Distinctly Westridge

Learning at Westridge goes far beyond our core curriculum. As innovators in girls’ education, we are thoughtfully developing programs that offer girls the opportunity to apply what they have learned to the world around them in new and exciting ways.

At the heart of these programs is an underlying principle that is distinctly Westridge—that the world is a better place when girls step up as leaders and live lives of contribution and impact.

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student writing at a desk

Advanced Courses

Westridge Advanced Courses are Upper School classes designed by Westridge faculty to provide students with opportunities for deeper learning (learning that goes below a surface-level understanding) and to better prepare them for their ever-changing futures. Advanced Courses make learning personal by building in time for meaningful, relevant conversations and allowing content and projects to be responsive to student interest and real world events.

Learn more about Advanced Courses 

Community Action Project

Part of our service-learning program, the Community Action Project (CAP) is the culmination of students' Upper School service journey, demonstrating the power that community engagement can have when aligned with personal passion. Upper School students design their own project that addresses a need that exists within our local, regional, national, or international community.

Learn more about CAP and service learning →

Student teaching children for Community Action Project

Above: Juliane Z. '20's Community Action Project took her across the world to teach children in Nepal and Colombia.

student writing at a desk

Global Initiative

The Westridge Global Initiative is an Upper School program that allows students to create their own interdisciplinary study of a modern-day global issue. Designed to empower students to formally pursue global issue-related interests, students may propose a selection of Westridge classes relevant to their area of focus. Over the following years they complete coursework, conduct research, and participate in related experiential learning such as internships and volunteering.

Learn more about the Global Initiative 

Discovery Week

Each year prior to spring break, we dedicate a week to experiential learning for all divisions. Students engage in hands-on local, national, and international experiences designed to enhance knowledge and skills gained in our academic program, promote service learning and global citizenship, and provide opportunities to make interdisciplinary connections.

Learn more about Discovery Week 

students backpacking along Washington state's Olympic coast
Partnership for Success students group photo

Partnership for Success

As the name implies, Westridge is not alone in Partnership for Success (PFS), a collaboration with Pasadena Unified School District and four local independent schools, but it is close to our hearts and aligns directly with our work to empower girls through education. Each summer, PFS provides an intensive five-week enrichment program to approximately 400 public-school students who are chosen by their school principals based on their academic promise and financial need. We host female PFS students in 5th and 6th grade who take classes to help boost their math and verbal skills, preparing them for success in middle school. Our Upper School students and recent graduates serve as PFS interns and teacher aids.

Research in Science

The Upper School Research in Science elective provides seniors with hands-on research opportunities with universities and research institutions including California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Children’s Hospital, complemented with weekly on-campus seminar classes on scientific writing and presentation and other topics relevant to pursuing further education and careers in science. 

Learn more about Research in Science 

Research in Science students present their work in a community showcase

Above: Research in Science students present their work in a community showcase at the end of the year.

Students present on a panel at Voices in Literature Conference

Above: Students enrolled in “Perspectives in Literature: Signs, Systems, & Codes” are featured as key presenters at the conference.

Voices in Literature & Culture Conference 

The annual Upper & Middle School Voices in Literature & Culture Conference is our arts and humanities symposium spearheaded by students in the English Department. Students present interdisciplinary projects based on a central theme, and the conference is attended by our whole community. The conference takes its theme from the Upper School “Perspectives in Literature: Signs, Systems, & Codes” Advanced Course, an intensive, interdisciplinary class that dives deeper into the theme over the course of a year (students enrolled in this class are featured as key presenters at the conference). Previous conference themes have included “The Power of Voice,” “Weapons,” and “Documentary and Memoir."


One of the fastest growing programs at Westridge is our Upper School Peer-to-Peer counseling program, a group of specially trained Upper School peer helpers, educators, and empathetic listeners. Student counselors are trained during a one-year intensive elective course. Those who take second or third years of Peer-to-Peer lead on-campus programs to raise awareness of issues relevant to adolescents, such body image and mental health.

Learn more about Peer-to-Peer and student support 

Peer to Peer students lead an Upper School assembly in the gym

Above: Peer to Peer students lead an Upper School Town Meeting during "Be Kind to Your Mind" Week, an event dedicated to having conversations about mental health.

Human Development class meets in the Middle School building

Human Development 

Our human development (HD) program is an intentional, developmental program from grades 4 through 12, including dedicated classes once a schedule rotation (every six days) in grades 7 through 12. The HD program is framed by four pillars—Self & Society, Relationships & Human Reproduction, Consent & Safety, and Health & Wellness—with age-appropriate curricula spanning each area and themes of identity and self-reflection central to the program in every grade. 

Learn more about Human Development 

Think, Care, Act Project

In 5th grade, students take part in their first comprehensive, independent service project known as “TCAP.” Foreshadowing students’ Upper School service experiences, the year-long Think, Care, Act Project (TCAP) requires students to think about their personal strengths, find a problem in the community that they care about, and act to address the problem by leveraging their strengths for volunteer work with a local organization.

Learn more about service learning 

Lower School students discuss Think Care Act Projects during poster presentation

Above: Students discuss their TCAPs with our community in a poster presentation at the end of the year.