Events & Traditions
EVENTS AND TRADITIONS
An important part of our community!
Welcome to our guide for the newest members of our community! This will help you navigate the many events and traditions that take place at Wesley and make this school so special. We know that joining a new community can be overwhelming, so we hope that this, along with our regular school communications, will help you to further connect. Our goal is for you to feel at home as quickly as possible!
EVENTS BY MONTH
Kindergarten Welcome Picnic
Incoming kindergarten families are invited to meet the teachers and each other, while noshing and being entertained. Students walk away with a photo of themselves with their new teachers to proudly display in the Popsicle stick picture frames they decorate.
Athletics & Enrichment Sign-ups
In mid–August, parents receive information so that they can begin signing up for both after–school sports (4th–8th grades only) and enrichment classes, which cater to various grade levels. All after–school activities begin in early September.
Incoming kindergarten children and their parents come to campus two days before the first day of school to have their own orientation time when the campus is not yet full with everyone else. No uniforms are necessary, and the time is there to provide our youngest newcomers additional time to acclimate to their new environment and classmates. Parents enjoy time to get to know one another and hear from the administration to review school policies and procedures and to address any last-minute questions.
K–8th Grade Student Orientation and Orientation for Parents of New Students in 1st through 8th Grades
The day before the official start of school, all students join us on campus from 9:00–11:00am to get acquainted with their teachers, desks, lockers, classroom procedures, and more. Attendance is mandatory, and the dress code is casual. Simultaneously, new parents meet with the administration to review school policies and procedures and to address any last–minute questions.
Fall Potlucks (September–November)
Each grade level holds a potluck in the fall for all parents in that class to get to know one another better, while enjoying good food. Teachers and some administrators come too, and attendance is strongly encouraged. The events are held at a family’s home.
Lower School Back–to–School Night
Parents of lower school children come to campus in the evening to hear from each of their child’s teachers regarding the academic program and expectations for the school year.
Middle School Back–to–School Night
Parents of middle school children come to campus in the evening to meet their child’s teachers and to learn about the different programs and expectations involved in middle school classes.
Peer tutoring is an opportunity for a lower school student to be paired with a middle school student for weekly after–school tutoring. At Back-To-School Night, lower school parents can enroll their children in the program, which runs on a trimester–basis. Kindergarten students have the opportunity to join the program during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters due to need. Tutoring begins at the start of October and happens once weekly, Monday–Thursday. Middle school students receive community service for their efforts.
Family Day Picnic
Our community gathers for this hugely popular event at Camp Keystone in Agoura for lunch, swimming, games, and more from 2:00–6:30pm. The event is strategically placed at the beginning of the year so that families can spend the afternoon getting to know one another better. Our PA sponsors the picnic, and tickets go on sale in August.
Blessing of the Animals
Families bring their pets to the Sport Court in the morning to be blessed by an ordained Chaplin. We’ve seen it all—from chickens to turtles, hamsters to guinea pigs, bunnies to goldfish, and even the requisite cats and dogs. Sadly, all pets must go home with their owners when the ceremony is over!
Our book fair is open during the last week in October. Students come to the fair with their teachers to compile a wish list, and parents can then go and make their children’s literary dreams come true! Proceeds support the library and literacy programs through the PA.
The week before the scariest day in October, parent volunteers decorate our campus with ghosts and goblins in preparation for the big day. Then, in lieu of chapel on the day we celebrate Halloween, our 3rd-5th grade students will dazzle you with wonderful music performances themed around the holiday. Afterwards, following a regular morning of classes, lower school students get into costume (you too, parents), and parade around the Sport Court. Our kindergarten through 2nd grade students entertain us with a few Halloween songs and then all children enjoy a mini-carnival for an hour before the school day ends.
Lower school parents come to campus in 20–30 minute blocks to meet with their child’s classroom teachers. This is a student–free day, so students stay at home or come for supervised play out on the yard during conference time only. Middle school parents and students meet in the social hall for ten–minute discussions with each teacher.
One Sunday a year in mid–November, the two communities that share a space, The Wesley School and the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) come together for a joint chapel. This is one of two communal events held annually between Wesley and FUMC to celebrate a relationship that is so much more than that of landlord and tenant.
Food Drive for the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry
Just before Thanksgiving, in the spirit of holiday giving, families are encouraged to bring a bag filled with food and household items to be donated to the local food pantry.
Gobblers’ Feast & Basketball Game
Dads, grandpas, uncles, big brothers, and other important male figures in our students’ lives are invited to come to Wesley to prepare a BBQ lunch for all the students, faculty, and staff. This mini feast is followed by a very popular game of basketball—Wesley dads vs. alums—and it culminates with an early dismissal. Family members are encouraged to come cheer on the players.
