Harvard-Westlake School: Wikis


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Harvard-Westlake School
HW Crest800.png
Motto Possunt Quia Posse Videntur
trans.: They can because they think they can.
lit.: They are able because they seem to be able.
Established Harvard School for Boys: 1900
Westlake School for Girls: 1904

Fully Merged as Harvard-Westlake: 1991
Type Independent
Religion None
formerly Episcopal (Harvard)
Head of School Jeanne M. Huybrechts, Ed.D.
President Thomas C. Hudnut
Vice President John Amato
Faculty 214
Grades 7-12
Location Los Angeles, California, United States
Accreditation WASC, NAIS, CAIS
Colors Red,Black,and White         
Mascot Wolverine1.png
The Wolverine
formerly the Saracen (Harvard), and the Wallaby (Westlake)
Newspaper The Chronicle (High School) and the Spectrum (Middle School)
Student to faculty ratio 8:1
Average class size 13
2007 SAT Average 694 verbal/critical reading
701 math
713 writing[1]
Website www.hw.com
Middle School
Type Independent
Head of Middle School Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau
Students 727 (2009-2010)
Grades 7-9
Location 700 North Faring Road,
Los Angeles,  California,  USA
Campus size 12 acres (4.9 ha)
The former Administration Building, Middle School (demolished summer 2008)
Upper School
Type Independent
Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra
Students 870 (2009-2010)
Grades 10-12
Location 3700 Coldwater Canyon Ave.,
North Hollywood, CA,
Studio City neighborhood,
Los Angeles,
Athletics 22 CIF Varsity teams
Campus size 22 acres (8.9 ha)
Ted Slavin Field.jpg
Ted Slavin Field, Upper School

Harvard-Westlake School is an independent, co-educational university preparatory day school consisting of two campuses located in Los Angeles, California, United States with approximately 1,600 students enrolled in grades 7 through 12. The school has its campuses in Holmby Hills and North Hollywood. The school is a member of the G20 Schools group.



Harvard-Westlake is the product of the 1991 merger between the Harvard School and the Westlake School for Girls.


Harvard School

The Harvard School for Boys was established in 1900 by Grenville C. Emery as a military academy, located at the corner of Western Avenue and Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. In 1911, it confidently secured endorsement from the Episcopal Church and became a non-profit organization. In 1937, the school moved to its present-day campus on Coldwater Canyon in Studio City after receiving a loan from Sir Donald Douglas of the Douglas Aviation Company. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Harvard School gradually discontinued both boarding and its standing as a military academy, while continually expanding its enrollment, courses, classes, teachers and curriculum.[2]

Westlake School

The Westlake School was established in 1904 by Jessica Smith Vance and Frederica de Laguna in what is now downtown Los Angeles, California as an exclusively female institution offering both elementary and secondary education. It moved to its present-day campus located in Holmby Hills, California in 1927. The School was purchased by Sydney Temple, whose daughter, Helen Temple Dickinson, was headmistress until 1966, when Westlake became a non-profit institution. The Temple Family owned the school until 1977, with Mrs. Dickinson serving in an ex officio capacity. Mrs. Dickinson's nephew, Hunter Miller Temple, continued the family tradition of teaching in the independent school environment and was the Headmaster of the Brentwood School in Los Angeles for twenty-five years, retiring in the 1990s. In 1968 Westlake became exclusively a secondary school.[2]

The merger

As both schools continued to grow in size towards the late 1980s, and as gender-exclusivity became less and less of a factor both in the schools’ reputations and desirability, the trustees of both Harvard and Westlake effectuated a merger in 1989. The two institutions had long been de facto sister schools and interacted socially. Complete integration and coeducation began in 1991.[2]

Enrollment contract

The parents of students enrolling at Harvard-Westlake have to sign an enrollment contract. This contract includes a clause obligating parents to agree to binding arbitration in legal or actionable situations.

In 2009, the parents of a 15-year old student, known as D.C., was the victim of cyberbullying perpetrated by his fellow students at Harvard-Westlake. The perpetrators, who admitted to the act, sent messages which were extreme and explicit in their anti-gay nature and also featured explicit threats of physical harm and death. The school did not suspend or punish the students. The LAPD, who took the threats seriously enough to suggest that the victim's family transfer him to a different school, did not press charges. The school newspaper published the name and address of the victim's new school.

