ESLA Family Newsletter, October 29, 2018

Dios mío, amigos! Es la semana de los muertos. We’ve got just about a hundred million bajillion things going on at ESLA over these next two weeks, so, without further delay…


As always, your agenda from today until the Dodgers win the World Series is embedded below. Remember, you can always check the ESLA Agenda on this site by navigating to “My ESLA” > “ESLA Agenda” or simply plugging into your navigation bar.

No school this Friday! It’s Parent-Teacher Conference Day! If you haven’t signed up for conferences, please see instructions below.

Picture Day is next Tuesday, November 6! Formal dress required for all students! Please help make sure your students show up to school looking sharp. (If students are absent, there will be a make-up day.)

All Saint’s Day and Día de los Muertos

A note from the chaplains:

We are celebrating All Saint’s Day and Día de los Muertos in chapel this Wednesday, October 31. As part of that celebration, we remember those close to us who have passed, and we read the names of the dead. If you would like a name read during the service, please email Mr. Thorne ( with that name, your relationship to the deceased, and any notes on pronunciation.

Students are also invited, starting today, to bring in photographs and other objects for our Ofrenda and to join the Vestry and the Art Department in open studio to make paper marigolds and ceramic skulls.

Slideshow: Mask Making in Open Studio

All Hallows’ Eve is Coming!

Some very important Halloween announcements from your ESLA Community Life Council!

Tuesday, October 30 (All Hallows’ Eve Eve)

CLC will host a Halloween party and Haunted House from 3:30 to 5:45 p.m.! Students are encouraged to stay after school for cookie decorating, a screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a spooky tour of ESLA's second annual Haunted House. CLC will provide all the entertainment and pizza. Think Tank will be available for students who need to get ahead before the big night.

Wednesday, October 31 (All Hallows’ Eve)

Students are encouraged to wear costumes to school! There will be a Red/White costume contest at lunch. Costumes must comply with free dress rules in the ESLA Student Handbook. Students will be asked to remove masks and hats for class and chapel. This should go without saying, but just to cover our bases here: No ESLA student may come to school with a weapon, real or fake.

Upper School students will host an Improv Show from 3:15 to 4:00 p.m. in the Cellar! Parents are welcome to park in the Carlos lot and come watch the show. There is no after school programing on Halloween other than the improv show. All students are dismissed from class at 3:00 p.m., and must be picked up by 4:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences!

A message from your fearless leaders, Jay Johnson, Head of Middle School, and Jason Brooks, Head of Upper School:

We are excited to announce that our Parent-Teacher conferences will be held this Friday, November 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parents and Guardians are welcome to register for conferences on the Parent Portal ( Conferences are not required but can be a very useful means to establish communication and check in with your student’s teachers.

Here are the steps for registration:

  1. Log in to the Parent Portal.

  2. Click on the “Student” tab.

  3. On the left side of the screen, click on the “Teacher Conferences” link.

  4. On the Teacher Conferences Page, you can select each of your child’s teachers and book their available times.

  5. If you do not see a teacher you wish to meet with, please email

For any technical issues with logging in or navigating the portal, please submit a technology ticket by emailing Stephen Smith, Director of Technology, at

If you have any general questions, please email Jay Johnson ( or Jason Brooks (

Suspect Everyone

Save the Date!

ESLA's Main Stage production of The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie opens next Tuesday, November 6.

  • Tuesday, November 6, 4:00–6:00 p.m.

  • Wednesday, November 7, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, November 8, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

  • Monday, November 12, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

  • Tuesday, November 13, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

All shows take place on Mears Stage at First Pres., and performances run approximately two hours. Tickets can be purchased at the door. They are free to ESLA students and faculty and $5 for family and friends.

Join the Lessons and Carols Choir!

A message from Jay Johnson, Lord of Pipes:

Come one, come all! If you are in the festive spirit and wish to be a part of our incredible Lessons and Carols Choir, please contact Jay Johnson at The Lessons and Carols Choir sings traditional Christmas Carols for our school service on Thursday evening, December 13. We need Sopranos, Altos, Tenors, and Basses. (We have always had a shortage of men, so, fellas, if you have always wanted to sing in a choir but do not want that pesky long-term commitment, now is your chance!) No singing experience required, rather a good musical ear and a willingness to sing fun carols. If you want to know more, just email Jay or speak with a former member. Students, parents, friends, grandparents—all are welcome!

Rehearsal Schedule:

  • Wednesday, November 7 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., FPCH Choir Room

  • Wednesday, November 14 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., FPCH Choir Room

  • Wednesday, November 28 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., FPCH Choir Room

  • Monday, December 3 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., FPCH Choir Room

  • Wednesday, December 12 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., FPCH Choir Room

Performance: Thursday, December 13, 6:00 until 8:00 p.m., FPCH Sanctuary

Mr. Houck’s AP Biology class has created clean energy! This biofuel cell harnesses the energy of microbes in the dirt.

Middle School Lab Days!

