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School-wide Shared Experiences

In addition to a challenging academic program, all of our students, from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade participate in a variety of unique events and experiences that support our school’s mission of academic excellence, character development, and commitment to faith. 

Success Traits: Success Traits are a core component of the St. John’s community. Each month, the community celebrates one of our traits of success: organization, attentiveness, courage, faith, persistence, positive attitude, flexibility, generosity, and responsibility. These traits are reinforced in all facets of school life, through every day learning and activities, chapel services, extracurricular and community activities. 

Baccalaureate Service: Students and Faculty come together in  celebration of our school year. This includes the entire student body in a ceremony that says “good-bye” to our eighth-grade class and “graduates” students of each grade to their next grade. The Katharine Meyer Award for leadership is presented to a fourth-grade student, and selected eighth-graders give speeches. All parents are invited to attend.

Graduation: This ceremony is held in the St. John’s Episcopal Church chapel in the evening on the last day of school in June. This ceremony is attended by the graduating Grade 8 class, their families, guests, and the faculty. A reception for the families follows the ceremony, which is hosted by the Grade 7 class


Book Fair and Library Night: The school hosts a week long Book Fair.  One evening of the week students and parents are invited to the library for a Family Night.

Buddy Program:  Every student in the school is matched up with an older or younger Buddy in another grade. Activities such as Community Building Day, offer opportunities for our Upper School students to serve as positive models for our Lower School students.

Chapel: With our focus on spiritual growth and development, students attend weekly chapel services. Chapel services follow an Episcopal worship model, but are designed to be welcoming to students of all faiths.

Charity Volleyball Game: Students (8th grade) and faculty come together to play a volleyball game as part of Spirit Week. Students raise money for a designated charity by selling t-shirts. The design of the t-shirts is determined by student submissions in art.

Christmas Celebration Concert: Students, parents, teachers and extended families share an evening of Christmas joy and celebration.

Christmas Tree Lighting: Early in December Santa Claus takes a break from his busy schedule and makes an exclusive appearance.  Students, parents and teachers share in a family-like gathering to spread holiday cheer and caroling fun!  
In addition to our tree outside, we have a tree in our foyer that is decorated with ornaments created by every student in the school!

Community Building Activities: During the first month of school, all students are involved in activities to foster a relationship and help build a strong community.

Community Service: All students participate in community service projects to benefit our school and local community. Serving others is an integral part of our mission and commitment to academics, character, and faith. 
Declamation Day: Students in Grades 3-8 are selected to present a poem during Declamation Day. Students in Grade 2 participate on a voluntary basis.

Drama Productions: Students showcase their skills in drama, and other forms of artistic expression. All students are invited to participate in our drama productions.

Extracurricular Enrichment: Students participate in Art Club, STEM, Book Club, Homework club, and Model United Nations just to name a few. Offerings vary based on student interest.

Faculty and Eighth Grade Christmas Luncheon: Students and Faculty gather on the last day of school prior to the Christmas break to celebrate the Eighth graders. The Grade 7 parents and students prepare and serve lunch to the faculty and Eighth grade students.

Fall Festival: Students and families gather to reconnect and help new families get acquainted with our community.

Field Trips: Students participate in a variety of field trips that enhance their learning.

Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day: An opportunity to honor and celebrate important people in our students' lives.

Holiday celebrations: Students celebrate various holidays with their classes with the help of our Room Parents. These include: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter to name a few. With our diverse community, we welcome families to share their holidays and traditions with our community.  

International Immersion Week and Festival: Students and faculty honor and promote cultural awareness through various cross curricular activities that encompass a week long study of their assigned country along with creative projects, including art and music. In a culminating celebration, students present artwork, projects and dances that demonstrate an understanding of teamwork, community respect, and cultural pride.

Morning Greeters and Shaking of Hands: Students are greeted by faculty each morning as well as designated eighth graders. In addition, all students are welcomed at our front door with a handshake from the Head of School. This handshake is more than just a casual greeting; it is an important recognition of the personal connections we all share every day in our community.

Music and Art: All students take visual arts and music classes. Student artwork is displayed throughout our school and changes with the seasons. STJES students' artwork has been displayed at the MAESA fair, various local events, and at art galleries including Sandy Spring Museum. Their musical talents are highlighted in concerts and special events on a seasonal and regular basis. Jazz Band and after school music lessons are taught by adjunct music faculty and offered for students.

Pumpkin Patch and Halloween Costume Parade: Students and families volunteer to sell the pumpkins starting early October. Students earn community service credit for time worked in the patch. This event supports the school, church and the Navajo Nation community in New Mexico. Our annual Halloween Costume Parade is a fun activity that gives all students the opportunity to display their costumes.

Spirit Week and Field Day: Students demonstrate their school spirit in the week leading up to Field Day. On Field Day, all students participate in athletic challenges that foster teamwork, school spirit, and individual achievement.

Saint Nicholas Day: Students receive a treat in their boots/shoes in celebration of Saint Nicholas Day.

Upper School and Lower School Science Fairs: A comprehensive science activity that gives all of our students an opportunity to select a topic of study, perform various experiments, and share the results with the school community.

