Which High School for Learning Differences & Special Ed?
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Private high school for disorganized smart kid
- High school for LD student with dyslexia
- High School for learning disabled teen
- High School for learning disabled teens
- Schools for Bipolar Teens
- High School Choices for LD kids
- High school for Berkeley 14-y-o with emotional impairment
- School for Teen with Learning Disability
My child is very smart (scores high on standardized tests/IQ) but fails in school due to disorganization and lack of time management and not turning in homework. We don't think public high school is the way to go even with an IEP for Executive Functioning Disorder. From our experience, public schools don't seem to get smart but disorganized, really!! Our school district is highly rated but that doesn't make a difference. We've tried organizational help but it doesn't stick and gets expensive with the amount of support needed and for the frustration and cost we could pay for private school. We're looking at private schools in the East Bay and would love to hear from other parents. We heard about the Mentoring Academy and Tilden Prep. Any experience with either? Any other schools we should consider? Thanks. Anxious Mom of Smart but Disorganized Student
We had a great experience with the Mentoring Academy after a disastrous experience with a small provate school. Mentoring provides a self-paced, individualized learning experience. The director, John Muster, is a caring and engaged individual. He will spend significant time and energy getting to know your child and designing a program that is a good fit. He looks at the whole child \xc3\xa2\xe2\x82\xac\xe2\x80\x9c not just the academic piece. Mentoring is an all-day school with little to no homework (schoolwork is done during school hours, 9-5). This is a wonderful relief if you and your child are tired of homework dance. Hope this helps. MM
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
Do visit Orinda Academy in Orinda and talk with them. Spend a day visiting as well. Sounds far but it's very near the BART station in Orinda and many students take BART there. The faculty and staff are great, small classes and a very good and structured environment. parent of Orinda Grad
Hello- I would like to suggest Holden High School in Orinda, www.holdenhigh.org. It is a small school, with small classes and lots of individualized attention, where each student is recognized for their uniqueness and their unique learning style. The majority of the students travel from all over the East Bay to attend Holden, it is on the BART line.
My student has struggled with being disorganized for many years. Before Holden, when he finally did complete his homework, he would forget to turn it in. There was no organization to his backpack or planner. When we found Holden, (this is his second full year at Holden, after spending grades k-9 in public school), helping him to be organized was one of our first priorities. And within a couple of months this was no longer a problem. His grades have improved dramatically, his attendance is fine, he loves his school.
One of the other many things we love about Holden is that the students are not overloaded with homework and are given ample time during the school week to complete it, thus eliminating homework battles at home.
There is much more I could say about Holden, including how the students are supported emotionally as well as academically, but you can learn more by visiting their website, or better yet, have your child go for a visit.
Hope this is helpful to you. Good luck in your search. A grateful parent
We are parents of a 13-year-old 8th grader who is high-achieving, but disorganized. Starting with 7th grade, we enrolled him at Tilden Prep. It's been a great fit for him. The one-on-one teaching keeps him focused and moving forward. The school is well-managed and extremely responsive. We definitely encourage you to check it out. Berkeley Dad
We are moving to Berkeley and wondering if BHS is a good fit for our dyslexic son coming from Charles Armstrong in Belmont. He prefers small classrooms, using his computer in class to take notes and requires quite a bit of tutoring in math. We do have an IEP in place but I wonder if anyone has had a good experience who LD kids at BHS. Are there any other private school options? sylvie
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
With our LD son in 8th grade it's time to start looking at high schools for next year. UGH!!! Our son has reading/processing/organizing issues. He's a hand on and visual learner. Also some ADD. He's currently at Raskob (and only for 8th grade). What high schools did you apply for for your ld kids? We were very impressed with Bay Hills, are considering possibly maybe our local public school as a last resort (and would have to get an IEP or 504)...Maybeck and Drew were suggested to me as possiblities. They seem very academic according to their websites. Any other hs's for ld kids? Also...I've been told that sometimes a district has to pay for a child to go to private school if that child can't be accomodated in the district. How does that work? Thanks in advance, anon mom
Our ninth grade daughter is attending Star Academy in San Rafael. It's a wonderful school, but, obviously much less convenient to those of us here in the East Bay. We looked at Bay Hill and really liked it, but it wouldn't have met our daughter's needs. Star Academy has many services that she needed built into the program, such as OT, Lindamood-Bell and speech therapy. Your son may not need as many services, but that is all available at Star. We were lucky enough to connect with other families from the East Bay and we're in a carpool, which really helps out on transportation. Here is their website if you're interested: http://www.staracademy.org
