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Visual & Performing Arts

Department Description

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Department Description

The Visual and Performing Arts Department at Sequoia High School sees the arts as the fourth "R” in education. We believe art is vital in creating “complete human beings” that are creative, analytical, disciplined, and self-confident individuals. Our department offers a diverse set of courses: Ceramics I, II and III, Drawing and Painting I and II, Art I, IB Art, Digital Photography I and II, Guitar I, Piano I, Advanced Band, Band II, Orchestra, Choral I and II, Drama I and II, and Advanced Dance. We also offer a Jazz Ensemble as an auditioned club. Our courses meet the needs of all students and each curriculum is developed with the state standards in mind. The classes offered in the Visual and Performing Arts Department also meet the fine arts requirements for graduation and are approved by the a-g UC requirements. We are dedicated to teaching each student the skills to create and appreciate art through hands-on learning, theory, formal principles, and cultural history. Students complete our courses with enhanced skills in their chosen art discipline as well as gain insight into who they are because every performance or piece of art is a reflection of the person(s) who created it.

Our Department

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Staff Roster

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Staff Roster

Click the name to send an email message:
Cain, Talia
Drama I, and Drama II
Ext. 69622

Da Costa Pinto, Mozelle
Art I, IB Art
Ext. 69692

Choral I and II, Orchestra, Piano,
Treble Clefs Ensemble, Bluegrass Club
Ext. 69699

Torres, Silvia
Drawing/Painting I and II, IB Art
Ext. 69617

Waters, Christle
Ceramics I, II & III, Department Chair
Ext. 69681

White, Taylor
Intermediate and Advanced Dance
Ext. 65382

Woodman, Jane
Advanced Band, Band II, Guitar,
Jazz Ensemble Club, Drumline Club
Ext. 69651
Digital Photo I, Digital Photo II,
IB Art
Ext. 69687
Advanced Dance Class Audition Information

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Advanced Dance Class Audition Information

Please contact Mrs.Taylor White at for inquiries regarding Advanced Dance classes
Course Descriptions

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Course Descriptions

Advanced Band

Advanced Band is open to students with three or more years of experience or with the permission of the instructor. Advanced Band performs at numerous school and community events including football games, rallies, concerts, Redwood City Hometown Holidays, and CMEA. Though Advanced Band’s main focus is performance, the class also exposes students to musicianship, theory, history, and current issues in the world of music.

Contact: Jane Woodman,

Advanced Dance

Advanced level dance class. Structured as a class for a professional dance company. Equal emphasis will be given to choreography and performance as to technique, with training in ballet, modern, and jazz. Students will create and rehearse a number of complete dance works to be performed in various settings throughout the year. Also addressed will be other aspects of dance production, such as: costuming, lighting design, sound engineering, and make-up application. The class will culminate in a full evening production.

Contact: Taylor White,

Art I

This class is an introductory class created for the non-artist as well as the accomplished artist. This course does NOT focus on drawing. It is a course designed to explore students’ creative abilities with multiple materials. Materials may include but are not limited to clay, paper-maché, wood, plaster, Paris-craft, tempera, acrylic, collage, printmaking, pen and ink, and pastels. In Art I students learn the fundamentals of art theory, design, and color through thematic lessons based on students’ own life experiences and emotions.

Contact: Mozy da Costa Pinto,

Ceramics I, II, and III

Hands-on problem-solving and creative expression are the main learning goals of these courses. Sequoia HS has a custom-designed ceramics studio that enables beginning and advanced students to utilize a wide variety of tools, equipment, art materials, and research sources. Ceramics I focuses on low-fire clay construction including pinch, slab, coil, and a variety of combinations of hand-building methods. Ceramics II continues the exploration of more complex hand-building methods and introduces beginning to intermediate skills for working on a potter's wheel. 

Contact: Christle Waters,

Choral I and II

Choral is open to all students. This course gives students the opportunity to hone skills in vocal development, breath control, tone production, diction, and music literacy, singing vocal works from many historical periods and cultures. Students will perform at school concerts and community events.

