High school suggestions for an unusual kid

We’re considering a move to the Bay Area for a new job opportunity. Our 14 year old daughter has been assessed by a psychologist and is considered highly gifted, struggles with slow processing speed, anxiety and some depression. She’s also extremely shy and has difficulty making friends.  She does very well academically, but cannot find similar peers and consequently hates school (ugh). She’s a bit eccentric, quirky, not mainstream in her hobbies or tastes, which makes finding friends even harder. She’s also very artistic and loves making elaborate costumes, crafts and working with her hands. Any suggestions for a smaller, private high school that might be a good fit? Of course we’re aware she may not gain entry into a particular school but we’re just starting our investigation. Many thanks all! 

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Although I do not have firsthand experience at either school, sounds like you might want to look into Maybeck and also Oakland School for the Arts in the production track?

The Bay Area is quite large, with 9 counties, so if you can be a little more specific on location, you might get better answers. That said, Maybeck in Berkeley might be a good fit. https://www.maybeckhs.org/

I know brilliant quirky kids who have thrived at Maybeck (private school in Berkeley), Oakland School for the Arts (charter school in Oakland), and Berkeley High School.

I agree with post re: Maybeck and Oakland School for the Arts! I have had one kid at OSA and one currently at Maybeck. Both schools=fantastic. OSA is full of quirky kids, most with some sort of having a different brain. My daughter excelled there and due to her LD can barely read. OSA has great support and help. Maybeck is small, also has quirky but somewhat more like a traditional school. Both extremely okay with "different." Good luck.

I highly recommend Bayhill High School in Berkeley. Our daughter is a first-year, and it has been transformative for her, both academically and socially. The school is dedicated to students with a range of learning differences; teachers are not only well trained in teaching and inspiring such students, blending a strong sense of accountability and respect with appropriate support, but they also tend to stay on at the school for a very long time. There is very little turnover, even nowadays, and this is huge. Kudos go to Donna Austin, the head of the school, who really really gets these kids. You should know that the school is tiny (80+ students, total, at the moment), with a large percentage of commuters (because it is so special). This has advantages and disadvantages, but for us it is great so far.

This sounds like it could have been written by me back when my daughter was in high school.  After my daughter who meets this description almost to the T tried a few other school environments, she finally landed at Holden High School and it fit her like a glove. 

Try Holden High in Orinda.  It's small, and very artsy and flexible.  

Try Holden High in Orinda.  It's small, artsy and flexible, and can support learning differences.  My kid is dyslexic and also 2E and he loved it.  We left the area, but we know kids who went there who were dyslexic, had anxiety, OCD, and ADHD.  It's also near the Orinca BART, so easy to get to by public transport. 

I second the suggestion of Oakland School for the Arts. For some artistic and quirky kids, it is a godsend. My attended daughter many years ago and I know admissions have changed since then (it used to be by audition, but now I think it is an application? Not sure), so you would need to look into that. It also used to be harder to start in high school, rather than middle school, since fewer openings were available, but not sure now. These are things you would need to look into. 

You might want to check out Maybeck HS (https://www.maybeckhs.org/) - they seem to specialize in embracing quirky kids.

Maybeck would be worth checking out. Also Drew School in San Francisco.

Good Luck!

I'm a Head of a K-8 Independent School in the East Bay and have toured a number of high schools so I'm well informed about the landscape. I also have two kids (now adults) who attended high schools in the East Bay. Without knowing your daughter, it's hard to really know where she would do best, but I recommend checking out Bay Hill, Orinda Academy, Holden High School, Maybeck, Tilden Prep, and Fusion Academy.

Your child sounds a lot like mine. We're exploring high school options right now and leaning toward Holden High School in Orinda. If a more demanding academic program works for your kid, you'll have more options, like Maybeck. If you end up moving to the area and would like to connect, please get in touch!

My son, who struggles with OCD, ADHD and slow processing speed, has had a great experience at Tilden Prep in Albany, Classes are all one-on-one, so essentially private tutoring, but in a really nice community academic environment on Solano Avenue. Even though kids aren't in class together, there are lunchtime clubs, potlucks, field trips, and group art classes, so he's developed friendships and a really nice sense of community at the school. The extremely friendly staff has been happy to assist where he needs support around time and task completion, and his teachers are wonderful. Definitely worth checking out for your daughter. Good luck!

Thank you all for your wonderful ideas. Much appreciated.