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Encyclopedia > Castilleja School

Castilleja School is a private college preparatory school for girls located in Palo Alto, California. "Casti", as it is nicknamed, has roughly 415 students in grades 6 through 12. The school was founded in 1907 by Ms. Mary Ishbel Lockey at the urging of the first President of Stanford University, Dr. David Starr Jordan. Miss Lockey herself was a Stanford alumna, and Dr. Jordan convinced her of the immediate need for a college preparatory school for young women in the Bay Area. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... A university-preparatory school or college-preparatory school (usually shortened to preparatory school, or prep school) is a private secondary school (or high school) designed to prepare a student for higher education. ... Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California Coordinates: , Country State County Santa Clara Government  - Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto[1] Area  - City 25. ... Stanford redirects here. ...

The student to teacher ratio is 8:1, and almost all Castilleja graduates go on attend a four-year college or university, with a significant number typically matriculating to Stanford. Castilleja is a member of the California Association of Independent Schools.[1]

The Castilleja Mascot is an Alligator (the Casti Gators).



Castilleja School retains a number of traditions: Junior-Senior Rivalry, "Ringing," and the annual Founder's Day ceremony complement the academic year and build a strong sense of community. Other traditions include Spirit Week ending with Gator Gathering, Cookie Thursdays, Grandparents' Day (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), having the Yearly Guest Speaker, the Father-Daughter Dinner-Dance, Community Service Day, and Global Week.

Also among Castilleja's heartwarming trademarks are the ever-popular school song, boasting such touchingly communist lines as "Earnest workers, happy-hearted, loyal to the name we bear," and the "Five C's," a list of qualities beginning with the letter "C": conscience, courtesy, courage, charity, and character; that serves as a sort of motto for the school.

School Spirit

Although the all-girls environment means that Castilleja lacks a football team, school spirit is not lacking. In fact, in this tight-knit community, school spirit becomes even more prevalent as entire grades begrudgingly compete against one another during school organized spirit weeks. Each grade, six through 12, is assigned a color which is often used during spirit weeks to show school pride. For example, during Junior/Senior Rivalry week, the whole school is decked out in red (by the seniors) and purple (by the juniors). Although the class color changes each year, it is accepted as a matter of distinguished pride for each grade. Sixth graders are marigold yellow, seventh graders are sky blue, eighth graders are a dashing navy, freshmen are pea green, sophomores are glaring orange, juniors are royal purple and seniors are blood red.

School spirit becomes a more individual tradition as each incoming sixth grader is paired with an eight grade "big sister" and each freshman is paired again with a senior. This allows the Castilleja spirit and traditions to be passed on each year. The "big sister" acts as a friend, mentor, groovy chum and friendly guide and is a meaningful part of the Castilleja social totem.


Standard Uniform

The school uniform typically consists of either a navy blue or white collared shirt with no logo, or a red shirt with a Castilleja logo. Short Pinfeather blue skirts are the norm, though girls may also wear navy blue pants that do not have elastic lining on the bottom. Jeans are not permitted. As for shorts, girls must wear Castilleja shorts. Solid-color navy blue or white socks and any variety of closed-toe, closed-heel shoes are allowed. Sweaters must be either Castilleja-themed, or solid-color logo-free white or navy blue. The policy on jackets is quite flexible, and any accessories are acceptable. Nothing, not even shirts may have even a tiny logo (excluding non-uniform days). On your birthday, you may wear non-uniform.

Dress White Days

For the majority of formal occasions, girls wear the "Dress White" uniform. The dress white uniform consists of a pleated white skirt, white sailor shirt, and a tie whose color corresponds to the girl's academic year. The girls usually wear the Dress White uniform when they have the yearly Speaker at Castilleja. Grandparent's Day and Class Day are other examples. Soon, however, the dress whites will be changing as they celebrate the 100th year of the school. There is a contest for designing the new dress whites.

Free Dress Days

On occasion, there are "free dress days" where students may dress as they like. These days occur on the last Friday of every month, and students may also earn them. Seniors have an entire quarter of free dress.

Spirit Days

About twice a year, each grade has a spirit day. These may include pajama day, blast from the past, or "guy" day, where the girls dress like boys. There is also a spirit week that the whole school participates in, which is themed so that each grade receives a different theme in a certain genre. Different grades compete in a friendly manner against each other. Themes may include class color day, decades day, or global day. These days are often great opportunities for the whole school campus to be decorated in many different colors.

