
This past Saturday, August 20th, over 250 Sequoia graduates from the past 50+ years gathered to eat, reminisce, and raise money for the Sequoia High School Alumni Association that does so much for our community! Sequoia is a rare high school that regularly welcomes recent grads as well as those from long ago to come together and celebrate their time here. 

The Sequoia cheer squad entertained and the Boosters, SHSEF and PTSA were on hand, as well as a new partner organization we have on campus, Friends For Youth, spreading the word about their activities that help make Sequoia a spirited place to go to school.

The Purple Patriot Award was given to alum John Castro as well as former Sequoia parent Sharon Levin for their contributions to the students and school at large. Principal Sean Priest was on hand to lead tours of the school, and many of the former students who participated marveled at how so many things have changed yet so many things are still the same!

For information about the Alumni Association see their websiteAnd mark you calendar for Saturday, August 19, 2017 as the date of next year's BBQ!

Host a German Student
"Education creates prospects and opens new horizons."  Therefore, in 2009 Sequoia High School and Kopernikus School in Freigericht, Germany agreed on a German-American partnership for students of both countries -- with a total of eight German-American encounters already having taken place.

This fall a group of motivated German students and their two teachers from Kopernikus School will be visiting the Bay Area. While their first week will deal more with seeing famous sights in and around the area, the second week will be focused on attending pre-arranged visits with a variety of companies and organizations on the SF Peninsula while living with Sequoia's host families from Oct. 29-Nov. 6.  The German students are 15-16 years old and are carefully screened by the German school staff.  They are interviewed and must submit a teacher recommendation to be awarded a spot in the program.

The main objective of the partnership is the integration of students into the everyday life of host families to provide them with a coherent intercultural experience.  That's why we are now looking for SHS students and their families who will give European high school students the true cultural experience that only a homestay can provide.  Hosting and being hosted is an enriching opportunity for both the visiting student and the host family!

If you are interested, please contact Thorsten Weitzel at [email protected].

In This Issue
Monday, August 22
Collab Day

Thu-Fri, Aug. 25-26
Make-up days for school photos

Monday, August 29
Collab Day

Thursday, Sept. 1
6:30 PM - Back-to-School Night

Monday, Sept. 5
No school, Labor Day

Tuesday, Sept. 6
7 PM - Principal's Reception, MPR

Wednesday, Sept. 7
6 PM - 12th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Friday, Sept. 16
Lunchtime - Club Day

Monday, Sept. 19
No school, Staff Professional Development

Thursday, Sept. 22
7 PM - Sequoia Parent Education, "Distracted Driving Workshop," Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Sept. 28
6 PM - 11th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Sept. 29
Photo re-takes

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Parent Education
Sequoia Parent Education Series
Impact Teen Drivers - Distracted Driving Workshop 
Kelly Browning, PhD, Executive Director, Impact Teen Drivers
Thursday, September 22, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall 

Automobile collisions are the #1 cause of death for our nation's teens. The overwhelming majority of these crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions, not "thrill-seeking" or deliberate risk-taking. Teen drivers are at the highest risk: the crash rate for 16 year olds is four times that of adults. This is a don't-miss presentation for parents and teens! 
Since 2007, Impact Teen Drivers has emerged as a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the pervasive yet 100% preventable crisis of "distracted driving." Impact's mission is to change the culture of teen driving, thereby saving lives in this and future generations of drivers. 
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., Founding 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

Community News
Catch Me If You Can
Redwood City Community Theater presents Catch Me If You Can this weekend, Aug. 26-28 at Sequoia High School's Carrington Hall.  Performances are at 7:00 PM on Friday and Saturday; 3:00 PM on Sunday.

Based on the hit Dream Works film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner and Martin Sheen, this splashy spectacle follows the unbelievable true story of one of the most famous con-artists in history, Frank Abagnale, Jr.  Visit the RCCT website for tickets.

Shakespeare in the Park at Sequoia
The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival presents The Winter's Tale.  These free performances are being held on the grounds of Sequoia High School on Saturday, August 27 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, August 28 at 4:00 PM.