skip to main content


June 2020 - Reopening School Message

Dear Sequoia Union High School District Students and Families:
These have been difficult times for us all, and after the close of a tumultuous spring, I write to you now to provide you with an update on plans for this fall. 
First, allow me to reassure you that during this ongoing pandemic every decision made by our district puts a premium on ensuring the health and safety of our students, their families, our staff, and other members of our school communities. As California and specifically San Mateo County, begin to cautiously re-open, the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) is undertaking the necessary planning for a fall re-opening. 
In that spirit, last night, the Board of Trustees received the final report from the Academic Operations Task Force (AOTF) and district leadership. The recommendations in the final report took into consideration the voices of staff, parents, and students and proposed a multi-stage reopening plan that is responsive to health conditions as determined by the San Mateo County’s Health Director in partnership with the Superintendent of the San Mateo County Department of Education.
The Board approved the foundational principles of a learning plan that resumes school in the fall through a hybrid in-class/distance learning model that is aligned with the county health order stages. More specifically, SUHSD will start the school year with a 2.5 Transition Schedule into a Hybrid Schedule. The intent of the 2.5 Transition Schedule is to open carefully and cautiously as staff and students learn the safety protocols, before moving judiciously to the next stage. The implementation of the Stage 3 Hybrid Model may begin within a few weeks of our initial opening, but will be guided by prevailing health conditions in the county.
During the shelter-in-place, our staff has been participating in professional development focused on delivering robust distance learning curricula. However, to support our teachers in shifting to a hybrid in-person/distance learning model, the Board of Trustees approved an adjusted instructional calendar for the 2020-2021 school year that front loads the school year with professional development days. The result of this accommodation moves the first day of school for all students to August 17, 2020. 
Now that the Board has approved the recommended school reopening plan, a few immediate actions will take place: 
  • For us to better plan for your student, please respond as soon as possible to the letter that you will receive in the next few days from our Student Services department.
  • We are embarking upon presenting the approved plan to, and developing and finalizing agreements with, our union leadership, whose members are essential to its implementation. In the past we have enjoyed a robust collaboration and we recognize that implementation requires their continued partnership. We are committed to providing you with updates as we finalize agreements.
  • In parallel, we are hard at work developing a more detailed COVID-19 Fall 2020 Reopening School Action Plan that will identify specific actions, timelines, and accountability measures for our school community’s safety and the delivery of quality instruction.
While we are looking forward to seeing our students on campus in the fall, it is important to remember that our current plans may change in the event our county issues new health directives, as SUHSD is required to adhere to updated orders. We understand that last minute changes in plans can cause upset and other difficulties, and we commit to sending out a community update by August 1, 2020 to confirm our targeted schedule of August 17 for starting school. 
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Your support has been, and will continue to be, essential as we navigate through these uncharted waters together.
Dr. Mary E. Streshly

May 2020

Dear Community:
In an academic year that feels like it began years ago, it is hard to believe that we have finally reached the end of the 2019-20 academic year. To the graduating class of 2020, on behalf of the Sequoia Union High School District, congratulations on finishing your high school careers. We can all agree that this will be a memorable year for you, and I want to recognize the grace, maturity, tenacity, and resilience that you have demonstrated during this unprecedented time.
I also want to thank our entire Sequoia family. By working together, we created as much stability as possible for our students.
As we look to the future, the path forward requires that we continue our joint efforts in order to overcome future obstacles. In that spirit, the District has established an Academic Operations Task Force that consists of over 100 staff, parents, students, administrators and other local partners comprising 10 working groups to make recommendations as to how we will reopen in the fall. The working groups cover a myriad of logistics required for the reopening of our schools such as: learning environment, health and safety, instruction, assessment, and student services. Each is driven by the goal of providing the best possible educational experiences within the highest levels of safety protocols and procedures established by the San Mateo County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
We ask you to help inform and guide the “big lift” that the task force has before it, by filling out THIS SURVEY. Please take the time to fill it out, as your response will allow the Academic Operations Task Force the opportunity to take your feedback into account during its deliberations.
Through this task force, we will establish a road map that will assist us, as we continue navigating through uncharted waters. Although we are optimistic about “opening” in the fall, the reality is that, as a result of COVID-19, “open for business” takes on more than one meaning as the landscape continues to be dynamic and nebulous. We will absolutely be educating our teens this fall in enriched, innovative instructional platforms, but in what capacity students will access our campus and classrooms will continue to be confined and defined by evolving county health orders and state guidelines.
It’s been a bumpy ride, so please reach out to your teachers and end the year strong. Make sure to get some “non-screen time rest” this summer, but don’t forget to stay safe and continue adhering to social distancing guidelines!
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.

April 2020 - COVID-19/Distance Learning Messages

Dear Community:  
As we continue navigating through life in the COVID-19 era, I am overwhelmed by the unquestionable strength and resilience of our community. Although our lives as we know them have been severely interrupted, I firmly believe that our values and character have not been shaken. We continue to push forth with a strong commitment to serving students and families. As board president Allen Weiner stated earlier this week, “We must support our students and their families, our teachers and other staff members, to foster genuine learning during the remainder of the year.”
I can imagine that we all must feel inundated with COVID-19 communication, but I believe that it is best to over communicate on a topic of this severity. With that in mind, this Superintendent Message will provide you with updates, resources, and reminders on the following subjects that I hope you will find helpful.
  • End of Year Awards and Senior Ceremonies
  • Educational Resources
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Parent Resources
  • Text Message Alerts
  • Facility Closures
  • Food Services
  • Tech Support
  • San Mateo County Community Resources
  • San Mateo Health Officer Orders
Stay safe and please continue to find ways to take care of yourself during this time.
With warm regards,
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D. 

End of Year Awards and Senior Ceremonies 

School sites are busy coordinating creatively augmented senior graduation ceremonies and student recognition celebrations. Stay tuned for more details to come later this week.

Educational Resources 

We encourage you to visit our new At-Home Learning Student Resources website, which provides videos with technical and CANVAS support to help students. Resources are available in both English and Spanish.  

