Raskob Day School


Private School
operated by Holy Names University
Website: http://www.raskobinstitute.org
Phone: (510) 436-1275
3520 Mountain Blvd. Oakland, CA 94619
Program Type: 
Certified nonpublic school, Special needs support

Parent Q&A

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  • Can anyone share recent experiences with Raskob Learning Institute in Oakland? I’m looking for an alternative to public school for my 7 year old with HF Autism and sensory processing disorder. Pros/Cons? If you decided on another school other than Raskob, please share. Thanks!

    My kid was in Raskob a couple of years ago.  My understanding is that they don't really specialize in the needs of spectrum kids, so it might not be a good fit.  They have a new ED, so maybe things have changed.

  • Current Review for Raskob Day School

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    We are applying to Raskob for our third grader who has struggled both socially and academically in public school. It has been hard to get a feel for what this school is like during COVID and I wanted to see if there were current families that can advise on the feel of the school, how they handled or are handling COVID/distance learning and how they support students socially. It seems like the school can help with the educational supports that our child needs but the other aspects are not as clear.  Feel free to contact me privately if needed. Thanks in advance. 

    No responses received.

  • Considering Raskob for 4th Grader

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    My child has been assessed as 2E- twice exceptional- high vocabulary, comprehension and visual/spatial - with severe dyslexia, discalculia, some ADD/not hyper- and excellent behavior.  If you have thoughts about Raskob or other schools I would love to talk to you. Thanks! 

    No responses received.

  • Curious about Raskob

    (2 replies)

    Hello I am a parent who is looking at Raskob for my child… I have seen mixed reviews and was hoping to get some new updated information from current parents. Our child has some struggles with reading and is doing OK in school but I feel like there should be more. Thank you to anybody who can reply to this question.

    Hi there.  My kid is at Raskob.  It works well for some kids and isn't so great for others.  When it's a good fit it's a safe space where kids with LD can feel safe and start to learn.  Feel free to email me privately.   

    I have very mixed feelings about Raskob. My daughter did their summer programs twice but never did the actual school year so take my comments with a grain of salt. I feel like she learned a lot the first summer and learned very little the second. Even though we let the school know months in advance exactly what skills she needed to work on, the actual teacher completely ignored our emails. She definitely knew best and couldn't be bothered to waste any time reading or paying attention to anything that stupid Berkeley helicopter parents thought. What we asked them to focus on were the things that we had been told needed to be addressed during our last SST meeting with the school before summer break. But she couldn't be bothered. If they had paid attention to the information that I was sharing with them but decided to focus on something else and let me know what they were doing and why, I would have been fine. But instead the teacher said something like "oops, I got the email but was so busy that I couldn't be bothered to read it. But, we know best so don't worry about the fact that we completely ignored the school's input." After spending $3,000, I was livid that the school's concerns were ignored. It cost a fortune, the teacher couldn't be bothered to read my email, and very little progress was made. It's also really hard to work full-time and deal with getting a kid there and back, even with a carpool.

    The biggest issue that I had was the attitude that my daughter came home with every day. She started being really condescending to us and acting like a tween (she was going into second grade at the time). I was mortified by the sound of her voice and the things that she was saying. We'd never gotten the condescending teenager treatment before she spent time at Raskob. The kids at her regular school are relatively nice and well behaved. At Raskob she was around a lot of very wealthy kids with very bad attitudes. Unfortunately kids who struggle with school often have behavior and anger issues because it's embarrassing not to be able to easily do what the other kids can do. She was around a lot of older kids and picked up on their bad language and attitudes. I'm not saying that she learned how to swear (she already knew that), it was more the condescending tone and treatment of us as morons who should not be listened to. I noticed it the first summer but thought that I was being paranoid. When it started up again the second summer, I knew that it wasn't a coincidence.

    She also got into an altercation with one of the older kids and ended up with a broken bone. The director didn't seem to think that it was a big deal and the older kid never apologized or took any responsibility for hurting a much smaller child. I was not impressed. She ended up missing classes (and we missed a ton of work) dealing with the broken bone. No big deal though according to Raskob.

