The Phillips Academy


Private School
70 students
Email: ecohen [at] thephillipsacademy.orgPhone: 510-769-7100
1910 Central Ave Alameda, CA 94501
Program Type: 
Certified nonpublic school, Special needs support
Editors' Notes: 
  • Prior to 2012, The Phillips Academy was known as the Children's Learning Center

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • The Phillips Academy in Alameda

    (2 replies)

    Dear Parents,

    I'm looking into the possibility of sending my 12 year old son to Phillips Academy,  any comments is appreciated!  If there are other school options, please kindly let me know.

    Thank you,

    Alice Chan

    hi. My son and godson both attend Phillips. My son also attended Springstone in Lafayette. I'd be happy to talk to you about both. 

    My daughter has been there for a year and a half and it has been a game changer for us.  I'm happy to talk about it with you if you like.  Please feel free to contact me directly.

  • Our 17 year-old daughter is returning from a residential treatment center and we are looking for a high school for her senior year. She is a very bright and outgoing teen, who suffered through some serious trauma that caused a lot of social emotional problems, as well as self-medication through illegal substances. She has made great progress during the last year and we think she will be able to go back to a smaller high school with a fair amount of individual support and attention. We are considering sending her to Orinda Academy. The school district is potentially offering to place her into Phillips Academy in Alameda or Irene M Hunt School in Marin. There is little information available about these last two schools. I would greatly appreciate if someone would share their experience with either of these schools, and if they are appropriate for a bright kid that is still sometimes struggling with the effects of PTSD, anxiety and depression. Of course, remote learning because of coronavirus makes all these decisions even more difficult.


    I'm sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling, and I'm glad that she's made a lot of progress. I toured Phillips Academy (at the suggestion of our school district) as a potential placement for my daughter who has similar issues to yours. I did not think that it was a good fit for my daughter. I'm happy to share why, privately. Contact me.

    My daughter ended up at Tilden Prep, which was a lifesaver for her and could be a good transition for your daughter. 

    My teen just graduated from Holden High School and I highly recommend it for your daughter given what you've described. It is very small (40 students total for grades 9-12) and extremely supportive. My child is also very bright and struggles with anxiety and depression. If it weren't for Holden, I'm not sure how they would have graduated from high school at all. Check them out at


    Contact me if you'd like to discuss this privately.

  • Recent Reviews of The Phillips Academy?

    (2 replies)

    I'm hoping to hear from current families at The Phillips Academy about how their kids are faring and also about the process of getting a district (in our case, Berkeley) to pay tuition. 

    I am a parent of a special needs child (fairly non verbal autism with high sensory needs) and would also be interested to know about others' experience at the Phillips Academy. We have recently transitioned back to Berkeley in full inclusion. It is going just "ok" and that is coming from someone with a positive attitude and expect good intentions mentality. We spent two years out of district in a special day class (it was at another public in a totally different county -- tough experience because of transportation -- long story) when Berkeley closed its autism class. Intentions are very good, but the proper resources to really support an individual with high need (moderate to severe autism) is not in place at BUSD and case management is bare bones.  Very concerned about middle school transition next year after just 2 months back in BUSD in full inclusion. Thoughts welcome. A Berkeley parent 

    Our son is at Phillips and I can't say enough great things about it.  They really work with the families and care about the kids.  We had to fight the district (Lafayette) and bring an attorney in to get them to agree to move him.  He started at the end of 8th grade. Esther is wonderful and very patient to work with.  

Parent Reviews

Parents, Sign in to post a review on this page.

My daughter attends The Phillips Academy in Alameda.     I can't tell you how much we love Phillips --- a real game changer for our daughter.  Springstone in Lafayette is another school popular with ASD kids.  Both are non-public schools so Berkeley USD would have to approve of an IEP that supported your kid's attendance there and the district would pay the tuition if they felt they could not meet his needs within the district.  I don't think there is a way to private pay tuition in either school but i might be wrong about that.  

We are not so hot on Phillips Academy, our son had a bad experience (restraint and seclusion) with Children's Learning Center when he was there in 3rd grade and some of the same staff are at Phillips now.