Mental Health Resources

Atlas Mental Health - App now FREE for SUHSD Students!
Sequoia Union High School District students, staff, and families now have free access to Atlas Mental Health, a new app that helps people feel better. 
Atlas facilitates guided journaling around topics focused on life's central concerns while teaching concepts from Mindfulness, Social Emotional Learning, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Positive Psychology, and Self Compassion research. 
Download on Android or Apple phones. Students sign up with email address. To learn more, go to
Additional Virtual Support groups for SUHSD students
Please visit our new Student Services Mental Health webpage for more information on student mental health services. 

Parent Resources

In collaboration with educational and health care agencies, we have made information, resources, and articles available to parents related to student mental health, homeschooling, safety, and wellness. Please click on the following links to access that information.
For parents who are balancing working from home + managing a household + taking care of their children: 

Text Messaging Service

Our school utilizes the SchoolMessenger system to deliver text messages, straight to your mobile phone with important information about events, school closings, safety 
alerts and more. 
If you are a parent or guardian, you can participate in this free service* just by sending a text message of “Y” or “Yes” to our school’s short code number, 67587.
You can also opt-out of these messages at any time by simply replying to one of our messages with “Stop”
SchoolMessenger is compliant with the Student Privacy PledgeTM, so you can rest assured that your information is safe and will never be given or sold to anyone. 

Facility Closures

Due to the Shelter-in-Place Order and School Modifications Order, all district facilities are closed to the general public. Only parents and students are permitted to visit sites on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM to pick up meals or receive tech support. 

Food Services 

Breakfast and Lunch Meal Pick-up on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM at the following sites:
Menlo-Atherton High School
555 Middlefield Road
Atherton CA 94027
East Palo Alto Academy
1050 Myrtle Street
East Palo Alto CA 94303
District Office Central Kitchen 
300 James Avenue
Redwood City CA 94062

Tech Support

Chromebooks, hotspots, and tech support are still being provided at school sites, Mondays and Wednesdays between 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM by appointment only. You can contact your school site to make an appointment or send an email to

San Mateo County Community Resources

San Mateo County Core Service Agencies: basic emergency and support services to stabilize family living situations. The Core Service Agencies provide crisis intervention and referrals based on an evaluation of your needs and qualifications for assistance. Services: 
  • Food including information about grocery programs and where you can get hot meals 
  • Information on housing resources, shelter and other homeless services 
  • Short-term rental/deposit/mortgage payment assistance to support you in staying housed 
  • Utility bill financial assistance and assistance with applying for on-going utility payment programs for people with low incomes
COVID-19 Community Resources: this resource guide is for all community members in San Mateo County. Information is available in English & Spanish. Resources include food, rent, health care, legal, immigration, and Work-Related Help.
Food Distribution Resources:

