Harvard-Westlake has an agreement set forth by students, faculty, and administrators that states middle school students are allowed no more than 30 to 40 minutes of homework per academic subject per night. Although a stated policy, not every teacher gives the maximum amount of homework every night. Students average 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours of homework per night, but most utilize their free periods during the day to work on homework and meet with teachers, which minimizes their evening workload. The homework for upper school students varies depending on their coursework.
Harvard-Westlake School is larger than most independent schools in the area, with a total enrollment of 730 on the middle school campus and 850 students on the upper school campus. Seventh and eighth grades have approximately 220 students per grade, and ninth through twelfth grades have approximately 290 students each. While the size of each grade is large for an independent school, the number of students in each classroom is small, usually no more than 15 to 17. The student-teacher ratio is 8:1, and two deans are assigned to each grade in the middle school. Deans serve as student advocates and help students both socially and behaviorally, encouraging communication among students, teachers and parents and ensuring that students never feel lost. In the upper school, each student is individually assigned a dean, who will eventually serve as his or her college counselor.
The size of the school also allows Harvard-Westlake to provide a range of academic, athletic, artistic, and extracurricular opportunities. Students can select from an impressive array of subjects and activities, including 32 Advanced Placement courses, 95 teams in 28 different sports, over 60 clubs, and extensive artistic and community service opportunities perhaps only available at a school of our size.
Lunch periods are not scheduled for students. Instead, students eat during one of their free periods. Seventh and eighth graders are encouraged to use the free period after Physical Education class to eat lunch. Students may bring lunches or purchase hot food, sandwiches, salads, drinks, and snacks at the cafeteria. The cafeteria is open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Students purchase food with their ID cards, and charges are billed monthly.
Harvard-Westlake hosts an optional summer program called Fast Startfor all seventh graders and all new ninth graders during the last week of August, a week before school starts. About 95% of students participate. During the program, students can set up their class schedules if they have not already done so, and they take miniclasses to get a feel of what a typical day would be like at Harvard-Westlake. Fast Start also serves as a great opportunity for new students to make friends, meet their classmates, teachers, and deans, and become comfortable with the campus surroundings before the entire middle school returns to campus.
In addition, during a week in October, each grade takes a week off from school to attend a class retreat. Seventh graders visit local sites in and around Los Angeles and spend one night camping at a local campsite, eighth graders camp overnight at Pali Mountain, and ninth graders camp and canoe down the Colorado River. Retreats provide another opportunity for students to make friends and get to know teachers, as well as encourage team building and class unity.
A free period is a period during which no class has been scheduled. The Middle School schedule follows a six-day cycle where academic classes—English, history, math, language, and science—meet on five days each cycle. The period when an academic class does not meet is called an X (free) Period. The X Period is first and foremost a learning period. During this time, students may be asked to meet with their teachers to work on projects or work in the library. Once academic responsibilities have been met, students may use their X Period as a time during which they may choose the activity in which they will engage.
Harvard–Westlake does not require its students to wear a uniform. There is an informal dress code to the extent that students are expected to be appropriately and neatly attired. Clothing must be clean, tidy, in good repair, and in good taste.
Harvard-Westlake is a nondenominational independent institution. Both a rabbi and an Episcopal chaplain are on the faculty and available to students. Both lead religious activities for interested students and faculty.
At the middle school, school begins Monday through Friday at 8:00 a.m. On Monday, the school day ends at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, the school day ends at 3:05 p.m. There are nine periods scheduled each day, and each class is 40 minutes long. In addition, there is a 30-minute assembly period each Monday when the entire middle school community meets. Often, this time is used to showcase student talent or bring an outside speaker or performer to campus. On Tuesday through Friday, students have a 25-minute activity period, during which many clubs meet. Clubs range from more academic ones such as MathCounts, Mock Trial, and the Robotics Club to special interest clubs such as Chess, Sudoku, and Knitting.
At the upper school, school begins Monday through Friday at 8:00 a.m. On Monday, the school day ends at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, the school day ends at 2:35 p.m.
Yes. Harvard-Westlake students arrive on campus from all over the Greater Los Angeles Area through a daily bus service. All service is provided on a shared-cost, nonprofit basis, and we serve all areas that generate ridership sufficient to cover costs. Current middle school routes serve: Pacific Palisades, San Vicente/Sunset, Los Feliz/Hancock Park, Westchester/Ladera Heights/Cheviot Hills, West San Fernando Valley (Agoura/Calabasas), North San Fernando Valley (Chatsworth/Northridge), and East San Fernando Valley (Arcadia/Pasadena). Additional areas may be served if ridership interest warrants (40 students are needed to operate a route). Pickup and drop-off points are located on major arteries to minimize total ride time. Riders have a choice of two afternoon buses each day; the early bus departs after classes and the late bus departs at the conclusion of most after-school sports and activities. Some interscholastic games and events may end later, so students may sometimes have to make alternate transportation arrangements.
For Middle School bus information, please click here.
For Upper School bus information, please click here.
Students in grades 7–9 attend school on the middle school campus located at 700 North Faring Road, tucked into the neighborhood just north of Sunset Boulevard and east of Beverly Glen Boulevard in Holmby Hills.Students in grades 10–12 attend school on the upper school campus in Studio City, just south of Ventura Boulevard on Coldwater Canyon Avenue.
Yes, the deans at Harvard-Westlake are trained to help students with both academic goals and personal issues, which are kept in confidence. Their first priority is to help students thrive at Harvard-Westlake, and their offices are always open.
The Harvard-Westlake scheduling system allows students to explore numerous activities and discover their passions. There are dozens of existing clubs to join, and creating a new one is easy. There's also at least one no-cut sport per season, so anyone can play. As long as students manage their time well, they have many opportunities to get involved.