HI All, My 13 yo son has a pretty severe learning disability. He is in 7th grade in a private school and is being so amazingly accomodated. We feel very lucky and grateful. He sees an ed. therapist, tutor, psycho therapist...OY!!! My question is....what do we do for high school? Our local public hs is not an option. I know about the hs near Lake Merrit that is connected to Raskob and that is a great option, but.....what if he doesn't get in? Where else do we go? Do any of the other public districts have transfer accomodations for ld kids? WHat other private hs's do? He's not a self motivator so an independant hs program is not the thing for him. Thanks in advance. thinking ahead
You should know about a terrific high school option for your child. By way of background, my son attended Raskob for six years (grades 4-9). Although we live by Lake Merritt, we opted to send him to Sterne School in San Francisco for his remaining high school years. Sterne has been around for over 30 years and was started by instructors affiliated w/UCSF's dyslexia program -- a pioneering center dating all the way back to the 1950's. Sterne has been fully accredited for many years, has a highly experienced and loving faculty, a cheerful and friendly student body (with a mix of dyslexia, NLD, Aspergers, and ADHD), a great technology program (employing Kurzweil, for instance), enrichment classes, optional tutoring, a new experiential learning program (students will go to Yosemite this fall), AND it has a brand new head of school, Ed McManis, who spent 25 years in executive and academic leadership roles at Denver Academy. (Denver Academy is one of the premier LD schools internationally.) There are many East Bay families who have placed their middle and high school students at Sterne, so there are reliable and convenient carpool, as well as public transit, options. We could not be happier with the education our 16 year-old son is receiving. Check it out at http://www.sterneschool.org; or call Ed directly at 415-922-6081. You'll find him to be very friendly and down-to-earth. I'd also be happy to talk to you. Sincerely, Kathleen
I think it's great that you're thinking ahead for HS now. It helps to start going to open houses and networking with other parents now. As for getting district funding for a private school placement, I've never heard of that happening without significant effort by the parents. That said, maybe have a look at the following schools:
- Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo: http://stanbridgeportal-com.web08.winsvr.net/ - Sterne School in SF: http://www.sterneschool.org/site/sterne/ - Star Academy: http://www.staracademy.org/ - Children's Learning Center: http://www.clcalameda.com/
See also schools listed at: http://www.baprivateschools.com/specialed.htm and http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/schools/ld_schools.html (this page)
Good luck! Meri
Take a look at Orinda Academy (private, in Orinda), The Gateway School (public, in SF but accepts kids from all over the Bay Area, through a lottery system), and Drew (private, SF). Also check out the Parents Education Network, or PEN, a tremendous resource, sponsoring lectures, workshops and a well maintained website: www.parentseducationnetwork.org .
Orinda Academy is not specifically for kids with learning disabilities; but they do have a learning specialist on staff and make an effort to accept and accommodate varied learning styles. Classes are small and kids can participate in multiple grade levels simultaneously to match their skill set (e.g. 12th grade English and Algebra I in the same year). Most classes use a mastery learning system, in which grades can be improved by making corrections. Mandatory study halls for those who do not complete homework encourage development of good study habits.
Gateway is a public school specifically for LD kids, but open to others as well. It accepts students from around the Bay, with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Call to find out the details on admissions.
Drew, in SF, is similar to Orinda Academy, twice as big, older, with newer facilities and higher tuition. -OA parent
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
My teenager needs a school geared to bipolar kids. Does anyone have any recommendations for schools that really treat the underlying stresses of being bipolar? Thanks so much.
If your son is high-school aged, you might consider Millenium High School, the Piedmont School District's alternative high school. It's my impression that inter-district transfers into MHS may be easier than transfers into other Piedmont schools. I have found the Piedmont School District to be very supportive of my bipolar child's educational and health issues.
Also, are you aware of the New Hope Support Group, which meets monthly in Lafayette? It's a group for parents of bipolar, school-aged children and is a good source of info. and support. For more info, you can contact 3kids1dog [at] comcast.net. Fellow parent
Looking into to appropriate high schools for LD kids. Would like a high school in the East Bay, but would consider a San Francisco setting. Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated.
Recommended: Raskob School
My 14 yr old nephew is coming to live with me from Michigan. He has an IEP there and has a designation of emotionally impaired. He has had a very rough life (mom doing drugs, chaos etc), has anxiety, is angry probably has ADHD and possibly bipolar. He is on meds but says they dont work. I need to find an appropriate high school for him. We live in Berkeley and I believe if he goes to BHS he will end up lost, doing drugs, and running around. He needs a lot of structure and not too much freedom at the moment. I am open to private school if need be, and am open to feedback about BHS. Thanks!
