Menlo School, also referred to simply as Menlo, is a private college preparatory school in Atherton, California, United States, 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.
50 Valparaiso Avenue
|Head of School||Than Healy|
|Number of students||800 total|
|Average class size||15 students upper |
18 students middle
|Color(s)||Navy and gold|
|Annual tuition||$49,110 ['19/'20]|
Menlo was established in 1915 and is located at 50 Valparaiso Avenue, 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 continued to share their dining hall until 2017. 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 230 students; the high school is significantly larger, with roughly 570 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, 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 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. 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 attended Menlo for the latter two years of high school and then enrolled for two years at the college; after graduating, they transferred 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 split on June 30, 1994, with further, more specific separations that followed. Menlo School and Menlo College now are wholly independent entities, complete with their own boards, administrations and faculty. Although the School and College are adjacent, the Menlo Upper School and Menlo Middle School are now highly separate 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 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 a fundraising effort beginning in the late 1990s, both the middle and upper school campuses have been mostly rebuilt. These projects were completed in 1999 and 2004, respectively. The campus includes state-of-the-art science laboratories, a dedicated college counseling facility, offices for faculty, a large lecture hall, library, student café, Smart Boards and Astroturf. A new athletic center was completed in August 2010. The new Creative Arts and Design Center contains spaces for artists and musicians. in the upper school, and orchestra, choir, and band rooms. The upper floor also consists of a photo lab, drama room, and digital technology spaces. It was completed in August 2012.
Construction of a new performing arts center started in March 2019.
Menlo offers over 50 student clubs in the upper school and 25 in middle school. These clubs include a chapter of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), Model United Nations organization, Junior Classical League, Mock Trial, chess club and environmental club. 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 the American Scholastic Press Association. The Coat of Arms releases roughly eight issues in a year as well as producing daily content for its online site and Twitter.
The Menlo Bard is a student-produced digital news magazine about arts and lifestyles. It is published about five times each year, since 2012. It is known for strong design and exploring a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial.
Menlo's Mock Trial team has won ten San Mateo county competitions (in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018). From 2011-2018 (ongoing) Menlo has a perfect 80-0 record in San Mateo County. The team has won the California State Championship one time (in 2014), defeating the three-time defending champion La Reina High School of Ventura County. They went on to finish fourth at the National High School Mock Trial competition in Madison, Wisconsin. The team was second at the California State Finals in 2016, third in 2009 and 2013, and fifth in 2012 and 2017. Outside of California, the mock trial team won the Providence Cup, a national mock trial tournament held in Denver, Colorado, in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. The team won the American Championship Invitational in 2009, a tournament for states' second and third place squads. Menlo won the Gladiator Individual World Championships in 2016, with graduating Senior Andy Parker taking the title. Menlo also plays host to the annual NorCal Mock Trial Invitational, the first tournament in California outside of the normal CRF competition to be scored; they have won the tournament five times (in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2019).
Menlo has a budding artistic scene. Artistic groups include a chamber orchestra, the Knight Dancers, and three different choruses.
Athletics teams include baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, water polo, and volleyball. The Knights previously competed in the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL), and now compete in the West Bay Athletic League (WBAL). 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 also 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, placed second in 2011, and emerged victorious once again in 2012.
M-Term is an end of year enrichment opportunity for the freshman, sophomore, and junior class; it replaced what used to be called Knight School and has activities ranging from camping in Yosemite to artificial intelligence. M-Term is around 3 weeks long.
Buildings at MenloEdit
Menlo has some notable buildings. The athletic center contains two basketball courts, one of them a full-size court. The courts have drop-down volleyball nets. The gym also has athletic training rooms, a dance room, conference rooms, offices, workout facilities, and locker rooms. The new Creative Arts and Design Center contains some large spaces for artists in the upper school, and orchestra, choir, and band rooms. The upper floor includes drama, photography and technology spaces. The newest construction project, which was completed in 2017, includes a new dining hall, student center and library that were added on to Stent Hall.
Stent Hall, once a mansion, is the most recognizable icon of Menlo School. The immense, snow-white building once called Douglass Hall was damaged badly in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and was closed for several years. At first Menlo wanted to demolish it, but protests convinced Menlo restore it. To keep it safe from falling down, Menlo inserted a new library on the side to keep it stable. Metal supports rooted 50 feet in the ground also support the sides.
In order to graduate, upper school students are required to complete 10 community engagement credits each year, which involve participating in community service events put on by Menlo or another organization. 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 programs designed to encourage lifelong learning. Menlo had a special academic week known as "Knight School" once a year where students substitute traditional classes for alternative intellectual explorations. Past Knight School activities have spanned from volunteer trips to work with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans to cooking classes and video game design seminars.
As of the 2017-2018 school year, Menlo replaced Knight School with M-Term, which focuses on educating freshmen and sophomores about the communities around the school and the issues they face. Juniors choose a selection of interdisciplinary classes not offered during the school year. Seniors either work as a TA for one of the junior's classes, or work on their senior projects. Senior projects allow seniors to explore an academic focus of their own choosing, which culminates with a public presentation of their findings. M-Term is currently a week long program required for graduation in May after finals have finished, but Menlo may extend the duration to 2 or 3 weeks in the future.
The majority of the faculty hold advanced degrees. The Menlo School full-time faculty includes more than 60 Master's, 10 Ph.Ds, and two J.D.s.
Menlo has many highly trained athletic coaches.
- Kevin Bass - All-Star outfielder for the Houston Astros who also played for the Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles
- Marya Spence - All Star Olympic friendship bracelet champ United States
- Jon Beekhuis - former race car driver and current television commentator
- Mike Bordin - professional drummer for Ozzy Osbourne and co-founder of Faith No More
- Allison Brennan - New York Times bestselling author of thrillers
- Nick Casey - Journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times
- Maria Fadiman - ethnobotanist; named a 2006 National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer
- Dave Finocchio - co-founder of Bleacher Report
- Jon Fogarty - professional race car driver
- Zander Freund - co-founder of Bleacher Report
- Bryan Goldberg - co-founder of Bleacher Report
- Andrew Grauer - internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Course Hero
- Brad Greenspan - internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Myspace
- Paul Guay is a screenwriter (Liar Liar, Heartbreakers, The Little Rascals)
- Gary Johnson - baseball player, played five games with the Anaheim Angels
- Robby Krieger - guitarist who was a member of The Doors and wrote Light My Fire, among other compositions.
- Glenn Layendecker - former professional tennis player
- John Matteson - biographer and 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father
- Dave Nemetz - co-founder of Bleacher Report
- Ahna O'Reilly - actress
- Chris Paine - filmmaker; writer and director of Who Killed the Electric Car?
- John Paye - former Stanford starting quarterback and basketball point guard; later drafted by the San Francisco 49ers
- Eric Reveno - former Stanford basketball player; current Head Basketball Coach of the University of Portland
- Bob Weir - founding member Grateful Dead. Attended 1962
- Nick Woodman - founder and CEO of GoPro
- "American Scholastic Press Association". Asan.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=24697 "Menlo School boys win prestigious tennis title"
- Actress returns to Menlo to discuss her career. Palo Alto Online. Retrieved on 2013-08-20.