Facts and Features

Castilleja does not take any standardized tests, such as Star Testing. However, the students do take finals at the end of each semester, during which they can have free dress. The students can also vote for their leaders for the government. There is a different government for every class, but there is also a unified government for each of the Middle and Upper School. Middle School is called MSSG, for Middle School Student Government, and Upper School is ASB, for All Student Body. Castilleja hosts a camp during the summer which is 8 weeks long, divided into two 4 week sessions. The camp is in its 45th year of existence.


In addition to a rigorous academic workload, Castilleja students participate in a diverse range of extracurricular opportunities including sports, theatre, music, arts, community service, and an abundance of other activities.


Athletics are popular, both in Middle School and in the Upper School. In the upper school, sports are offered at both the varsity and junior varsity levels. Girls in Fall participate in Cross Country, Tennis, Volleyball, water polo, and golf. In the winter, they play basketball and soccer. In spring, softball, swimming, track and field, lacrosse, and gymnastics are the sports of choice. Every year they develop fake sports and create humorous sweatshirts. In 2006 it was the surfing team and in 2007 it was the rugby union team. Middle school (also known as intermediate school or junior high school) covers a period of education that straddles primary/elementary education and secondary education, serving as a bridge between the two. ... High School also refers to the highest form of classical riding, High School Dressage. ... The word varsity can refer to several things. ... The term cross-country, when used by itself, can refer to: Sports Cross-country running, a sport in which teams of runners compete to complete a course over open or rough terrain Cross-country skiing, a winter sport for skiing Fell running also known as hill running and mountain running... For other uses, see Tennis (disambiguation). ... For the ball used in this sport, see Volleyball (ball). ... Water polo is a team water sport that combines some elements of swimming and football. ... This article is about the sport. ... This article is about the sport. ... Soccer redirects here. ... Soft ball is also a sugar stage Softball is a team sport popular around the world but especially in the United States. ... Swimmer redirects here. ... Athletics, also known as track and field or track and field athletics, is a collection of sport events. ... For other uses, see Lacrosse (disambiguation). ... Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of sequences of movements requiring physical strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, and kinesthetic awareness, such as handsprings, handstands, split leaps, aerials and cartwheels. ... For other uses, see Surfing (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Rugby (disambiguation). ...

In the middle school, sports develop skills, responsibility, and confidence while increasing physical ability. In fall, there is softball and swimming. In Winter, there is soccer and basketball. In spring, there is tennis, volleyball, water polo, and track.

The Arts

Performing and visual arts are also an important part of Castilleja. Every year, the Upper School students may audition for the Fall Play and Spring Musical; past productions include A Midsummer Night's Dream, She Stoops to Conquer, and Dames at Sea. The Middle School musical was introduced in the 2005-2006 school year to replace the traditional 8th grade musicals and 7th grade production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The premiere MS musical was The Music Man, and the following year, Anything Goes was performed. Middle School students participate in the acting, while upper school students run the technical aspects of the show. For other uses, see A Midsummer Nights Dream (disambiguation). ... She Stoops to Conquer is a comedy by Oliver Goldsmith, first performed in 1773. ... Dames At Sea Dames at Sea is a musical with book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller; music by Jim Wise. ... For other uses, see A Midsummer Nights Dream (disambiguation). ... This article is about the stage musical. ... For other uses, see Anything Goes (disambiguation). ...

In February, the entire school puts on "Arts with a Heart," a charity show with emphasis on dance. In the past, Eastside Prep has helped with the production as well. Formerly, this was called "Dancing for a Difference." Students may also participate in the Castilleja Chamber Orchestra and the Upper School student-run theater group, Foolwise Players.

Art courses include chorus, theater, drawing & painting, design & sculpture, film, and photography.

Student Government

Many students also participate in student government, both at all-school and grade levels. They attend weekly meetings, and help plan and bring to life school-wide events. New officers are elected each semester. The officers are: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Community Service Committee, Athletic Committee, Birthday Committee, Social Committee, and Arts Coordinator. There are two main governments, one for middle school and one for Upper School. Each grade also has a government of their own.