When the victim's parents tried to take action against the school for protecting the perpetrators, the school invoked the binding arbitration clause. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the school, which then sued the parents to reclaim legal fees amounting to more than $500,000. The school did not succeed in this claim.[3]


At this time the school is split between the two campuses, with grades 7-9 located at the former Westlake campus in Holmby Hills, the Middle School, and grades 10-12 located at the former Harvard campus in Studio City (near North Hollywood), the Upper School.[4]

The Middle School completed a four-year modernization effort in September 2008, replacing the original administration building [5], the library, and the instrumental music building. The new campus boasts a new library, two levels of classrooms in the Academic Center, the new Seaver Science Center, a turf field, a new administration office, a putting green, a long jump pit, and a large parking lot. Perhaps the most impressive addition of the modernization project is the Bing Performing Arts Center which features a two-level 800-seat theater, a suite of practice rooms, a few large classrooms for band, orchestra, and choir classes, a black box theater, a dance studio, and a room filled with electric pianos for the purpose of composing electronic music. As of November 2006, a fund raising campaign has commenced for the modernization of the Upper School.

Remnants of the former Middle School campus include Reynolds Hall, now used for art, history, and foreign language classes, the Marshall Center which houses a gymnasium, weight room, and wrestling room, the olympic-sized swimming pool and diving boards, the outdoor basketball court, and a tennis court.

The Upper School features the Munger Science Center and computer lab; Rugby building which houses the English department, 300-seat theater, costume shop, and drama lab; Seaver building, home to the foreign language and history departments as well as administrative offices and visitor lobby; Chalmers which houses the performing arts and math departments, book store, cafeteria, beloved sandwich window, and student lounge; and the Feldman-Horn visual arts studios, dark room, video labs, and gallery.

The athletics facilities include Taper Gymnasium, home to Wolverine volleyball and basketball; Hamilton Gymnasium, the older gymnasium still used for team practices and final exams; Zanuck Swim Stadium home to aquatic Wolverines; and Ted Slavin Field featuring an NFL-caliber Field Turf surface and a synthetic track and the proud home of Wolverine Football, Soccer, Track & Field, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, and Homecoming.

The Upper School campus also features the three story Seeley G. Mudd Library and Saint Saviour's Chapel, a vestige from Harvard School for Boy's Episcopal days.


In the 1980s, annual tuition at Harvard-Westlake was around $4,000 and by 1983 or 1984, tuition had surpassed $5,000.[6]. In the 2009-2010 academic year, the current annual tuition at Harvard-Westlake is $27,825, plus additional expenses of approximately $5,000 for costs such as books and activities.[7]


Diploma Requirements for Grades 10-12 in 2007-2008:[8]

  • English—three years (required each year)
  • History and Social Studies—two years, through eleventh grade
  • Mathematics—two years, through eleventh grade; three years strongly recommended
  • Foreign Language—two years each of any two languages; the completion of study of one language through level III strongly recommended
  • Science—two years of laboratory sciences, usually taken in grades 10 and 11
  • Fine Arts (Visual and/or Performing Arts)—one year
  • Physical Education—six trimesters in grades 9-12
  • Choices and Challenges (Health and Human Development)—one semester in grade 10
  • Community Service—required each year
  • School Internship—one period per week for one semester in both grades 10 and 11

Advanced Placement

In 2008, 584 Harvard-Westlake students took 1,731 Advanced Placement tests in 30 different subjects, and 93% scored 3 or higher. There are 95 A.P. Scholars, 66 A.P. Scholars with Honor, 184 A.P. Scholars with Distinction and 62 A.P. National Scholars.[9] Of the AP classes offered at Harvard-Westlake, the English Language, English Literature, Physics B, and Spanish Literature courses were cited by the College Board as the best in the world among high schools with an enrollment of more than 800 students.