San Mateo Health Officer Orders

Dear SUHSD Community,
First of all, we would like to thank you for your support and understanding during this challenging time. The current crisis and school closures have placed tremendous pressure on every member of our community as our daily lives essentially transformed overnight. Our primary goal is to make sure you and your family remain safe during this global pandemic and to ensure students remain engaged in learning and are well-prepared for the future. Most recently, the San Mateo Health Department modified the School Operations Modification Order to extend distance learning through the end of the school year. As our district weighed the implications of not being able to reopen our campuses, we knew we had to immediately tackle how grading will be modified to fit this unexpected shift in our learning environment.  District leadership drew upon the expertise of our site and instructional leaders and solicited input from parents, staff, and students on the subject of grading. Together, we considered ways in which the current remote learning environment, which began months into the semester, would pose challenges to a letter grading system. These challenges include:
  • Not all learning objectives for the course can be addressed, or to the extent and depth intended. 
  • Student competencies have not been determined two months into a course with important instruction and assessments left unadministered; therefore a “grading floor” does not represent a fair determination of a student’s competency 
  • Certain essential knowledge and skills are challenging to assess in a remote learning environment. 
  • Students may not have access to learning supports and/or other resources necessary for a more equitable learning environment at home. For many of our students, the only adequate space and support for learning is within our school setting.
  • Some students have had to go out and get jobs to help support their families during this time. With the closing of daycare centers and primary schools, other students are babysitting their siblings for eight plus hours a day because their parents are deemed essential workers.
  • Universities across the country, including both the UC and CSU systems, have made clear that students will not be penalized for posting Pass/No Pass transcripts for this semester. 
  • It is difficult for staff to grade subjectively when they are new to at-home instruction.  We are asking teachers to instruct in a way in which they never have had to before and there is a learning curve for all of us.
  • In one month, we have seen significant drops in the A, B and C grades of our most at-risk populations
To that end, the Board of Trustees has made the difficult decision to move to a Pass/No Pass grading system for the Spring semester of 2020. While we know that some members of our community will be disappointed in this change in grading policy, please understand that we did not make this decision lightly. Over the last several weeks, district staff has worked closely with all stakeholders. We have been in direct contact with multiple colleges and universities to better understand how they will be viewing college applications and the decisions that districts are making around grading practices. We spoke to as many educational partners as possible to make the best decision for our community. 
It is our commitment that we will continue advocating on behalf of each of our affected students over the coming years as they undertake the college admissions process. In partnership with the SMCOE and our neighboring districts, we will continue to use our voice and keep the pressure on our institutions of higher education to uphold their commitments to treating all students equitably under these unprecedented circumstances. Because of the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in, we know that letters of recommendation and reflections from teachers will likely become even more critical in the admissions process, and we will work with staff to provide the training and bandwidth to meet this need effectively. Please wait for direction from your site guidance team on when and how to make these requests to your teachers. As we develop this plan, we will continue to work with colleges and universities to make sure our work is aligned with their processes. 
We understand that this change from a letter grade to a Pass/No Pass system brings up a number of questions. It is important to remember that our shared overarching goals are to keep students engaged, ensure they learn the essential skills that will allow them to be successful at the next level in a course sequence, and maintain social connections with other students and adults to provide stability and decrease social isolation during the school closures. Below are responses to some frequently asked questions. We recognize this is not an exhaustive list, and other questions or concerns have not been answered yet. Please do not hesitate to communicate with us so that we can address your concerns.
Will my transcript be impacted in any way?
Rather than letter grades, this semester’s grades will be Pass/No Pass. UCs, CSUs and hundreds of out of state and private institutions have confirmed that, as long as P/NP is applied uniformly, a grade of pass will meet their requirements for entrance and will not be factored into overall GPA. In a time of inequity and uncertainty with no optimal choice, our district joins the many others that believe this is the most fair option. 
Will the Pass/No Pass policy impact the total credits earned for my spring coursework? What about the A-G designation?
No. You will earn all the credits that you are enrolled in if you pass all your classes. (i.e., if you are enrolled in six classes and you pass all six classes, you will earn 30 credits). Credits earned in A-G classes will receive their A-G designation.
Will my competitiveness to top tier universities be negatively impacted by a Pass/No Pass grading system for spring and summer, 2020?
No.  Colleges across the country have offered assurances that during this pandemic, as long as all students at a school can only earn a pass/fail grade or other similar mark, they will not be disadvantaged as a result. A UC webinar on grading stated "Students from one high school are not compared to students from another high school" in regards to CR, pass or letter grade.” 
Will Advancement Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests still happen?
  • Advanced Placement exams are still scheduled to be administered remotely. Each exam will be 45 minutes and only units covered until early March will be covered on the exam.  In addition to the ongoing teaching provided by your teachers, the College Board has provided online test prep materials and review lessons that can be found by visiting the link below:
  • International Baccalaureate exams have been cancelled. The student will be awarded either a diploma or a course certificate which reflects their standard of work. The achievement will be based on the students’ coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programs.
There is no Physical Fitness Test (PFT) this year so how will I know if I can play a school sport to meet the second year of PE requirement?
With the state cancellation of PFT, all students who wish to participate in athletics in lieu of PE II will be permitted to do so in the 2020-21 school year. 
This semester I am a student clerk/technical assistant (TA).  Will I still get credit?
Credit will be awarded to SCs/TAs for the spring semester, 2020. 
I am signed up for work experience this semester.  Will I still get credit?
Students signed up for Work Experience will get 10 credits for spring semester, 2020.
I was participating in a spring sport.  Will I still get Physical Education (PE) credit for that?
Yes; students rostered for SUSHD athletic teams will be given PE credit, regardless of the shortening of the season in spring, 2020.
I am a senior with more courses than I need to meet graduation requirements.  May I drop below five classes for spring, 2020? 
Seniors who will remain on track to graduate and will not jeopardize their college eligibility (as confirmed by their high school counselor) may drop below the five required classes for the spring 2020 semester.  For spring and summer, 2020, the dropping of classes will not be reflected on transcripts.
I am currently enrolled in a class that I am certain I will not pass.  Can I start credit recovery before the end of the school term?
Yes.  For spring and summer, 2020 students who are failing a class may immediately start credit recovery courses instead of waiting for the end of the semester. 
Whom do I contact if I have questions about my GPA or college transcript?
Please contact your school site guidance advisor.
How do we continue to provide access to learning for ALL students?
Distance learning officially started on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Instruction is being provided through our CANVAS learning platform. SUHSD has also worked with school sites throughout the District to ensure that every student who needs a chromebook or at-home internet access is provided with devices to ensure that learning continues for all our students. To date, over 1,000 laptops and 1,700 hotspots have been checked out to support District students.  
What can I do if I do not have access to a computing device at home?
It is extremely important that students continue their education during this time. If a student needs access to a device, or help to obtain internet connectivity at home, we have resources to provide support for both. If you haven’t already, you can fill out this survey and your school site will follow-up with the request. If a district-issued Chromebook or hotspot malfunctions or fails, please send an email to
What if our family is experiencing problems with our technology and/or accessing materials on CANVAS?
In an effort to support the transition from the classroom to At-home/Distance Learning, the District has worked to establish tech support options for students using the Canvas platform and district-owned hardware.
CANVAS Support:
  • Visit our CANVAS information page designed for students and parents to learn more about the tool
  • Once logged in, students can use the Canvas Help button that will generate a “help ticket” through the Canvas System and Information Services will administer support
  • This District C&I website has how-to videos for everything in Canvas -- how to submit every type of assignment, how to use Flipgrid, etc. Troubleshooting tips for hardware issues are also available. Videos are in English and Spanish.  
Hardware Support:
  • If a district-issued Chromebook or hotspot malfunctions or fails, please send an email to If you are unable to send an email, please contact your school site for further assistance and they will put you in contact with support staff. You must provide your Student ID in the request.
Will State Testing be suspended?
Yes; State testing has been suspended for spring, 2020.
Below are several links to resources to support your continued learning while schools are closed. We highly encourage you to continue reading and stimulating your learning during our school closures.
As mentioned above, you can access SUHSD’s at-home learning student resources at this link: 
Khan Academy
Gale Databases:
Access to various text, video, and images on a variety of topics. Click on the following link to access the databases: GALE Resources

Access codes by school sites: GALE Access
American Chemistry Society
Fiveable: AP Study Guides
Unique Learning (lessons for students with moderate to severe learning challenges)
Audio Books
Parent resource for talking to children with autism about COVID-19
PBS learning resources
KVIE 9th-12th grades from 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm. Visit the KVIE TV schedule.
I would like to reiterate how challenging this situation is for our entire community. The Sequoia Union High School District is committed to providing thoughtful education that will prepare students for the next level and keep them interconnected to the educational community while prioritizing student well-being as our paramount concern. Your support and understanding are much appreciated.
With warm regards,
Mary E. Streshly
Dear SUHSD Community,

I am so saddened about this unprecedented disruption in the lives of our students, families, faculty, and staff. The challenges that we have been facing and navigating are unlike any I have experienced in my 29 years in education. And I want to thank every one of you for having the courage to face all of these unknowns with us whether you are a learner, a parent, a teacher, or one of our many important line staff who keep our schools humming. 

Every day brings with it new unanticipated challenges and I am grateful to the SUHSD board for all the time that they have poured into helping me, our schools, and our communities navigate these rough waters. 