A reminder from Laura Spencer, Middle School Coordinator:

Our next round of Middle School Lab Days is coming up on Friday, November 9. We have some exceptional programming lined up. Students in the sixth grade will be heading to the Getty Villa; students in the seventh grade will visit the Museum of Tolerance; and students in the eighth grade will travel to the Reagan Library.

We need permission forms from all families for these trips! Your students should be returning home with permission forms in hand, but just in case, please find the relevant pdfs using the buttons below:

Robots in space!

Upper School Lab Days!

A message from Amanda Valenzuela, Upper School Coordinator:

Our first Upper School Lab Day is fast approaching! Friday, November 9, Upper School coyotes will venture out into the city in search of knowledge, beauty, and possibly insects. Your students have already selected their adventures, with priority given to seniors, and Ms. Valenzuela will post trip rosters this week. You may read about the six trips below. Please keep an eye out for permission slips next week!

If you have any questions, please contact Amanda Valenzuela, Upper School Coordinator, at

Option 1: Hammer Museum and UCLA visit (Led by Ms. Aguíñiga. 1 group, total of 20 students + 4 chaperones)

The Grunwald collection housed at the UCLA Hammer Museum is one of the largest collections of works on paper in the world! The collection is available to students and artist by appointment only. The Advanced Arts class and upper school arts students are invited to visit the Grunwald collection where students will choose works from the archive and will be on display for them. The works selected from the archive will be in the special collections space where students can see works on paper (photography, printmaking and lithographs) without framing nor glass cases. This is an exciting opportunity for students to experience what it's like to hold works of art that date back over 400 years. Students will travel by charter bus from FPCH to UCLA and back.

Option 2: Recording Studio (Led by Mr. Perrin.1 group, total of 10 students + 2-3 chaperones)

You will make music in a studio recording session on campus with a professional. Examine performances under a “microscope,” and debating over which one is the best while learning tech skills. This experience is targeted towards music students. By the end of the day, students will record and mix a song and walk away with an MP3 of their music.

Option 3: Griffith Park Nature Hike and Observatory Scavenger Hunt (Led by Mr. Houck. 1 group, total of 15 students + 3 chaperones)

During the nature hike, students will learn about the plants and animals found in Griffith Park. Students will collect organisms to start colonies at school (water-striders and crayfish colonies). With overlooks of the city below, students will learn about the sub-climates found in the extended LA area. At the observatory, students will learn about the chemistry and physics that make-up the universe. The target audience is students interested in general science. Please be advised this trip require a LOT of hiking (4 miles often up hill). Please wear shoes, bring water, a backpack for carrying a school provided lunch, and sunscreen.  Additionally, the trip will likely arrive at 3:30 rather than 3:00 due to the planetarium show times.

Option 4: L.A. Story: Rethinking Our City’s History along the Great Wall of Los Angeles (Led by Dr. Milner. 1 group, total of 20 students + 3 chaperones)

This experience is (ideally) geared towards students who have already taken L.A. History, as well as students who like going to museums and interpreting art. That said, this experience is meant to decenter traditional historical narratives, as well as issues of where art is displayed and for whom art is intended. My ambition is that students gain the experience of seeking out alternate forms of art-making and story-telling that abound in their city; that they make connections between what they have learned about, and observed in, their city and how people have represented these experiences based on their own values, histories, and goals; and that they gain a sense of the importance of creative expression in highlighting experiences.

Option 5: UCLA College Visit and Campus Tour (Led by. Ms. Valenzuela and Mrs. Johnson. 1 group, total of 20 students + 4 chaperones)

Students will do a full campus tour of UCLA, visiting iconic buildings and spaces including Royce Hall, the Fowler Museum, Ackerman, the Sculpture Garden, Pauley Pavilion, Bruin Walk, the student store, Powell and Charles E. Young libraries. They will picnic in front of the Shapiro Fountain and tour the campus with ESLA's Bruin alumna. Students are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and blue and gold (or yellow) for the tour. Students may bring cash to purchase Bruin swag from the student store. This group will travel by charter bus from FPCH to UCLA and back.

Option 6: California African American Museum and USC Tour (Led by Mr. Brooks. 1 group, total of 15 students + 3 chaperones)

Students will tour the California African American Museum and meet with lead curator, Tyree Boyd Pates. Mr. Pates is a historian, professor, writer, and speaker who expounds on Black culture from a millennial vantage and mobilizes communities of color through journalism, social media, education and history. Students will have a bespoke tour of Mr. Pates' new exhibition "Slavery on the New Frontier." After visiting C.A.A.M., students will tour the University of Southern California. Students are encouraged to wear walking shoes and come ready to experience the richness of Exposition Park!

Slideshow: Student Artwork

The Lillian! New Content!

The Lillian, ESLA’s very own student-run multimedia review, is back up and running and has posted a round of new student work. A few highlights: Middle Schoolers' ideas for what Jay Johnson should be for Halloween, poems by Hop and Maya, and ESLA visual art!

Take a gander: 

Questions or comments? Send them my way:

Until next week,
—Will Litton