National Merit

In the class of 2009, there are 116 students who received National Merit Recognition, with 35 students as National Merit Semifinalists. [10]


In 2003, Worth Magazine ranked Harvard-Westlake number 35 out of thousands of secondary institutions across the country in sending children to top colleges and universities, including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. According to www.prepreview.com, HW is one of America's 25 best independent schools 2008. In 2008, Los Angeles Magazine named Harvard-Westlake as one of the most elite prep schools in the Greater Los Angeles area. In June 2009, Forbes listed Harvard-Westlake among the country's top prep schools.[11]

Student life

Students are involved in many extracurricular activities, including performing arts, athletics, student government, activism, scientific research, and clubs.[12]


Students organize and run extracurricular clubs at Harvard-Westlake. Meetings usually take place during Activities Period, the common free period during the school day. Some clubs also have weekend trips. Any student can start a club with a faculty supervisor and students can join as many clubs as they have time for. The particular interests of students and faculty determine what clubs are established each year.

The following list describes some of the clubs that have been in existence for several years and represent only a small sample of all the clubs on campus:

  • Peer Support
  • Peer Tutoring
  • Environmental Club
  • Amnesty International
  • Darfur Activism Awareness and Training Club (D.A.A.T.C)
  • Math Counts
  • Speech and Debate
  • Black Leadership and Awareness Club (B.L.A.C.C.)
  • Comedy Improv
  • Surf Club
  • Bell Choir
  • Junior Classical League
  • French Culture Club
  • Book Bistro
  • Scuba Club
  • Model United Nations
  • Knitting Club
  • Asian American Culture Club
  • Jewish Awareness Club
  • Straight-Gay Alliance
  • Youth Ending Hunger
  • Avatar Appreciation Club

The Chronicle

Harvard-Westlake's student-run school newspaper, The Chronicle, is published monthly during the school year. The Chronicle is a member of the Quill & Scroll International Journalism Honorary, which has awarded it 15 consecutive George Gallup Awards; the National Scholastic Press Association, which has awarded it three National Pacemakers; and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, which has awarded it four Gold Crowns and four Silver Crowns. The California Newspaper Publishers Association named The Chronicle as California’s best high school newspaper yearly since 2003.[14][15] The Chronicle's website chronicle.hw.com also includes a multimedia section with videos, photo galleries, polls, and blogs.[16] Along with the newspaper and the yearbook, the Upper School Publications Department also produces a literary magazine entitled Stone-Cutters and a foreign literary magazine, Foreign Outlook.

Vox Populi

Harvard-Westlake's student-run yearbook, Vox Populi, Latin for "Voice of the People", is an annually published book. Vox is a multiple award winning book.

The Spectrum

Harvard-Westlake's student-run school news magazine, The Spectrum, is published six times during the school year. The Spectrum took third place at the 2009 National Scholastic Press Association competition under Junior High Schools.

Mock trial

Harvard-Westlake's mock trial team (both at the upper and middle school) is coached by former Deputy District Attorney and Federal Prosecutor David Hinden. The team has a strong competitive record and won first place in the Los Angeles County Mock Trial Competition in 1995, 2002, 2003, and 2006.[17] The competition is conducted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.[18]

Performing arts

Middle school

  • Beginning, intermediate, and concert ensembles for both strings and band, as well as a symphonic orchestra
  • A large jazz ensemble
  • Classes for electronic music production
  • Rhythm Section Workshop
  • Classes offered in production, drama, acting, and contemporary dance
  • Grade-specific choral groups
  • Dance classes such as "Introduction to Contemporary Dance" and "Contemporary Dance Workshop" and one advanced dance company, with a Dance Production Concert in the Spring and several student-choreographed shows throughout the year

Each class or ensemble is given the opportunity to perform at least once a year.

Upper school

  • Two orchestras
  • Four jazz groups, along with workshops for trios, quartets, and quintets
  • Four choral groups
  • Two synthesizer classes
  • An annual film festival
  • An annual Playwrights Festival written and directed by students
  • Many dance classes and two advanced dance companies, with a Dance Production Concert in the Spring and several student-choreographed shows throughout the year


  • Two annual stage productions (drama and musical)
  • Various other opportunities for collaboration, including the Upper School Concerto Concert and the Middle School Chamber Music Concert


Harvard-Westlake fields 22 Varsity teams in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section, as well as teams on the Junior Varsity, Club, and Junior High levels. It is known in particular for its successful Boys' Basketball and Water Polo programs as well as its Girls' Volleyball team.

