Wildwood School

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This article is about the private K-12 school in Los Angeles. For others of a similar name, see Wild Wood High School (disambiguation).
Wildwood School
Wildwood Logo.gif
12201 Washington Place (Elementary School) 11811 Olympic Blvd. (Secondary School)
Los Angeles, California
Opened 1971 (Elementary School), 2000 (Secondary School)
Head of school Landis Green
Grades K-12
Number of students approx. 300 (Elementary School), 400 (Secondary School)
School color(s) Blue, Silver
Mascot Wolves

Wildwood School is an independent progressive K-12 school located in Los Angeles. Wildwood was founded as an elementary school in 1971, by a group of parents led by a young lawyer named Belle Mason.[1] The secondary campus (middle and high school) opened in 2000. Wildwood School is dedicated to focusing on teaching independent learning to students and crafting them into lifelong learners. The elementary campus is located in Los Angeles and the middle and upper school campus is located in West Los Angeles. There are approximately 300 students in grades K-5, the elementary campus, and 400 in grades 6-12 at the middle and upper school campus.

Brief history[edit]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Wildwood School was one building on Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica, where the current campus for New Roads School is located. The first graduating elementary class had only ten students. In 1991 Hope Boyd, formerly the Middle School Head of Westlake School for Girls, became the head of Wildwood, and the following year the elementary campus relocated to its current Culver City location.[2] Hope Boyd began to stabilize Wildwood's academic course and solidified its reputation, and under her watch the school doubled its size. In 1999, the Board of Trustees decided to create a middle and upper school. The school was to be based on the principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools and teach project-based equitable learning. The middle and upper school opened in 2000 on Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles, in a small and limiting former warehouse, with no windows (which has become a subject of humor amongst Wildwood students), mercurial temperature controls, and only 100 students.[3] George Wood, a respected national educator and principal of Federal Hocking High School in Ohio, was the founding director of the secondary school. The full remodel of the middle and upper school finished in 2002.[4]


At the elementary school, Wildwood incorporates multi-age primary classes. For kindergarten and first grade, students learn together in "Pods". There are four pods, and each pod contains children mixed together in small class size. The reasoning behind this is that the older children can influence and lead the younger children, starting at a very young age. The elementary school encourages parent participation and every week during "all school meetings", parents are invited to be updated on school news and events.

At the middle and upper school, students receive a narrative assessment rather than a letter grade or report card. Narrative assessments are comprehensive reports written by the teacher specific to each of "The Seven Habits of Heart and Mind". These assessments are converted into a cumulative GPA which is calculated in grades 9 through 12 to help facilitate the college process. Teachers assess the students on their academic work and a set of principles known as The Seven Habits of Heart and Mind. "The Seven Habits of Heart and Mind" are derived from a national organization known as the Coalition of Essential Schools and focus on the student as a person in addition to a student. In addition to daily homework, assignments, lectures, and busy work, the students at Wildwood School receive a multitude of both short and long term projects. This often creates an environment of self-directed learning with teacher guidance available when necessary. The middle and upper school encourages a system known as "Advisory" in which specific age groups are mixed and kept in the same advisory group and teacher for two years. Advisory is group of 12-15 students with one Advisor. In Advisory, the students have time to get a head start on their homework or finish homework that they may have not completed yet. Oftentimes the advisor takes students to Coffee Bean which is a block away from the school. Advisory is the most successful when it is a relaxing period in which students can meet with peers and teachers before the start of the real school day. The different age groups mixed in advisories are 7th and 8th, 9th and 10th, and 11th and 12th. These groups are called Divisions, with Division 1 representing 6th grade, Division Two representing 7th and 8th grade, Division Three with 9th and 10th grade, and juniors and seniors in the Senior Institute.

Wildwood encourages a collaborative learning environment. It offers honors courses in grades 9-12 but does not have an Advanced Placement program, nor will it recognize AP credit from other institutions. Rather, Wildwood students demonstrate their cumulative learning through hour long presentations known as gateways at the end of 8th and 10th grade. They present a cumulative senior exhibition at the end of 12th grade. In all middle and upper school grades, parent teacher conferences are held three times a year (twice a year during the years of gateway/exhibition) with the student's advisor. The conferences seek to address the student's academic and social needs, and constitutes planning and goals for the future. Students have the option to prepare for the conference by filling out a sheet of paper that addresses their 'strengths' and 'stretches' but most students do not do this.