Hi--Have you explored The Phillips Academy in Alameda. I highly recommend this community for paying attention to the needs of all students and families. Good luck to you. Helen

The Phillips Academy in Alameda is a "Non-Public School" for kids with emotional disabilities.  If your child's IEP allows a NPS placement, you may want to consider this school.  Usually the school district authorizes transportation to and from home as well, if you push for it.  I believe they are very academic with tailored curriculum, compared to other local NPSs.

Also Tilden Prep in Albany or Walnut Creek, but many parents have to pay out-of-pocket for it.

Check out The Phillips Academy in Alameda--a nonpublic school--paid for by your school district. All students have IEPs, highly therapeutic environment with full time therapists on staff. I worked there for 20 years--recently retired. You may have to fight with your school district to get your child placed but we have many Oakland students. Very LGBT friendly and supportive. Call director Dr. Esther Cohen 510-864-3503. Tell her Helen sent you. Good luck!!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2011

Does anyone have experience with the Children's Learning Center in Alameda? We have a son with emotional challenges and ADHD who is not being well served by the WCCUSD public schools, and we are considering CLC. We would appreciate any and all comments, positive or negative. Thanks!

Our son has been at CLC for 2 years. His original diagnosis was Aspergers. He also has ADD and APD (auditory processing disorder) and has an AB3632. We are happy to say that he will be with them next year as he moves up to the 6th grade.

His, and our, experience has been nothing but positive. He has grown socially, academically and is beginning to make friends.

The staff is outstanding, Attentive, communicative on a daily basis. They genuinely care about our child. He still has problems and issues come up frequently, but with the help of the staff and the safety procedures, he is learning to deal with them.

If something is not working, the staff makes immediate changes to achieve positive results. They have zero tolerance for bullying, they are inclusive and very open minded. Its a safe and positive environment for everyone.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you need more information. A proud CLC mom.

August 2009

Re: Student with mild aspergers looking for high school
There is another wonderful school in Alameda, Children's Learning Center. C.L.C. has 2 campuses, one for grade school and the other for middle school and high school. C.L.C. provides are a small, warm, school environment with a thoughtful sensitive behavioral system, which encourages/supports students to grow and stretch. The classes are very small. The teacher's are amazing. The staff stays for years and years because it is such a supportive learning environment. There are spot on for academics. They work on supporting and learning social thinking (speech pragmatics, social skills). CLC provides a behavioral piece and services are a bit more intensive as I understand it than Bayhill. So, it is for a child or adolescent that needs a bit more structure and support. CLC has sports teams, cheerleading, and the best talent show. The info is: Children's Learning Center,1910 Central Avenue, Alameda, CA. 94501, phone 510-769-7100. Wishing you the best in your search!!! Parent of teen at C.L.C.

June 2009

CLC has been a godsend for my autistic grandson. He attended 3 different schools in the WCCCSD -- each a disaster -- over a period of less than a year and a half before he was placed at CLC. He is a different child, growing, learning, achieving and is very happy. I would recommend CLC to anyone who has a child on the autistic spectrum. n

Oct 2008

Re: High School for learning disabled teens
I missed your original post but I wanted to mention Children's Learning Center in Alameda. They have two separate buildings, one for younger kids and the other for kids up through high school. My son went there for six years and was able to transition to the public high school full-time. I never paid for any of it because I hired a special ed lawyer (for the second time) who negotiated with the school district and got approval for my son's placement there. However, this agreement happened nine years ago, so I'm not sure how different things are now. Nancy

May 2006

Re: Special Ed Program for 11-y-o with ''Emotional Disturbance''
I highly recommend Children's Learning Center (CLC), which is a private school for learning disabilities in Alameda. They accept kids with a wide range of issues including emotional disturbance. My son, who has Asperger's Syndrome, has attended for 6 years and will be able to fully transition to the local public high school because of everything this school has done. The staff is dedicated, caring, and extremely well trained. The academic program is very strong, so the kids actually learn and are not just babysat (which happened in my son's previous public school). I credit this school for giving my son a new life, one in which he has close to a normal future. I suggest you contact the school and see if you think it is a good fit for your son. Their phone number is (510) 769-7100.
Nancy '