Menlo School

Not to be confused with Menlo-Atherton High 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 Than Healy
Faculty 106
79 full-time
27 part-time
Grades 6–12
Number of students 780 total
560 upper
220 middle
Average class size 15 students upper
18 students middle
Color(s) Navy and Gold         
Mascot Knight
Annual tuition $41,000

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 560 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 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 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 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, among many other features. 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.

Student life

Menlo offers over 50 student clubs in the upper school and 25 in the 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.

Student Publications

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.[1] The Coat of Arms releases roughly eight print 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.

Mock Trial

Menlo's Mock Trial team has won eight San Mateo county competitions (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016). From 2011-2016 Menlo has a perfect 60-0 record in San Mateo county, a streak that is ongoing.[2] The team has won the California State Championship one time (2014), defeating the 3x defending champion La Reina High School of Ventura County[3] and went on to finish 4th at the National High School Mock Trial competition in Madison, Wisconsin. The team was 2nd at the California State Finals in 2016, 3rd in 2009 and 2013, and 5th in 2012. Outside of California, the mock trial team won the Providence Cup, a national mock trial tournament held in Denver, CO, in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and finished 2nd place in 2013. The team won the American Championship Invitational in 2009, a tournament for states' 2nd and 3rd place squads. Menlo won the Gladiator Individual World Championships in 2016, with graduating Senior Andy Parker taking the title.[4] 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've won the tournament 3 times[5] (2011, 2012 & 2015).

Other Activities

Additionally, Menlo has a budding artistic scene. Menlo School artistic groups include a chamber orchestra, the Knight Dancers, and three different choruses, among others. Menlo 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 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.[6]

Buildings at Menlo

Menlo contains 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. It was completed in August, 2012. 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 protest convinced Menlo restore it. To keep it safe from falling down, Menlo inserted a new library on the side to keep it stable. Also metal supports rooted 50 feet in the ground support the sides.

Academic programs

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 programs designed to encourage lifelong learning. Menlo has 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 work with Habitat for Humanity in 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.


The majority of the faculty 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.


Menlo has many highly trained athletic coaches.

Notable alumni

See also


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