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Head-Royce School

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Head-Royce School

Head-Royce School
Oakland, California, United States
Type Private
Motto Scholarship, Diversity, Citizenship
Established 1887
Head of School Robert Lake
Faculty 95
Enrollment 815
Average class size 14
Student to teacher ratio 12:1
Campus 14 acres (0.06 km2), Suburban
Color(s) Forest green & Gold
Athletics 11 sports
Athletics conference BCL East
Mascot Jayhawks
Average SAT scores 1975 (2010)

Head-Royce School (Head-Royce or HRS) is a co-educational college-preparatory K-12 school in Oakland, California. The forerunner of Head-Royce was the Anna Head School for Girls in Berkeley, founded in 1887. Relocated to its current site in 1964, Anna Head School for Girls merged with the neighboring Royce School in 1979 to form the present-day Head-Royce School.

Head-Royce is composed of three divisions. The Lower School consists of kindergarten through 5th grade. Middle School is composed of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Finally, Upper School encompasses 9th through 12th grades. Most new students enter Head-Royce in kindergarten, 6th grade, or 9th grade.


The school was founded in 1887 by Anna Head as the Anna Head School for Girls in Berkeley, California. In 1955, the University of California, Berkeley acquired the school's property by writ of eminent domain. The school was relocated to the Oakland Hills, and a new campus was constructed by 1964.

In 1971, the school's Board of Trustees established a co-ordinate school for boys, The Royce School, named in honor of philosopher (and Anna Head's brother-in-law), Josiah Royce. In 1979, the schools completed the transition to become a fully co-educational school, with its current name.

Today Head-Royce's commitment to diversity is a core value in the mission as the School helps students "develop an understanding of and respect for diversity that makes our society strong."[1] Nearly one half of the students and one third of the employees are people of color. One quarter of the student body receives financial assistance ensuring that Head-Royce is a socio-economically diverse community accessible to able, motivated students regardless of financial circumstances.

Admissions and tuition

Evaluation for acceptance depends upon the division to which the applicant wishes to be admitted.
Upper School building and cafe
The admissions process for the high school is generally composed of testing through a proprietary test or an Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), transcript and relevant history, recommendations, and an interview; in addition, a student evaluation may influence the final decision. Head-Royce claims a selective admissions rate that is competitive with many American colleges.

Tuition for the 2012-2013 school year[2] (USD):

  • Lower School (K-5): $22,410
  • Middle School (6-8): $24,895
  • Upper School (9-12): $31,475

Academics and student life

Salutation gate designed by John Malick & Associates
Head-Royce students complete a college-preparatory curriculum including mandatory courses in English; mathematics; Russian, Chinese, and Indian history; American history; European history; physics; chemistry; biology; foreign language; fine arts; and physical education, as well as a rotating group of elective courses in science, English and history in the senior year. These senior elective courses have covered such topics as astronomy, robotics, Shakespeare, Japanese literature, psychology, the history of Islam, and many others. Some courses specifically prepare students for Advanced Placement exams in the subject. The vast majority of students take at least three AP exams by the end of high school, with many students opting to take six or more exams.

Additional graduation requirements include completion of a prescribed amount of approved community service activity, and completion of a "senior project" in lieu of final exams at the end of the senior year, involving logging 80 hours toward a specific endeavor of the student's choosing.

Graduating-class sizes are generally 85-95 students. The school boasts a 100 percent (in some years nearly 100 percent) matriculation rate to four-year colleges, especially University of California schools and elite private institutions.

The 77 students in the class of 2006 had average SAT scores of 674 Critical Reading, 676 Math and 673 Writing. This class contained 15 National Merit commended students, 17 National Merit semifinalists, 15 finalists and 3 National Merit Scholarship winners.

Middle and Upper school students attend an annual "Fall-Out" trip near the beginning of the school year. The two-day event brings each class a different outdoors experience, such as sea kayaking or river rafting.

The eighth grade class used to travel to Lake Tahoe for an annual three-day ski trip, though the high school class of 2001 was the last eighth grade class to participate in this tradition. Now the class travels to Santa Barbara for three days in May, while the sixth and seventh grades travel to Pinnacles National Park and Yosemite National Park, respectively.

The school newspaper is The Hawk's Eye, which publishes bi-monthly. Students who write for the newspaper are enrolled in expository writing, a full additional academic course in their schedule.

School vacations include a week in February formerly (still colloquially) known as Ski Week, as well as a week of spring vacation. Seniors get a week off classes in the fall to visit colleges. First semester finals are held in mid-December, but first semester classes continue (post-exams) for two weeks in January before second semester classes begin.

10th–12th grade students enjoy an open campus, allowing them to leave during free periods or lunch. Ninth graders must stay on campus during the school day.


The Head-Royce campus was built in a ravine adjacent to Lincoln Avenue in Oakland, CA. The current campus consists of three distinct areas, coinciding with the three "divisions."