Community involvement and internship[edit]

Wildwood strongly encourages its students and faculty to reach out to the community around them. As a result, part of the curriculum of Wildwood includes working with local social service agencies, including St. Joseph Center and the Westside Children's Center. Middle and upper school students are required to participate in these activities during school hours for 3 hours a week.

In addition, juniors and seniors must participate in the internship program for four hours a week. As a result, students receive real world job training during school hours. Many students say that the Internship program was the best part of their Wildwood experience.

Upper school students also have an opportunity to go on International Community Involvement trips during spring break. Destinations have included Nepal, Uruguay, Guatemala, and Bulgaria.

Outreach Center[edit]

In 2001, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted Wildwood the funds to create an Outreach Center. The mission of the Outreach Center is to support the creation, development, and enhancement of small, personalized, learner-centered schools in Southern California and throughout the nation. The Center was given a huge boost in 2004, when the Los Angeles Unified School District gave its public schools two years to break down into smaller schools. As a result, Wildwood's Outreach Center has held numerous professional development workshops educating public school teachers and administrators on the elements of successful small schools including, Advisory Programs, Project-Based Learning, Habits of Mind and Heart and Portfolios and Exhibitions. In addition, Wildwood School was named a Coalition of Essential Schools mentor school in 2004 - a recognition of Wildwood's work with other schools. In 2005, Wildwood received a National Association of Independent Schools Leading Edge award for the outreach work it has done with public and charter schools nationwide.

Wildwood Athletics[edit]

The Wildwood Wolves have middle school and high school varsity teams including: Cross Country, Girls Volleyball, Boys/Girls Basketball, Boys/Girls Soccer, Baseball, and Track and Field. The school offers other sports such as Boys/Girls Tennis, and flag football. A number of Wildwood Varsity High School teams have gone on to CIF playoffs and league championships including Boys Baseball, Boys Basketball, Girls Volleyball, and Boys Soccer. Middle school sports teams have a "no cut" policy and all students are allowed to play .

Wildwood Arts[edit]

Wildwood is well known for its arts programs.

Performing Arts[edit]

Wildwood has performed a number of plays/musicals since it opened. Students of all ages have had opportunities to act, assistant direct, stage manage, and work on technical elements such as lighting and sound design.

In addition, every spring Wildwood has a repertoire of student-directed plays, in which seniors apply to direct a one act play of their choice. The performing arts teachers pick four of the applicants to create the repertoire. Students have also written plays in the past.


Wildwood's music program allows students to experiment with different instruments and to compose their own work. Every year, there is a Wildwood Cabaret, in which students perform music. Additional performances are held by grade level. There is also a music production class for high-school students which allows the students to learn how to use software to produce, mix, and edit music.

Visual Arts[edit]

Wildwood is abundant with paintings and sculptures. At the middle and upper school campus, there is a Gallery Space, in which students have an opportunity to curate shows of their artwork for anyone who walks in to see.


In addition to the Arts, there are many other electives that high school students can take. Some of these include Technical Theater, Film making, Creative Writing, Government and Politics, and Advanced Topics in Math and Science.

Other facts[edit]

The current head of Wildwood School is Landis Green, who replaced long-time head Hope Boyd in July 2007. The director of the elementary school is Katie Rios, the director of the upper school (high school) is Lori Strauss, and the director of the middle school is Dr. Dan Glass. The tuition is over $25,950 a year for the elementary and more than $30,000 a year for the middle and upper school. Financial aid is available.To promote socio-economic diversity approximately 20% of the student body receives financial aid with a mean scholarship of approximately $19,000 during academic year 2010-11 on behalf of the Hope Boyd Fund. The school mascot is the Wolf. The first senior graduating class of Wildwood School, with 21 students, were accepted into 46 colleges and received merit scholarships totaling over $640,000. The first full class of 60 graduated in 2007. The majority of the graduating Wildwood seniors have entered a four-year university or college.


In the opening scene of the movie "Waiting for Superman" the writer/director, Guggenheim states his belief in public schools and laments as he indicates he passes several public schools before dropping his children at school and Wildwood elementary campus is seen as his car pulls away.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Zoe Kazan, an American artist.


  1. ^ http://www.wildwood.org/page.cfm?p=11
  2. ^ http://www.wildwood.org/page.cfm?p=11
  3. ^ http://www.wildwood.org/page.cfm?p=11
  4. ^ http://www.wildwood.org/page.cfm?p=11

External links[edit]