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
During the month of July, Wesley is jam-packed with summer activities. Our incoming Kindergarteners join us for Kinder Camp, an amazing opportunity to transition to their new school and learn all about what to expect in Kindergarten; while 1st-5th grade students are invited to join us for summer camp classes such as percussion, improv, mindfulness, athletics, filmmaking, DIY crafts, and science! Our incoming 6th-8th grade students are encouraged to take summer classes, perfect for keeping growing minds at work during the summer months.
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.
K–8th Grade New Parent Orientation
On the first day of school after a morning celebration, new parents meet with the administration to review school policies and procedures and to address any last–minute questions from 9-11am.
Wesley Family Picnic
Our community gathers for this hugely popular event at Camp Keystone in Agoura for food, swimming, games, and more from 11am - 4pm on a Sunday. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 Community on the day we celebrate Halloween, our 5th grade students will dazzle you with a wonderful music performance themed around the holiday. Afterwards, lower school students parade around the Sport Court in their costumes and show off their specially decorated pumpkins. The day ends with a mini-carnival put on by our middle school advisories for all lower school students to enjoy.
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 (unless you take advantage of our Conference Day Camp for a minimal fee). Middle school parents and students meet in the social hall for ten–minute discussions with each teacher.
This is an event to bring the Wesley School and the First United Methodist Church Community (FUMC) together. By providing an opportunity for Wesley students and their families to join members of the FUMC family for a day of community service projects and refreshments. The school and church donate items and assemble things for the needy in the greater Los Angeles community. 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.
Whether you're a seasoned expert with charcoal and fire, or simply a fire hazard, Grillmasters of all skill levels are invited to come to Wesley to prepare a BBQ lunch for all the students, faculty, and staff. This mini feast serves as a wonderful opportunity for any and all home adults—especially those who aren't able to volunteer at other times during the year—to spend some time on campus.
Children's Holiday Boutique
In early December, the PA sponsors a holiday boutique for Wesley families. All students go to the boutique by class to buy gifts for their parents, siblings, family, and friends.
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.
Holiday Celebration & Winter Concert
Just before we head off on winter break, our community comes together for a special holiday celebration. We light a Christmas tree and a Menorah to get into the holiday spirit, and Wesley adults double as singing–Santas for some fun holiday caroling! In addition, we get to watch the lower school winter concerts, where parents, grandparents, and friends come to see 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 and fundraise for important causes!
Global School Play Day
This is an entire school day devoted entirely to play! There may be dancing on the field, volleyball on the sport court, art in one classroom, games in another, blue building blocks under the shade structure, drama in the social hall, chalk drawings in the courtyard, and so much more. The kids choose what they want to partake in, and participate in whatever suits them without instruction, just supervision, from grownups. This day is cross divisional, allowing for children of all ages to spend time together playing and building relationships.
Middle School STEAM Festival
MS STEAM Festival is an alternative concept to the typical Science Fair. It is a 3-day event where students showcase the results of their months-long challenge-based projects with the community, create innovative solutions as they complete design challenges with peers, and empower the middle school students as they plan and facilitate hands-on learning experiences with our lower school students.
7th Grade Play
Every year, our 7th grade students and drama teacher put on the performance of the year in our 7th grade play! All 7th grade students are involved in the drama production, whether that be on stage or behind the scenes. Everyone is invited to then watch our students shine during one or more of the three nightly performances.
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.
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.
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 is recognized by his/her name being added to the perpetual trophy.
Every other year, grandparents and grandfriends are invited to a special Community, 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!
Lower School Parent-Teacher Conferences
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 (unless you take advantage of our Conference Day Camp for a minimal fee).
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.
The Wesley Palooza
Join us for Wesley's very own outdoor festival. 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.
Our book fair is open during the middle of May to coincide with our Parent Appreciation Brunch. Students come to the fair with their teachers during the week to compile wish lists, and parents can then go and make their children’s literary dreams come true! Summer reading lists will be available ahead of time as well, and this is the perfect place to choose your summer beach reads! Proceeds support the library and literacy programs through the PA.
Parents’ Appreciation Community
Parents gather in the sanctuary for a special student–led Community 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.
Lower School Open House & All School Art Expo
Join us as our lower school students lead you to and through their classrooms, sharing their portfolios of artifacts that documented their learning throughout the school year. And don’t forget to stop by the social hall for an exposition of the amazing student artwork that was completed throughout the year.
Moving Up Community
On our final Community 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 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.
Coffee with our Head of School
These are forums for open discussion with our Head of School once a month. These coffees are a great time for parents to get their questions answered, and are conducted in a Q&A format. These casual events will alternate in time between the morning, afternoon, and evening, in order to be more accessible to all families. Please check the calendar for scheduled dates.
Teacher Outings are when our wonderful Wesley teachers all volunteer to spend quality time with students doing something fun and exciting. These range from taking a group of students on a museum tour to going out to lunch, from pizza-making classes to dodgeball games, from mani/pedis to a puppy party, just to name a few! Our Wesley students can't wait for their chances to win some of these amazing opportunities. Teacher Outings are part of an online auction, and all funds raised go back to support our school.
The Wesley Outdoor Education Program includes a day trip for 3rd graders tied to their study of Native Americans, expanded one-night trips for 4th and 5th graders with science and social studies emphases, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade fall trips based on team building, a 7th grade end of year camping trip with a focus on leadership, and an 8th grade graduation retreat ending their time at Wesley. In addition, 8th graders venture to London the week prior to spring break. This trip augments elements of the English curriculum, specifically Shakespeare, and provides students with a remarkable experience, one that enhances their participation in our 8th grade program both socially and academically.
These provide an opportunity for students to share what they have learned with the entire school community. Each year, students and teachers select a unit of study to highlight, combining a rich array of disciplines, and culminating in a short Community presentation to the school and a longer version for parents.
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.
Relay for Life
The Wesley School supports The American Cancer Society through the Burbank Relay for Life event. The Wesley Warriors, our student council led relay team, participates in this 24-hour event every spring. As an all school community supported charity, community members are encouraged to participate in any number of ways all year long. In addition, all proceeds from the middle school snack cart sales go to this event which helps people whose lives are affected by cancer.
A Party Book Party is an event hosted by a Wesley parent or group of parents. Those parents are responsible for the planning/funding of the event. Wesley sells tickets to the event and the proceeds go directly to the School (and contributions are tax deductible!). Hosted parties are all about meeting other parents and families, raising funds for Wesley, and, above all else, having FUN!