Pinewood School, Los Altos
|Los Altos, California
|Motto||Pinewood is the Difference / Ad Astra|
approx. 295 Lower and Middle Campuses
|Average class size||18|
|Student to teacher ratio||7:1|
|Campus||Suburban, Three Campuses|
|Color(s)||Green and Gold|
|Newspaper||The Panther Prints|
|Tuition||Gr. 9-12: $28,160
Gr. 7-8: $27,050
Gr. K-6: $20,670
Pinewood School is a private, independent, non-denominational school in Los Altos, California, with three campuses, two in Los Altos and one in Los Altos Hills, spanning grades K to 12. Although the school is considered a non-denominational school, the founding family and current owners are heavily involved in the Mormon religion and the values of the church are apparent into the school's culture. The lower campus serves grades K-2, middle campus serves grades 3-6, and upper campus serves grades 7-12.
Pinewood school was founded in 1959 in the then small town of Los Altos, California, at the home of Mr and Mrs L. Victor Riches. Before the school was founded, the Riches family had planted 1,000 Douglas Firs on the family property, which is now the location of the “middle (3rd-6th grade) campus”, located at 327 Fremont Road. These trees are the reason for the name Pinewood. The school was originally called the Creative Workshop of Los Altos because it focused on the arts such as drama, painting, singing, and dancing. Mrs Riches established a kindergarten using the Carden method and subsequently added a new grade each year using the same method that is still used in grades K-6 at Pinewood today.
The school continued to grow through 1975, and as a result it was expanded onto a new campus. Established on the former Fremont Hills Elementary School campus in Los Altos Hills, the junior high was formed. This is known as the 'Upper Campus', however, it was not until 1981 that Pinewood had a high school. Before the addition of high school, the class sizes were larger. In 1981, though, they added a 9th grade class of 15 students. Every year following, they added another grade until a 12th grade was added. The first graduating class was in 1985.
The Fremont Avenue K-3 was modified and expanded in 2008.
The different classes required to graduate are four years of English/Literature and History or Social Studies. Three years of a Modern Foreign Language (Spanish/French), Science, and Mathematics. Writing is mandatory for two and a half years, and P.E. is taken for the first two years in high school. A Visual Performing Arts course lasts one year. Pinewood also requires twenty hours of community service every year.
For the Advanced Placement Classes (AP) at Pinewood, the College Board controls the content and the format of the class. The AP course is equivalent to a one-semester college course, and therefore is appropriately difficult with college level material. To get into an AP class, a student must have good grades and a recommendation from the previous teacher in the specific subject. Most AP classes at Pinewood are one year long, but some are only a semester.
- Choir - Pinewood's choir consists of 4 categories: The Junior High Choir, the 4th -6th grade Choir, Pinewood Singers, and Women's Choir. All four choirs perform regularly, both outside of school and during school assemblies and rallies. Pinewood Singers & Women's Chorus have performed at the Santa Barbara Choral Festival, Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, 2011 London International Choral Festival and the 2012-13 Rome Frascati Festival.
- Journalism - The main focus of the Journalism elective is producing the school newspaper, the Panther Prints.
- Debate - The class is composed of about ten freshmen and ten varsity debaters. Novices may choose from either Policy or Lincoln-Douglas style debating, while Varsity debaters may also participate in Parliamentary debate and the newest addition, Model Congress.
- Drama - The Pinewood Theater produces one high school play, and two musicals a year. In 2012, Pinewood's production of "Dames at Sea" won two Stage Top Honor Awards for Best Sound Design and Best Graphic Design. In 2013, their production of "The Sound of Music" was nominated for another 8 Stage Top Honor Awards, winning Best Supporting Actor for a students' portrayal of Max Detweiler.
- Technical theater - An elective closely related to drama, the main focus of this class is creating the set and props for the current Pinewood play, as well as setting up lights and using audio effects.
- Studio art - The class includes mostly sketching and painting.
- Yearbook - The class takes photos for, organizes, and produces the school’s yearbook, the Pinewood Paragon.
Pinewood hosts an average of six dances each year: a Back to School dance in September; a Sadie Hawkins dance for Halloween where students dress in costume; holiday dance; winter formal, which is hosted on a boat in the San Francisco Bay in January; a Spirit dance in the spring; Prom for juniors and seniors in May; and MORP (prom backwards), a less formal event for freshmen and sophomores.
It is an annual tradition for each grade to take a class trip towards the beginning of the year. The freshmen go on the “Freshman Retreat,” a two-day, one-night trip to Occidental, with a visit to the Four Winds Ropes Course.
