High school for well-behaved kid with learning differences


Our son is well-behaved, well-liked, works hard but REALLY struggles academically. He has an IEP and we also supplement with after- school private tutoring. He would not survive school without the extra support. He tries hard but just needs a lot of hand-holding to get his work done. I'm seeking recommendations for high schools in the East Bay that would be a good fit. My biggest concern with putting him in a high school for children with learning differences is that these high schools often have children with behavioral problems or quirky kids or have  very small enrollment. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with any type of child, it's just that my son doesn't want this type of environment. He wants to be with typically developing peers, play sports, go to school dances, etc but needs a kinder, gentler school that will be accommodating to his learning challenges. So far, Bishop O'Dowd, St. Mary's, Bentley and Athenian have been recommended to me. We also live in the Oakland Tech district and I'd be interested in hearing from people who have Oakland Tech experience for kids with learning challenges? 

thank you!


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My son, now 21, also well behaved with learning issues went to Bay Hill HS which is now in Berkeley (it was in Oakland when he was  there).
Bay Hill was established by teachers and parents from Raskob Learning Institute (grades 3-8). Bay HIll and Raskob saved our lives!!
We were able to get reasonable financial aid for the 3 years my son was there (for 12th grade he went to El Cerrito High).

Wishing you the best.

You should definitely look at Bayhill High School.  It's in Berkeley a few blocks north of Berkeley High School.  My son just started there as a sophomore so I don't have much first-hand experience, but my son sounds like your son - he also needs a lot of handholding but he does very well academically if he gets that.  We sought out Bayhill after freshman year at the public high school where he did OK socially and academically thanks to a 504 plan and a ton of intervention from us. But he needs MUCH more scaffolding to learn and succeed than the public school was able to provide. So far we are all very pleased with the school. Bayhill's curriculum is college prep and follows state standards closely, but the teaching style is customized for kids with learning differences. They don't accept kids with behavioral issues although there do seem to be quirky kids here and there. It's pretty diverse - kids come from all over the east bay, many of them are there because their school district placed them and pays their tuition, so it's not your typical affluent mostly white private school.  Classes are very small, no more than 10 kids. So the teachers know exactly where every kid is, and can support them as needed. There are only 20 kids per grade, 80 total in the school, so socializing is easy for shy kid like mine.  The first week at Bayhill my son told me excitedly that he likes being called on in class at Bayhill, because he knows the answers, so he can help out his classmates.  This is in contrast to last year, where he was the slow kid in class who got complaints and teasing because he was holding up his group. Bayhill is not a big school, but they seem to make an effort to offer the same kinds of activities as bigger schools. There is an after school sports program, there are clubs that meet twice a week during the school day, kids can leave the campus at lunchtime, there are dances throughout the year, lots of field trips, and a prom - Bay cruise with dinner and a DJ!  Everybody I talked to seems happy to be there, including the teachers. I know that their freshman class is full to capacity but when we applied they had a few openings for sophomores and juniors, and it is not unusual for kids to come in after freshman year.  Good luck with your search and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.