Bayhill High School

Community Subscriber

Private School
90 students
Email: info [at] bayhillhs.orgPhone: 510-984-0599
1940 Virginia Street Berkeley, CA 94709
Program Type: 
Certified nonpublic school, Special needs support
Editors' Notes: 

Bayhill was located on Boden Way in Oakland prior to 2015.

Bayhill is a College Preparatory High School for students with learning differences.

Parent Q&A

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  • Bayhill High School

    (2 replies)

    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for feedback from parents who are familiar with Bayhill High School. I searched here but couldn't find any recent postings. If you or someone you know has any information to lend, I'd greatly appreciate it as we are considering this school for our son who has learning differences, no behavioral. Thank you SO much!

    My son is a senior this year at Bayhill, and we love it.  He's been there since his sophomore year after having academic struggles in public school. He has severe inattentive ADD along with a very slow processing speed. In public school he was always significantly behind the other students finishing classwork and tests. We had 504 accommodations, but it was exhausting making sure he got the extra time he needed, and he was being teased by other students for being "dumb."   At Bayhill he's been able to stretch academically and take challenging classes like physics and four years of math. Every kid there has something they struggle with, so the competitive pressure is off. Classes at Bayhill are very small and kids can take whatever class they are ready for, regardless of which year they are. The instruction is very structured and specially designed to help kids stay organized, and it's also flexible so kids can use whatever tools they need to learn, such as listening to a book instead of reading it. Most kids have a period in their schedule every day when a teacher is there to help with homework.  Teachers form close relationships with the students. This has been an unexpected bonus at Bayhill. My son has bonded with a couple of the young guy teachers who have helped him through emotional upsets like his first girlfriend. He still struggles to finish his homework at Bayhill - they hold the kids to high standards and his grades reflect that. But he is learning, he likes school, and he is confident. Right now he's applying to college. Bayhill has a college counselor and also a transition coordinator who advises kids on the next step after high school. She helped us get accommodations for the ACT.  My son's GPA is very average but he scored well on the ACT because he had enough time to finish it, so he has a lot of options for college next year. I really appreciate this school and I wish every kid had the kind of support at their school that Bayhill students have.


    My son attended Bayhill for two years (freshman and sophomore). Please private message me if you'd like to hear about our experience.



  • Hello,

    Wondering if anyone has experience/exposure to these schools. I'm interested in how they are alike, different and what type of student you'd find at each of these schools? Ie: which is more academically challenging? Which offers a more traditional high school experience? Which has more kids with behavioral problems? I have a child with an IEP who struggles academically and has no behavioral problems. He needs lots of academic support but wants to play sports, go to dances and have a 'normal' high school experience. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you!

    I think Bayhill could be a great fit for your son. My son with adhd & dyslexia had a great experience there. He is now in college and I don't think he would have had that option without his years at Bayhill. The teachers are incredibly devoted and become friends, mentors & cheerleaders for the students. The academic supports are built into each class. They have dances, proms, sports teams, student council, etc. to give the kids that high school experience (albeit in a small school environment). The administration seemed to work hard on making sure students were a fit for the environment and dealt quickly with any disruptive behavior. Most of the kids there were fairly "mainstream", but needed the extra academic support & small class sizes to succeed. We also looked at Orinda Academy and at the time felt it didn't offer the level of academic support my son needed. 

    Grateful Bayhill Parent Alum

    Orinda Academy sounds like a good school for your son! I am a current parent of a 10th grader at Orinda Academy. My son has ADD, including organizational issues, and has thrived there, gaining social confidence as well as meeting his potential. The small class sizes enable the teachers to really get to know the students and address their learning needs. We have a Learning Support Coordinator that digests your students needs into a Learning Plan for all the teachers to utilize for accommodations. Overall, it has been an amazing experience for my son with a strong community feeling, social and scholastic support. The school does offer sports, has dances/prom as well as student council, educational adventure trips near and far, and various lunchtime clubs. Orinda Academy challenges kids to work towards their potential, whether that is college bound or not, all is embraced. I'm happy to message or chat with you about our experience. We also have an Open House coming up Sunday, Dec 4th from 1-4pm.

    I completely agree with the response about Orinda Academy. Our son is a senior there with all sorts of learning issues. He has had a productive and uplifting high school experience leading to a great self esteem. 

