Woodside Priory School: Where academic balance leads to opportunity

Woodside Priory School isn’t your average boarding school; the School’s individualized and balanced approach to education is one of the many key features that make it stand out from the crowd.

Not only is Woodside the only boarding school in Silicon Valley, it places balance at the core of the curriculum and student experience, Woodside nurtures well-rounded, confident, and cared for young adults.

To achieve this supportive environment, Woodside is one of a handful of boarding schools that employ full-time residential staff. While the majority of boarding institutions expect their teaching staff to continue to supervise students after school hours, Woodside sees the weaknesses in having tired staff take on this role and recognizes the sizable rewards in having a lively, energetic, and engaged faculty dedicated to after-hours engagement.

These dedicated members spend evenings and weekends with the students. This, paired with the small population of boarders at Woodside, means students enjoy a highly-personalized experience where no child is left on their own.

Woodside really capitalizes on fresh faculty, allowing them the freedom to pursue exciting and ambitious weekend activities that most schools could only dream of. Taking advantage of the School’s prime location amongst the stunning San Franciscan hills – a mere stone’s throw from the vibrant city, sun kissed beaches and rugged mountains – every weekend will be a venture of discovery.

Students visit museums and galleries in cosmopolitan San Francisco, hit the beach, try their hand at surfing, cheer on their favourite team at international or local sporting events, and even have the privilege of skiing in the winter months.

This location doesn’t just offer breath-taking landscapes, but also serves as a gateway to the world’s leaders and pioneers of technology. As the only boarding school in Silicon Valley, Woodside benefits from this wealth of knowledge and talent on its doorstep and ensures students are able to follow their tech passions in the best environment possible.

Just a short ride from the headquarters of the likes of Facebook, Google, and Apple, students join field trips to see how these companies operate and get the low-down on tech innovation of the future.

Not letting this valuable and unique situation slip through their fingers, Woodside offers a full year of Computer Science beyond the typical Advanced Placement (AP) course offered by other schools. Students can explore their tech side knowing they will benefit from every possible opportunity to excel in this dynamic field. Their brand new 12,000 square foot Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Art, and Math (STREAM) Building provides a stunning home for these programs.

On top of this, the School provides four full years of college-level mathematics beyond AP Calculus BC – considered one of the highest provided by any school.

Clubs and activities, such as the robotics team, also benefit from this proximity to global tech giants. The club builds robotics to participate in FIRST FRC robotics competitions each spring. The team spends the fall semester learning to use machine tools (mills, lathes, etc), CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, electronics, and programming, and then they spend an intensive six weeks in the winter designing and building the robot. They regularly place among the top schools in the area.

While Woodside sees the potential for future success within technology and science, it most certainly does not neglect other aspects of a well-rounded education, cultivating a robust on-campus arts and athletics scene.

Seeing Art as an expression of one’s own humanity and an integral part to developing a child’s intelligence and potential, Woodside ensures students are exposed to a vast array of arts, from performance to the fine.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, students are challenged to produce finished pieces of art in the context of another subject such as history or the humanities. The art studio is a welcoming heart of the School where students can relax, embrace the fun-loving side of creativity and express themselves through the visual arts. Students are welcome to drop in any time out-of-hours and work on their projects or just experiment with the wealth of resources on-hand.

They also offer training in an array of performance art, from Theater, to Choir, to Orchestra and Dance. Getting kids involved in all aspects of production, students are tested to develop a show from the starring roles, right down to the scriptwriting, set design and lighting. With such a variety of avenues to express oneself artistically, there is bound to be a niche that suits every student’s individual passions and talents.

The same could be said of their Athletics program, that gives every student the chance to participate – choosing to reward sportsmanship, commitment, dedication and hard work.

That’s not to say the School doesn’t have a highly-competitive and proficient sports curriculum; they do! And the athletic alumni and Athletics Hall of Fame is testament to that. With a brand new 400 meter all-weather track and 25 yard water polo pool, many Woodside graduates have taken the skills and discipline they learnt at high school and turned them into lucrative college scholarships or sporting careers.

Developing a student’s social conscience and emotional intelligence, community service is encouraged throughout their studies. Being a valued member of a community is a privilege not a right and the students gain an appreciation of this through being a productive member of that community – hoping they will sustain these contacts long after graduation. Students spend five full school days doing service instead of going to class.

Service to assist an underprivileged group is required for graduation, meaning students learn from those less fortunate and gain a better understanding of society’s most pressing inequalities.

This appreciation is just one aspect of a well-rounded Woodside graduate. The combination of holistic education, teamed with a fantastic location and a hyper-personalised approach means Woodside stands as an effective springboard to a future of opportunity. 

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