    So, if your child is truly failing at other schools because of learning disabilities, Raskob could be a good solution. It's just too bad that the other kids are so much angrier than kids at regular schools. I didn't enjoy the attitude of the older kids at all.

  • Raskob School in Oakland

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    i would like to hear from some parents about the school. Mostly, did it make a huge difference in your child's education? Was it worth the money? Was your kid happy there? My daughter is in 5th grade and we are thinking about it for next year. She has an IEP and struggles in all subject areas. Are there many kids from Berkeley? Thanks for any info you can share.

    No responses received.

  • Raskob school's summer camp

    (1 reply)

    Any former summer campers at Raskob school out there? We are thinking of signing up our son. He is in 3rd grade at a public school and is dyslexic. He has IEP and is reading about a grade level below. Last summer he spend 7 weeks at Lindamood-Bell learning how to read. It helped a lot, but was really expensive. Please share your experience at Raskob's camp. How academic were the mornings? Did your kid enjoy afternoon games and the pool? Trying to look ahead.

    Our son did three weeks of Raskob summer school and loved it. He liked both the class work and the play time. He hated school before this so we were very happy!

Parent Reviews

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RE: Dyslexia in Berkeley ()

I don't have experience with BUSD but my daughter went to Raskob last year. Raskob at one time was a great option for kids with learning differences but I can not recommend it in its current state. The school is controlled by Holy Names University and they are close to closing due to financial issues. Most of the quality staff have left the school and they are not replacing that staff due to financial issues. We spent all of last year waiting for the school to hire an Orton-Gillingham-trained specialist but they never did. We had other classmates leave for Hope Academy or Charles Armstrong. 

Hello, My name is Maureen. I am the guardian for my nephew who has very severe dyslexia. He went to Rascob for 3 years and he loved it. His reading improved and he learned to like school. Later he transitioned to Berkeley public schools. With the help of IEPs and accommodations he is now a Junior in high school doing very well. I highly recommend Rascob. Thanks

i Am my nephews guardian. His parents passed away but I watched my sister have to fight the Vallejo school district to get them to acknowledge his dyslexia. They would test him but not for dyslexia so they would not have to treat him. They were not able to accommodate him and eventually the school district paid for him to go to Rascob. He stayed there for a couple years and is now in Berkeley high doing great with an IEP. That time at rascob gave him skills and confidence to return to the mainstream classes. Not being effectively assisted really hurt his self esteem and love of school. I think Rascob has a summer program and some scholarships. Maureen

Hi there.  My kid is a mainstream kid who needs extra support and he's at Raskob, so not sure what metric you are using.  We were at a couple of private schools, some were better than others supporting kids with learning challenges. The good ones do well in the lower grades but what can happen is that either the supports aren't as good in the higher grades, and/or the demands get higher and what was working before for mild LD no longer does and the kids flame out.  We have a lot of kids come in at 6th and 7th grade at Raskob because their LD looks worse as they get older. Anyhow, to answer your question, if you want to keep your kid in a private elementary school you can try Berkwood Hedge or Aurora.  They're pretty good for younger kids with LD.  If your kid needs more support later on you should look at Raskob again.  Lindamood-Bell has a school, Stellar in  Hayward is good for dyslexia, Hope Academy in Concord, and if you don't mind a commute there's Charles Armstrong on the peninsula. Hopefully, though, your kid can get by with minimal support.

Hi there - you might want to check out Raskob Institute. Our son who was diagnosed with ADD in 3rd grade just graduated middle school and is now on to high school! Class sizes are very small and they have to tools and teachers to work with different learning challenges. There are 2 teachers in every classroom, one of them a special ed teacher. Definitely a very gently experience even though they still change class rooms. However homework is very limited and with the home work club in place it was a very manageable experience. Wishing you good luck in your search! 