Parent Reviews

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Hi, our teen went to Bayhill for two years then left to go back to public school. First year at Bayhill was pretty good, second year was pretty awful. It’s such a small school, I think the population (kids, teachers and admin ) that’s there at any given time can really influence your child’s experience. There seemed to be in an inordinate number of kids being expelled. This was a few years ago, but a teacher there was having some pretty significant mental health/perhaps substance abuse issues and lashed out very inappropriately. The teacher was subsequently let go but it had a pretty traumatic affect on our teen. Kids are allowed off campus (with provisions) and some teachers take kids off campus (for example PE). This seemed like a neat feature but my teen later told me that when the class stopped at a convenience store, kids in the class routinely shoplifted. The qualifications of the teachers who provided extra educational/study support varied (eg at one time it was an educational therapist, then it was the band teacher). Also, if your child needs therapy/counseling, that is an additional charge. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be the quality experience we hoped it would be, especially if you’re privately paying. 

Strongly recommend Bayhill over trying to piece together two different school situations, not to mention the time spent commuting between the two.

Bayhill has executive functioning support built into its pedagogy and curriculum in ways we never were able to achieve when our kid was in public school.  It also has very small class sizes, which results in more personal attention.  Plus no one stands out as the kid with an IEP or the kid with support, or even the kid with ADHD.  Instead, they learn to identify and talk about their learning differences and their strengths, and advocate for themselves to access the supports they need.

My son, who is dyslexic, was absolutely MISERABLE in school for years- until we discovered Bayhill High School in Berkeley.  He started in 10th grade and is now in 12th.  It literally brings tears to my eyes to think about how much happier he has been since we made the switch- after years of suffering, we’ve finally found the right school for him.  Class size is very small- most have about 6 to 8 students- I think his biggest class ever had about 10 or 12.  The school is really great at giving the students enough support for them to be successful.  My son also told me that, unlike other schools he has attended, there are no mean kids at Bayhill.  That’s been his experience anyway.  They shifted relatively seamlessly to distance learning last March, and although my son does not like distance learning, he’s still managing to do ok.  There are definitely fewer girls than boys at the school, and since I don’t have a girl I can’t comment on what the experience is like for girls there, but if you contact the school they may be able to put you in touch with some parents of girls who can share their experience.  We also visited Orinda Academy and that seemed like a good option too.  Best of luck to you in finding a good match for your daughter!

You should check out Bayhill High School in Berkeley. They specialize in helping kids who need extra support. It's a very small high school with a college prep curriculum. My son graduated 2 years ago and had a good experience for his 3 years there - very small classes, flexible and customized curriculum, and very caring, engaged teachers who genuinely like teenagers including lots of great male role models. One of my son's friends at Bayhill was a young woman who had intense anxiety issues but was extremely bright and very academically motivated. She really blossomed there. It might be a great place for your son.

I did a lot of research for my special needs son and we went with Bayhill, started Aug 2019. It is all about fit and I urge you to schedule a tour at all of your schools of interest.

I think a fantastic school for different learners looking to find their "peeps" while finding their niche in school and that Donna Austin, the director of admissions, is an incredible support person and knows exactly if this is the school for your student. 

Best wishes in your search.

RE: Alternatives to Tilden Prep? ()

You may want to check out Bayhill High in Berkeley. Not certain what the tuition is, but it is designed for students with learning differences and offers a nice community and differentiated instruction.

This school is our Plan B in the event our kid with dysgraphia can’t get the support plan she needs to manage at public high school.

Good luck!

My son went to BayHill High School which is now in Bkly. It was in Oakland when we went there which was a major schlep.

BayHill saved our lives. My son has learning differences and ADD. He was falling falling falling in his (wonderful but unable to  help him) private middle school.

In 8th grade he went to Raskob Learning Institute and from there to Bay Hill.  He found connection at both schools with kids who were just like him.
He's now 21, working full time and going to school at night;. He's still good friends with a few of his Bay Hill buddies. Wishing you the best.

