Viewpoint School

Founded in 1961, Viewpoint School offers a K–12 college preparatory program on a 40-acre campus located in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. The school operates under the leadership of head of school Mark McKee, who has worked in school leadership for 20 years and has been at Viewpoint for seven years.

How does your school empower kids and give them a voice?

“Our assembly program gives our youngest students the opportunity to start public speaking. Each year we punctuate the first week of school with a convocation ceremony with our seniors welcoming our kindergarten class to Viewpoint. Our senior speech program is a graduation requirement and invites each student to write and present a five-minute statement of the personal beliefs and values that guide their thoughts and actions. Each year our seniors demonstrate courage, intelligence and character, delivering speeches that are deeply personal and thought-provoking. In its sixth year, our annual Diversity Leadership Day offers middle and upper school students a day for self-exploration, discussion and reflection. This is a unique opportunity for students to explore and discuss the issues that are of greatest concern to them.”

How is your school helping kids cope with pandemic-related stress?

“Our mission is to create exceptional readiness for extraordinary futures by cultivating the critical skill set, courageous mindset and resilient identity of each Viewpoint student. We prioritize our students’ wellness and mental health needs so they can thrive while they’re at our school and when they graduate. 

This year we implemented a later start time for middle and upper school students that aligns with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC. This year also saw the addition of dedicated wellness staff on our campus led by Rebecca Heller, director of student wellness grades TK–12, and supported by a team of school counselors, nurses and human development teachers. 

Our Student Support team and learning specialists provide additional resources for our students to address issues in real time. We implement a social and emotional learning approach to teaching and discipline to create safe, joyful and engaging learning environments. Our advisory program for middle and upper school students includes programming around mental health awareness and resources. We have diverse sports offerings, and physical education is required in all grades—enhancing the mind-body connection. 

There is a plan underway to raise funds to build a Peak Performance Center on our campus—a full-service, state-of-the-art training facility that will allow us to better support our student athletes physically and emotionally. To further ensure our students thrive academically, emotionally and socially while at Viewpoint and when they graduate, preliminary plans are in place to open a Wellness Center on our campus.”

What does your school offer that makes kids say “Wow!”?

“The opportunities to wow our students are significant—from academics and the arts to athletics and electives that are offered in middle and upper school. Whether it’s dance or robotics or languages or coding, we encourage our students to discover their passions while they’re here. 

Our theatre program is bringing live musical theatre back to our Carlson Family Theater this spring with family-friendly productions of Cinderella and Disney’s Descendants. After a two-year pause, nearly 100 middle and upper school students are rehearsing for our upcoming productions.

Our arts department— film, dance, music, theatre and visual arts—is valued and has inspired career paths among our alumni. Featured as one of this issue’s Faces of the Future is Viewpoint senior Madeleine Case, who started here in kindergarten. She began taking film courses in eighth grade and has just completed filming Hardcore, which she also directed. Through the film program she found a creative community in which to explore her love of visual storytelling among enthusiastic and dedicated peers. Senior Alden Stone is featured in this issue as well. In addition to studying film, Alden takes sports media classes at Viewpoint. He has combined his passion for athletics and content creation with his video editing skills to find work in sports media.”

In what ways is your school extraordinary?

Mark McKee: “As Viewpoint School contemplates 60 years of service to our community, we rededicate ourselves to the ideals and drivers of exceptional future readiness. Beyond our legacy of academic distinction and college preparedness, Viewpoint systematically cultivates the critical skill set and courageous mindset that yield world-ready graduates. We see in them the leaders they are becoming—ready to serve and to fulfill a purpose beyond themselves.

World-ready graduates possess the cognitive capacity to learn any subject. They tackle complex problems whose solutions cut across subjects and disciplines. They perceive relationships among parts and imagine the greater whole. Their empathy and emotional intelligence fuel their propensity to connect and collaborate joyfully with others. Their profound self-belief and self-determination enable them to thrive amid ambiguity and uncertainty. 

These powerful personal foundations are forged in a tight-knit campus family where each student is known, respected and included. Our promise is that every child experiences a powerful sense of belonging. Our Viewpoint culture generates optimism, resilience and long-term success.”