The Webb Schools offer a rigorous college-preparatory academic program that provides students a well-rounded liberal arts and sciences education while giving them the space to develop and pursue their passions and interests. Students choose from a full range of courses, including honors, Advanced Placement and Advanced Studies (unique courses designed by Webb faculty).
Each student, in partnership with his or her advisor, develops a course plan that considers both the academic interests and abilities of the student and the demands of their overall academic program. The Director of Studies and the Dean of College Guidance work with advisors and students to support the process.
Areas of Study
Science is what people use to make sense of their world. Thus, Webb’s program aims to teach students how to ask intelligent questions about nature as well as how to design experiments to answer those questions. Introductory courses encourage an inquiry-based approach to learning. At the conclusion of the sophomore year, students will have been introduced to the essentials of biology, chemistry and physics and are ready for advanced study. Our advanced courses allow students to develop detailed knowledge of a particular discipline. All courses feature experiential learning; as much as possible, students learn by doing.
The science department utilizes the unique resources of the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, located on Webb’s campus, as well as other laboratories at local institutions. All science students are introduced to the activities of the museum’s Peccary Society, a group devoted to the collection and preservation of fossils. The Peccary Society makes frequent day and overnight expeditions throughout Southern California, providing students with ample opportunity to get firsthand involvement in paleontological fieldwork. In addition to the Alf Museum, Webb partners with many area institutions to use advanced equipment and connect with experts in multiple fields. These opportunities enable our students to do real science.
The mathematics department uses a problem-based curriculum to engage students in the development of a knowledge base and a skill set that allows them to apply that knowledge in new and challenging situations. This happens in a student-centered classroom setting where they experience mathematics symbolically, numerically, graphically and verbally. Students develop the ability to articulate their understanding of mathematics by regularly presenting and defending their solutions, a skill that serves them across disciplines at Webb. Through the process of solving problems, students are encouraged to develop the skills of investigation, conjecture, predicting, analysis and verification, which provide the best foundation for the mastery of mathematics.
The humanities is the interdisciplinary study of human history, cultures and creativity. The courses in this discipline bring together multiple departments: English, history and the fine arts, helping students cultivate a culture of thinking that crosses the lines of traditional kinds of texts – historical, literary, musical, artistic, commercial, comical and more. While still learning skills specific to traditional disciplines, students investigate how these disciplines intersect. The goal of the core 9th- and 10th-grade humanities experience is to develop skilled readers, writers and thinkers while advancing 21st century competencies such as collaboration — both digital internet and in-person — and graphic and film literacy. These courses serve as a launching pad for more rigorous and focused study in 11th- and 12th-grade electives.
The world languages department offers a full program of study in Spanish, French and Chinese. The curriculum helps students acquire proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing and fosters an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. The initial two years of language provide a means to develop a good accent, to master basic language structures, to hear the language extensively in the classroom, to read increasingly complex texts and to develop a functional conversational vocabulary.
In the intermediate-level courses, cultural and literary studies provide the contextual milieu for pursuing proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Advanced study in modern languages allows students to continue to boost their proficiency in the four skill areas while following a course of study that provides university-level challenges.
The fine arts curriculum exposes students to exciting, groundbreaking work from around the world and throughout history – and then challenges them to create their own. Webb art classes encourage students to find original, unconventional ways to articulate their ideas as they hone their understanding of theory and technique. By taking advantage of the vast cultural resources of Los Angeles and emerging technologies, Webb’s fine arts program teaches students how to turn knowledge into action, empowering them to think creatively and act inventively in the classroom, the campus and beyond. The program includes instrumental and vocal music, theater, theater technology, visual and digital media.