The Lower School is in the lowest and most western part of the ravine and has two buildings: the "Rotunda" which contains the kindergarten and first grade classrooms as well as the art room, and the "Lower School Building" which contains the classrooms for 2nd through 5th grade. This is also the location of the after school program, lower school library, and computer lab. The lower school also has a vegetable garden, a courtyard, a large play structure known as the "Big Toy" (although the "Big Toy" brand is no longer used) and a basketball court (also known as the "Blue Courts").

The middle school building is farther east and uphill. The main gathering area for the middle school is a large patio which is just below the administrative offices and overlooks the swimming pool. The main floor of the building houses 7th and 8th grade classrooms, the “Community Room” (which is also used for the school’s choir groups), as well as the Mary E. Wilson Auditorium (commonly referred to as "MEW"). The MEW hosts weekly "morning meetings", assemblies, performances, and special events. The main level also contains a kitchen which serves as a cafe for breakfast and lunch, staffed by the Epicurean Group, and a lounge room which serves as a lunchroom for faculty as well as a meeting room. The 6th classrooms are located on the lower level along with both vocal and instrumental music rooms. This level shares a courtyard with the lower school.

The fine arts studios are located on the other side of the MEW and include a computer lab for digital imaging and video production, a ceramics studio, the instrumental music room, and a drama room. On the upper level of these rooms are the 3D and 2D art studios and an art gallery.

Next to the fine arts classrooms and parallel to Lincoln Avenue is the World Languages Building, a two level building dedicated to the middle and upper school language classes (Latin, French, Spanish and Mandarin). This building was completed in 2008 as one of the changes of the “Master Plan”, Head-Royce's plan for renovation and reconstruction.

The World Languages Building is one of three new buildings built around the main courtyard of the upper school. The other two buildings are the Read Library and the main upper school building, which is perpendicular to Lincoln Avenue and has three levels. The bottom level houses the Jayhawk Café, run by the Epicurean Group. The faculty room, student-faculty lounge, computer lab, and upper school office are adjacent to the café. The second and third levels have most of the English, history, math, and science classrooms, including two biology labs and two chemistry labs.

The building parallel to the main upper school building houses additional math, history, language, and science (specifically physics) classrooms. It is commonly referred to as “the old middle school” because the middle school and high school switched places at the start of the 2008-2009 school year. This building is connected to the Paul Chapman Pavilion (the gym) which includes a weight room. Further east of the gym is the outdoor basketball court, the tennis courts, the athletics field, and the parking lot.

The Master Plan

The Master Plan was Head-Royce's multi-decade plan and execution of systematic strategic initiatives. The Master Plan renovated existing facilities by making them more spacious; better utilized technology as applicable to public education initiatives; increasing the school's endowment through corresponding expansionist measures.


Head-Royce's mascot is a Jayhawk named Tuffy. The high school competes as a member of the Bay Counties League - East (BCL East). The middle school competes as a member of the Bay Area Interscholastic Athletic League (BAIAL). Its rival is The College Preparatory School, commonly known as 'CPS'.

Athletic facilities on campus include the Paul Chapman Pavilion (commonly referred to as "the gym") for basketball and volleyball, three tennis courts (each named), and the Farley Field with the Jesse Becherer Diamond for soccer, baseball, softball, and lacrosse. Head-Royce also has several small practice basketball courts spread around campus. A new drainage system was installed underneath the field in the winter of 2005-2006 to prevent mud patches which had become a problem. The school has also installed a running path on a hill above the field which can be used for recreational running. A swimming pool is on campus for lower school swim lessons, PE classes, and the swim team, but it is not of regulation size and therefore does not host many meets. The golf team plays at Lake Chabot Golf Course, which is near the school. No plans to improve the athletic facilities have so far been revealed in the master plan.

In the 2005–2006 school year, the middle school varsity boys teams (high school class of 2010) went undefeated and won the championship in all three of their sports (soccer, basketball, and baseball). This is the first time in league history that the same school has won all three championships and gone undefeated in the three sports.

The high school men's varsity basketball team and women's varsity soccer team have won the BCL championship six years in a row. In the 2006 season, the women's varsity volleyball team won the BCL championship. The men's varsity soccer program has been extremely successful with multiple BCL championships and two NCS Championship appearances in the last 4 years. The men's varsity volleyball program were BCL champions in 2006 and 2007 and came in second in NCS in 2006. In 2009, the men's varsity baseball program won the NCS Championship. In 2010 the men's varsity soccer, basketball, and tennis programs all won the BCL championship. The 2012-2013 women's varsity soccer team made history by advancing all the way to the NCS Championship game.


Notable alumni


  1. ^ About Us (Our Mission), The Head-Royce School.
  2. ^ Admissions (Tuition & Fees), The Head-Royce School.

External links

  • Head-Royce School Official Website
  • Head-Royce School Master Plan

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