Alternative high school for struggling boy with ADD

My son is ADD and struggles to complete homework, remember things at school like writing things in his binder, he will start something and only do half because he forgets to finish it, and things like that. He HATES school. He feels stupid. He HATES sports, feels he's not good at anything. He does love computer games as so many ADD kids do. He loves to listen to music although he doesn't play it. He does have many friends so socially he's ok. For any families who may have similar children, what have you done? Homeschooling is not an option. Where do middle schoolers who graduate from East Bay School for Boys send their kids for high school? Does anyone have recent experience with Maybeck or Holden? Any schools out there that sound like what my kid needs?

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EBSB is starting a High School with a design focus.  Orinda Academy is supposed to be good.  REALM High School in Berkeley.  I'm assuming you have him fully treated and have set up systems to help him keep organized.

Please check out Orinda Academy. Your son sounds like mine. Mine also has learning differences. He struggled mightily through public middle school and started at OA as a freshman. He was a different kid almost immediately. Not that his LD and ADD problems went away, but his self esteem and view of school became dramatically better. He loves the small classes and actually enjoys going to school. On the LD and executive functioning, he still needed and needs tutoring. He is now a senior. He never would have made it through the public school. 


Look at Bayhill High School in Berkeley.  My son with ADHD is a sophomore there and is thriving. He had the same issues as your son.  At Bayhill, there is a maximum support for ADHD kids.  Every kid brings a chromebook to school every day.  All assignments are online and are turned in online, so no missing papers.  There is an "Academic Support" period each day where a teacher checks in with each kid to look at their current homework status in the online system (Jupiter) and see which assignments need to be completed or turned in, and then finish them in that class. Kids can also finish taking tests during Academic Support if they need to.  My son has been able to keep up with all his homework at school, even though he has more homework at Bayhill than he had at Berkeley High. He is taking all the classes he would have taken at BHS but now he's making A's and B's and he loves Chemistry and Math!  Bayhill also offers a teacher-led afterschool homework program that you can sign them up for, but my son hasn't needed that, so he can come home after school and chill now, without the burden of unfinished homework. Bayhill is really focused on supporting ADHD kids in exactly the ways they need, giving them tools they will need to succeed in college and beyond.  I wish public schools would adopt some of their methods, because these supports allow kids with ADHD to learn and flourish and be as smart as we know they are!

Bayhill Mom


I  forgot two wonderful services that Orinda academy provides. If homework is not turned in, then the student immediately goes on missing homework list.  An email goes out that same afternoon  to the student, the parents, the counselor and the dean of students notifying them that homework is missing and s/he must report to study hall during all the free periods the next day. ( there's typically at least one free period  each day.) The students stays on missing work and must go to study hall every day until the homework is turned in. It keeps the student completely  current and takes the onus off the parents. The school also sends out a progress report with comments from each teacher every two weeks. 


Holden has been a god-send for us (says this avowed athiest). My stepson was struggling in high school, academically, emotionally, you name it. We knew we had to get him out, no matter what.

Holden is small, which might not be foe everyone, but has worked well for him. Classes are very small, seminar-style, and students have a real sense of agency and involvement. All assignments get posted on the hallway bulletin board, and copies of handouts are available in the computer room. Feedback on assignments turned in comes primarily in gaining or losing lunchtime off-campus privilege. This might be challenging, but there is no centralizes tracking of grades and assignments for parents to track -- responsibility lies with the student, who has so much support from both teachers and their assigned counselor. (Parents can always call in and ask, but students are empowered. Such a change for our ADHD, never-turn-in-work kiddo.)

My stepson spent a day at the school, and surprised himself by how strongly he wanted to go there, even though he would have to leave a pretty strong friend group at his local high school.

I would be happy to talk off-line if you have questions.


My son went to BayHill High School which is now in Bkly. It was in Oakland when we went there which was a major schlep.

BayHill saved our lives. My son has learning differences and ADD. He was falling falling falling in his (wonderful but unable to  help him) private middle school.

In 8th grade he went to Raskob Learning Institute and from there to Bay Hill.  He found connection at both schools with kids who were just like him.
He's now 21, working full time and going to school at night;. He's still good friends with a few of his Bay Hill buddies. Wishing you the best.