Raskob has been a blessing for our family. Our son is finishing up middle school there now. He’s profoundly more self-assured as a student and a person than when he started in the 6th grade. The teaching staff is phenomenal. They are caring and supportive, and work as a team to teach students in the way they learn best. We’ve been amazed by their creativity, positivity and patience. Our son has thrived on the structure and support that the small class sizes allow. A warm generosity of spirit permeates, and it starts with the administrators. They are good communicators and always available to commiserate when problems arise. Their support made our high school search less stressful and more informed. We’ve found it really does take a village to raise a teen these days, especially ones who learn differently, and Raskob has made all the difference for us.

My daughter came to Raskob in the third grade and is now in the 7th grade. When she came her confidence was very low and she hated school. Raskob teachers quickly turned this around. The school is for "bright children who learn differently". The Raskob way of education makes so much more sense and ideally would be done everywhere except public schools could not afford the small class size and highly accomplished teachers in a diverse mode of teaching. The students could easily have gotten lost in a different environment. They can succeed here and utilize the potential that hey had but which went unrecognized elsewhere. The Administration is open and straightforward. The teachers set goals for each child. In other words, an amazing institution!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Raskob Summer Institute

Jan 2015

Raskob's summer program is really expensive, and we had a hard time deciding if we could afford it. In the end, though, it was worth every penny. We originally signed our son up for the first three weeks and were so impressed we signed him up for the second session as well. He struggles with reading and didn't make huge leaps in three weeks, but the boost in his confidence and self-esteem made a difference. His reading did improve overall. We had been in public school and had a feeling he could be doing better but was never sure if there was something we could do about it. After last summer we applied to the day school and he started there this year. It is still really difficult to afford the tuition but his improvement in reading and how he feels about himself is remarkable. He's a different kid. We owe it to the teachers from summer, many of whom also teach in the regular school year. I encourage you to check it out. Stanley

Jan 2015

RE: Need summer camp/school for dyslexic 8 yr old

My daughter has been attending Raskob Summer Institute summer program for three years, since she was in 2nd grade. It is a full day 9-3 program with academics and 1:1ed therapy in the morning, lunch, and then swimming and more ''camp'' like activities in the afternoon. They are probably accepting applications for summer soon, if not already. Check out their website or email the Clinic Director, Polly, at mayer [at] hnu.edu Daphne

April 2011

Re: Middle school for dyslexic child
Our son attends Raskob. It is wonderful. The middle school students are mixed so that they take their classes with 6th, 7th or 8th graders that have similar ability levels. All classes have a teacher and aid, and none have more than 10 students. In addition to the traditional core (Reading, Writing, Math, History, Science) the kids have PE, Music and Art. (Since it is spring the middle schoolers are using the pool and currently learning water polo in PE.) The school makes great efforts to create a nurturing environment. Teasing and bullying are addressed immediately and effectively. Social skills are developed as is the students self awareness of their personal learning differences and how they learn best. This is a culminating project over the years and by the end of 8th grade the students are able to advocate for the accommodations they need to succeed. It is very powerful.

As a public middle school teacher I can assure you that what my son is experiencing at Raskob is far and away a superior education when compared with what my district would have offered. (Mainstreaming into classes of 40 for core subjects, a PE class on an asphalt black top with 50 kids, and no elective because that would be when he got a ''study skills'' class supervised by a special ed teacher.) I feel greatful everyday that between financial aid and scrimping and saving we are able to make it possibel for him to attend Raskob. I definitely recommend the school to any family who has a child with a verbal learning disability. Definitely give them a call to see if you can get him in for fall. They are very careful to only admit students who they know they can help, so you dont' need to worry that they will string you along just to get you in the door. glad to be Raskobian

March 2010

I encourage any parent considering private school for their LD child to visit Raskob. Our son began at Raskob this school year (Aug. 2009) in the 6th Grade. He is classified as a LD student - including ''severely dyslexic''. Raskob Learning Institute and Day School specializes in teaching/remediation for students with language-based learning disabilities. I have been very pleased with the support, responsiveness, and caring nature of all of the staff at the school and clinic. The director has been wonderful - in the admissions process and beyond. The middle school teachers have been very responsive to any questions/requests - including accommodations specific to my son's learning needs (they literally said to me, ''That's no problem at all'').

