ESLA Family Newsletter, September 11, 2018

Welcome, everyone, to the 2018-2019 academic year, and to the first installment of your new-and-improved ESLA Family Newsletter! 

Week one is officially in the books, and all our entering students are fully convokedwhich means our sleeves are rolled, we've hit our stride. One down. Forty or so to go. Piece of cake, right?

There's nothing quite like the energy during the first week back from summer, and it was a real treat to see our recently risen seniors greeting families at the curb of First Prez on opening morning—cheering, clapping, helping folks find their way around our temporary home, teaching sixth graders how to tie their ties, spilling glitter everywhere... It's good to be back! 

We've settled in and are already enjoying our campus away from campus. Middle schoolers play "Red Light / Green Light" in Spanish in the courtyard; theater students take over the main stage in Mears Hall; Chapel convenes in... a beautiful chapel! And, my goodness, the parking... Sometimes I wander out into the lot in the middle of the day and move my car from one spot to another, then another, and another—just to feel prosperous, gluttonous, spoiled. I stare toward the horizon and wonder: Is the universe, like this parking lot, truly infinite?

In all seriousness, the transition North has been remarkably smooth, and there are innumerable people to thank—but none more so than our Hero of Buildings and Grounds, Walter Thorne. He put in a ton of work over the summer months to make sure we could hit the ground running last week. The next time you see him, give that man a hug.

This newsletter includes some very important announcements regarding new communications tools, so, without further preamble... 

Announcing: "My ESLA"!

Do you all remember at the end of the classic, award-winning 1986 film, The Highlander, when Christopher Lambert defeats the final baddy and receives "the Prize," which is like this vaguely-defined power that maybe lets him communicate telepathically with all the other humans on Earth?

Well, this is what we had in mind when we set out to develop new ESLA communications tools, and it led us to this thing called "the Internet"—a force equally powerful, arcane, and mysterious.

You'll notice that this newsletter looks a little different than the ones you've received in the past. It's not sitting in your inbox; rather, it's on our website. This actually means that, if you're reading these words, you are already inside "My ESLA"! Try to piece your mind back together after that brain-shattering revelation, then take a gander at the navigation bar at the top of this page. You'll see the tab, "My ESLA." Welcome, welcome. Here's a rundown of everything you'll find: 


Esla Agenda:

LOOK. NO. FURTHER. Here it is. Your end-all-be-all, Queen-Bee resource: The ESLA Agenda. This is one-stop shopping for the goings on at school for current families—a comprehensive, day-by-day list of arts, athletics, clubs, and all-school events. It looks like this:

Click on any event to view full details or save the event to your personal calendar. 

Please feel encouraged to play around a little on the Agenda page. What you're actually looking at is four embedded Google Calendars. You can use the tabs in the upper right-hand corner to switch to a more traditional weekly or monthly calendar view, and you can click the arrow in the upper right-hand corner to toggle any of the four calendars on or off in the viewer.

Check this Agenda early and often to stay up to date with everything ESLA!  



All newsletters will live right here on the web, so bookmark this page. You can find new issues every week (or so), and you can peruse past issues whenever you like. I'll still send email reminders when new issues go live.

This little rag remains your finest source for important reminders, heartwarming school stories, and tawdry teen gossip.


Communication Groups:

By now, you should all have received an email announcing your inclusion in the Grade-Level Parent Listervs. We're rolling out listservs for all our various interest groups at ESLA—clubs, athletic teams, councils, theater groups, etc.—and you can view the full directory here.

Listservs allow for quick, efficient email communication between group members. A listserv is a very simple tool: If you send an email to the listserv address, it will distribute your email to all group members.

This will allow faculty and administrators to send out pertinent info to group members efficiently, without clogging all-school lines, and it will also allow group members to communicate with one another. A few things to note:

1. You will automatically be added to listservs pertinent to your family. So, for instance, if your student is cast in the fall theater production, you'll be added to the Fall Production Listerv ( You'll start receiving fall production news and info straight in your inbox, and you'll be included in all group conversations. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the instructions in the signature of any of the emails.

2. We populate the lists using the email address(es) you have on file in our database, so please keep your contact info up-to-date using the Parent Portal. If you have multiple email addresses, and some forward to others, please provide us with the address you actually want to check and send emails with. We'll run into some technical issues otherwise.

3. Please be abundantly judicious, kind, and thoughtful in your use of these listservs. Remember, because it bears repeating: if you send an email to a listserv address, it will distribute your email to all group members! Let's be very careful not to clog inboxes.

4. English is just one language among many. Many of the parents and guardians in our community prefer Spanish, and a fair number prefer Korean. Google Translate is your friend! Let's all begin making a concerted effort to communicate in multiple languages. (More on this at the end of the newsletter.)

Oh wow, too long; didn't read: You'll get ESLA news and info pertinent to your student and family delivered straight to your inbox! Hooray!



Portals are access points to the school database for students and families. You can access your student's course schedule, grades, teacher comments, and other academic info, and you can keep your family contact information up-to-date for school communications. We just upgraded our student and parent portals a couple weeks ago, so give them a spin.


Academic Calendar:

An oldie but a goodie: Your one-page pdf of all the year's most important dates still lives here.


That wraps up the "My ESLA" package of treats. Did you also know that the entire ESLA Curriculum is now live on our website? Oh yes. Much taste. Very flavor.