Holiday Boutique (Student Part)
In early December, the PA sponsors a holiday boutique for Wesley families. Lower school students go to the boutique by class to buy gifts for their parents, siblings, and friends. Middle schoolers are free to drop in any time.
Holiday Boutique (Adult Part)
After a couple of days of student shopping, adults can enjoy the boutique when over 20 vendors line our social hall on the Friday afternoon and evening of that week, promising happy holiday shopping! Boutique proceeds provide funding to our PA programs.
Inflatable Bouncers, Food Trucks, and the Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting
On this Friday afternoon/evening, the final day of our holiday boutique, our community comes together with games and bouncers for the kids, lots of food options for everyone, and to light a Christmas tree and a Menorah to get into the holiday spirit. Wesley dads double as singing–Santas and all join together in song in what amounts to be fun for the whole family!
Operation Santa Claus
In December, students are asked to bring an unwrapped gift for less fortunate children, who then receive these new gifts through the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry.
The week before winter break, Wesley holds both lower school and middle school holiday performances, where parents, grandparents, and friends come to watch their children sing, dance, and spread joy with their peers.
Students jog around our Sport Court and field to raise money for service learning and other programs as parents, teachers, and classmates cheer them on! This is a fun way to show school spirit with an added perk—it’s an early dismissal day!
This is the second Wesley/FUMC joint event of the year, when our families and members of the church gather on a Friday night for a potluck dinner with foods from around the world. The evening includes a cultural performance to celebrate our multicultural heritages.
Middle School Science Fair
Every year our middle school students participate in a science fair. The students decide what their projects will be, develop hypotheses, conduct experiments, and analyze their results. In an open forum, they are then able to share their projects with teachers, students, and parents.
Every year, grandparents and grandfriends are invited to a special chapel, followed by classroom visits, tours, photo opportunities, and sharing. We’ve had grandbuddies come from as close by as North Hollywood and as far away as Scotland, South Africa, and New Zealand!
The gala is an every-other-year themed fundraiser and community builder. All parents, faculty, and staff are invited for an evening of dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions. The gala’s primary function is to raise money for those extras like program enhancements in technology, music, and art, faculty professional development, and physical plant upgrades. We strive for 100% participation through donating, bidding, or just showing up for an evening of fun. This is our second–largest fundraiser after Annual Giving and, as such, is very important in the life of the school community.
Over the course of April and May, every grade level group of parents is invited to a morning coffee to be introduced to the team of teachers that their child will be joining in the upcoming school year. Teachers will present a brief overview of the next grade level.
Come join us in the morning or the evening as our middle school students dazzle you with wonderful songs and performances centered around a changing yearly theme. You won’t want to miss it!
Greek Mythology Bee
Our 3rd-8th grade students have the opportunity to compete in a Mythology Bee overseen by our librarian, Clare O’Callaghan, and our Head of Middle School, Joey Campanella. The winning participant receives his/her name on a perpetual trophy.
The Wesley Palooza
The entire school community gathers outdoors on a Friday night for an evening of entertainment under the stars, compliments of our talented students—all stars in their own right! The best part—there are plenty of food options for the whole family to enjoy dinner as well.
Parents’ Appreciation Chapel
Parents gather in the sanctuary for a special student–led chapel that includes performances, words from our Head of School, and a thank you from our Parents’ Association Chairs. Following, the PA hosts a brunch in honor of the volunteers to thank them for all their efforts throughout the school year.
Faculty/Staff Appreciation Lunch
On this early dismissal day for students, the entire Wesley faculty and staff are treated to lunch and pampering by our generous parents. The afternoon serves as a thank you to them for all they do for the Wesley students.
Moving Up Chapel
On our final chapel of the school year, parents watch their kindergarten through 7th grade children physically move up to the next grade level by sliding over to a new chapel pew. This moving ceremony gets a note of lightness, as teachers come to the stage to speak, sing, and put on skits about their students, who are about to leave them for new teachers and adventures in the year to come.
One of the wonderful things about being a small community is having the opportunity to celebrate and hear from each graduate during a very special ceremony that is both meaningful and memorable. Bring your tissues!
North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry Collection
The Wesley School, along with a number of churches and temples in the San Fernando Valley, supports the local North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry. Once a month, we ask that students bring in a grocery bag filled with canned goods and other needed items to their classrooms, which our student council members then collect for donation.
Lower School and Middle School Chats
These are forums for open discussion with an administrator and a great time for parents to get their questions answered. Meetings are held directly after drop–off and are conducted in a Q&A format. Please check the calendar for scheduled dates.
Parents’ Association (PA) Meetings
These are a great way to learn about opportunities for parent involvement. Approximately once a month, those interested meet after morning carpool to hear updates from the administration and find out more about upcoming PA events of which they can be a part.