Wear Red Day: Students and Faculty celebrate the holiday season in wearing RED

Shared Experiences by Grade Level

Pastries with Parents: Pre-Kindergarten classes and their families come together for this wonderful event to share play time, lemonade, and sweet treats in our Play Garden. We get to celebrate spring together, enjoying the beautiful flowers that grow right outside our back classroom door. The highlight is a performance showcasing some of our favorite spring songs and poems.

Play Garden: This is open, grassy, and spacious, giving our students plenty of space to run and play. We have a large sandbox, a rock bed, and bridges. There’s also a wooded area at one end, giving us the opportunity to explore trees, leaves, and insects through the various seasons. There are picnic tables out back, so we can eat snacks or lunch and have lessons outside as well. In the spring we plant flowers and release butterflies, in the fall we enjoy climbing on hay bales, in the winter we play in the snow, and in the summer we have water play in the Play Garden! It’s also a great time for both classes to play together and get to know each other.

Shared Reading Experience: Throughout the year, the class will gather together each afternoon to read a part of a chapter book while creating inferences, recalling information, and enhancing language and vocabulary skills.  In the Spring, the class will work together to choose a classic children’s chapter book (such as Charlotte’s Web, Winnie The Pooh, or Mary Poppins). Lessons from the book are then incorporated into the reading and writing blocks throughout the season. The experience culminates in a class celebration the last week of school with watching a digital version of the story.

Thanksgiving Feast: Students from Kindergarten through Second grade gather to share classroom-prepared dishes, prayer and camaraderie.

Recipe Book: As a collaborative effort with families, children will create a recipe page book highlighting a favorite family recipe. In class, children will create their own vegetable “friendship” soup recipe, which they will cook in class during a lunchtime celebration.  This lesson highlights math skills, reading and writing, and enhances our sense of community.

First Grade: 
Bazaar: Students demonstrate their creativity, money skills, and basic understanding of economic concepts in a fundraiser to support a designated charity. Each student creates a unique product to sell to the school community and practices using coins and making change at the event.

Wampanoag Day: Students celebrate the Wampanoag tribe through a series of projects, snacks and games.

Thanksgiving Feast: Students from Kindergarten through Second grade gather to share classroom-prepared dishes, prayer and camaraderie.

Christmas Tableau: Students enact the story of the Nativity during the Christmas concert.

Second Grade: 
Market Day: Second graders participate in activities designed to introduce them to life in a market place as it was early America.

Thanksgiving Feast: Students from Kindergarten through Second grade gather to share classroom-prepared dishes, prayer and camaraderie.

Third Grade
Christmas Tableau: Students perform “The Real Story of Christmas, God Gives Us His Son” during which they read the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus and sing Christmas hymns. All families are invited to attend the presentation.

Flat People: Students study the 50 states by mailing “flat people” to friends and family around the United States. People take photos of the flat people in famous spots and send literature and information that students use to prepare a report. The project ends in a travel fair presented to the entire student body in which students report on their flat people’s adventures in their chosen state.

Fourth Grade: 
Bazaar: Students demonstrate their creativity and money skills in a fundraiser to support a designated charity. Each student creates a unique product to sell to their classmates and practices using coins and making change at the event.

Scripps Spelling Bee


Upper School Student Council:

The members of Student Council are elected by their classmates to represent them and be their voice to the faculty. Student Council members promote pride in the school and stimulate student interest in activities while acting as a barometer for the student body. Every year, they also decide on a project that they feel will benefit the students and community. To complete their project, they raise funds throughout the year and work with the school staff.

Fifth Grade:  
Gettysburg Trip: During the spring, the class travels to Gettysburg to expand their studies of the Civil War. They visit the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitors Center, the Jennie Wade House, Seminary Ridge Museum, and take a guided battlefield tour. 
Sixth Grade:  
Ropes Course and Underground Railroad Experience: This trip serves as a fall orientation experience for sixth graders. The class spends a day at a local ropes course engaging in team-building activities, and then walks the Underground Railroad trails in Olney and Sandy Spring, MD.  
Seventh Grade:  
Wallops Island Trip: Students study the science and ecology of barrier islands prior to participating in a field study at the Wallops Island Marine Science Consortium. Students keep an extensive field journal including lecture notes on sections of the barrier island, barrier island movement, environmental issues, and organism identification.  
Eighth Grade:  
Living Classroom Chesapeake Bay Sailing Trip: Students kick off the school year with a class trip sailing through the Chesapeake Bay. The purpose of the trip is to build class unity through teamwork and promote a study of local bay ecology.

High School Application Process: Students spend significant time in the fall preparing for high school admissions. Activities include class discussions about the high school selection process, personal reflection and goal setting, essay writing, standardized test taking, and participating in interviews.

HSPT/SSAT Prep Class: An 11-hour after-school HSPT/SSAT Prep Class is offered every fall for students at an additional cost. The class focuses on analogies, common word roots, reading comprehension, essay writing, math skills, and test-taking tips.  

Holocaust Museum Trip: Students study World War II and the Holocaust in Social Studies and read a novel in English leading up to a trip to the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. The unit involves significant class discussion of moral issues and frequent personal reflection through journal writing.

Eighth Grade Play: Students participate in a full scale dramatic production presented to the entire school community.

Whitewater Rafting Trip: Students travel for a culminating class experience before graduation. The trip includes personal reflection on their years at St. John’s.