2E school recs? east bay/marin? project based learning?

hi all

we currently attend a private school in oakland. our kid has adhd and is currently being tested for mild ASD. mainly social struggles. thrives in project based learning and we are concerned he will fall through the cracks of pubic schools. am i incorrect? are there charter schools for this? are there private school that specialize in this? he excels in math/tech, struggles with language comprehension and social skills. we are open to sending him anywhere in the east bay or even marin county.

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You didn't say the age of your child, but my daughter has a very similar profile and we've found a High School that meets her needs fairly well- Latitude High (a public charter school). It is a project based learning school with a block schedule, small groups of kids that stay in the same pod over the 4 years, and a wonderful special education department that supports her IEP. If your child is younger, I would encourage you to look at the reel2e.org site in general, they have a list of schools that may serve 2e learners (reel2e.org/post/2e-private-school-panel-2022). Feel free to reach out as well and good luck in your search!

Hi, my daughter is autistic and we're getting her evaluated for ADHD as well.  She also has social challenges and communication challenges as well.  We live in the east bay in Pleasant Hill/ Walnut Creek area and she definitely did not have a place in our school district.  

I looked everywhere for a school in the east bay and found Big MInds; they have a Pleasanton and Pinole Campus (we attend Pleasanton.)  I cannot recommend this school enough.  It's a private school just for 2E learners that goes from 1st-8th grade. My daughter loves it, my husband and I love it.  

Here's the website - good luck with your search!


My kid has ADHD and excels in math/reading but struggles with social skills/impulse control. Public school was not a good fit and we opted for a private school. Check out Core Academy in Concord. This is our 2nd year there and the teachers have been great with dealing with my child's needs. We know several families who commute from Oakland. The school offers a shuttle service that picks up and drops off in downtown Walnut Creek. 

Check out Tilden Prep.  They have campuses in Albany and Walnut Creek, and an affiliate in Marin.  It's not exactly project-based learning, but classes are taught 1:1 so it's very flexible and the pacing is individualized, and the whole social aspect of school is kind of optional.  The school has a mastery-based system in which kids basically can't fail; if they don't earn at least a B grade in a class, they keep working on that material until they do. What a concept, no more "you got a D/F, on to the next unit" but "here's what you need to learn, we'll keep teaching it and testing it in different ways until you succeed"!  It's expensive, especially if your kid takes a long time to get through a "semester" class (you more or less pay by the class hour, rather than a set amount of tuition per semester or per year); it was worth it for my 2E son whose freshman year in public high school was a disaster.  They offer a solid range of classes, including honors and AP, and have both full time students and part timers who are taking just a class or two to supplement their schedule at another school. (My other kid took French III at Tilden after taking I and II at, and while still primarily enrolled in, public HS, long story, but we were very glad to have the option.)

Hi - I’m a mom of a 2e boy who is on the spectrum. Your situation sounds similar to ours. We enrolled our son at Big Minds Unschool when he was in 2nd grade and he will be graduating this year! We are forever thankful for this wonderful school which allowed him to develop his strengths and tackle his challenges in an environment free from bullying and negativity. The school has locations in Pinole and Pleasanton. There are numerous students from Berkeley and Oakland who are enrolled at the Pinole site. You can learn more at bigmindsunschool.org. 

I would look at Big Minds Unschool.  They have a small campus in Pinole and another one in Pleasonton.  The founder, Melanie Hayes, is great!  She looked over my kid's assessment and gave me some great insights that I didn't get over at Summit Center, the clinic that specializes in gifted kids.  The school is based on the Sudbury model where the curriculum is student driven with support and guidance from the teacher.  It's small and designed specifically for the needs of 2E kids.  If you're not familiar with that term, 2e are kids who have advanced-level strengths and some kind of learning difference, like ASD, ADHD, or dyslexia.  When I toured it, I liked it a lot, and loved Dr. Hayes, but we ultimately decided my son was going to need more remediation than what the school could do.  So that's important to know--although a lot of private schools won't be able serve some LD kids.  But I know other kids who did great there.