So we, the board and I, come to you now with a request for your help by participating in a survey. We are considering a very difficult decision – and one that has no perfect answer – which is about grading for this current semester, Spring 2020. Our district is not alone in having to upend the world as our students and families know it, and many districts in our area have already undertaken this step. 

As we previously shared with you, the UC and CSU systems, along with many other colleges and elite private universities, such as Harvard and Stanford, have committed to allowing Pass/No Pass to substitute for this semester grading period without penalty. In other words, a Pass grade will not be evaluated as less than a letter grade in the admissions process for current seniors and current 9th-11th graders in subsequent years. Because of these assurances, we feel Pass/No Pass is a viable model for equity and consistency during this extended period of tumult. 

Additionally, the Board is considering a Hold Harmless Model, which ensures that this natural disaster does not negatively impact student grades. With this approach, student grades would not drop below those issued before the District transitioned to At-Home/Distance Learning.

As the Board undergoes its deliberations we want to assure you that we are committed to an equity lens for a solution, and we are seeking community input to ensure that we consider the many diverse perspectives among our school communities.

Please click on this link to participate in our survey, your voice is important to us as we weigh the options that we have. Thank you for your time and your thoughts.
With warm regards,
Mary E. Streshly
Dear SUHSD Community,
With Spring Break coming to an end, I hope your restless teens found creative ways to disconnect and recharge in this challenging, uncertain time. Teens are not made for isolation, which makes COVID-19 especially hard on them.
As our entire community and state grapple with the reality that its sons and daughters of all ages will be learning via remote instruction through the end of the school year, our dedicated educators in Sequoia Union High School District are embracing the opportunity to gather input on how best to serve our diverse student population in this new and challenging platform. 
On behalf of our Board of Trustees, esteemed staff, and amazing students, thank you for taking the time to participate in last week's ThoughtExchange questionnaire. Your feedback has been tremendously helpful as we seek to refine our distance learning model in order to ensure that the student experience is the best that it can be. 
From the moment that our district implemented our At-Home/Distance Learning Plan, you have been supportive and understanding. You have also been a valuable partner that is willing to share your input with our team.
Initial results from the exchange displayed overwhelming parent gratitude to teachers who gave words of encouragement to students and let kids know they were not alone in their learning. Equally important, parents consistently asked for:
  • Video lessons that students can review as needed when completing assignments.  
  • Consistent expectations for workload - college prep courses to two hours total time per week and AP/IB to three hours total time per week. 
Because of your responses, we will be moving expeditiously to provide training and guidance in these areas in order to solidify existing structures.
Another theme that arose in both the parent and staff ThoughtExchange surveys centered around what to do for spring semester and summer school grading. This item received the most input where opinions varied greatly. As this is a primary topic of concern for all area high schools, the San Mateo County Office of Education is continuously updating the latest decisions from the government and higher education. Please click here for the latest updates. 
Although there will be a discussion about At-Home/Distance Learning for the spring semester at the April 6th Special Board Meeting, a recommendation on grading will not be made to the Board until the April 15th Board Meeting. This will allow more time to collect information and feedback, which will include a bilingual survey to students and families that will be emailed and sent via text. 
For that reason, I am excited to announce that we will be facilitating another opportunity for you to provide feedback. We will be sending out a second ThoughtExchange questionnaire this coming week. Please participate as your input is critical to the success of our At-Home/Distance Learning Plan. Meanwhile, we continue to work closely with local district partners and monitor higher education decisions, the California Department of Education guidelines and district innovation across the State of California.
We are all being called to demonstrate our character and commitment to others and the greater good. Our young people are being called, too. In the midst of our panic around COVID-19, we must look to each other to help us get through it.
With warm regards and eternal hope,
Dr. Mary Streshly

March 2020 - COVID-19/Distance Learning Messages

Dear SUHSD Family:
Today, State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond, announced that California schools will continue with distance learning for the remainder of  this school year given the current COVID-19 safety concerns. This week, seven Bay Area jurisdictions, including San Mateo County, updated the Shelter-in-Place Order until at least May 1st. 
We are facing rapid changes, and I know that anxiety is taking a toll on our community. For that reason, I gently urge you to invest time in self-care and listen to this podcast that I found to be helpful.
During this time, we need to remember that shelter-in-place does not mean social isolation. Technology and other means can help us maintain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues, and protect our mental health and well-being.
In that spirit, please take the time to read the following updates and follow the District's Facebook page (@SeqUHSD). This page is an important community resource and channel that we are using to share information and personal messages to our staff and community. This morning, I shared a video message on that platform to keep us connected and united as a community.
Parent Resources
In collaboration with educational and health care agencies, we have made information, resources, and articles available to parents related to student mental health, homeschooling, safety, and wellness. Please click on the following links to access that information.
Community Resources
During Spring break and beyond, families can access the following critical community services.
Social-Emotional Support Services
Food Services
  • The Boys & Girls Club is serving dinner from Monday through Friday, 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at both their Redwood City and East Palo Alto clubhouses. 
Additional Help
 The Help During the Coronavirus Crisis guide provides information that links to resources that offer help during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as:
  • Programs that help replace your income if you are unable to work
  • Ideas to help you reduce expenses or obtain resources you need
  • Ideas for small businesses and nonprofits
  • Finding resources in your state
Enrollment & Address Verification
Our Student Services Department has compiled answers to Frequently Asked Questions by parents regarding enrollment and the address verification process that include: 
  • Since the district is currently closed to the public, how can I complete Address Verification?
  • If we are new to SUHSD, how do I enroll my child?
  • I have a question, but I'm not sure who to contact?
Student Check-In
It can be a stressful time for students and families as we work to adjust to this new normal. I want to remind parents of ways they can check-in to ensure that their student has the academic and social-emotional support they need. 
  • Have your child show you what work their teachers have given them for each class.  
  • Have your child show you what they've turned in and ask them to explain the work to you. 
  • If they have questions for their teacher, help them develop the communication, but have it come from them.
  • To the extent possible, given your situation, provide your child with a consistent place in the home to work along with a regular schedule. 
  • If their teacher hosts an online conference or lesson, help remove any obstacles that may interfere with your child's participation.
  • Remind your child that our current situation is new for all of us: teachers, students, and parents. Encourage your child to be understanding and patient.  
  • Ask your child if they are feeling anxious or depressed. If they are, connect them with community or our District’s mental health counselors and resources.
  • Encourage your student to check in on their friends and classmates. 
  • Find outlets for some fun!
The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the biggest challenge the world has ever collectively faced. In the blink of an eye, our lives as we know them, have been upended. As we face an uncertain future, let's do so with the confidence that, regardless of what the future holds, we still have each other.
Let me close with the beautiful words composed by Laura Kelly Fanucci, shared by a Portola Valley parent. Let her words give you the hope and optimism for a brighter tomorrow.
With warm regards,
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.
Dear SUHSD Community,

In my commitment to provide you with information in a timely manner, this communication shares the latest updates.