Look at Bayhill High School in Berkeley.  My son with ADHD is a sophomore there and is thriving. He had the same issues as your son.  At Bayhill, there is a maximum support for ADHD kids.  Every kid brings a chromebook to school every day.  All assignments are online and are turned in online, so no missing papers.  There is an "Academic Support" period each day where a teacher checks in with each kid to look at their current homework status in the online system (Jupiter) and see which assignments need to be completed or turned in, and then finish them in that class. Kids can also finish taking tests during Academic Support if they need to.  My son has been able to keep up with all his homework at school, even though he has more homework at Bayhill than he had at Berkeley High. He is taking all the classes he would have taken at BHS but now he's making A's and B's and he loves Chemistry and Math!  Bayhill also offers a teacher-led afterschool homework program that you can sign them up for, but my son hasn't needed that, so he can come home after school and chill now, without the burden of unfinished homework. Bayhill is really focused on supporting ADHD kids in exactly the ways they need, giving them tools they will need to succeed in college and beyond.  I wish public schools would adopt some of their methods, because these supports allow kids with ADHD to learn and flourish and be as smart as we know they are!

Bayhill Mom

You should definitely look at Bayhill High School.  It's in Berkeley a few blocks north of Berkeley High School.  My son just started there as a sophomore so I don't have much first-hand experience, but my son sounds like your son - he also needs a lot of handholding but he does very well academically if he gets that.  We sought out Bayhill after freshman year at the public high school where he did OK socially and academically thanks to a 504 plan and a ton of intervention from us. But he needs MUCH more scaffolding to learn and succeed than the public school was able to provide. So far we are all very pleased with the school. Bayhill's curriculum is college prep and follows state standards closely, but the teaching style is customized for kids with learning differences. They don't accept kids with behavioral issues although there do seem to be quirky kids here and there. It's pretty diverse - kids come from all over the east bay, many of them are there because their school district placed them and pays their tuition, so it's not your typical affluent mostly white private school.  Classes are very small, no more than 10 kids. So the teachers know exactly where every kid is, and can support them as needed. There are only 20 kids per grade, 80 total in the school, so socializing is easy for shy kid like mine.  The first week at Bayhill my son told me excitedly that he likes being called on in class at Bayhill, because he knows the answers, so he can help out his classmates.  This is in contrast to last year, where he was the slow kid in class who got complaints and teasing because he was holding up his group. Bayhill is not a big school, but they seem to make an effort to offer the same kinds of activities as bigger schools. There is an after school sports program, there are clubs that meet twice a week during the school day, kids can leave the campus at lunchtime, there are dances throughout the year, lots of field trips, and a prom - Bay cruise with dinner and a DJ!  Everybody I talked to seems happy to be there, including the teachers. I know that their freshman class is full to capacity but when we applied they had a few openings for sophomores and juniors, and it is not unusual for kids to come in after freshman year.  Good luck with your search and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

My son, now 21, also well behaved with learning issues went to Bay Hill HS which is now in Berkeley (it was in Oakland when he was  there).
Bay Hill was established by teachers and parents from Raskob Learning Institute (grades 3-8). Bay HIll and Raskob saved our lives!!
We were able to get reasonable financial aid for the 3 years my son was there (for 12th grade he went to El Cerrito High).

Wishing you the best.

Bayhill, a high school geared toward students with language based learning differences, recently moved to a beautiful new campus in Berkeley (the former Archway Middle School). The school has been an amazing place for my daughter who struggles with all things academic. The teachers have developed models and strategies that really allow the kids to do serious high school work. They are super dedicated and develop close relationships with students. My daughter read Beowolf as a freshman (and understood it)! Kids really get a sense of what they can accomplish. I believe about half the kids pay privately and half are supported by school districts. Some scholarship money is available.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2013

Re: Private high school for disorganized smart kid
Check out Bayhill High School on Bowden Way in Oakland (off of Lakeshore). It's a small high school for kids w/ learning differences of all ranges. My son went there for 3 years (he's now at El Cerrito High for his Sr. year). The classes are small and the kids get a lot of attention. They learn how to deal with their differences, how to succeed and use their strengths, and to be responsible for getting their work done. Bayhill was a great school for my son for 9, 10, 11th grades. Good luck. anon mom

Oct 2012

Re: Help finding an appropriate school for my ADHD son
Have you looked into Bayhill High School on Bowden Way in Oakland? Bayhill is a small highschool for kids with learning issues, ADD, etc. My son is a junior at Bayhill and it is the PERFECT school for him. The staff ''gets'' these kids and they know how to teach them appropriately. I dont' know how the financial aid works after the fact, but it's worth checking into to see. We've gotten financial aid every year so far. Bayhill will let your son come and ''shadow'' for a day so he can get a feel for it. Good luck. 