Switching to a private school was sad for our son (as we expected). However, we knew that middle school would be a ''nightmare'' for him academically (and us). Thankfully, he says that he is happy at Raskob, and he has made friends. We see a change in his level of independence and confidence as a student. He has also made noticable improvement in his reading skills! We are very grateful for a school like Raskob in the Bay Area. Raskob Parent

Jan 2010

Great School for Middle/Elementary students with Learning Disabilities!

For anyone whose child is currently struggling in their current academic setting due to a learning disability, please consider the gem located in the East Bay hills, Raskob Day School. Raskob serves students in grades 3-8 with language based learning disabilities including students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and attention deficit disorder . Students with non-verbal disabilities may be accommodated as well.

The school is WASC accredited as well as NPS certified. The teachers and staff are wonderful in supporting the students and providing very individualized instruction. Class sizes are small with a teacher and an aide in each room. Both of my children have attended the school, and from my perspective, it just keeps getting better and better. There is an afterschool program to help working parents which includes a supervised homework club, enrichment classes, as well as participation in a sports league. Additional services such as speech therapy, social skills group, etc are also available on site.

The school is located on the Holy Names campus in Oakland and there are numerous carpools to facilitate transportation from around the Bay.

For more information contact the Director, Edith Gutterres at 510-436-1275 or Admissions Director Jessica Baiocchi at 510-436-1278 or plan to attend the next open house on Monday February 8th at 7:00 pm. ak

February 2009

Re: School for severely dyslexic 3rd grader
We are in our third year at Raskob and love it there. My son has dysgraphia and some oral processing issues, among other things, and we have found the tailored approach to each child really works for him. The school works well for kids with all kinds of learning disabilities and is also improving in it's communication/relationship to parents [a problem in the past that comes up less and less], in large part due to an active parent community and great new director. I can highly recommend it. Satisfied Raskob Parent

March 2008

We are considering placing our son at Raskob Day School due to mild learning disabilities. I would like to hear from current and past parents regarding the quality of instruction, including do you feel like your child is learning equivalent content and critical thinking with their peers in mainstream schools, and are they ready or getting ready for high school. I admit to concerns about the level of distractability in the classroom because of the high quotient of students with ADHD. Thank you. And for students who have graduated or are getting ready to do so, have you had or do you feel your child has independent high school options other than Bayhill, Sterne, and Springstone? Thanks. Anon

Hi, we live in the East Bay, and my son attended Raskob Day School in Oakland for six years. He is now in high school at Sterne School in San Francisco. I can tell you that many students in the 8th grade classes at both Sterne and Raskob move on to mainstream public and private high schools. It is common. In my son's case, over half of the students in his 8th grade class at Raskob made that transition to the mainstream. The best fit for addressing my own son's language-based learning needs, however, was not a mainstream high school but, rather, the well-structured high school program at Sterne, complete with its Pathfinders program for making the transition to life after high school, whether it be college or work or both. I'd be happy to share detailed information with you on this topic of special middle schools and students' transitions to high school programs, if you were to email your contact information to me. I'd also be happy to address the question of students with ADHD, and the impact on other students, just from my parental perspective. Kathleen

My son has been at RDS for 6th and 7th grade. He came from a fabulous SDC class at Joaquin Miller where he was for 3 years. RDS has been a great fit for him, small classes with caring teachers who know how to teach children with many different ways of learning. Each student is learning at their own pace so it is hard to compare them to peers in mainstream schools. The new director has really focused this year on organization, communication and using the resources at HNU since Raskob is a Lab School. This spring Dr. Chuck Ahern has been working with the teachers and students incorporating his ''Brain'' research into the classroom setting. My son enjoys school and has made many friends which is so important in Middle school. We look forward to working with the 8th grade teacher next year in selecting the right high school for him. Joan

Feb 2008

My Daughter Attended Raskob Day School From September 2007 until February 2008.I experienced difficulty with communication before she even began and then truly up until I decided to pull her out early in February not feeling comfortable to have her stay there any longer.

