Looking for a wonderful high school in the east bay

My brother is moving his family from eastern Europe, where his middle school aged daughter is attending a very rigorous school, and they are looking to find the right high school for her.  She is very smart, very advanced academically, but has been bullied due to being "different" (being half American) and so she needs a challenging school that is also known for being kind and welcoming.  She is also probably a bit sheltered in terms of moving to a big American city.  Any suggestions, both public and private?  They don't have a ton of money.  Thank you so much.  


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San Ramon has wonderful High Schools which are very rigorous.  The most rigorous is Dougherty High School but the other High Schools are rigorous also.   San Ramon is generally safe.   The community is diverse, the public schools are fantastic, it is safe and a family oriented community.  San Ramon has apartments but they also have very affordable townhouses and free standing homes.  The town houses are much less expensive than the free standing homes.   San Ramon is only 25 minutes from Oakland.  San Ramon has lots of neighborhood parks and Las Trampas East Bay Regional Park.  San Ramon is building a new outdoor shopping/walking around plaza which will feature a combination of living space upstairs (rental units) and shopping and a luxury eat-in movie theater 10-plex downstairs. Here is some information regarding the new plaza called City Center in San Ramon http://www.citycenterbishopranch.com/.  There are also a lot of small businesses in San Ramon.

I definitely recommend El Cerrito High School and living in El Cerrito. El Cerrito is small and walkable, and with two Bart stations so it is easy to get around if you want to. The middle and high school are smallish, diverse, and welcoming; she should join a club or team right away, it is a great way to make like-minded friends. The high school is as challenging as the student seeks, they can take more or less challenging courses as they choose.

You should definitely look at Orinda Academy! It has a very welcoming atmosphere and has an international student population so I'm sure she'd feel comfortable there. There is a big emphasis on acceptance and embracing differences PLUS it has a college prep curriculum and small class sizes.

For private schools, it sounds like your niece would fit in well at Maybeck in Berkeley.  

As for public schools, most East Bay public schools are pretty good.  Schools in Orinda, Walnut Creek, Dublin, and San Ramon are all excellent.  But I also highly recommend schools in Piedmont, Berkeley, and Albany.

If your family ends up in Berkeley, they might want to sign up for BIHS -- Berkeley International High School -- which is part of Berkeley High. Many students in the school have parents from Europe (and also the Middle East.)