Feb 2012

Has anyone had any personal experience with Bayhill High School? If so, how did your child do academically? How is the social atmosphere? Our daughter has learning differences but is very social and we are trying to figure our if this is a good fit. Appreciate any input!

My son has only been at Bayhill for this school year, but we have been very happy with it. It has been a great fit for him academically and socially. All the teachers totally ''get'' him, his learning issues, how to get the best from him. He is getting solid As and Bs with no modifications on UC approved A-G required course work. I don't believe this would have been possible in any other school setting. Very small classes and courses taught in a very accessible way for these kinds of learners. Socially I was worried about the transition to Bayhill for him. Would there be a lot of kids with major social issues, etc? I haven't found this to be the case. He has easily made friends and kids seem very nice and welcoming. A downside to the small size of the school is that there just can't be the same kind of extra-curriculars that a large school could offer, but I think all the positives far out way that kind of issue. Most importantly, he is truly happy and engaged there and feels immense relief not to feel different because of his learning challenges. Grateful Parent

Jan 2011

Re: High school for LD student with dyslexia
Take a look at Bayhill High School in Oakland. It's a private school with NPS status. It specializes in kids with language-based learning differences. Bayhill parent

There are several private HS within driving distance of Berkeley that specialize in students with LD. The one I recommend is Bayhill in Oakland. I can't remember the names of many others... sorry. I would guess that they all belong to professional organizations perhaps your current school could provide some names. If not try calling the Raskob Day School in Oakland. They are a 3-8 school that specializes in this area and they can probably give you names of some schools their students go on to. in the same boat

Getting BUSD to pay for Bay Hill High School

May 2010

Would like to hear from other families who have experience with BUSD in supporting their teen at Bay Hill HS. Would like to hear from parents that were both successful and those that were not. welcome advice asap!

Our son (bright with good grades through middle school) bombed at Berkeley High. We spent two years trying to get him appropriate services for his learning differences and finally hired an attorney (Lynn Hansen in Oakland) and went through the mediation/fair hearing process to get the district to pay for Bayhill. It took a long time and was extremely stressful, but better than watching our son flounder and fail. (Not sure what the tuition is but it's in their information packet.) Good luck!

April 2010

Re: School for 15-y-o who may have mild Aspergers
I don't know about boarding schools, but if you're interested in checking out a small private high school for kids with learning differences look at Bayhill HS in Oakland. Our son was struggling in ways similar to yours and the change has been dramatic. He still has his issues and difficulties but the staff has been wonderful in helping him do his best. Also, once you get a diagnosis, call the Regional Center of the East Bay to ask for an evaluation. If they find your son eligible, there are behavior specialists who can come to your home and help with some of the difficult behaviors. Mom of teen with Asperger's Syndrome

Nov 2009

I'd like to hear from parents w/ kids at Bay Hills High School (or from the 1st grad class). We are going to apply there for our 8th grade son (who is at Raskob for 8th grade only). We were very impressed at the open house last week. The school sounds perfect for us....Also how much off tuition did any get w/ financial aid? thanks in advance. doin' the high school thing.

My daughter is in her second year at Bay Hill. She is there on an IEP through our school district, so I can't address the financial aid question.

Obviously I don't know your son and can't make a specific recommendation on an intelligent basis. But I can vouch for Bay Hill being a good supportive environment and as close to a full-on high school experience you can get with a student body that maxes out at 80. It's high energy and does not feel the least bit ''clinical.'' They really strive to individualize the program for each student's needs - to an extent that continually amazes me. There is a wide range of needs. The classes are small and they encourage communication between parents and school, all the while respecting the kids' needs to be teens and not 'hovered' over. The availability of services at the site, including educational therapy, speech therapy and traditional sit-with-your-therapist therapy is a great extra. Grateful Bay Hill Parent

Oct 2008

My child was diagnosed with an expressive and receptive language delay when she was 3 years old. Through early intervention, she has made amazing progress. She currently attends kindergarten at an Oakland Hills public school with great teachers and an active parent community. However, the school suffers from overcrowding which negatively impacts that amount of attention each child receives in the classroom. I am looking for a local private school that has a positive, supportive environment for children with learning differences. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Parent of a Kindergartener

My child attends Bayhill High School (which was formerly Raskob High). She is now a senior and this is our third year there. This school saved our family. I was so frustrated with my daughter and she was so frustrated with school that she was throwing away her homework, flat out refused to bring home a progress report and I had to drive to the school and have the janitor open the door of the classroom just to get her to admit she threw her report card away.