Upon my initial visit I was taken aback by the general appearance of the school the small claustrophobic classrooms and complete lack of playground equipment,many kids seem to just stand around at free play time. I was also unaware that Raskob uses Teachers aids to teach classes such as math and reading, separately from the homeroom teacher as well as act as substitutes when class room teachers are absent.

After hearing many inappropriate quotes from my daughter regarding what the teachers aid had said to her I was concerned about the lack of experiences these aids might have in dealing with children in general.My child was extremely reluctant to go to school ever day.I would suggest to anyone looking at Raskob to ask all the questions you can think of. I wish I would have done a better job at that. In the end my daughters reading level is the same as when she started and it has actually declined since we traded Raskob for the private tutor.All kids are different it just wasn't the right place for us. j

Jan 2007

I would like to learn more about Raskob Day School and Institute, and would love to hear reviews from families with students currently or recently enrolled in the elementary school. I am evaluating schools and outside tutors for my son, who has a graphomotor disorder and processing challenges and needs a lot of assistance in the classroom. He's been getting help but it's just not enough. Raskob seems appropriate but the interim director freely admits that she's not a great communicator and that's a big concern for a parent of a child with learning disabilities. Thanks. anonymous

I have been a parent at Raskob Day School for almost six years, a record for the school. I would be happy to respond to any of your questions if you wish to call me. Raskob parent

Both of my daughters, now in 7th and 4th grade attend Raskob. We have been very happy there. They previously attended a respected East Bay private school. However, their learning disabilities were beyond that which could be accomodated there. Both have had fantastic instruction, but more importantly has been the effect on self esteem. With few exceptions, I think most parents will tell you that the best aspect of the school is how it makes your child feel - It gives them back the confidence that they can in fact be good learners. Kids learn not only the academics, but also to understand their own disability and to be an advocate for themselves.

The school has also expanded considerably in the last few years so that although these programs are still developing, there are now art, music, afterschool, and sports league programs. The change in the director is a situation that has just occurred. The previous Director has accepted the position as the Executive Director at the new Bayhill High School which will be opening in the fall, taking the place of Raskob's high school which is closing this year. ak

I just wanted to respond to the parent asking about Raskob. We have a child currently enrolled at the school and are extremely happy with the education and the extra help he is receiving. Previously, we had him in a private school and brought in outside tutors and took him to speech therapy and... (you know the drill). Now he gets all that help right in his school, which has been just an amazing improvement for everyone concerned. Less stress for the parents and the child!

We too had issues surrounding communication with the school when we were in the application process and, frankly, that is an area where they really do need to improve. However, that has not affected our experience as parents at the school. Once you get in, the communication home is actually pretty good. They use the schoolnotes email program that sends you weekly, sometimes daily, updates with important information. And, the teachers have been wonderful as well.

I just want to add that the director left quite abruptly, just last week in fact, to take a new position. Carolyn Ingle-Price is now trying to step in and do two jobs, I believe. So please know that this is an unusual circumstance right now. I am sure she is doing the best she can, she is a very nice woman and really wants the best for these kids.

Overall, we are very happy and feel quite lucky to have our child at Raskob. Good luck! Happy Parents (finally!)

I had a child who attended Raskob for one year. There is a real need for an LD School like Raskob, we just didn't find this to be it. I gathered that for parents in bad school systems like OUSD it is a safehaven, but it could be so much more. Holy Names (Raskob is part of Holy Names University) does not give it the attention it could.