The sophomores used to take a trip up to San Francisco for their class trip, where they take part in a class-wide scavenger hunt to find various items located in the city, such as an autograph from a street-performer. This class trip was officially cancelled due to the class of the previous year. They were split up into groups and had to meet back at a specified location at a certain time; the group with the most items won. The sophomores now spend the day at Malibu Grand Prix, where they play miniature golf. The junior class kayaks and surfs in Half Moon Bay, while the seniors enjoy a rafting trip.
Pinewood also offers a number of activities to celebrate various holidays. On Halloween, Pumpkin Day takes place, where each class can decorate a pumpkin and participate in a pumpkin-throwing contest. On Turkey Day, students can feast on a delectable Thanksgiving meal and run the “Turkey” (a mile-long run around the campus) to represent their class. During the holidays, Pinewood hosts a Holly Day full of activities, such as a tree decorating contest between the grades.
In addition, the school has a number of special days, usually warranting slightly shortened class periods and an extended lunch. March 14 is the nationally recognized Pi Day due to its similarity to the number 3.14, or π. To celebrate, the school holds pie eating and pi recitation contests, along with other pi-related festivities. Mole Day, though not technically a holiday, is also celebrated. Students in chemistry class create various objects spun off the word 'mole'; for example, a student might make a paper machete bowl of guacaMOLE. Modern Language Week is five days devoted to short skits performed by all of the students enrolled in French or Spanish, the only two languages currently offered at Pinewood.
The Interactive Service Club, known as 'Interact', encourages community involvement and promotes social awareness through education and organization through after-school activities. Pinewood offers a robotics club, in which students design and construct robots to compete in local and sometimes statewide tournaments. In addition, each year, elected juniors and seniors can travel to San Francisco to participate in a Harvard Model Congress, where students across the country partake in a mock congressional session, where they compose, vote on, and delegate over bills.
The 3-6th grade campus is not as well known for sports, but it has had some recognizable moments. For example, in 2008, the girls basketball team was undefeated the entire season. At the middle campus, they have not only basketball, but flag football, track and field, softball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, and swim teams.
The school is in the WBAL (West Bay Athletic League) and also in the fifth division, which is the smallest division of sports, consisting of all the small schools with less than 300 students attending the high school.
Sports at Pinewood are divided into three seasons: fall, winter, and spring. The falls sports season consists of cross-country, boy’s football, girls volleyball, and girls tennis. The winter season sports consist of boys’ and girls’ basketball and soccer. The spring sports are baseball, softball, golf, track and field, swimming, and boys’ tennis. Because of the small amount of students at Pinewood, there is not a large variety of sports teams.
Up to three-quarters of all the sports teams at Pinewood advance into post season play called CCS (Central Coast Section). In the leagues Pinewood does exceedingly well in boys' varsity basketball, girls’ varsity basketball, girls’ tennis, and in girls’ soccer. The girls’ tennis team has won the league championship for five consecutive years. The girls’ varsity basketball has gone into CCS and has won the state championships in the years 1994, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2011. The Pinewood Boys Varsity Basketball program is not as accomplished as the girls' program, but did advance to the Northern California state playoffs for 4 consecutive years from 1987-1990. They reached the CCS championship game in 2010 and were crowned CCS champions in 2011, both times advancing to the Northern California state playoffs. Also in the fall season of 2006, a Pinewood student ran for a state cross-county meet.
- Jon Chu, filmmaker, director of Step Up 2 the Streets and Step-Up 3-D.
- Lejla Hodzic, tennis player (Stanford)
- Mark Jeffery, mountain biking, 24 hour solo World Champion 2007 (age group) (24 Hours of Adrenalin)
- Caroline Jordan, volleyball coach (MIT)
- Şebnem Kimyacıoğlu, basketball player and Turkish national team player
- Yasemin Kimyacıoğlu, basketball player
- Larisa Oleynik, actress
- Michael Penn, academic and author
- Scotty Scott[disambiguation needed], tennis player and coach
- Eileen Shea-Hilliard, basketball player, Michigan State University 'Athlete of the Decade'
- Roxy Bernstein, sports broadcaster
- James Escarzega, basketball player, (Cornell)
- "2005 The Year in Review - High Schools", Palo Alto Weekly, December 28, 2005
- "'Winning never gets old'", Palo Alto Weekly, March 22, 2006
- Leah Garchik (February 20, 2008). "Pelosi-Kaufman a big wedding". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-04-21.
- Melanie Carroll (February 27, 2008). "Filmmaker started out editing wedding videos in Los Altos". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2008-04-21.
- Michelle Smith (March 2, 2005). "Kimyacioglu sisters apart, but together". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-04-21.
- Dennis Knight (March 16, 2003). "PINEWOOD OFF TARGET IN DEFEAT". San Jose Mercury News. pp. 14C.
- Murry Frymer (December 24, 1989). "For Some, It's Just Plaing Dress-up...". San Jose Mercury News. p. 16. (Newsbank)