Orinda Academy for shy ADHD boy?

Hi Fellow Parents,

My son is currently in 7th grade, has ADHD with auditory disorder and difficulty with long term memory.  He is shy & a bit immature & doesn't engage in sports.  He is currently in public school & succeeds in the resource classroom since it is 1:7 teacher/student ratio.  But his other classrooms are too big and he can't remember the instructions and gets easily distracted with all the students. He also struggles with the common core instruction.    I am looking for a small private middle or high school that has small class sizes but that is big enough to give him a high school experience and have a balance of preparing him to get admitted into a 4 year college.  I have looked into schools that have LDs or kids with social delays and I am wondering if that is the right fit for him.  I want him to have a variety of choices for friends but not too big that he feels lost.  I am looking into Orinda Academy and I am wondering if anyone has any experience with the school and can provide feedback?  Any other suggestions?  Any school from Pleasanton up Hwy 680-Hwy 24 to Orinda would work. 

Thank you for your help & feedback!

Parent Replies

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I think Orinda might be a good fit; small class sizes, lots of structure and support; full-time learning specialist and yet many of the same activities of larger schools (dances, prom, electives). 

My son has many of the same issues. He started at Orinda Academy as a freshman and is now a senior. I wish I had started him in eighth grade. The school has been perfect for him. He hated the public schools as did I. He liked OA at first sight, and has loved going to it always. He's a different kid. He gets the support he needs there. I don't have to fight the school every step of the way, although I do keep on top of them. The school responds quickly to his needs. The classes are small, from 3-9 kids. The teachers know him inside out. He got into all of the colleges he applied to and got scholarships at all of them. For a variety of reasons, he is taking a gap year and has deferred his acceptances.

On the social level, he finally has a close set of friends that have lasted; that never happened before. I haven't heard of any bullying and am sure it would be shut down quickly. Yes it's a tiny school and doesn't offer as many opportunities, socially or academically, as a public school. We were very worried about that, but on the whole it has not been an issue.  I'm not sure how much my son would have taken part in the larger social offerings or sports at a large school anyway. The school listened to us about course variety and has tried new approaches this year to address this; it worked for an extra class for my son.

I would recommend the school. And they do have financial aid for those qualifying. They have an open house coming up mid April.

Feel free to contact me if you want.

We go to Orinda Academy and love it. My son has been there since sixth grade (now 8-12), is a sophomore now and has really flourished. He came in with ADD and Sensory Processing disorder so I can relate to the large classroom problem. He still has his organizational struggles and the small, supportive environment has helped him find tools to get his work done. He went from being internally focused to a confident, friendly student, finding his group of friends. I am happy to email or chat with you about our experience and I will be at the open house on April 19th. Let me know if I can be helpful.

My daughter switched to Orinda Academy as an 8th grader.  She was enrolled in a small private middle school but after discovering her LD status we found it too dogmatic/inflexible. She's a junior now and has really benefited from the support at OA. She's better able now to organize her own assignments/meet deadlines and is excited to start the college search process. Socially, the kids are pretty open and there's a good balance of shy and extroverted students. Extracurricular activities are available and kids can implement their own ideas such as starting a new club or promoting a charity drive for domestic abuse victims which my daughter thought of last year.  

I'm happy to provide more details if you'd like more info.