The Buckley School is a K–12 school that enrolls a total of 830 students. Approximate division sizes are: 270 in grade K–5; 210 in grades 6–8; and 345 in grades 9–12, allowing for an average class size of 17 students. The school's Middle and Upper divisions follow an eight-day block schedule, including both 45-minute and 90-minute class times. The school’s Lower division follows a five-day schedule and combines a developmental approach with structure. All divisions are located on a single 18-acre campus in Sherman Oaks, California. Buckley is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the California Department of Education. It is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.
The Buckley School was founded as an "independent co-educational institution" by Isabelle Buckley in 1933 based on her own "4-Fold Plan of Education", which equally emphasizes academics, arts, athletics, and an ethical education. Early campuses were located in Los Angeles, Encino, Tarzana, and the school had two locations in Sherman Oaks. In 1964, Isabelle Buckley purchased land from the Glenaire Country Club in Sherman Oaks, and by 1973 all five divisions of the school were consolidated at the Stansbury Avenue location. In 2008, the city of Los Angeles approved campus enhancements to be completed over a six-year (non-consecutive) total building period. Construction began in 2011; Phase III of Buckley's Campus Enhancement Plan began in late 2014 and is scheduled to end in late 2016.
By the end of 2016, the school will have added three new buildings to support academics, including specialized science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classrooms, as well as the performing arts, including dance and music rehearsal spaces, a black-box theatre, and a state-of-the-art performance and community gathering space. Improvements also have included a renovated and fully modernized Middle and Upper School library and administrative offices, renovated classrooms, including the addition of a world languages lab, and renovated college counseling, admission, and Lower School administrative offices.
Buckley's Lower, Middle, and Upper divisions share a single 18-acre (7.3 ha) campus. According to the school's website, facilities include more than 60 classrooms, two libraries, an indoor gymnasium and theatre, a 4-acre (1.6 ha) outdoor field and stadium, an indoor pool, a weight-training facility, an outdoor basketball court, two Lower School play yards, a nature trail, and a garden and outdoor classroom/patio. Buckley is one of the oldest co-educational day schools in Los Angeles, and one of the few with all K–12 students on one campus. The school's Academic and Performing Arts Building opened in 2012, followed by its Mathematics and Science Building in 2013. These buildings feature modern music, theater, dance, and art classrooms, as well as a new theatre, journalism classroom, student technology center, digital arts and music center, and science classrooms with prep areas for labs. Buckley's Center for Community and the Arts is expected to be completed in 2016.
The school's motto is "Dare to Be True". The "Buckley Commitment", which is displayed in all classrooms and is signed by students and teachers at the start of each academic year, sets expectations for respect, kindness, honesty, loyalty, self-discipline and self-reliance. The school's dress code dates back to its founding and has been modernized in the intervening years. Today, boys wear a combination of polo shirts, khakis pants or shorts, sweaters in the school’s colors (red, black, or gray) and Buckley sweatshirts; girls wear skirts with tights, black jeans, sweaters in school colors, polo shirts, or Buckley sweatshirts. Buckley's mascot is the griffin.
Buckley offers a variety of student activities, as well as after-school and summer programs. Interscholastic sports include baseball for male students and softball and volleyball for female students; co-ed sports include basketball, cross-country running, equestrian sports, soccer, swimming and diving, and tennis. The school maintains a no-cut policy in Middle School athletics.
The school's newspaper is the award-winning publication The Student Voice. In 1998, Los Angeles Times presented the school with a "general excellence award" as part of its annual High School Journalism Awards competition, earning Buckley $1,000 for its journalism program. In 2010 and 2012, The Student Voice received "High School Newspaper Silver Crown" awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). In 2015, individuals contributors were recognized in the categories "Sidebar writing", "Sports Page Design", and "Single Subject News or Feature Package, Double-truck or Special Section Design" at the CSPA's 32nd Gold Circle Awards.