Miramonte High School

Public School
operated by Orinda Unified School District
(925) 280-3930
750 Moraga Way, Orinda, CA 94563

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Miramonte and Struggling Learners

July 2012


Any feedback on Miramonte in Orinda would be greatly appreciated. My teen was recently diagnosed with ''slow processing speed'' and now has part of an explanation why he has always struggled and had to work much harder than his class mates. The test results would qualify him for extra test time and some classroom accommodations. He managed to get good grades and has been accepted to Miramonte on a district transfer, but before the report came out. But how well do struggling learners do there? I was thinking that since it is a public school that there would be a wide range of learners, but I recently met a very bright young man that is going to Miramonte whose well-off parents pay for various tutors even though he doesn't technically need them. I don't want my kid to crash and burn, but was hoping that he would be challenged academically in a safe environment. How do ''different learners'' cope there? Are district transfers able to get resource services there or in their home districts only? Thanks very much. Worried, but hopeful mom

My child recently graduated from Miramonte HS. She, like your son, has been diagnosed with slow processing speed. In fact, I could have written your message, almost word for word. We were very pleased with her teachers and the education she received at Miramonte. Her class, in particular, was very strong artistically, academically, and athletically. I was glad that my daughter could compete with the very best, even though she had to struggle a lot harder. She did get extra time on tests when she requested it. Having said that, the school did not bend over backwards to grant other accommodations we requested. In fact, it was implied that if she needed much more than that, she might be better off at a different school. What I heard, anecdotally, after the fact, is that Miramonte is not the most welcoming school in the district for kids with learning disabilities. Campolindo HS has a better reputation in that regard. I know families that have chosen to go to Campolindo for exactly that reason. By the way, I highly recommend that your son avail himself of the accommodations granted to him from Day 1. If not, you will have a hard time getting accommodations from College Board when it comes time for SAT's, AP's, etc. Anon

My daughter graduated from Campolindo High. I am also in special education as a professional. I have to tell you that the Acalanes Unified High School District is not the best district for students with learning disabilities. The teaching is very traditional. And, the district is quick to say no to accommodations. I cringed with the previous post. Evidently, the district said that if her student needed more than extended time for accommodations that Miramonte may not be the best school. Last time I looked, Miramonte is a public school bound by California and federal law. And, a district does not get to say they will only provide one accommodation nor can it weed out students- it's a violation of IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA. Ouch. Caveat Emptor, for the attitude of this district, as the above statement says it all. And, Campolindo is not a better choice for students with learning issues. Be prepared to fight and insist on accommodations. As for the best, well there is a lot of memorizing, fact learning, a dearth of creativity, hours of homework, and angst regarding Ivy League schools. anonymous

Will my daughter fit in?

Aug 2010


Hi, My daughter will be starting Miramonte High School in Orinda next week.I am concerned about her attending this school because I am not sure if she would fit in. Knowing about Orinda, if you are not rich, beautiful, athletic and super smart - you just don't fit in. I don't live in Orinda and it was not my choice to have her go there. Can anyone give me any feedback about their experience with the school? Not the decision maker

Dear not the decision maker, from multiple parents of kids who've attended Miramonte, and from the mouths of these students themselves, I've heard the same - over and over. Hopefully she'll find a few friends and it won't be bothersome to her, but the general gestalt of the place is that which you are concerned about. What to do? I'd take her out as soon as you can if she seems intensely unhappy, don't wait. On the other hand, try to encourage her out the gate. Perhaps she'll find the good things and people who are there. If you're not the decision maker, at least be the advocator for your daughter if you see that she's miserable. 9th grade's not an easy year for many, so it's important to try to separate that from the issues of Miramonte. good luck. Peacha

Hi, I woould never, never send my child to Miramonte AGAIN. I must say the education is stellar, but the kids are really worse than Mean Girls, the film. Also, the DRINKING, DRUGS AND SEX is overwhelming. It is not just a few kids, it is a pervasive sense of entitlement. If your kid is pretty and smart, then the other girls will cyberstalk, trash talk the girl to other girls, bully etc. This is NOT A GOOD place to send your child for any healthy emotional development. Having said this my child is extremely attractive, athletic , very smart and very sophisticated and reasonably well off. I WOULD NOT SEND MY CHILD AGAIN, even though academics are terrific. I am sorry to confirm ALL, probably, of your worst fears.... not a nice place and the mothers, particularly perpetuate this sense of nastiness and entitlement. anonymous

As a parent of 2 children that, as inter-district transfer students, have gone and are going through the middle and high school years in Orinda, I understand your concern. I can't say there is any overt exclusivity among the ''native'' kids towards kids from out of the District. In fact, may new kids come in at the start of High School.

While some are, not everyone in Orinda is super wealthy. There are folks out there that have been seriously impacted by this dip in the economy, and many two pay check families are sacrificing a lot and working hard to have their kids in that district. The academic and counseling programs out there are good for the most part and many have been saved from the worst ravages of budget cuts by the financial contributions of the parents. (Be warned, the many parent organizations will expect you to contribute too.)

That being said; how your daughter will react will depend on her. Some kids are outgoing and will make friends whatever the situation. The kids there aren't all beautiful, athletic and super smart; some might just have parents who will pay for stylists, coaches and tutors.

Good Luck, It's hard sending your child into a new environment.It's a large school and since there are many diverse programs, your daughter is apt to find some kindred spirts. Been There

Is your girl coming in as a Freshman or did you just move in? Dispell the myth and please don't let on to your daughter that you feel that way or you'll be setting her up for failure. Yes, Orinda is LaLa land, and she deserves a portion of her life to be educated well and be amoungst kids that have been raised by supportive parents in a climate not unlike the French Riviera. Email me and I'll set her up with a Big Sister. She's gonna LOVE it there! Reen

My daughter entered Miramonte as a freshman a few years ago via an interdistrict transfer. We're not wealthy, just middle class, and we told her ahead of time that there would likely be things that other girls had there that she wouldn't (extravagant Sweet 16 parties, new cars, expensive closthes). She had no problems with the other girls, made plenty of friends among boys and girls, was not excluded, and was INcluded to an astonishing degree. The classes and opportunities were very good. She went there all four years and got a great education and made great friends and had no regrets. I think you can have a wonderful or terrible experience at any school. We had her in a middle school that was much ''poorer'', and she was so pleased to be in a ''nice'' school, with beautiful facilities. As for peer pressure and bullying, most girls have had plenty of experience with ''mean girls'' by the time they reach high school, so I think your daughter's going to deal with that wherever she goes. But avoid the stereotypes, and let her find her niche. anon

My daughter is now a junior at Miramonte High School. We are not wealthy, and she is an average kid, who is very shy and quiet. Yet, she fits in quite nicely at Miramonte, has many friends, and is happy there. While there may be a higher percentage of overachievers at the school, there is a whole range of students. There are students who do well, there are those who slack off, and there are students who struggle. It's just like anywhere else. Not everyone at Miramonte is a superstar.

My daughter and I have discussed the fact that some kids at her school come from incredibly rich families. I tell my daughter that there will always be people that are richer, prettier, smarter than she is, but it shouldn't keep her from achieving what she wants for her life. She is at Miramonte to avail herself of the strong academics and all the opportunities the school has to offer. We are happy that we are able to send her to such an excellent school. Anon