This website is now your resource! Use it well. We'll be rolling out further updates throughout the year. Feel free to aim any communications-related questions directly between my eyes at And stay tuned for an email regarding the ESLA Family Directory, which is in the works...

Friends, new and old.

Middle School Parents' Night! September 12!

Parents and guardians of students in the Middle School, please be sure to attend your Parents' Night this Wednesday (tomorrow!), September 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet your child's teachers, see our classrooms, and hear about the curriculum. We only have two hours, so please be on time! There's plenty of parking available at First Prez. Click here to view the full schedule for the evening.

Middle School Parents' Night
Wednesday, September 12, 6:00–8:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood

¡Vamos a bailar!

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, ESLA's Languages Department, along with Los Coyotitos Salvajes, our chapter of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, are providing our entire community—students, staff, and families—with free salsa dancing lessons!

Monday, September 17
First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood
3:304:30 p.m., STUDENTS ONLY
4:30–5:30 p.m., FACULTY AND PARENTS

Arts at ESLA

A message from Senior Chief Executive Arts Guru, Jane McCarron:

The year is off to a roaring start with over 60 students attending the Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts info sessions last week. Did you miss it? Not to worry! We have all the highlights for you here.



The Music Studio (Wiley Chapel) is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Students in grades six through twelve are welcome to join Mr. Perrin, Mr. McIntosh, and Mr. Villaverde every week or just when the mood strikes them. ESLA has drums, guitar, bass, and keys, but students are encouraged to bring in their own instruments.



The Visual Arts Studio (Middle Terrace) is open every Monday and Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Students in grades six through twelve are welcome to join Ms. Bagley and Ms. Aguiniga every week or just pop in when they are feeling creative. Materials are provided by the arts department, but students are encouraged to bring their own sketchbooks.



Casting for Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap will be announced on Wednesday, August 12, at 3:00 p.m. Rehearsals are Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Students not cast in the Main Stage show will have the opportunity to join one of our theatre clubs.

Middle School Drama Club meets every Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. (Middle Terrace). All students in grades six through eight will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform in the Five-Minute Play Festival on October 9 (5 - 6:00 p.m.), the Upper School Concert and Art Show on December 5 (6 - 7:30 p.m.) and the ESLA Experimental Theatre on January 29 (5:00 - 7:00 p.m.).

Upper School Improv Club meets every Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. (The Cellar). Students in grades nine through twelve have the opportunity to rehearse and produce their own improv shows monthly.


The Five-Minute Play Festival is seeking talented playwrights, directors, and actors in grades six through twelve. 

  • Monday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m. - Plays due to Ms. McCarron ( 
  • Tuesday, September 18 at 3:00 p.m. - Selections are announced
  • Thursday, September 20 from 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. - Auditions and casting (Middle Terrace)
  • Monday, September 24 - Thursday, October 4th - Students hold rehearsals
  • Monday, October 8 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. - Dress Rehearsal
  • Tuesday, October 9 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. - Five-Minute Play Festival (Mears Stage)

Pick-up and Drop-off Reminders!

One final reminder of our new system, just for good measure:

Morning drop-off takes place between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. on Carlos Street on the south side of campus. Cars should circle clockwise north of the school and come around to proceed west on Carlos Street. After drop-off everyone should turn right onto Gower at the end of Carlos. Afternoon pick-up between 3:00 and 3:45 p.m. follows the same system.

If you arrive between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., or 3:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., please park in the lot on Carlos and proceed to the main entrance on Gower, at the west end of campus. You will not be able to enter campus off La Baig St.

Also, remember: We share this campus with a preschool! I'd like to pass along a friendly reminder from that preschool, and from 2005 Kanye West: DRIVE SLOW! Especially when you're coming down La Baig St., where the preschoolers get dropped off, just cruuuise real slow like you got nowhere to be.

Do You Flat-Out Love to Run?!

A message from Ms. Janie Hannon, who flat-out loves to run: 

Upper School Cross Country practices run Monday through Thursday, 3:30–5:00 p.m. Open to all runners! Just run with it! But don't run with scissors!

Sixth graders, fully convoked!

Translate this Letter... and the Entire Website!

We now have a little Google widget installed in our site that will translate text into the languages that many of our families prefer—including the text of this and all future newsletters! Scroll to the very bottom-left corner of the page and you'll see the widget. Click on it, choose your language, and voilà!

¡Traduce esta letra ... y todo el sitio web!

Ahora tenemos un pequeño widget de Google instalado en nuestro sitio que traducirá el texto a los idiomas que prefieren muchas de nuestras familias, incluido el texto de este y todos los boletines informativos futuros. Desplázate hasta la esquina inferior izquierda de la página y verás el widget. Haga clic en él, elija su idioma y voilà!

이 편지와 전체 웹 사이트를 번역하십시오!

우리 사이트에는 약간의 Google 위젯이 설치되어 텍스트를이 언어의 텍스트와 향후 모든 뉴스 레터를 포함하여 많은 가정이 선호하는 언어로 번역합니다! 페이지의 맨 아래 왼쪽 모서리로 스크롤하면 위젯이 표시됩니다. 그것을 클릭하고, 언어를 선택하십시오.

Questions or comments? Send them my way:

Until next week,
—Will Litton