Spring Break Adjustment 
Given the recent announcement that our At-Home/Distance Learning Plan has been extended through May 1st, we have decided to extend Spring Break through Monday, April 6th to provide our staff with a professional development day.

Student Grading
We understand that, during this time, options are being explored about changes in student grading. We are aware that the Palo Alto Unified School District has moved to a credit/no credit grading format for the spring semester. They have received an assurance from Harvard University that they will hold students harmless for the change when reviewing their college applications. They have also received preliminary assurances from UC Berkeley if procedures with the school profile are followed. 
Our District is exploring and examining whether conversion to a credit/no credit grading format is the best course of action for our students. In the next week, we are seeking confirmation from a broader higher education community that this change will not negatively impact the future of our high school graduates. The Board of Trustees has also scheduled a Special Meeting on April 6th to provide direction on this option. The decision will ultimately include input from our teachers, principals, instructional leads, District-level administration, and in consultation with university admissions officials and San Mateo County superintendents.
Board Meetings
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20, which temporarily suspends provisions of the Brown Act relating to public meetings. In compliance with the order, the Sequoia Union High School District Board members will be conducting board meetings via Zoom teleconferencing.
To join these meetings, you can connect online via the Zoom link or phone number listed below:
Feedback Requested
We would like to gather your feedback about how distance learning is going for your child, and how we can improve our current At-Home/Distance Learning Plan. If you have not already participated, please click on this ThoughtExchange to share your thoughts with us.

Thank you for your continued attention.

With warm regards,

Dr. Mary E. Streshly
Dear SUHSD Community,
Today, San Mateo County’s Health Officer and the Superintendent of the San Mateo County Office of Education announced that the School Dismissal Order will be extended through May 1st in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. Independent of the order, recognizing the evolving nature of the current circumstances, the District leadership already initiated the process of implementing strategies that would extend our At-Home Distance Learning Plan.
I invite you to read the following information for the latest updates and reminders. 
At-Home Distance Learning Plan Feedback
As the District initiates a response plan for providing At-Home/Distance Learning for an extended period of time, we would like to gather your feedback as to how our current plan has been operating. To participate and provide your input, please click on this ThoughtExchange
Board Meetings
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20, which temporarily suspended provisions of the Brown Act relating to public meetings. As such, Sequoia Union High School District Board members will be conducting board meetings via Zoom teleconferencing. For more information, you can visit our website at
Spring Break
Next week, our district is scheduled to commence spring break and all schools and services will be closed. If you are in need of food services during our spring break, you can access a list of food pantries throughout San Mateo County by clicking here
We want to encourage students to take a break from distance learning and take the much needed time off. 
Tech Support
It is extremely important that students continue their education during this time. If a student needs access to a device, or help obtaining internet connectivity at home, we have resources to provide support for both. If you haven’t already, you can fill out this survey and your school site will follow-up with the request. If a district-issued Chromebook or hotspot malfunctions or fails, please send an email to
Guidelines and Self-Reporting
For the health benefit of the greater community, I ask that you follow the Shelter in Place Guidelines, and to self-report, if you or a member of your family has tested positive for COVID-19. You can do so by contacting our District Health and Wellness Coordinator, Javier Gutierrez, at or 650-369-1411 x22390, or you can also self-report via this link. To learn more about our COVID-19 self-reporting procedures, click here
Thank you for your continued support.
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.
Dear SUHSD Community,
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and change, so are the directives being provided to the public by our government leaders. Tonight, Governor Newsom ordered a shelter-in-place for the state of California. Earlier this week, he announced the possibility that school districts throughout the state will likely not reopen this spring, and will forgo State Testing for the 2019-20 school year. 

Although the Governor’s predictions reach beyond local health department orders at this time, the Sequoia Union High School District is pro-actively initiating a response plan for the possibility of providing an extended At-Home/Distance Learning plan for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.  As we receive more concrete direction from officials, we will share more information with you. 

I also want to take this moment to provide you with the latest updates to our At-Home/Distance Learning plan:
  • Our mental health services will transition to remote-only appointments.
  • Breakfast and lunch meal pick-up is now from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at all of our school sites.
  • Hotspots for internet connectivity have arrived and are being distributed. Students who requested hotspots will be notified by their school site. If your student requires a hotspot or Chromebook for distance learning, please take this survey: Computer/Internet Access Survey 2
Lastly, I want to emphasize that we are here for you. Our teachers and counselors are accessible virtually if you feel your student needs support. Please encourage your students to stay connected with their school during this difficult time. Our District Office is also available by phone from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Stay safe, community.
Mary E. Streshly,
Dear Community,
Today, the San Mateo County Health Officer issued a mandatory Shelter in Place Order for seven Bay Area counties effective March 17, 2020 through April 7, 2020. Per the order, educational institutions are allowed to exempt essential functions, which means the District will continue to deliver the following critical services as detailed in our At-Home/ Distance Learning Plan
  • Food services
  • Special Education (Individual Education Plan [IEP] supports)
  • Mental Health & Wellness
  • At-Home Student Learning
  • Technology Support
Thank you for your attention, we will continue to provide updates as we receive them.
Mary E. Streshly
Dear Community:
Yesterday, shortly after SUHSD announced its transition to At-Home/Distance Learning plans, the San Mateo County Health Officer issued a School Operations Modification Order and further supported our directive to dismiss students from regular attendance and implement distance learning plans effective March 16th through April 3rd. The order is issued in a strategic effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by preventing initial exposure and secondary transmission. It is important to note that the San Mateo Health Department’s decision to dismiss students from school was intended with the purpose of practicing social distancing, not social isolation. For this reason, the District will continue to deliver the following critical services:
  • Food services
  • Special Education (Individual Education Plan [IEP] supports)
  • Mental Health & Wellness
  • At-Home Student Learning
  • Technology Support
Food Services
Breakfast and lunch will be provided to students who are in need of meals during the implementation of the County’s order. All campuses will have packaged meals for student or parent pick-up during the following extended serving times:

Breakfast Meals: 9:00AM - 10:00AM
Lunch Meals: 10:00AM - 1:00PM 

Students will be able to pick up lunch and the following day’s breakfast after 10:00AM, from any school site. Students will need to provide their name, student ID # and home school site to receive meals.

Special Education 

The District will continue to procure interventions to students requiring intensive supports and maintain continuity of services while adhering to health and safety policies during the school closure. Students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be contacted by their provider(s) regarding the implementation of this plan the week of March 16th. Once school resumes, the regular delivery of your student’s special education supports and services will resume along with the regular program.

For parents with a student in an IEP, click on the following links for additional information:
If you have additional questions, please contact Loselani Makasini at (650) 369-1411 x22206 or at and she will be able to direct your question to the right provider.
Mental Health & Wellness
Mental Health & Wellness services and supports will utilize alternative solutions, including but not limited to, virtual meeting spaces, in order to deliver specialized programming to students that maintains the continuity of their school-based mental health care. 
Staff members will prioritize the highest need students, including any student currently accessing crisis care that has been disrupted, and reach out directly to them. The best delivery method of these services and supports will be determined in alignment with an already established or updated plan, and specific to the student’s need(s).
Staff will continue with individualized support services either through remote access options or in-person (by appointment only and based on appropriate health and safety screening). Remote access options include Google Hangouts Meet (video and screen sharing), Google Hangouts Chat, Google Voice, phone, etc. 
  • In order to protect confidentiality, students will be expected to sign into their accounts to access their staff facilitated sessions
  • Small group sessions may be coordinated using remote access options, as appropriate for student mental health plans. 
  • For more information, click here
To make an appointment for mental health and wellness services, please contact the respective individual below at your school site. If you wish to make an appointment in person, you may go to your school site’s main office to do so.
School Contacts for Mental Health Services

Carlmont HS:

Shelly Bustamante

(650) 369-1411 x30063

Sequoia HS:

Judy Romero

(650) 369-1411 x60065


Marco Calderon

(650) 839-8900

TIDE Academy:

Michelle Close

(650) 369-1411 x79040

Menlo-Atherton HS:

Shionda Nickerson

(650) 369-1411 x50171

Woodside HS:

Elaine Dessus

(650) 369-1411 x45326

Redwood HS:

Stephanie Ogden

(650) 369-1411 x77734

District Office:

Javier Gutierrez

650-369-1411 x22390

If you are unable to reach a staff member at your school site, please reach out to the SUHSD Health & Wellness Coordinator, Javier Gutierrez (650-369-1411 x22390,
At-Home Student Learning
Teachers will use Canvas, our online learning management system, to provide students with assignments and guide learning. Students or parents will also be able to pick up hard copies of assignments and return them once completed to each of the site’s administration office.Your student will be hearing directly from teachers about expectations and to provide academic support.
Technology Support
On Friday, students received Chromebooks; based on responses received from completed surveys conducted at all school sites last week. Mobile hotspots for Internet access will also become available for students on Wednesday, March 18th. 
If you need a Chromebook or hotspot, and did not participate in the surveys facilitated by your schools, please use the following form Computer/Internet Access Survey 2 and a staff member will contact you when devices become available at your site. To take the survey, students must be logged in with their student email.
Additionally, in an effort to support the transition from the classroom to At-home/Distance Learning, the District has worked to establish tech support options for students using the Canvas platform and district-owned hardware.

CANVAS Support
  • Visit our CANVAS information page designed for students and parents 
  • Once logged in, students can use the Canvas Help button that will generate a “help ticket” through the Canvas System and Information Services will administer support

Hardware Support:
  • If a district-issued Chromebook or hotspot malfunctions or fails, please send an email to If you are unable to send an email, please contact your school site for further assistance and they will put you in contact with support staff. You must provide your Student ID in the request.
COVID-19: Self-Reporting

We ask that if you or a member of your family have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact our district Health and Wellness Coordinator, Javier Gutierrez, at or 650-369-1411 x22390.
This is the first time our district, and many other districts throughout the state, have had to institute At-home/Distance Learning protocols. As we transition into this temporary reality, we ask that you work with us and recognize that we are troubleshooting and will need to make adjustments along the way. 

As information continues to change, we will continue to share updates. The District thanks you for your patience and understanding. 


Mary E. Streshly
Dear SUHSD Community:
As we monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we share the latest development with you this morning. 
After much thought and deliberation, and in close collaboration with the Board of Trustees, the San Mateo County Office of Education and the San Mateo County Health Officer, we have made the difficult decision to transition all Sequoia Union High School District schools to At Home/Distance Learning, effective Monday, March 16th. While we cannot anticipate the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hopeful that we will be able to resume regular classes on campus after spring break. If it is determined that we cannot resume our normal schedule on Monday, April 6th, we will notify families by Friday, April 3rd. 

District staff will continue to report to their worksites where they will develop and implement At Home/Distance Learning plans while practicing careful social distance. Additionally, next week, we will dedicate multiple days to professional development. Teachers will use Canvas, our online learning management system, to provide students with assignments and guide learning. Your student will be hearing directly from teachers about expectations during this time. 
We are also developing strategies by which we will provide meals to students who rely on us for support. While our campuses are closed for whole classroom-based instruction, we plan to keep the campuses open to staff and for students receiving unique or specialized services. Stay tuned for specifics in an upcoming communication. In addition, if your student has an Individualized Educational Program (IEP), we will be sending you a separate communication.

