Located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, The Webb Schools celebrate young men and women as scholars, thinkers, discoverers, and future leaders in society. Webb is the only high school in the world with a nationally accredited paleontology museum and the unique separation of boys and girls in early high school, with co-ed classes for juniors and seniors. The distinctive programs built by The Webb Schools shape students who are universally prepared for higher education and future contributions to society as men and women of strong character.
The Webb Schools have humble beginnings in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, where founder Thomas Webb attended his father’s school for boys. After graduating, Webb farmed in California for several years before returning to Bell Buckle to help his father’s school cope with the shortage of male teachers caused by World War I. Meanwhile, he was inspired by the idea of a friend in California whose school was turning down students due to high enrollment. Webb was promised student referrals if he opened a school nearby. In 1922, he purchased an empty school building, and the new Webb School in California was born. The school grew with new additions of libraries and other buildings, including the Vivian Webb chapel, named for Webb’s wife and built from handmade adobe bricks inspired by the California missions he so admired. Thomas and Vivian Webb continued their involvement with the school through its establishment as a non-profit corporation until their eventual retirements in the 1960s. In 1981, the Vivian Webb School for girls opened in response to a campaign led by local parents who wanted their daughters to experience the quality of education and social programs offered by the school.
Today, The Webb Schools are the only high school in the US to celebrate gender differences with separate classrooms for 9th and 10th grade students, with a transition to co-ed classes in junior and senior years. The boys’ and girls’ schools are independent though they share a campus; each have their own traditions with separate governing bodies, faculty, and leadership groups for students. This arrangement encourages strong bonds of sisterhood and brotherhood, helping students grow into young men and women of honor and integrity. Through Webb’s exceptional college counseling, student choose colleges and university to challenge them intellectually and aid their further development. As a result of positive early high school experiences with single-gender classrooms at Webb, many will go on to apply to and attend single-gender colleges. Some students are even able to begin college classes while still at Webb, through a partnership with the nearby Claremont Colleges.
The Webb Schools boast a solid commitment to the arts and outdoor activities, with advanced-level course offerings in art, music, and theater, and 9 performing arts groups on campus as well as 44 sports teams in 15 different sports. Small class sizes and highly-educated faculty help students to achieve in both academics and arts, resulting in high median SAT scores and national merit recognition. Webb’s unique and remarkable features set it apart from other boarding schools and traditional day schools.
One such feature of The Webb Schools is the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. In the late 1930s, Alf and several students uncovered a fossilized skull in the Mojave Desert, which was eventually named a new species of Miocene-age peccary. The discovery inspired additional student fossil-hunting expeditions across the western United States, and one of the most notable discoveries was in 2009, when a Webb student found “Joe,” a baby Parasaurolophus skeleton that took the next three years to completely excavate from a ridge deep in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Alf Museum continues to sponsor paleontology field excursions during the summer and has contributed toward significant discoveries in the field, often with the help of dedicated students. Every student at Webb is, in some capacity, involved in the discovery, caretaking, or display of fossils discovered by students and faculty.
With such strong programs in academics and field research as well as social development opportunities for students, such as Men in the Arena for boys and Dies Mulieres for girls, The Webb Schools have recently seen a surge in selectivity with an increase in applications. Webb is dedicated to the success of its students, with 35% receiving financial aid for tuition and $4.1 million in need-based financial aid offered to students in the 2015-2016 school year.
The mission of The Webb Schools is to nurture and inspire men and women who think boldly, mindfully, and creatively; who act with honor and moral courage; who lead with distinction; and who serve with a generous spirit. Students at Webb are taught with kindness and respect, and grow into courageous adults with an awareness that the ways they choose to participate in our global society not only dictate their character, but show their dedication to an ever-changing world and its challenges.