Considering long commute for our Fifth grader

We are a family of three in Oakland. Our fifth grade son has a lot of social emotional challenges that have caused problems for him in public schools. We have been searching and have found Esther B. Clark Elementary School in Palo Alto, and we think that it may be the best place for him.

We are prepared to do anything we have to do to make sure that he can access the education that he needs. But given the commute time which is approximately an hour in each direction, we are curious about commuting options that may exist. Does anyone know about a rideshare or other transportation options that might exist for a family in Oakland who needs to send their child to school in Palo Alto?

Thanks for any feedback.

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I understand that the school may be a good fit for your child. But I would talk to your child and consider things like playdates/ after school activities should your child make friends at the new school. Is it likely most of the kids will be from Palo Alto or the surrounding area? The distance seems like it could further isolate your child. 

I say this as a kid who went to school in NYC..  when I was at a privite school in Manhattan, families who lived in different burroughs had to work harder for out of school social interactions.  Kids rarely went to their places. It was amazing school that really helped lots of kids have friends and not get teased that may have struggled elsewhere (kids with disabilites etc). It was a Quaker (Friends) school. You may want to look into SF Friends. I don't know anything about that Friends school but I know my school was very pro inclusiveness and overall amazing. But still was harder for kids who lived further. 

Later I went to a public school in the Bronx where almost everyone had a long commute. We all rode the subway and it was a built in time to chat with/ make friends. But it was exhausting getting up before 6am everyday to get to school on time. We were also old enough to commute on our own. I would consider more than just the fit of the school for your child. Their experience will be influenced by the commute. Is your child a morning person? Will they get to school tired because they had to get up extra early? Will they possibly play sports or join a school club that will extend their day? 

Sorry it's not really an answer to your question. Just my 2 cents. 

I don't have recommendation for commuting options to Palo Alto, I just know that it's a brutal commute. I would recommend checking out Core Academy in Concord. It's small independent school that caters to students with learning difference who don't fit in with the traditional public school environment. I know there are several families who live in Oakland and commute to Core. The school offers a shuttle pick up/drop off in downtown Walnut Creek. 

EBC (as its often known) is a great program.  To my knowledge, many if not all of the kids at EBC are sent their by their home school districts because an in-district placement option is not able to best meet the child's needs.  In those situations, the sending school district pays all fees and also provides transportation. Generally this is a minivan from a company with a driver.  I would encourage you to move through the IEP process to get an EBC placement covered as then everything will be taken care of.  Usually this involves hiring an attorney or advocate to help push the school district to approve the placement.  I would imagine the costs would be astronomical as private pay, both for the education as well as the transportation. 

You would need to have a referral from OUSD to enroll in this particular school based on your child's IEP and diagnoses and an assessment that the district can't provide these services through its own programs. That referral can also include transportation to and from the school, if it's determined that there are no closer programs that can meet his needs.