Rather than just say negative things, here are some items to look at. Some may have changed . . . I hope. Believe what you see not what you're told.
- no ''real'' art or music program
- no science
- the math was Saxon Math and taught self paced out of a workbook. In our case, we taught most of it at home because my son couldn't learn from the book. The teacher didn't teach it.
- facilities are falling apart. When we were there several exterior doors that didn't lock upstairs -security issue. Other maintenance items - fixing fences, washing windows, earthquake supplies were mostly done by parents and teachers if at all.
- our teacher (and others)weren't credentialed in California (there is a website to check this) and was at Raskob to get low cost or free tuition to attend Holy Names to get her credential through them. She also didn't work the full classroom day so she could attend classes.
- when our teacher was sick, in class or on vacation, the aides teach the class. Never saw a substitute teacher or the head teacher even though this was her job.
- The old director only worked parttime. Not sure about the new director. (I think a new director is positive)
- our teacher wasn't teaching regular state curriculum.
- children with social/emotional problems are in class with kids with learning issues like dyslexia. On a good note: with small class size and other non-traditional kids, they may feel more comfortable and feel like they are part of the class. Sometimes for the first time ever. This is cool.
- Physical Safety Issues - Ask what happens if your child arrives late and P.E.just started in the gym accross the university campus, they arrive late for an assembly on the campus or where do they do their running? Holy Names is a University Campus with Dorms and Delivery Trucks, etc. and one big circular driveway.
- If your child has special needs, what training does your specific teacher have to address it? You are only as good as your classroom teacher - really check them out.
- Look at the classroom resources. Each class is different. Most have very little. Teachers are out of pocket for most supplies. If you decide to go, consider giving the teacher some $ like a classroom fund.
- Not all grades are WASC accreditted and even the ones listed on the WASC website might be provisional. If that concerns you, contact WASC by phone. If Holy Names would really get behind Raskob it could be so much more for not a lot of $$. Holy Names was stopping Raskob from grant writing when we were there as they didn't want to compete for the same $. Maybe this has changed?. That would be huge. We met some great parents and teachers there, but it just never came together for us. We went back to public school and should have held my child back to make up for the year lost. There are flaws with any school and I know there will be a bunch of responses defending Raskob, but I wish someone had told me the tough questions to ask so we could have made a more informed decision. Certainly some have done well there, but I know many like us who had better options. Maybe someone will send this to Sister Rosemarie at Holy Names to try to get things improved?? I hope so. Good Luck. Anon

October 2006

My son has ADHD and a significant Learning Disability, but has a very high IQ. I am feeling more and more that he is out of sync with the other kids in his great public school (where he receives all possible services). Also, I am feeling more and more out of sync with the parents, who all have much pride (and rightfully so) in their childrens accomphilshments, but can notice something is not right about my son. I am very interested in Rascob Day school, and I wonder if there is a way to get in touch with some of the parents of children that attend Rascob. The school sounds great from the tours and literature. I am wondering if both kids and parents of LD kids feel more ''at home' at Rascob. Do the kids really learn better there? Thank you for any help. -Out of Sync Mom

I have two children at Raskob and what I can tell you is that it has been a terrific fit for our family. My older daughter started in 5th grade and now is in 7th. My younger started last year in 3rd. Both of my girls had been unable to achieve in their previous school setting despite being in a small private school that theoretically handles a ''wide range of learning styles'' and both had tutoring throughout summers and the school year.

At Raskob, classes are small. (8-10 in the 3rd/4th grade with a teacher and an aide.) The curriculum is very individualized and set up to insure success. As the children get older, they are taught strategies to do grade level work and to advocate for themselves so that they are prepared to go on and achieve success in the future.

Probably THE most important aspect of the school is how it affects how the children feel about themselves and their ability to learn. In that respect, it has been transformative in terms of my girls' self esteem. My older child has blossomed at Raskob. She could immediately move into leadership roles, i.e. student council, yearbook, etc.- activities where she would likely have been overlooked in another setting. My younger child is exremely social so the small setting can be a bit challenging, but she really likes and enjoys her classmates. I totally can understand your comment that you feel out of sync with other parents in the regular school. It's hard seeing your own child being perceived as ''different'' and over time you do come to feel you are living in a parallel universe. So yes, Raskob is good for us parents too. You meet others who are also living in this other universe - and it is a great universe too, just different!