Contact: Othello Jefferson,

Drawing and Painting I

This class is an introductory class for students interested in learning how to draw and paint realistically and stylistically. Students are introduced to various genres and styles of art through visual examples of a wide variety of artists’ works provided in text, slide and poster formats. The course provides explorations in basic drawing, painting and printmaking (including technical studies in each of the mediums). The technical studies are followed by creative projects to enable the student to interpret the newly acquired technique into his/her individual creative and expressive style. Course content includes studies in line, texture, space, form and color. Projects include contour drawings, still-life drawings, plein-air drawings and paintings as well as realistic, stylized and abstract drawing and painting from imagination. Mediums include the use of pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, conte-crayon, pastels, pen and ink, manipulated in computer graphic programs.

Contact: Landa Ruen,

Drawing and Painting II

This class is an advanced class for students interested in pursuing creative projects to build upon their previous years’ study of drawing and painting realistically and stylistically. Students are challenged with more in-depth and creative studies and project – continuing to explore various genres and styles of art. Students will be expected to research and explore different artists and movements in the history of art and to create a journal logging such discoveries. Technical exercises are followed by creative projects to enable the student to interpret the technical mastery into an individual creative, expressive style.

Contact: Landa Ruen,

Digital Photography I

This class is an introductory class for students interested in learning the art of black and white photography. The course involves the study of the principles of design and composition, applying learned principles to photographic expression. Students use a 35mm SLR camera and learn how to compose photographs, develop black and white film, contact print, and make enlargements from their negatives. Various studies in various themes in photography (landscape, portraiture, architecture, abstractions, close-ups, and manipulations) are included in the course assignments. A secondary emphasis is placed upon learning how to use a digital camera, scanner and Adobe Photoshop to keep up with today’s current photographic trends.

Contact: Lauren Yurkovich,

Digital Photography II

This class is an advanced class for students interested in further explorations in Digital Photography.  Assignments in class involve a more detailed approach to learning the functions of a Digital SLR camera, and advanced explorations using Adobe Photoshop for photo manipulations.  Coursework for Adobe Photoshop is explored on the website. Some shooting assignments are done during class on campus, but most of the projects involve off-campus shooting. Homework is a large part of the course content so students can experience different locations and settings with the use of the Nikon 3100 Digital SLRs.  Students will also visit local photography shows and analyze the work of local and historical photographers. Students will create a digital portfolio of their work by the end of the year.

Contact: Lauren Yurkovich,


Guitar is open to all students, but specifically geared for those with little to no musical experience. This course gives students the opportunity to develop skills at tuning, basic music reading (music notation and tablature), technique, song accompaniment, and composition.

Contact: Jane Woodman,

IB Art, Year I and Year II

This course provides students with an opportunity to develop artistic skill and aesthetic awareness as they reflect upon their own artwork and the works of other artists. Areas of focus are student directed and the instructor serves as a facilitator to student growth. A wide variety of media and artistic technique will be explored. In the first year of study, students will begin to build a body of work with emphasis placed on practical production by the student and exploration of a range of creative work in a global context. In the second year, The second year is designed to refine artistic skills and aesthetic research begun in the previous year. Students will work toward completing their research notebook and building a body of work that demonstrates their artistic development over the two years of study. Students will have the culminating experience of staging their own art exhibit and will be interviewed by an IB Visual Arts proctor as part of the IB examination process.

Contact: Mozy da Costa Pinto,

Contact: Clare Szydlowksi,

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble is club open via fall audition to Advanced Band students interested in exploring swing, Latin, funk, and Afro-Cuban music. Jazz Ensemble meets once a week at lunch, and though not an official class, the group is growing every year and does perform at all concerts and select community events.

Contact: Jane Woodman,


Orchestra is open to violin, viola, cello, and bass players with prior performance experience. The group performs at school concerts and community events. Though the class focuses on performance, it also emphasizes elements of musicianship, theory, and music history.

Contact: Othello Jefferson,


Piano is open to all students, but specifically geared for those with little to no musical experience. This course allows students to develop music skills through the study and performance of various keyboard literature. They will also explore different musical styles, electronic music, and composition.

Contact: Othello Jefferson,

Drama I and II

This course is an introduction to acting, playwriting, directing, improv, and technical theatre. You will study contemporary and diverse theatrical texts, perform in various comedic and dramatic scenes, work with your peers to bring artistic visions to life, and creatively tell your own stories. We will explore how theatre arts and storytelling inspires empathy and contributes to social justice. Please visit for information about how to get involved with after-school productions and other aspects of the Drama program at Sequoia. Contact: Talia Cain,