Since its establishment in 1999 by a dedicated group of parents, teachers and students, The Wesley School’s evolution has been “nothing short of amazing,” says Lindsey Drasin, the school’s director of communications.
With a K–8 model that provides a safe space for children to come of age at an appropriate pace, The Wesley School has become a highly desired independent school for parents across the San Fernando Valley seeking an educational experience that can mold their children into leaders.
“As middle schoolers, our students have the opportunity to mentor their younger peers and be the leaders on and around campus,” Drasin says. “The well-rounded and exemplary academic program ensures that, come the end of eighth grade, our children are ready to take on the best high schools in the Los Angeles area. They are more mature and better equipped to handle the rigors of their next educational chapters thanks to the extra two years we give them to blossom and prepare.”
Another distinctive feature of Wesley, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is the importance it places on diversity, equity and inclusivity. These values are not only embedded in the school’s mission statement and long-range plan but also shape the students’ artwork and classroom lessons.
“We know that to remain sustainable and relevant, to become reflective of the world around us and to accomplish the educational goals we set, we as a society and school must become more inclusive and equitable,” Drasin says. “We believe that a community that recognizes and values all the ways that we as humans differ is a strong community.”
The Wesley School also extends its reach beyond the classroom through service learning initiatives, which encourage and allow students to address real needs in the community. “Students connect their educational experiences to life beyond the school environment by using their developing skills to undertake activities that include raising money and awareness, championing causes and volunteering,” Drasin says. “They learn firsthand the value of social responsibility and citizenship.”
Every year, Wesley’s student council spearheads a team of students who participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life event, a walk that celebrates cancer survivors, honors those who passed away and raises funds. Students also take part in the Bake for Better initiative, created and led by a Wesley seventh-grader, which provides baked goods and notes of kindness for those in need throughout the area. In addition, Wesley collects and delivers canned food items to the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry each week (with an extra push at Thanksgiving), participates in two winter holiday toy drives, donates gently used books in the fall and spring, and hosts an annual charity jog-a-thon. “All of these acts of kindness are built into the fabric of our school so that children can learn firsthand about privilege, empathy and responsibility,” Drasin says.
Equipped with real-world experience, confidence and crucial critical-thinking skills, Wesley students have the tools they need to be successful for years to come. “We work hard to instill in our students a sense of global awareness and the fact that their voices matter in the greater community,” Drasin says. “They carry a sense of Wesley pride with them, and we feel that this is helping shape and reflect the world around them.”