Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Besant Hill School is a co-educational boarding and day high school (grades 9-12) located in the beautiful resort town of Ojai, California, only 90 minutes northwest of Los Angeles and 12 miles from local beaches. Our close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) makes Besant Hill a likely destination for international students. We offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with a cornerstone of creative expression and divergent thinking supplemented with a full spectrum of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and an Instructional Support Program (ISP).

Learn How to Think, Not What to Think

Since 1946 our small California boarding school has been an environment where adolescents are cared for, allowed to grow, and can be themselves in a culture of learning. Our students take what they learn and synthesize new knowledge, by being innovative about the problems they are facing, and by becoming adaptable to change and new learning.

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At a Glance

  • Year Founded: 1946
  • Grades Offered: 9-12, PG
  • Campus Location: Ojai, California (90 miles northwest of Los Angeles)
  • Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges; member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the California Association of Independent Schools and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS).

Student Body

  • Total number of students: 100
  • 10 U.S. States represented: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin
  • 16 Countries represented: Nigeria, China, Hong Kong, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Austria, Taiwan, Mongolia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Panama, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Rwanda


  • Total Faculty: 27
  • Faculty with advanced degrees: 75%
  • Faculty-to-student ratio: 1:4
  • Average class size: 10
  • Faculty who live on campus: 70%


  • Number of courses offered: 62
  • Foreign Languages offered: Spanish, French
  • Colleges visiting campus (2015-2016): 30+
  • Seniors who enrolled in college ( 2015-2016 ): 100%
  • Instructional support: Yes
  • English as a second language (ESL): Yes


  • Team Sports: Basketball, Soccer, Cross-Country, Volleyball, Swimming
  • Intramural Sports: Golf, Crossfit, Yoga, Surfing, Dance, Aquatics
Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Campus & Facilities

Besant Hill School is located on a 520 acre (210 hectare) rural campus at the foot of the Topa Topa mountain range.  The campus features a six-acre organic farm, a small student-maintained herb garden, a dining commons, six residential dormitories, aquatic center, an online library facility, a state-of-the-art theater and recording studio, a darkroom, a digital design lab, extensive visual art studio space, and science laboratories.

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Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

“The sense of community at Besant hill is truly unique. I almost never felt homesick because I always felt at home. My teachers became my best friends, and my best friends became my brothers and sisters. I became excited to go to class and learn every day for the first time in my life. Besant hill really turned me on to learning.”


Our motto of “Aun Aprendo,” which means “I am still learning,” reflects our belief that life can be lived in its fullest sense through lifelong efforts toward personal development and growth. We believe we are a model for the way education should occur—where students are taught how to think, not what to think; where our land is a laboratory for a sustainable planet, where rules are replaced with values and principles developed by all of us; and where the arts are a foundation for our belief that creative expression is as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic. We believe that life is not about finding yourself—it’s about creating yourself.

Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Academic Program

Besant Hill School offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, including more than 20 art electives, AP-level courses, competitive athletics, travel and experiential education programs, small class sizes, and a 4:1 student-teacher ratio.

All students are required to complete a Capstone Project in an area of interest. This project includes an advisor to help guide the project and culminates in a presentation to the community. Recent projects have included art shows, internships, environmental sustainability research projects, and stage productions.

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Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning opportunities are available to students during school breaks. These travel experiences begin in the classroom, expand to the community, and eventually take the learning process to the world at large. Most recently, students have traveled to Nepal, Costa Rica, Australia, Greece, Cuba, Ecuador, and Galapagos Islands.

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Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Athletics & Fitness

Athletics and physical activity are integral parts of student life at Besant Hill School. Our school strives to provide meaningful athletic activities that will instill a passion for lifelong health and wellness in our students. Each season, all students are required to be enrolled in a fitness or team sport. A single season of a team sport is required between a student’s freshman and sophomore year, and again between a student’s junior and senior year.

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Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Summer Institute

Besant Hill School summer program is a comprehensive program for students eager to improve SAT scores, English language proficiency or dive into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math, including robotics) topics. Students enjoy weekend excursions such as university campus visits, beach days, Six Flags Amusement Park, museums and other fun Southern California attractions.

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Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Instructional Support Program (ISP)

ISPis a specialized program designed to meet the needs of all students at their current academic achievement level. Students with mild learning differences and/or academic challenges in organization and time management are given the support they need to achieve success in our rigorous college preparatory program. Our Instructional Support Center is designed to offer students individualized instruction in learning strategies. Organization and time management skills are the foundation of this program. Additionally, students receive both individual and small group support for the academic work of their core curriculum classes.

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College Acceptances

Besant Hill School engages students in a college counseling curriculum that spans all four years of their high school education. As a result, 100% of our graduates seek to continue their education in college and university. For the past five years, every graduating senior has attained admission to one of his or her top-choice schools, with over 90% matriculating directly to a four-year institution. Students attend a wide variety of institutions including a number of University of California schools, arts programs, small liberal arts colleges, and larger research universities.

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Besant Hill School of Happy Valley

Besant Hill School of Happy Valley
8585 Ojai Santa Paula Road
Ojai, California 93023
Phone: (805) 646-4343
Fax: (805) 646-4371
[email protected]

Under: Education
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