Menlo School

Menlo School
Menlo School
50 Valparaiso Avenue
Atherton, California, 94027
Coordinates 37°27′12″N 122°11′30″W / 37.4533°N 122.1917°W / 37.4533; -122.1917Coordinates: 37°27′12″N 122°11′30″W / 37.4533°N 122.1917°W / 37.4533; -122.1917
Type Independent
Established 1915
Head of School Norman M. Colb
Faculty 106
79 full-time
27 part-time
Grades 6–12
Number of students 750 total
530 upper
220 middle
Average class size 15 students upper
18 students middle
Campus Town
Color(s) Navy and Gold         
Mascot Knight
Annual tuition $33,600

Menlo School, also referred to simply as Menlo, is an independent college preparatory school in Atherton, California, near the heart of Silicon Valley. Menlo comprises a middle school that includes grades 6–8 and a high school that includes grades 9–12. Both the middle school and high schools are located in close physical proximity, but they operate as semi-autonomous units with select overlapping administration.

Menlo was established in 1915 and is located at 50 Valparaiso Avenue, just across the street from Menlo Park. During its early years, the school included a junior college that became a college bearing the name Menlo College. In 1994, Menlo School and the College formally separated, but they continue to share their dining hall. Menlo School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of the National and California Associations of Independent Schools. The middle school consists of approximately 220 students; the high school is significantly larger, educating roughly 530 students.



Founded in 1915, Menlo School originated as the William Warren School, an all-male military school with an inaugural enrollment of just 13 boys. In 1924, Mr. Warren, headmaster and founder, sold the school to a group of interested parents. The parents dropped the military focus and formed a new corporation, and hence the Menlo School for Boys was born.

Three years later, in 1927, Menlo became a non-profit governed by a newly created board of trustees. Moreover, the original two-year junior college, Menlo College, was fashioned in that year as an intended expansion of the Menlo School for Boys. During its early decades, this expansion hybridized a prep school with a junior college. Students would attend Menlo for the latter two years of high school and then enroll for two years at the college; after graduating, students would transfer directly into four-year universities as upper-division students.

Since the late 1970s, Menlo has undergone a radical transformation. In the fall of 1979, Menlo School began its transition from an exclusively male institution with a small boarding program to a coeducational day school. In the 1993–1994 academic year, Menlo again took steps to ensure its future, dramatically increasing the Upper School’s enrollment, adding grade 6 to the Middle School, and further expanding its female enrollment.

The College and School formally split on June 30, 1994. Menlo School and Menlo College now are wholly independent entities, complete with their own boards, administrations and faculty. Although the School and College neighbor one another on the same 62-acre (250,000 m2) campus, the Menlo Upper School and Menlo Middle School are now highly segregated from their college counterpart. In 2008, the School and College entered into another separation agreement to further finalize their split, which included the formal legal subdivision of their single parcel of land into two separate parcels. The only portion of the campus that will continue to be jointly owned and managed is the Menlo Athletic Quad, consisting of the athletic fields and track.

Following an energetic fundraising effort beginning in the late 1990s, both the middle and upper school campuses have been completely rebuilt. These projects were completed in 1999 and 2004, respectively. The campus includes state-of-the art science laboratories, a dedicated college counseling facility, office suites for faculty, a large lecture hall, library, student café, Smart Boards and Astroturf, among many other features. A new Athletic Center and gymnasium is completed as of August 2010. A new Creative Arts Center is also in final fundraising, with a projected completion date in the summer of 2012. Upon completing the new Athletic Center and a planned Performing Arts Center, the School will cease using the College's gym and performing arts facility under the separation agreement.


Menlo School holds a reputation for excellent academics, athletics, and arts. Approximately 99% of students attend college after graduation.[citation needed] In the past several years, Menlo has increased its national reach, and many graduates now go on to attend top universities. Menlo School’s small class sizes allow intimate interaction with the faculty, the supermajority of whom hold advanced degrees. The Menlo School full-time faculty includes more than 60 master’s and 10 Ph.D's as well as two J.D.’s.

Student life

Menlo offers over 50 student clubs in the upper school and 25 in the middle school. These clubs are wide in breadth, including a knitting club, classics, Model United Nations organization, and a Mock Trial team. Menlo Middle School and Menlo Upper School both maintain active student councils. The Upper School's student-run newspaper, The Coat of Arms, has won numerous awards, including Top Honors – First Place with Special Merit from American Scholastic Press Association. The Coat of Arms releases eight issues in a year. Additionally, Menlo has a budding artistic scene. Menlo School artistic groups include a chamber orchestra, the Knight Dancers, and three different choruses, among many others. Menlo athletes have done extremely well. Menlo has particularly excelled in boys' football, basketball, baseball, boys and girls tennis, and water polo. Every varsity athletic team in the fall of 2009 won its respective league championship, and the varsity football team was not only a CCS Championship runner up, but earned the CCS Scholastic Team Championship for the highest GPA among all competing teams. During the 2009-2010 school year, every varsity team participated in post-season competition, and some went on to state competitions. The boys' tennis team claimed the national tennis title at the National High School All-American Foundation in the spring of 2010. Menlo student-athletes are recruited each year, and have gone on to compete at both NCAA and professional levels.

Academic programs

Stressing the importance of a commitment to the broader community, upper school students are required to complete 80 hours of community service in order to graduate. Peer leadership and advocacy programs give freshmen the opportunity to make connections with upperclassmen and faculty members as they begin their time at the school.

Menlo has implemented a myriad of programs designed to encourage lifelong learning. Menlo hosts a special academic week known “Knight School” once a year where students substitute traditional classes for alternative intellectual explorations. Past “Knight School” activities have spanned from volunteer trips to New Orleans to cooking classes and video game design seminars. In addition, seniors complete a “Senior Project” where they explore an academic focus of their own choosing during their final weeks of school and culminate their project with a public presentation of their findings.

Notable alumni

See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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