Westerly School was founded in 1991 by a group of Long Beach parents interested in creating a school that provided an alternative to largely public and parochial schools in the area. The goal: to create a school that recognized, respected, and taught to the individual student. They wanted a place where students could thrive academically, emotionally, and physically. They wanted a place where their children could feel safe and secure to be themselves and to learn in a variety of ways. That mission still drives the school and is constantly advancing. Click here to read our founding story. See below for a brief history of our school’s development.
Westerly School opened with just under 40 students - and ended the year with over 50. The School was ably guided by the founding Head of School, Ray Bizjack. Under Ray, many of the school practices and programs were initiated such as the Monday Morning Assembly, the use of teaching associates, and a commitment to whole-child curriculum.
Westerly graduated its first class of 8th graders.
The school received its first CAIS and WASC accreditation.
Just six years after opening, the school’s enrollment had grown from 40 students to 180.
The school introduced its first sports teams.
Ahead of many independent schools, Westerly – true to its commitment to technology -- adopted a one-to-one laptop program for middle school students.
Westerly introduces smart board technology in its classrooms.
Chris Rodenhizer was appointed as Head of School. A Long Beach educator, he helped guide the school to a new era of prosperity with increased enrollment and stable finances. Chris introduced curricular reform such as the introduction of Reading and Writing Workshops sponsored by the Teachers College of Columbia and Lucy Calkins.
The school completed the building of the Raymond F. Bizjack Arts Village, the school’s first permanent facilities housing art and music studios adjacent to an outdoor amphitheater.
Middle School students won their first volleyball championship. Since then, the school has continued to win volleyball championships and has added basketball and football to that list.
New play structure was installed for our younger students
Patrick Brown was appointed as Head of School.
The school launched a $7 million project to create permanent K-8 classrooms. The goal was to create first-class facilities that truly match the first-class education our children receive at Westerly.
The school received a seven-year WASC accreditation, the most an institution may receive.
The school open its WILD Lab (Westerly Innovation Lab and Design. The WILD lab will engage students in coding, robotics, engineering principles and hands-on building.
The school opens an outdoor innovation playground – a rubberized play space filled with large Styrofoam building blocks and geometric shapes to facilitate play, imagination and design by our students.