For anyone who would like more info, they can contact the school directly at 510-436-1275 or www.Raskobinstitute.com

Sept 2006

Re: High School Choices for LD kids
Raskob High School is a school for high school students with learning disablities and is located in the Oakland hills. Although the high school is only in its second year, it is part of Raskob Learning Institute which has been providing tutoring, diagnostic testing, and a comprehensive school program for 50 years in the East Bay. The high school program offers options for students with a variety of learning needs - from college preparatory course offereings to intensive remedial courses, both in classes of 10 or fewer students taught by credentialed special education teachers. There are currently openings for 9th and 10th graders. You can contact Carolyn Ingle-Price, admissions director, at (510) 436-1275 for more information. Next year, in September '07, Raskob High will be moving to a new facility in the East Bay and under the auspices of Bay Area Educational Institute (BAEI). The website at www.baei.org is currently under construction and will have admissions materials shortly. For more information on BAEI, please go to baei.wordpress.com.

Feb 2005

My son has been diagnosed with Auditory Processing Defecit and is having considerable trouble learning to read. The Raskob school was recommended to me as a possible place to send him during the summer for some extra help. Has anyone sent their kids there for the summer program (6 weeks @ one hour a day) and/or the day school which is now opening for the lower elementary grades. It sounds great but it is pricey for us and I would love to get some feedback about it. Thanks! Melinda

Haven't heard much about Rascob but it is very pricey. Have you tried The New Learning Clinic at UC? I think they have a summer reading program and a sliding scale. Concerned

My 6 1/2 yr old son attended the summer tutoring (1 hour per day 5 days per week for six weeks) last summer after kindergarten, while we were in the midst of getting an assessment from the OUSD. I had nothing but rave reviews and was impressed with the staff I spoke with on the phone. I am sure that Raskob works quite well for some children and there is no doubt that the instructors are well trained in technique. Our experience left ALOT to be desired. In hindsight I suspect that the ''match'' made for our child wasn't a good one, and that since it was only six weeks that I didn't intervene and insist on getting another instructor. We now know that my son has both visual and auditory processing deficits is very bright and easily frustrated by his inability to ''get it''. His instructor had an ''adults tell, children follow-period'' style which was in conflict with my contextual approach (context,choices, consequences). One of his strategies for taking a mental break is to go to the bathroom...his tutor at Raskob forbade him from going to the point that one day he was so frustrated and angry that by the time he was allowed to go he made a mess of the stall he was in to respond. That said, the instructor and I frequently strategized on the phone and tried to make the best of it but I don't feel that it was worth the expense and frustration--he hated it, and refuses to go back. My advice...check it out thoroughly. Raskob doesn't do in person intake interviews for summer or assessments any longer...I wasn't give a choice of instructors...you should insist on this, including meeting the person assigned to your child, and intervene if you have the slightest hesitation about it. Please email me if you would like to set up time to talk more about my experience and what we're doing now. There are lots of other approaches to try that may be as well or better suited to your child's needs, such as Tomatis, Fast ForWord, or Therapeutic Listening in tandem with occupational therapy.

February 2003

Re: School for dyslexic middle schooler
I have several friends with children at Raskob. It is a god send of a school. You should visit them and get their advice even if you do not attend there.Their evaluation process might be very helpful. It is not easy to get into and only goes through eighth, but I know people who found it very valuable even for a year or two. claudia

