Harvard-Westlake is committed to the academic, physical, social, and spiritual well-being of all of our students.
Harvard-Westlake offers an extensive physical education program, including a variety of team sports and individual activities such as swimming, yoga, choreography, and fencing. Our sports performance curriculum teaches students about weight training, fitness, nutrition, and other skills and habits to carry on throughout their lifetimes. HW’s Institute for Scholastic Sports Science & Medicine offers educational opportunities for students by promoting sports science research on campus and advancing athletic care and performance through such research.
Seventh Grade Advisory
Seventh Grade Advisory is a single-gender academic and social support group that meets once every six days. It provides an opportunity for seventh grade students to develop relationships with peers, deans, and faculty. Seventh Grade Advisory is designed to aid students’ academic and character development, support their physical and social awareness, and personalize school, providing a positive and trusting environment to discuss issues that are important to school policies and human development: health and wellbeing, campus safety, the honor code, gender and self-esteem, social media education, and other issues that require increased awareness and acceptance in the seventh grade.
1st Quarter Theme: Being New Together, Transitioning, Getting Involved, Making Friends, Belonging, Adapting and Managing
2nd Quarter Theme: Personal and Social Development: Goal Setting, Study Skills, Interpersonal Communication
3rd Quarter Theme: Character: Self-Awareness, Self-Image, Self-Identity
4th Quarter Theme: Reflections, Independence, Resilience and Goals
R&R days occur once in each quarter of the school year at the middle school and provide students a chance to rest and recharge (R&R). Following R&R days, students have no homework due, and teachers will not give assessments. R&R days typically fall on long weekends.
Lifelab is a seminar course that expands on the middle school’s human development curriculum. Focusing on the process of adolescence rather than just the end result, this course explores identity, well-being, connection, flourishing, community, happiness, inclusion, good decision making, resilience, and relationships and intimacy. As students complete exercises and activities in class and online, they learn the social emotional competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Although this is a pass/fail course, students are expected to attend class and participate in a positive, active way that is respectful of others. This course aims to disseminate clear, accurate information about sexuality, reproduction, birth control, communicable diseases, substance use/abuse, and sexual assault.
Peer Support is a program that allows Harvard-Westlake upper school students to seek out their peers whenever they are experiencing some frustration or problem. Students want to help each other, yet they often do not know how. Peer Support leaders are trained to provide assistance to their peers.
Being a member of the Peer Support program is an intimate social contract. It requires the commitment of time and of self. Led by a team of trained Peer Support leaders, small groups meet on Monday evenings to discuss whatever the group members have on their minds. The program is open to all upper school students and offers a safe atmosphere that encourages participation in group discussion about a variety of issues, from minor to serious.
Confidentiality is emphasized at every meeting, and the Student Leadership Coordinator meets with leaders during their training to discuss any red flag issues that are raised, including suicide, physical or sexual abuse, and danger to self or others. Leaders are required to remind group members on a weekly basis of their obligation to report. Peer Support leaders are selected on the basis of their leadership skills, emotional stability, empathy, ability to listen, and good judgment. As a result, we have been able to help students who were previously actively suicidal or on the brink of developing a serious drug or alcohol problem. Such early intervention has even resulted in the saving of lives.
Harvard-Westlake’s chaplains are available to support the needs of students and their families. One chaplain is based at the middle school and one at the upper school. Though both chaplains are always available to discuss matters of a spiritual nature, they are just as likely to be found on the bench at a sports event or in a classroom teaching about wellness, all in an effort to support the Harvard-Westlake community.