I'm sorry your nephew has had to suffer through this and think it's wonderful that you are taking him in. I would strongly advise against Berkeley High for a kid in such a situation. It's very anonymous, he WILL get lost, and worse, it will be nearly impossible for someone with problesm to avoid having those problems become much worse. I say this knowing Berkely HIgh is great for some kids, but not kids with problems, as I learned from hard experience. Instead, I'd recommend (1) Getting all the IEP information you have from his current school and getting started getting an appoiontment with the special ed. dept. in Berkeley Unified (you will need to write to ask for an appointment, they will do all they can to avoid helping you, be persistent and eventually they are great). There are schools that are o! ptions for him as a EI student that will be free because of his status that could be very beneficial. Once you have a clear and strong sense of what has been happening in his old school AND you get to know him, you will have a better idea what he needs. Get him in the most contained, supportive environment you can find. (2) Get him in to see one of the fantastic child psychiatrists around here to evaluate the meds he's tried, what's happening, working, not working, etc. RIGHT AWAY. The temptation to wait is not a great idea. Even if you decide against meds, you will know why you are deciding that and what has been tried before. (3) Investigate small, supportive private schools if you decide (after really looking at them and your nephew) that the special ed. schools (which can be great) are not the best option. I would particularly look at Orinda Academy as a place that can really ''hold'' a child! well and still provide a great academic and other programs. It's in Orinda but accessible by BART and there are lots of berkeley kids there.
Best of luck to you. This process will take time but your efforts to help this kid will be very rewarding. Hang in there. Anon
As a mother of a teen boy with severe learning disability that affects the language area, I am seeking recommendations for high schools. He has an IEP and is currently placed in a private school for kids with LD. Can anyone recommend a high school that provides an appropriate environment for him-he is great at math/science, willing to work and is not a behavior prob Trying to keep ahead of the game
My neighbor's son graduated from Spraings Academy in central Contra Costa County. (Their offices were in Orinda, but the school was in Lafayette, near BART, but they may have moved). He is severly learning disabled and he is now attending college. His mother, a low income single parent, fought with WCCUSD and eventually was able to get the district to pay for his high school education there as the district was unable to accomodate him. I believe she had help from RCEB. He attended Contra Costa College with assistance from their disabled students program and he will be attending UC Santa Cruz with assistance from Dept. of Rehab. She was also able to obtain Social Security Disability payments for her son which greatly assisted the process. Good Luck
I saw a query from a parent looking for a high school for her son with language disabilities. I, too am hunting for a school that knows what it is doing regarding high school students with a variety of learning differences. My daughter is very bright and deep, very talented and having a heck of a time at a private high school which is noted for accepting kids with learning differences. She has plenty brains but very very slow processing. This means she really cannot take in and put out the volume of product required of regular high school kids within the same time constraints. What takes the average student half an hour, my daughter will need three hours to accomplish. Some of it is anxiety (!!bad anxiety), and some of it is ADD, but some of it is neurological. She's no slacker, and her work is A+ work. It's just slow and tortured. She's currently taking two academic classes (English and Algebra) in the 10th grade, and has time in her life for virtually nothing else. We have gotten her a homework coach who comes every day to help her. Still, if she's sick one day, you can imagine how awful it is for her to catch up. The teachers love her. She participates in class, asks intelligent, probing, original questions and always has good ideas to contribute, but the physical output of paperwork is controlling every moment of her life. Her self esteem is suffering. The school wants to add on classes, and I can't seem to get some of the teachers to adjust homework for her. She also plays a musical instrument and is a gifted actress. She loves learning, but I'm afraid she's going to be turned off if this keeps up. I wish we could skip high school and all this anguish because I know she'll be a terrific adult. What do we do for such a kid? Tobie
I just happened to run into your site tonight. I live in Saratoga, Ca. I know this is not your area, but if you are still getting requests for schools that will support and help high school kids with ADHD and other LD's to succeed, I found only one on the PENINSULA, that is not either accelerated, or so remedial that you would not consider it. It is MIDPENINSULA HS< Willow Road, Menlo Park/Palo Alto. They have a ratio of 15 to one. My son has severe ADHD. He went from a D- average in Middle School, and no hope of any support from the public schools (Saratoga/Cupertino) to a B+ average in Sophomore year and now,on the road to a decent HS Career Good Luck Roselle , USC Parent