Socioeconomic diversity at Aurora and Redwood Day?

Our family is thinking of applying to Aurora and Redwood Day for our incoming kindergartener (currently in TK). Our son is a gentle kid, dislikes calling attention to himself, and tends to be more of an observer until he feels comfortable about his environment. He is getting more confident and willing to try new things, but we're worried about sending him to our neighborhood school next year. It's great in many ways, but the class sizes are huge and we're worried about him getting lost in the crowd. We've heard that Aurora School and Redwood Day are both good at emphasizing social emotional development, so are considering applying. We're a biracial family and feel like we'd be going into the private school conversation with our eyes open in terms of issues of race, but we know much less about the socioeconomic diversity of places like Aurora and Redwood Day. Are families solidly middle/upper-middle class, or is there a range of families (more than a token "scholarship kid")? Will kids be arranging play dates from Rockridge, Montclair, etc? We could pay for private school but it would be a stretch, and we definitely already get pitying looks from Berkeley/Oakland residents when we tell them that we live in Hayward (I swear, parts of it are nice!). Thanks in advance for your comments.

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I just wanted to chime in on the looks of pity you receive when you say you live in Hayward. If you were to tell me you live in Hayward and are looking at these private schools in Berkeley you'd get a look of pity not because I feel sorry for you that you live in Hayward, but because of the horrendous commute that your family will have to endure every day! Just consider that this may be why people respond as they do. Nobody thinks that commuting is fun!

As for Redwood Day, you'll probably find more racial diversity than you expect.  I have friends at Montclair and Chabot who both say my kids' classes have WAY more racial diversity than their kids' classes.  As for socio-econonomic, you'll find a lot of upper class and upper middle class families, and a fair number of middle class families.  There are also a few lower middle class families (by Bay Area standards, at least!) and a number of single parent families (who, by default, end up with less money than dual income families).   I think the reason there aren't more lower middle/lower class families isn't  because the aid isn't available, but because private school is not on their radar.  If it's on your radar and you have the money to contribute to schooling (although not to pay for it entirely), I think you'll feel just fine - mostly because this is us!  And a number of families I know! Yes, there are people who do to Hawaii,skiing, etc for every break, but there are PLENTY of us who don't.  I don't know anyone coming from Hayward, but at Redwood Day most families are from Oakland, and then some from Alameda, Berkeley, San Leandro, Castro Valley, and Walnut Creek. AND, most importantly, Redwood Day is just an AMAZING school.  We could NOT be happier.  Social/emotional is fantastic, as is academic, and most importantly, my kids love school and love to learn!  There are plenty of families who would be happy to talk to you about all of the above if you contact Katrina in admissions. They are so good at honestly and directly answering questions just like this.     

My son just started in kinder at Aurora and he's biracial. We live in the flat lands of oakland and sending our son to a private school is definitely a financial sacrifice. Our son actually started the year at a public school but we felt it wasn't the right fit for him due to some of the issues you mentioned. So far we've been very happy with the Aurora community and the staffs. We had some reservations about pulling our son out of his school few weeks into the school year and starting over at a brand new school. But the kids and teachers have been so welcoming and supportive that it made his transition a lot easier than we expected. I encourage you go on a tour at Aurora and see for yourself. I will be happy to answer any other questions you might have.