Although a difficult decision to make, we are guided by our top priority of protecting the health and safety of our school district community, as well as, our moral duty to take proactive steps in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. 

As we navigate through unchartered territory, thank you for your support and flexibility. 
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.
Dear Community:

I recognize that the current situation continues to cause a tremendous amount of anxiety throughout the world. Our school district community is no exception to this reality.

With that in mind, I want you to know that we are doing everything in our power to ensure the health and safety of our students and team members. However, like you, we are getting large amounts of information on a consistent basis, and we are doing our very best to factor it all in our decision-making process. Recognizing that we are educators, not public health experts, we are relying on the San Mateo County Health Department’s direction in how we are managing the current crisis. As unchartered as this territory is for all of us, it is equally unchartered for our health experts, but we trust that they are doing the very best they can to protect our community.

I appreciate your continued attention to our COVID-19 communication, please continue reading for important updates.

“Non-essential” Gatherings

In consultation with the San Mateo County Health Department and districtwide leadership, the following non-essential gatherings are suspended immediately through April 2020 [for events that are able to be postponed or highly modified in format, please look for new dates published at your school site]:
  • Large gatherings of more than 50 people have been canceled
    • Conferences
    • Dances
    • Concerts
    • Assemblies 
    • Performing arts events
    • Club/academic events/competitions
    • Open Houses
    • Foundation/PTSA Meetings/CLAC/Parent Education Series/Boosters
    • Fundraisers
  • Field trips
    • All field trips outside of the Bay Area
    • All field trips of 50 people or more
    • All field trips to indoor locations
    • Any new field trips 
  • All facility rentals/usage held by outside groups
  • All athletic sports
    • Teams may continue to practice and participating athletes will remain eligible for academic credit
At this time, all other activities will continue as normal. Any changes to this list will be communicated out immediately. 
We are encouraging all families with any concerns for student health or any risk factors to keep their students at home. We are actively putting invigorated systems in place to allow students to continue to progress in their studies while they are absent from the classroom. These absences will be excused. 

Makeup work will be provided on an ongoing basis through a variety of platforms. Parents and students can request classroom assignments and dialog with their teachers and counselors through a variety of formats: email, voicemail, CANVAS [our state of the art learning management system] or visiting their school site front office for assignments.

Normally, a concern about “possibly” getting sick is not an excused absence, but the office of the superintendent is invoking its administrative discretion districtwide under California Education Code 48205.a.11 and 48260.c.   

School Closure

At this time, the San Mateo County Health Department has not advised the District to close schools. However, the information is changing daily, therefore SUHSD is preparing in the event we are provided direction for school dismissal. In the event that occurs, we are working to expand capacity to meet all students’ needs. 

  • Distance/At Home Learning
  • Refresh staff on our online learning management system [CANVAS] to provide lesson plans, homework assignments and assessments
  • Provide Chromebooks to students who do not have access to a device at home
  • Provide wireless hot spots to students that do not have internet access at home

  • Student Services 
Because any advisory or direction for the Health Department to close would not be connected to the safety of the campus facility, but rather for “social distance” as a tool to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19, our campuses will still maintain certain essential operations, which will include, but are not limited to:
  • Food services
  • Student support services
  • Maintenance teams 
  • Administrative support
As a community, I call on us to come together as we navigate what seems to be our new reality. Managing this crisis will require us to work as a team in order to better allow for the flow of information, and if necessary, the actual implementation of actions directed by the San Mateo County Health Department.

Thank you for your support and understanding.  Let’s stay safe.
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.
Dear SUHSD Community:
“Non-essential” Gatherings
Given last week's revised guidance from the County Health Officer, the District leadership team is determining how to apply his recommendation that “all non-essential gatherings should be canceled, postponed or done remotely.”
The District will use the direction provided by the San Mateo County Office of Education in collaboration with the San Mateo Health Department that provides clarity as to what criteria can be used to define “non-essential” and “essential” gatherings.
Events considered “non-essential” that may be canceled, postponed and/or modified include, but are not limited to:
  • After-hours, school-hosted or seasonal activities 
  • Large gatherings for trainings or conferences
  • Certain field trips depending on the type of location and space configurations 
  • Large school assemblies, concerts, performing arts events, etc. 
  • Facility rentals by outside groups
“Essential” activities will continue include, but are not limited to:
  • All regularly scheduled classes and support services during the school day
  • Before and after school interventions, tutoring, support services and small group activities 
  • Staff and School Board meetings 
  • California Interscholarship Federation (CIF) sports
Site leadership has already begun to send out cancelation notices and in the coming days, your school site leadership will provide you with any additional events that will be canceled, postponed, modified or done remotely/streamed.
Distance Learning
As we continue to learn more about the spread of COVID-19, the San Mateo County Office of Education has instructed districts to develop distance learning plans in the case that we are directed to close schools by the San Mateo County Health Department. This week, I am meeting with district leadership and principals from all of our school sites in order to establish a distance learning plan in case such a scenario is upon us. More information will be shared in the coming week.
Call Center
As a reminder, the San Mateo County Health Department has a public call center for general, non-medical questions about the virus. The current contact number is 211 and the operating hours are 7:00am to 7:00pm from Monday through Friday. 
It is critical that we work together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please visit our Coronavirus: What You Need To Know webpage to learn how you can be a partner in ensuring your student and our district remain healthy.  
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.
Dear Community:
I recognize that this week’s announcements regarding confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in neighboring communities have the potential to increase your questions and concerns. I would like to take this moment to share information and provide you with an update.
In San Mateo County, there are currently two known cases impacting school communities either directly or indirectly that have closed due to possible exposure or connection to a patient confirmed to have the virus. The two cases are non-Sequoia Unified School District campuses. The affected schools are: The Menlo School, an independent, private school in Menlo Park, and the Bintang Badminton Gym located in South San Francisco. 
Another district, the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD), announced that three individuals at their district had potential indirect exposure to COVID-19, but were not experiencing cold-like or flu symptoms. With guidance from the public health department, MPCSD decided to not close any schools, but out of an abundance of caution, asked the involved individuals to stay home and seek medical testing.
At the San Mateo County leadership level, County Manager Mike Callagy proclaimed a local emergency, and County Health Officer Scott Morrow declared a local health emergency. The declarations, which are part of the County’s COVID-19 response efforts, may help make the County eligible for certain state and federal financial and technical resources. Several other Bay Area counties have made similar proclamations. While the declarations may help the County in its prevention and planning efforts, they do not represent a change in direction as to how schools will operate at this time.
Given the current facts, the San Mateo County Health Department has directed districts to remain open, but cancel or postpone non-essential school gatherings. 
SUHSD and neighboring school districts will continue to follow recommended hygiene and health prevention measures, and we ask you to do the same.
To stay up to date on the latest, please visit our Coronavirus: What you need to know webpage. We have added more information and the following frequently asked questions:
  • How does COVID-19 spread?
  • Will schools close?
  • Should my student stay at home?
  • What events or activities will be canceled?
  • Are absences considered excused or unexcused?
  • What to do if you are sick with COVID-19?
The San Mateo County Health Department has a public call center for general, non-medical questions about the virus that will operate from 7:00am to 7:00pm from Monday through Friday. Currently the contact number is 650-363-442, however we have been notified that the contact number will change to 211 in the coming days.
We acknowledge that this is a very fluid situation, as information is consistently changing. We will continue working with San Mateo County Health to receive the most up-to-date information. You have our commitment that we will continue to communicate that information to you.
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.

