Orinda Academy High School

We are strongly considering Orinda Academy for our student next year. He has ADHD and so needs a smaller educational environment which supports individual learning styles, while at the same time provides high level academics. Orinda Academy looks like a great school and I'd love to hear from parents who currently have students there!

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RE: Orinda Academy High School ()

After struggling with getting support for our son in the public school system, as well as continued social issues, we enrolled our son last year at Orinda Academy. 

The move to Orinda Academy has been a game changer. We no longer hover over him to get his schoolwork done, he has friends, and he loves the school environment. For me, the best part has been the positive change to his self-esteem. My son is now confident and comes out of school laughing and joking with his friends.

It is a return to the happy boy who disappeared when we entered public school.

RE: Orinda Academy High School ()

Hi. I have a senior at Orinda Academy, and she has been there since freshman year. She does not have ADHD, but has some dyslexia and is also just a person that thrives in a more personal, smaller educational environment that, as you say, supports individual learning styles. She has often mentioned how supportive and kind the staff and teachers are, and how she feels comfortable communicating and asking for help as needed. The place itself is calm and quiet with many places to hang out and rest or study during breaks and study hall. The staff is very committed and communicative. Head-of-school Nancy Rowland is 100% in, and works tirelessly forging and shaping the school in the present, and for the future.

RE: Orinda Academy High School ()

Our 9th grader started at OA this year.  He also has ADHD.  We found that district traditional schools just couldn't serve his needs, and he was starting to feel stupid.  We'd get reports from the teachers where they'd say X is so smart, but...  It was really disheartening.

OA does a great job helping the kids get up to speed with high academic standards - he has two study periods with teachers to help with homework.  They understand kids with ADHD, and what they need to stay on track and learn those tasks they need for improved executive functioning.  We had open house last week - it was great to see the small classes and how well the teachers knew each kid and what they needed.  The teachers could really focus on what each kid needs - your kid needs more homework to practice, done; kid b needs XYZ encouragement, done; etc.  To be completely honest, it feels like their teaching methods could benefit any kid - ADHD or otherwise.  But definitely the small atmosphere has been great.  We were a little worried that the small school would lack diversity (and our kid would be the one brown kid), but that has not been the case.  

We have an older son in a traditional district high school, from our experience so far with OA it is more academically rigorous than what we've experienced with our older son's school.  OA gives digital access to his daily homework, grades, teacher feedback, so we're seeing exactly what he's working on and how he's doing.

So far, really happy with our decision for our son to attend OA.

RE: Orinda Academy High School ()

I dont have experience at Orinda Academy-- we did consider them as well, but we eventually went with Bentley.  Our son has adhd inattentive and Bentley has a small class size (61 total Freshman) and also has a nuerodiverse club for kids with learning differences.  They do have executive function requirements but they provide a great team for our son to teach him to advocate for himself. We liked the idea of still having some autonomy in a more structured/typical class setting so he could learn how to advocate for himself. I would give them a look if you haven't as we have been impressed so far with their policy and support for nuerodivergent kids. 

RE: Orinda Academy High School ()

We also have a teen with ADHD who just was not thriving at our local high school. They were simultaneously bored, disengaged and yet stressed. They dreaded going to school every day.
OA is so much different. Classes are tiny so they are much more conversational and engaging. The kids get a lot of individual attention. There are study periods built into the day so they can have some help with homework. The teachers are all excellent. My teen likes that it’s very small because they find it more peaceful. I’d say it isn’t good for a kid super into sports…but that’s pretty obvious. 🤣

The best part is that they don’t hate going to school every day!

They also offer financial aid, and have some transportation options from the East Bay (at an additional cost).

RE: Orinda Academy High School ()

My 9th grader (they/them) started at Orinda Academy a few weeks ago, and we've been very pleased. They are autistic and wanted to be at a small school with small classes having other students who needed support (which was also the case at their prior school). Our child doesn't tell us much about what goes in their life, but they've said that all of the students and teachers are kind, which was great to hear. When they briefly went nonverbal at the orientation, nobody made fun of them, and we heard that a few students asked their preferred mode of communication. When they felt overwhelmed on their second day of school, the learning specialist and counselor were very helpful, and everyone has been willing to make sure they have any accommodations they need. With the exceptions of those bumps, they like school and especially the friends they've made there. We feel they're in good hands.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you have any more questions.

RE: Orinda Academy High School ()

Thank you for your posts about Orinda Academy! This is helpful, encouraging, and addresses my concerns about finding a good fit for my student with anxiety and ADHD.