BayHill, Orion, etc. LD kids

Hello. My twins are in 7th grade and we are looking into NPS options for high school.  They both have ADHD (combined type) and ASD (high functioning). My daughter struggles socially a LOT and deals w anxiety. My son is just pretty rigid in his thinking and doesn’t LOVE school. Both need A LOT of help w executive functioning skills

i am looking for recs on NPS.  Both kids should be able to go straight to college after high school, definitely my daughter academically.  I’ve read through all the old posts but as we know, the pandemic changed things. 

Any thoughts on BayHill or Orion Academy?  Orion seems super….formal and maybe not the best for my son. BayHill was ok but I’ve heard there are more behavior problems than in past.  We visited and every kid was on a cell phone texting and scrolling during class. I know every school has cell phone issues and behavior issues but for the amount we may pay, I expect a lot of oversight. Thoughts?

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Hello there -

It's such a hard decision to make, especially when your kid needs a different learning environment than their classmates!

My son struggles with similar challenges as your kids, and he has found his safe haven at Mentoring Academy. It's a tiny hidden gem of a school near Rockridge BART.

He was bullied in a private middle school not just by his peers, but also by the teachers, who just didn't get him. At Mentoring the "we meet your kids where they are"  - turned out to be true - for the first time ever. He's just finishing 9th grade, and has been more engaged and excited about learning than he was all throughout middle school. 
These folks truly "get" our kids - and they do so with humor and kindness. They understand that our kids' brains need to be stimulated differently. So how about they all go  to Mount Wilson Observatory for a week and workion the amazing telescopes that Hubble and Einstein worked with? ;-) But it also means cooking together, doing homework AT SCHOOL, and building your own desks. And all of that always with the eye on the prize - getting them into a good college.
I hope you will be able to experience the genuine community they have created - and your kids can come to visit, of course. To no fault of their own, they are currently looking for a new space. So if you decide to visit, please don't judge them by the building they are in currently.
All the best to you and your family - I hope Mentoring will be a revelation to all of you as it was to us. (To this day, most middle schools don't even know about them!)


Hi--no current experience--just commending you on thinking this through NOW.  We had to make a similar decision for my son 12 years ago.  He insisted he did not need the structure at Orinda Academy, and was in a Small Learning Community at Berkeley High School.  Teachers there were excellent--BUT he got by with "least effort necessary" , had good grades and reasonable SAT's, chose University of Puget sound for college--and was NOT prepared for the academic requirements, nor the social complexity, despite a coach etc--ended up with severe depression and a medical withdrawal late first semester.  We're still on the journey... (BTW, he eventually was ready for classes at our local Community Colleges--there are some excellent options--I think those of us with neurdivergent kids need to be careful about balancing appropriate expectations/accountability with love, encouragement, realism, and flexibility....)