February 2020

Dear Community:
This month's newsletter will focus on a series of issues that are important to both our school district and the community as a whole.
First, I would like to address the growing concern with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. As the world begins to feel anxiety around this issue, as a school district, we are working closely with health experts and leaders throughout the county in order to ensure the health and safety of our school community. You have my assurance that we are working closely with school site leadership and are taking extensive precautionary measures to ensure we keep SUHSD a safe and healthy learning environment. You should have received updates through your school sites, and additionally, in this newsletter, we have included information on how to protect yourselves from the Coronavirus, and what precautionary measures we have taken districtwide. The District will continue to disseminate updates through your school, through my office, and on our district website, as we receive the most up-to-date information from the San Mateo County Health Department. 
On a positive note, we are also sharing an update on our goal to support and promote successful student outcomes at the District's small schools and alternative programs. In many ways this cornerstone goal is the future of public education; as parents and students are seeking personalized opportunities in the classroom that will allow for students to truly identify and develop their passions in smaller learning environments. 
I cannot conclude without taking a moment to pause and reflect on the celebration of Black History Month. Although celebrated once a year, at the Sequoia Union High School District, we work every single day to live the essence of Black History Month. We do so by embracing diversity, coming together, and reminding our students about the abundance of strength and moral character that our African American neighbors, colleagues and leaders have contributed to our community in order to get us to where we are today. Despite the fact that we have come a long way, we know that there is so much more personal and collective work to do to continue bringing us closer as a community. 
As always, thank you for reading our newsletter and contributing to the enrichment of our school district.
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Sequoia Union High School District

January 2020

Dear SUHSD Community:
With another great semester behind us and a new one beginning, I invite you to read this month’s newsletter that highlights one of our four goals of strengthening quality instruction by improving engagement and rigor for all students.
To bring the goal to life, and the accomplishments that sustain it, this month’s edition of the newsletter will share reports from our school sites, specifically, how they support goal one. Recently, the San Mateo Daily Journal wrote an article highlighting the amazing gains we had in our CAASP scores as a result of this goal at the District and school site level.
Finally, on a more personal note, after over 40 years of service, not including her time as a student in our district, my executive assistant, Sandy Rick, retired from the District.
During her time with us, Sandy exemplified everything that is right with our district in her commitment and dedication to our students and team members. I know that we will all miss her. 
Let's make this second half of the school year memorable. Welcome back!
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.

October 2019

Dear SUHSD Community:
I am in awe of how our staff and community have rallied together to support each other through the PG&E power shut offs, and the monitoring of air quality caused by the fires.
Our students and staff have been personally impacted, and yet, they continue bringing a sense of optimism to our district. We have come together to support families that have lost power at home in order to minimize the stress they are experiencing.
Although these times can feel uncertain, we maintain a commitment to keep schools open. We believe that students are safest in an environment that is supervised, structured, and where they are experiencing valuable instruction. 
Thank you, community, for showing your support and standing together during difficult times. This demonstrates the true spirit of our district and its foundation of building each other up and strengthening the educational experience of our future leaders.
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Sequoia Union High School District

September 2019

Dear SUHSD Community:
With another successful school year underway, we are excited to kick off a series of school site and community events that will inform our current district initiatives and shepherd our vision and preparation for the new school year. The key priorities that we are addressing this school year include strengthening quality instruction, bolstering equity through access to rigorous and engaging coursework, implementing MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support), and promoting alternative programs and small school environments.
As part of our continuous and rewarding journey to strengthen quality instruction, we are again launching our Fall Instructional Rounds at all sites. Instructional rounds help educators review data gathered from classrooms and develop theories of action, with everyone involved learning with and from one another about what works to improve student achievement. The fall semester also ushers in our season of community engagement nights, parent/student/staff [Panorama] surveys and governing board site visits as part of our annual efforts to gather feedback on our district goals, student and staff experiences and community interests. 
I encourage you to participate in your student’s education and voice your valuable input in ways that suit your schedule from online surveys, PTSA gatherings and teacher conferences to principal’s coffees, open houses and board meetings. All voices assist us in shaping how we can better serve our students. There is no better manner by which to receive input than to hear it directly from you.
In this month’s newsletter, we are highlighting our district's commitment to meeting the needs of every student through our various course offerings and partnerships. From specialized programs, such as “Stepping up for Independence” and the expansion of elective offerings at Redwood High School, to the focus on the Multi-Tiered System of Support “MTSS - A New Framework for Success,” we believe that we are on the right path towards improving the academic opportunities for all of our students.
I look forward to hearing from you. 
Mary E. Streshly, Ed.D. 

August 2019

Click here to view the Superintendent's message.