Since she has been at Bayhill, she finally enjoys school and learning. She is very quiet and would disappear in a regular classroom. At Bayhill, you can't hide because the classes are too small and everyone is expected to participate.

She is taking challenging classes like physics and geometry, but they have so much support they can't help but do well.

Finally, I love the support that we receive with planning for college. They assisted us with getting the appropriate accommodations for SAT testing and they are committed to getting these children thinking seriously about college. Proud Bayhill Parent

Nov 2007

After years of watching our dyslexic son suffer (the word is not too strong) his way through conventional schools such as Ecole Bilingue and Bishop O'Dowd, we have, at long length, found the perfect match: Bayhill, which opened its door this September. Our son entered the 11th grade, in the prep strand. Students are divided into 2 different English, math, language and history classes, one more supportive, one more challenging, according to each studentms ability. The difficulties that seem to cut across almost all of the students are weaknesses in processing speed, working memory, and organizational skills - invisible but tough challenges. Classes are small, homework is light but pertinent. The athletic program includes flag football and basketball. Track and field will be offered in the spring. My son has now been there 2 full months and he is, well, content. As for me, a parent, I appreciate more than I can tell the entire adventure. The faculty is young, generous and dedicated; the dean is a forceful young woman with a keen understanding of the labyrinthine mind of teens; the staff is just excellent. Speech and language services are included in the tuition. Psychological and/or educational therapy are also available. I encourage anyone interested to contact Rachel Wyle, director of the school, an extraordinary woman, at: (510) 268-1500. 

Oct 2007

We would like to hear from any parents who have kids attending Bayhills. My son, who has language-based learning disabilities, will be entering 9th grade in the fall and we are wondering if it would be a good fit and also how difficult it is to get in for kids who have not attended Raskob. anon

Our son has been attending Bayhill High School since the start of the year and loves it. It specializes in students with learning differences. The teachers, curriculum, and facilities are all great . It's literally been a life changer for my son. Chris

I wanted to put in a plug for Bayhill high school; where my ninth grader attends. If anyone is looking for a place to put an ''out of sync'' kid this is it. We also spent two and half years at their sister school Raskob, but I have seen a huge improvement this year in his ability to stay motivated, manage his work load, and even the social stuff seems better. My son also has issues beyond his academic challenges, and I feel the staff has gone out their way to accomadate him. For example. at my request, they instituted a morning break so that my child, (and others) could have an AM snack, and they agreed to supervise my child at lunch. I can't think of any other school that would do this, Im guessing some teachers probably have to sacrifice their own break time to make this happen. Anyway, the staff is very dedicated and my child who really needs it, gets a lot of personal attention. Happy Bayhill Parent

I have a 10th grader at Bayhill high School and she absolutly loves it there. My daughter was in public school and in special day since first grade and she never learned a lot as they only babysat her until her 7th grade special day teacher knew these kids can learn and taught them. Last year she went to Raskob which was wonderful and Raskob did not want the highschool there anymore so BayHill was made and it has the same staff from Raskob. Bayhill is a wonderful school and the class sizes are small and your child will get a lot of attention. They will modify your child's ciriculum as needed to. Everything is individulized at this school. The kids are all regular kids that can sozalize. The student body is wonderful and the kids all seem to get along well. Your child is really supervised all the time at this school where in a public high school they are not as supervised. At Bayhill all the teachers really know who your child is and the director of students knows all 53 kids by name and for who they really are.This is a wonderful school and I am so greatful to have a school like this for kids with learning differences. My daughter loves everything about the school and she has been able to become really involved in student council, yearbook, and they even have a cheerleading program at this small school. The best part of this school is the attention your child recieves and the individualness the children get. You would not make a mistake in sending your child to this fabulous school. We are extremely happy here. Happy Bayhill parent '