September 12, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
These days, I sympathize with students whose English classes meet in P-1, P-3, and P-4.  Their walk to class is the most disrupted of all students by Measure A construction.  The last few months of work in the new A-wing keeps the most direct throughway to those classrooms closed to foot traffic.  

I'll give our 10th-graders credit: they don't grumble nearly as much as they could.  I still see mostly smiles when I'm at the detour around the pool.  They must all wear Fitbits.

By January, they will walk to English class through the smart new A-Wing: ten state-of-the-art classrooms split by a broad, open-air arcade.  Like most of campus, the A-wing will complement the Mission Revival style of the original school building.  The interior arcade pays tribute to the mid-century overhangs along the Lenkurt-wing on the campus's north end.  It's shaping up to be a beaut.

A-wing is one of 10 projects completed or underway as part of Measure A construction in the district.  The student parking lot, a remodeled room 128, and a culinary arts lab are in use.  Walking into the culinary arts lab feels like walking onto the set of Top Chef.

Soon the renovated Tea Garden will be unveiled.  A healthier layout and more native species means that the historic heritage trees, several of them unique to the original finca on which Sequoia's campus was built, will thrive.  Access to the Tea Garden is improved significantly from multiple points for students in wheelchairs, and the project includes more open space, benches, and other furniture to allow classes to take it as an outdoor learning area.

Since the passage of Measure A in 2014, when Sequoia HS's Measure A Construction Committee (consisting of parents, students, school and district staff, and architects from Spencer & Associates) outlined a 5-year plan prioritizing work for areas of campus to be most impacted by the anticipated growth in student population between now and 2020, major infrastructure upgrades on the water lines and the electrical capacity are underway, lights and a canopy will be added to the pool, and an additional practice athletic field will be built.

Finally, the renovation of our performing arts wing is on deck, where band, orchestra, choir, and stagecraft classes practice.  Mr. Broome, Mr. Jefferson, and Ms. Woodman offered expert input on the priorities of the department.  Plans are complete for larger spaces for band, orchestra, and choir with first rate acoustics, more efficient storage, and an inspiring design.    

I feel lucky and honored to be in my position during a time of construction at a school like Sequoia.  I recognize the weight of stewarding improvements to a school built in 1923.  These physically stunning buildings and trees are special to an awful lot of people.   Someday, hopefully, they'll feel extra special to the kids hoofing it back and forth to P1, P-3, and P-4.

Have a great week,

School Directory
Did you know that the school directory is posted on School Loop?  In the "News" section in the right-hand column of your daily update, there is a link for the directory. The directory is typically updated every month.

Help Us Give Away $15,000
Each year the PTSA, with support from the SHSEF, awards $15,000 in Mini-Grants to Sequoia teachers, staff, and students for projects that benefit our whole community.  Our fall Mini-Grant season is just about to begin; committee members are busy getting the application ready to go public and we can't wait to start receiving requests!  

As Mini-Grant season is rolled out we need parents to join our team to help with the selection process.  If you have a few hours in early to mid October and again in March to review applications and meet with the committee, we would love to have you on board.  No experience is necessary, and there will be seasoned committee members assisting along the way. This is a great opportunity for new as well as returning Sequoia parents to get to know all the great projects percolating in our school!

Contact our Mini-Grants committee chair Marlena Griffin at [email protected].

Club Day
Club Day is Friday, September 16th during lunch, in front of the school. If your student is new or just looking for a club to join, please encourage them to swing by any one of the many tables.  Who knows, they may find they are the next world chess genius or a master at anime, or ready to solve global warming, or maybe they just want to get happy!

For Junior Parents...
My name is Morgan Taradash and I'm the Junior Class President this year.  Like previous years, the Class of 2018 is asking for parent donations in the form of boxes of candy that we sell at football and basketball games for fundraising. We typically purchase the candy boxes at Smart & Final or Costco for about $20 per box; they can be delivered to the Student Activities Center. If you are a Junior parent, the Class of 2018 would love your support.  All donations help, thank you! 

SHSEF Update and Search for Graphic Designer
The Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) is an all-volunteer organization that funds stipends, materials and programs to ensure every Sequoia student reaches his or her potential. We are granting $373K for the 2016-17 academic year for items such as:

* Freshmen English, Biology and World Studies Class Size Reduction (Max of 30/class) - $65K
* College & Guidance Counseling Assistant Stipend - $35K
* Chromebooks - 4 sets @ $41K
* Teacher Training on effective use of technology in the classroom - $5K
* After School Math Tutoring and Advanced Math Class Stipends - $26K
* PTSA Administered Mini-Grants - $10K
* Musical Instruments and Arts Program Materials - $20K

Visit to see other items funded.

The suggested donation is $1,000 per student, but contributions of ANY amount help us reach our goals. Consider joining our Leadership Circle of major donors and receive invitations to special events by contributing $2,500 or more. And don't forget to secure a company match if your employer offers it. Donate online or download a printable form here.

We are currently seeking a GRAPHIC DESIGNER to create our Annual Campaign Brochure! We have the content but are looking for a professional to help us visually convey our great story. This project will take ~8-10 hours over the next 4-5 weeks. Contact Susan Strehlow ([email protected]) if you can help.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

6th Annual Sequoia 5K Stampede
Saturday, September 24 at 8:30 AM

The Sequoia Stampede is more than a 5K race/walk -- it is a fun-filled, community event and one of the core fundraising events for Sequoia Athletics. This year we are adding a Tot Trot (two laps around the high school track) for kids 5 and under. 

Registration: available online at, or contact [email protected] to request a mail-in form.
Event Check-In: starts at 7:00 AM
5K Gun Start: 8:30 AM Sharp!
Tot Trot Begins: 10 AM on the track at Sequoia High School

The course starts and finishes on Sequoia High School's beautiful campus, beginning and finishing in the stadium. It winds its way through the redwooded neighborhood behind the school, over a few small hills, and over one 200 ft dirt path.

In This Issue
Monday, Sept. 12
Collab Day

Thursday, Sept. 15
Deadline for Junior IB Diploma sign-up (submit CAS Activity Plan to IB Office)

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

Saturday, Sept. 24

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

Thursday, Sept. 29
Photo re-takes

Tuesday, Oct. 4
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Wednesday, Oct. 5
6 PM - 10th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Friday, Oct. 7

Tuesday, Oct. 11
Freshman College Day

Tuesday, Oct. 18
7 PM - Band and Orchestra Concert, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 19
PSAT, 10th and 11th grades

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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 

Back by popular demand!  Automobile collisions are the #1 cause of death for our nation's teens. The overwhelming majority of crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions, not "thrill-seeking" or deliberate risk-taking. This is a don't-miss presentation for parents, teens, and families!
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
Is Your Teen Stressed Out?
Cultivating the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion could be just what s/he needs to meet the changes and struggles of adolescence with greater ease. Making Friends with Yourself is a new 8-week program designed to help teens cope more effectively with the ongoing challenges of their day-to-day life. It brings together the benefits of mindfulness and self-compassion: Mindfulness teaches us to be present with difficult emotions, and self-compassion helps us to respond to these emotions with greater kindness and self-care. 

At any age, self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience to meet struggles, as well as a foundation to relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically oneself. Self-compassion also provides the support and inspiration required to make necessary changes in our lives and reach our full potential. Research has demonstrated significant decreases in perceived stress, negative mood, anxiety and depression among teens after taking this course. For more information, please contact [email protected] or see ouflyer.