My son now attends Raskob and he is receiving a really terrific education in a safe environment. Up until now he attended public schools in Berkeley and none really addressed his needs even with special ed services. To make a long story short, I investigated schools in Marin (Star Academy), East Bay (Raskob and Stellar Academy in San Leandro) and was beginning to hear about schools in San Francisco (Stern and Gateway) and Belmont (Charles Armstrong). My son really likes the school, teachers and kids at Raskob. Since they are on the Holy Names campus, they are able to use some of the college facilities like the gym and pool. He liked his initial visit there because the other students didn't pick on him. There is an emphasis on organization, thoroughly learning a subject area and working on social skills as well as working with the child's learning needs. The teachers are caring and provide plenty of time and tools for the kids to use in learning. You really must call and try to visit some of these schools in order to see what may fit you and your child's needs. Raskob provides speech therapy and social skills therapy at an additional cost. We see a speech therapist there who has been terrific. We see an outside psychologist for social skills which has helped tremendously and an outside educational therapist who goes over my son's very basic language needs for reading and writing. Hope this helps.

Raskob Institute is also a good resource for testing and also has a very small school for children with learning disabilities. You could check into the services provided by the Ann Martin Center and A Learning Place. We used them for tutoring so I can't give a personal recommendation for their programs, but they do offer the service.

Raskob Institute in Oakland (at Holy Names) was wonderful for specific testing. The also made good recommendations of specialists for treatment. Contact Jack Davies, Ph.d. there.

in reply to the recent discussions on ADD/ADHD and private vs. public school.

I strongly urge people who are looking for a place for a child with learning issues to go and observe Raskob. It is a hidden jewel and is not a place only for those kids at the "far" end of the spectrum. As a matter of fact, what you will see is that it is a school for basically "normal" kids with learning issues. They are quite stringent with who they will take, and this is not in the same way other private schools are. I have experienced both. Most private schools are looking for bright kids whose learning style fits that of the school, and teachers seem less experienced and less willing to work to accomodate kids for whom things are not working. The attitude seems to be that since there are so many others waiting to take the student's slot they can be very choosey about who they accept and who they "invite" to return. Raskob is stringent because they will only take those kids whom they feel Raskob can benefit. They give you no promises, offer no quick fixes. Quite the reversal from the "we are the best" routine of other privates, and very refreshing. Behavior problems, emotional problems, etc. are generally not the population they are looking for, unless such problems stem from the underlying learning differences, lowered self-esteem, etc. that come with constant failure or ridicule. Research on LD-type kids always shows that the ones who go on to successful and independent lives are those who understand their problems, own them, and know what they need to do to compensate in a world designed for the majority of other-type learners. These kids are amazing as they discuss what they know they can do and what they know are their weaknesses. Graduation ceremonies in June are nearly tear-jerkers as these now self-assured teens talk about their experiences both before and after Raskob, their accomplishments and their dreams. Some of them are there for elementary and middle school. Some come for only a couple of years. Many come only in middle school, for a "jump start", a training in how to succeed and stay on task, etc. Raskob has no vested interest in keeping you there forever. When to leave is a decision arrived at collaboratively with the staff and family. When you are ready for the bigger world, they urge you to get on with it.

Right now Raskob has only about 58 students in their elementary and middle school combined. They are hoping to double the size of the middle school in the near future to provide a more "normal" social scene appropriate for that age. Meanwhile, the kids are so kind and accepting of each other. And not everyone comes from the Volvo-crowd. I urge people to call, to check it out. It has been a lifesaver for our young one who tells me that "everyday is a fun day at Raskob"- and this is a child who had stomachaches and nausea every day before school when she was at public school with all its "diversity" and "sense of community". Raskob is not a hard sell- no orientation meetings, no fancy newspaper ads ( again, so different from the other privates).They are there because there is a need and they simply will not give up on these kids. Check it out. Some very unhappy kids have found their wings at Raskob and learned to fly.

My brother is learning disabled. For testing and tutoring my family used the Raskob Center at Holy Names College in Oakland. They were able to asses his disablilities and provide training for him. He was in the third grade when he was diagnosed, and unable to read at all. After their assesment and working with tutors there for three years he was able to read so well that he zipped through all the JRR Tolkein books. I highly recommend them. '