Charles Armstrong School

Community Subscriber
Private School
250 students
1405 Solana Drive, Belmont, CA 94002
Program Type:
Special needs support

Armstrong is an independent school for children with dyslexia and related learning differences in grades 2-8.

Parent Q&A

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  • I am a parent of a 5th grader who is dyslexic and has ADHD however very smart.  He has worked very hard and is a top reader now however because of his dyslexia he struggles with other subjects.  He is very social and has a lot of friends.  The public schools are not helping him.  He is BORED and not learning.  Does anyone know anything about Charles Armstrong Academy in Belmont?  Can you tell me good, bad and anything about the school?  Or can you recommend a different school?


    Concerned Mom

    Hi, I'm not sure where you're located, but I live in Belmont and if you'd like I can post your question on our local NextDoor forum and see if I can get any feedback from around here.  I did a search and didn't turn up anything from the past.  

    I have a highly gifted, dyslexic child with ADHD as well.  We got a list of schools that were geared specifically for dyslexia that included Raskob in Oakland, Charles Armstrong (Belmont), Hope Academy (Concord), Stellar Academy for Dyslexics (Fremont), Athena Academy (Palo Alto) and several in San Francisco.  There were so many options, but most of them (except Raskob) seemed like they would be hard to get to in a morning commute and juggling work.  Raskob looked good, while at the same time, I didn't see the "gifted" and "creative" component highlighted as much as I would have liked in the lower elementary groups and felt like school would mainly be geared towards remediation, and not teaching to strengths as well.  Athena Academy would have been one we would have selected, if the drive there were at all doable- that one looked like an amazing overall fit.

    Instead, I chose a small private school with a low ratio and project based learning that was geared towards gifted children and decided to "remediate" the dyslexia outside of the actual school.  Got a really great O-G tutor (started with Barton then moved to an overall O-G program) for the dyslexia and dysgraphia.  Schools for gifted children already have a built in "meet child where they are" component and tend to teach using multi modal methods as gifted children also learn differently (visual, kinesthetic, audio), and most have a strong social-emotional component to them and plenty of movement and outdoor time, as well as a low ratio (which helps the ADHD/focus).  My child blossomed and was no longer complaining of being bored in school and the anxiety dropped.  They are now also reading at grade level.  

    I think there are allot of options in the bay area and you can explore what will fit you and your child best.  Good luck! 

    My son has Dyslexia too and the public schools refused to help, blaming me, etc. Best thing I ever did, on the recommendation of a friend, was file a Complaint with the California Department of Education, with some help from DREDF. It has to be filed on a procedural issue (like not responding on time, not complying with an IEP, etc). Made a 180 turn for my son, all of a sudden he was getting what he needed, and they told the district to reimburse me for the specialized Slingerland tutoring I had started. for him, which helped hugely.

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Have you looked at Charles Armstrong School? My son has a similar diagnosis, but has never been in meds (my personal choice), and has been a student there for four years, currently on 7th grade. 

They have everything you're looking for, and you're son will flourish there. I know several parents from Berkeley whose children go there. I'm happy to connect off line to chat more.

Best regards 

Hi! Wanted to let you know that we send our child who is dyslexic to Charles Armstrong in Belmont, and it’s been great. There’s also a lovely carpool in Oakland so we only need to make the drive once, sometimes twice, a week. Best of luck making a decision! 

My son was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD ( inattentive) in first grade. He was attending a “ progressive “ private school in Oakland and they were unwilling and unequipped to provide support for my son - as are most schools. The problem is that most learning specialists are not trained in the proven methodologies that support and instruct kids with Dyslexia. In fact, the trend these days is for learning specialists to support teachers - not necessarily students. You might get a “ pull-out” a few times a week but that wont help your child.  Early intervention is crucial. Many studies have shown that early intervention can even “rewire” neuro pathways. Check out UCSF’s brain imaging study on Dyslexia.

We sent our son to Charles Armstrong for three years and it was well worth the sacrifice. He is now a 6th grader at The Berkeley School and thriving. TBS is a wonderful community and a school that really and truly embraces diversity in all forms. The school is working on more ways to support neuro-diverse students because the leadership understands that a diverse classroom helps develop deeper learning.  TBS also has a project based curriculum, which really works well for Dyslexic students. Our son still needs some outside support but the school makes it easy and welcomes all types of scaffolding that students depend on.

If you are not going to send your child to a school that focuses on remediation of Dyslexia, then I encourage you to hire an educational therapist who is trained in Making Math Real, Orton-Gillingham, and or Slingerland. The Berkeley School provides an environment where your child’s strengths will be highlighted and their challenges will be supported. Unlike many private schools - they welcome students who learn and think in different ways. I encourage you to contact Stephen Cahill ( learning support coordinator) at the Berkeley School. He welcomes the opportunity to discuss the school’s strategies for different learners - I’ve never encountered a more engaged and forward thinking educator !


I'm sorry for your troubles.  We have a 9 year with dyslexia.  It is encouraging to find that Lindamood bell helped.  Some info.  If you want to go full on dyslexic school, there are many from the east bay that carpool to Charles Amrstrong in Belmont.  It is 200 kids all dyslexic.  And ADHD often goes along with it.  No bullying. And my son is convinced he is super smart.  Some parents go for a cloupke of years. In public school, it was hard to fight for resources once my son reached "grade level".   Private schools you might choose nice and small.  You will likely have to supplement.  

Two programs.  Foundations is used at Berkeley School.  1 st to 3 Rd. And that is the program Amrstrong uses. Math made real is used at several schools and is based in Berkeley.  We found there was not one solution but decided private plus supplement worked for our son.  

Some ideas for your son.  Other famous dyslexics? In London in told the reserve a track for dyslexics at the top schools because so many are Brillant at math and science.   Finding places where he can succeed in other areas.  

Also Debbie Vielbaum former head of admission ls at Charles Armatrong has a consulting practice under Vielbaum consulting.   She has worked with famikies transitioning out of Amrstrong into public and private. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2009

RE:  School for severely dyslexic 3rd grader

My friend's child is severely dyslexic and they are looking at the Charles Armstrong school in Belmont, which targets dyslexic kids. So you might want to check into that one too.

Feb 2007

RE: Looking for an LD School for Middle/High School

Charles Armstrong has a great middle school. However, commuting from the east bay can be exhausting. Feel free to call the school, and ask to speak to east bay parents. There are several that go there each year. anon