Marlborough School (Los Angeles)

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Marlborough School
250 South Rossmore Avenue, Hancock Park
Los Angeles, California 90004
United States
Coordinates 34°04′12″N 118°19′37″W / 34.0699°N 118.32685°W / 34.0699; -118.32685Coordinates: 34°04′12″N 118°19′37″W / 34.0699°N 118.32685°W / 34.0699; -118.32685
Established 1889
Faculty 75
Grades 7-12
Enrollment 530
Student to teacher ratio 8:1
Color(s) Purple and white
Team name Mustangs (formerly the Violets)
Newspaper The UltraViolet

Marlborough School is an independent college-preparatory secondary school for grades 7 through 12 located at 250 South Rossmore Avenue in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Marlborough was founded in 1889 by New England educator Mary Caswell and is the oldest independent girls' school in Southern California.[1] In 2016, Town & Country magazine ranked Marlborough as the "best girl's school in America."[2] Students who attend Marlborough are also known as Violets, the original Marlborough mascot.


Mary Caswell, a young teacher from Maine, founded Marlborough in 1889 as the St. Margaret's School for Girls.[3] In 1890, the school adopted the Marlborough name and moved from Pasadena to the rapidly-growing city of Los Angeles. Caswell led the school for decades until 1924, when Ada Blake (recruited from Louisville Collegiate School) assumed leadership of the school. Blake expanded the curriculum substantially and the School gained a reputation for providing young women with an uncommonly rigorous education.

By the 1960s, the School was supported by a healthy foundation and an active board of trustees, who hired William Pereira and Associates to design new buildings for the school. The increasingly prominent Los Angeles business community actively supported the school in the later half of the twentieth century, and local titans including Robert H. Ahmanson and Charlie Munger gave generously.

In 2015, Dr. Priscilla Sands was named head of school. Dr. Sands comes to Marlborough after a distinguished career at the Agnes Irwin School and the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, both independent schools in the Philadelphia area.


The student-to-teacher ratio at Marlborough School is approximately 8:1, lower than the national high school average of 11:1 and the average public school student to teacher ratio of 16:1.[4] This ratio enables Marlborough to offer over 156 courses. Over 80% of faculty members have more than ten years of teaching experience and almost 9 in 10 have advanced degrees. In recent years, the most popular postgraduate destinations for Marlborough women include a mix of elite private and "public ivy" institutions.

Marlborough ranked sixth in the nation among high schools with the highest standardized test scores according to a listing featured in Business Insider.[5]

Recent guest speakers at Marlborough include Queen Rania of Jordan,[6] former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and historian Edward L. Ayers.

Research programs[edit]

Marlborough's distinguished Leonetti / O'Connell Family Honors Research Programs in science and the humanities place students in hands-on research opportunities at UCLA, USC, Caltech, and Children's Hospital Los Angeles.[7] In 2005, Marlborough's Honors Research Program was featured in an article in the New York Times, "Where Popular Science is Called Women's Work".[8]

Student life[edit]

Student body[edit]

The student body comes from over 100 feeder schools and more than 80 zipcodes across the greater Los Angeles region.[9]. Approximately 38% of Marlborough women are students of color.


Marlborough fields teams in twelve sports programs, with 36 teams: basketball, cross country, golf, equestrian, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, water polo, and volleyball. A similar number participate in the Junior High Delphic League. Over 60% of Marlborough girls compete in athletics.[1]

Marlborough’s athletic facilities include: the Combs Gymnasium, a fitness center, Caldwell Swimming Pool, 3 multipurpose courts, and Booth Field. Marlborough also uses local sports facilities such as the Los Angeles Tennis Club, Wilshire Country Club, and Occidental College. In the 2012-2013 school year, Marlborough Mustangs won nine League Championships, and had seven students move on to play at the collegiate level, including five girls at NCAA Division I schools. In 2006-2007 Marlborough won the Commissioners Cup, awarded to the most successful girls sports program in the whole of CIF Southern Section.

Since the late 1970s, Marlborough has won 57 Varsity League Titles, 14 CIF-SS Titles, 2 CIF State Titles and 1 National Championship. Most recently the Cross Country Team (2006) and the Basketball Team (2007) won State Championships, and Track & Field (2006), Tennis (2006), Cross Country (2006) and Basketball (2007) won CIF Southern Section Championships.

Noted tennis coach George Toley coached at Marlborough.

Marlborough's colors are purple and white and the mascot is the mustang.

School uniforms[edit]

Marlborough students have been required to wear school uniforms since the 1926-1927 school year.[10]


Theatre Arts offerings range from open audition productions (an all-School and a Middle School performance), a by-audition company production and student-directed work produced by Drama Ensemble senior members. The Winter and Spring Choral concerts showcase the work of music classes, Chamber Choir, and the Community Chorus as well as soloists in the Vocalist-in-Residence program. Instrumental Ensemble groups perform in a spring instrumental concert. Professional and student choreography is featured in the annual All-School Dance Concert as well as in the "Evening of Dance." Art exhibitions change monthly in the Seaver Gallery and feature the work of both student and guest artists. Each year the Gallery hosts the Annual Invitational Show which includes art work from Los Angeles area schools.[citation needed]

Famous arts faculty members include Josh Deu of the indie rock band Arcade Fire.

The UltraViolet[edit]

The UltraViolet (often referred to by the community as The UV) is Marlborough's Upper School newspaper. The paper, which is written and edited by students in grades 10-12, produces six issues a year. The UltraViolet is also available online. It is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, National Scholastic Press Association, and Quill and Scroll Society, and has won multiple awards from these associations.

Tuition and financial aid[edit]

Tuition for the 2015-2016 school year was $36,365, not including uniforms, books, field trips,etc.[citation needed]

In 2013-2014, Marlborough had a $2.25 million financial aid budget, which was 12% of the School's budget.

Notable alumnae[edit]


  1. ^ a b Marlborough School
  2. ^ Dangremond, Sam (11 April 2016). "Here Are the Top Boys and Girls Schools in America". Town & Country. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "History and Tradition". Marlborough School. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Marlborough School - Los Angeles, California/CA - Private School Profile
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Queen Rania of Jordan". CBS News. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "SPOTLIGHT PROGRAMS". Marlborough School. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Where Popular Science is Called Women's Work", New York Times, 27 April 2005
  9. ^ "Marlborough at a Glance". Marlborough School. Retrieved 7 April 2017. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Haithman, Diane (19 October 2003). "The Reluctant Savior". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 

External links[edit]