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.
Community Action Project
Part of our service-learning program, the Community Action Project (CAP) is the culmination of students' four-year journey of service, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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” 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.
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.
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.