Private school for social anxiety/but still academic

Anyone recommend a private school close to Berkeley for a third grader who has some social anxiety? I've looked at nearby private schools, but it's hard to tell what they're like until you're in--they all seem nice, but a few I've heard are a bit light on feedback about academic progress. If we're springing for private school (not an easy financial choice for us,) I'd want it to be warm/welcoming and have real academics--not too "fluffy." I also don't want to have to drive too far from Berkeley. Of course we're also late to the touring/application game--both in terms of grade level and the time of year (winter 2020.) And then covid makes it more complicated. If you have recommendations for schools far from Berkeley, that would be great too! We are always talking about moving. Thanks!!!

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We are in our first year at Prospect Sierra with our child who has diagnosed anxiety (manifesting in many ways including social interactions), and it has been great all around, including from social-emotional perspective. They started not at a natural entry grade (I don't want to give too many details and embarrass them) but we have found the teachers and other families to be very welcoming. Academics seem good (solid for most subjects, especially writing/English)  and no doubt will be better when we are on campus in person more in 2021. I think you have time to get in an application on the normal schedule, and we are very happy with PS and feel like it's worth the (expensive) tuition.

I would recommend Montessori Family School - they provide an emotionally safe and loving environment for students. Academically, MFS has given my daughter the skills to be thriving in high school. It's a wonderful and warm community.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

If you are looking for a strong academic environment that is supportive look no further than The Academy. This is a small school which emphasizes academic rigor through developing and nurturing curiosity and by challenging  children intellectually through developmentally appropriate, thoughtfully constructed and individualized curricula. This school equips children to be independent and creative thinkers. All this in a supportive environment that makes learning joyful. My daughter LOVES being at this school.  She will enter 3rd grade next year. My daughter can also be socially anxious. However, her outstanding, intelligent (emotionally and intellectually) teachers take the time to know her well and encourage her and challenge her in a way that builds confidence while expecting all that they believe she can do (which is a lot). The school emphasizes mutual respect and community responsibility as a way of being by doing.  No fluff here! Just a warm school that emphasizes being serious about the joy of learning. 

I have been really impressed with the Academy school on these dimensions. The school is like a big family, with very small classes of roughly 12-13 kids per class. In non-COVID times, the different grades played together a lot as well- when my son was in kindergarten, he'd leave school with kids in the 3rd or 4th grade saying "hi" to him. And, perhaps best of all, there's very little materialism or social cliques-- the school feels very warm and welcoming. The Academy is definitely academic and, in particular, really prizes the love of learning, so my guess is it would satisfy your criterion there. There are lots of special schools around Berkeley, and we definitely feel like the Academy is one of them! Here's the webpage:

Consider the size of the classes for your child with social anxiety. At The Academy, the single class for each grade  are so small that if your child doesn’t get along with the few children in her grade than there are no other options for them. You’d want to give your child some more choices for friends and some more wiggle room. 

We love The Berkeley School. We moved my son there for middle school from public (and private was also a significant financial decision for us) because of some ADD-related social challenges that made fitting in quite tough. Best decision I’ve ever made. The following year we moved our other child there in third grade because they started showing signs of social anxiety and I am so glad I did. Because social emotional development is such an important focus at TBS, I have always felt that they paid very close attention to what *my* children needed without my needing to hover to explain anything. I think they really are attuned to each of the students. And even though social anxiety is still a challenge for my second child, in the school environment it is totally different - clearly a place where both my kids felt safe. For kid #1, TBS really helped develop the needed social confidence. In addition to the school staff, for the last few years that we’ve been there, the student body has always just been an amazing kind group of kids (and thoughtful, conscientious, easygoing parents/caregivers). The academics have been great and as far as academic feedback, they do MAP testing which helps and I think have always been straightforward in providing feedback. I have heard positive feedback from friends about Prospect too. Good luck!