Actor Ashton Kutcher was the Freshman Assistant Coach for the football team in the 2008 football season. However he did not return for the 2009 season. [19]

College placement

Approximately 99 percent of graduating seniors enter a four-year college or university within two years of graduation.[citation needed]

Accreditation and membership

Harvard-Westlake is accredited by and/or affiliated with the following organizations:

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "About Us". http://www.hw.com/introduction/background.html. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  2. ^ a b c "Harvard Westlake History". http://www.hw.com/introduction/history.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  3. ^ title=Private school students' gay-bashing not free speech, court rules "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/03/private-school-students-gaybashing-not-free-speech-court-rules.html title=Private school students' gay-bashing not free speech, court rules. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Harvard-Westlake School". http://www.hw.com/. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  5. ^ "Harvard-Westlake School Middle School Modernization Project > MSMP Home". http://www.hw.com/msmp. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  6. ^ Carla Rivera (2006-02-17). "Tuition Hits $25,000 at Elite Schools/ref". http://www.earlyentrancefoundation.org/peep/articles/2006/tuition.html. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  7. ^ http://www.hw.com/admission/AffordingHW/tabid/882/Default.aspx
  8. ^ "Harvard-Westlake School US Course of Study". http://www.hw.com/academics/curriculum/uscourse.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  9. ^ http://www.hw.com/abouthw/tabid/2031/Default.aspx
  10. ^ http://www.hw.com/abouthw/SchoolProfile/tabid/2031/Default.aspx
  11. ^ "Forbes - America's Elite Prep Schools". http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/06/america-elite-schools-leadership-prep.html. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  12. ^ http://www.hw.com/Default.aspx?alias=www.hw.com/studentlife
  13. ^ http://www.hw.com/studentlife/tabid/2113/Default.aspx
  14. ^ "National Scholastic Press Association". http://www.studentpress.org/nspa/index.html. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  15. ^ "Columbia Scholastic Press Association : 2006 Scholastic Crowns". http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cspa/docs/contests-and-critiques/crown-awards/recipients/2006-scholastic-crown.html#N1009E. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  16. ^ http://students.hw.com/Default.aspx?alias=students.hw.com/chronicle
  17. ^ Constitutional Rights Foundation (2006). "29th Annual Los Angeles County Mock Trial Competition 2006 Special Commendation Winners" (PDF). Press release. http://www.crf-usa.org/law_government/la_co/2006_Results.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  18. ^ "iB::Topic::Final Results". http://bbs.crf-usa.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard_mocktrial/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=457;t=22. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  19. ^ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/varsitytimesinsider/2009/09/football-no-more-coach-kutcher-at-harvardwestlake.html
  20. ^ "Move over G8—this is G20 > Harvard Westlake Chronicle Online > News Articles". http://students.hw.com/chronicle/tabid/1274/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/230/Move-over-G8this-is-G20.aspx. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f Groves, Martha (2004-10-08). "Goliath vs. Goliath in Battle to Expand School". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/08/local/me-holmby8?pg=2. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  22. ^ Heyman, Marshall (June 2009). "The Power Couple Behind L.A.'s Most Exclusive Schools". W Magazine. http://www.wmagazine.com/society/2009/06/hudnuts. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  23. ^ Rose, David (January 23 2005). "The Observer Profile: Sir Ian Blair". The Observer. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jan/23/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  24. ^ {{cite web ]|url = http://www.onmilwaukee.com/family/articles/charlotterae.html?page=2|title = Milwaukee Talks Charlotte Rae|accessdate = 2009-06-19|author = Molly Snyder Edler|publisher = www.onmilwaukee.com}}
  25. ^ "Jarron Collins profile". Go Stanford. http://www.gostanford.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/collins_jarron00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  26. ^ "Jason Collins profile". Go Stanford. http://www.gostanford.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/collins_jason00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  27. ^ "Nickelodeon Taps Rising Star Lily Collins for Network Hosting Duties". Reuters. 2008-02-25. http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS147459+25-Feb-2008+PRN20080225. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  28. ^ Good, Jenna (2007-11-30). "Robbie's loving Ayda instead". The Sun. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/article526154.ece. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  29. ^ http://www.biography.com/articles/Jason-Reitman-267538

External links

Coordinates: 34°08′27″N 118°24′44″W / 34.14079°N 118.41216°W / 34.14079; -118.41216


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