  • Counterpoint, the upper school newspaper, publishes weekly and monthly versions.
  • Castilleja Free Press (CFP), the counterpoint to Counterpoint, publishes a few times a semester.
  • Mochuelo, the upper school literary and art magazine
  • Paintbrush, the yearbook
  • The Flame, the middle school newspaper, is intermittently published depending on staff enthusiasm.
  • Around the Circle, a monthly parent newsletter.
  • Full Circle, a semi-annual newsletter sent to all constituents.

and this year a new addition to the school publications in honor of the school centennial: Thizz or Die, Yadidamean?


A bevy of clubs serve a multitude of student needs-some of the most unusual clubs include the Rainbow Alliance, an intramural Quidditch league, Physics Club, the Friends (The Sitcom) Club, Chinese Club, the Sumerian Philosophy and Cheesetasting Club, a Junior Equestrian Club and a gardening club which tends to school foliage. A strong emphasis on community service has produced the Peer Tutoring club and the Ecumencial Hunger Program. A math club, a speech and debate club, and robotics club also represent Castilleja's competitive side, and regularly compete with successful results. There is a Kitchen Witches club, a lacrosse club, and a Imternational Fun Food and Movies club to name a few more.


There are 7 periods in the Castilleja schedule, up to two of which may be free periods (for upper schoolers only). Each period meets three times one week and four times the next (depending on whether it is an "A" or "B" week. Each period has one long period per week which is 75 minutes instead of the standard 55 minutes. Long periods for AP science courses are 105 minutes to provide ample time for labs. While students, and upper school students especially have plenty of choice in what they take, they nevertheless work very hard, often experiencing something akin to Stanford "duck syndrome".

Curricular requirements may vary from year to year at Castilleja.

Upper School Required Courses

4 years

  • English

3 years History

  • Cultures and Civilizations Course
  • The American Political System Course
  • The Individual and Society Course
  • US History Honors or AP US History

3 years Mathematics

  • Through Algebra 2/Trigonometry

3 years Modern or Classical Language

  • Through year III of French, Japanese, Latin, or Spanish (see notes below)

3 years Science

  • Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

2 years

  • Physical Education and Health and Wellness or Dance (see notes below)

3 semesters Visual & Performing Arts

  • Introduction to the Arts Course
  • 1 full year in a single arts discipline

Students have plenty of choice in regard to what they wish to learn. Juniors and Seniors especially may choose a large range of English, science, history, math, arts, language, interdisciplinary, AP and non-AP electives, as well as independent study. Most students take at least 3 Advanced Placement (AP) credits.

  • Notes
    • Castilleja is currently phasing out its Japanese program and introducing a Chinese program
    • Dance may count as a Physical Education credit or an Arts credit, though not both.

Middle School Required Courses

3 years

  • English (6, 7, 8)
  • History
    • Ancient Civilizations
  • World History
  • American History
  • Math
  • Language
    • French, Latin, or Spanish
  • Science
    • Earth, Physical, and Life Science
  • Physical Education and Health and Wellness
  • Visual & Performing Arts

1 year

  • 8th Grade Speech


Castilleja offers many sports for both middle and upper school.

Middle School Sports


  • Softball
  • Swimming


  • Soccer
  • Basketball


  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo

Upper School Sports


  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo


  • Basketball
  • Soccer


  • Softball
  • Lacrosse
  • Swimming
  • Track & Field

The sports program at Castilleja continues to improve and evolve with the addition of new sports, including the newly-created Equestrian Team, and the construction of a new athletic facility. The new facility will include a multi-level complex with two gyms, a fitness center, and a dance studio.

Notable Students

  • Amy Chow (Olympic medalist in gymnastics)
  • Josie Maran (actress and model)
  • Tori Anthony (pole vaulter)

Amy Chow (周婉儀; pinyin: Zhōu Wǎnyí; born May 15, 1978 in San Jose, California) is an American gymnast. ... Johanna Selhorst Maran known as Josie Maran (born May 8, 1978) is an American supermodel and actress. ... Tori Anthony is an American pole vaulter from Palo Alto, California and the holder of the national indoor and outdoor records for high school women at 14 2-1/2 (4. ...


  1. ^ [1]

Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Castilleja School - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1533 words)
Castilleja School is a private college preparatory school for girls located in Palo Alto, California.
Castilleja is a member of the California Association of Independent Schools [1].
School spirit becomes a more induvidual tradition as each incoming sixth grader is paired with an eight grade "big sister" and each freshman is paired again with a senior.
  More results at FactBites »



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