The Westland School (Los Angeles)

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Westland School
16200 Mulholland Drive

GradesK - 6th
Enrollment130 [1]

Westland School is a progressive, independent, private, coeducational, nonsectarian elementary day school located in the Bel Air community of Los Angeles, California, serving students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The school is located on Mulholland Drive across from the Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Westland is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) through 2016.


When Westland opened in 1949 it was the first progressive school on the West Coast, operating under the educational philosophy of John Dewey. One of the founders was child psychologist Marie H. Briehl.[1] Students were encouraged to explore their subjects hands-on and were taken on numerous field trips to learn about the world firsthand.[2] Many of the early students were the children of writers and actors under the "Hollywood blacklist", including Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Polonsky, and Ring Lardner, Jr.[2]

The school opened with 13 students in a couple of rented rooms.[2] It expanded in 1957[3] and moved to its current location in 1965, becoming the first school to locate in what has now developed into a major "institutional corridor" in the area of the Sepulveda Pass.[4]

Today the school has about 130 students and an annual tuition of around $31,000. The students are divided into "groups" rather than grades, which may include children of varying ages.[5]


The archives of the Westland School reside at the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge.[6]


  1. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (December 22, 1993). "Marie Briehl Dies; Pioneer in Analysis Of Children Was 96". New York Times. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Wedner, Diane (February 16, 1999). "Pioneering School Marks 50th Year". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Land Purchased and Plans Told for School Expansion". Los Angeles Times. July 28, 1957. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  4. ^ Jon D. Markman, "Culture Shock: Many Object to the Growing Sprawl of Institutions Atop Sepulveda Pass", Los Angeles Times, May 21, 1995.
  5. ^ LaViola, Karen (August 21, 1986). "Children's Dinosaurs in Spotlight : County Museum Exhibits Westland Pupils' Reptile Show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Westland School Collection, 1949-2014". Retrieved December 13, 2019.

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Coordinates: 34°07′46″N 118°29′10″W / 34.129342°N 118.485992°W / 34.129342; -118.485992