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Orion Academy

Private | 9-12 | 60 students

Specialized education for students on the autism spectrum.

 

Living in Moraga

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $720,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,530.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 5 ratings
2013:
Based on 1 rating
2012:
Based on 14 ratings
2011:
Based on 2 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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31 reviews of this school


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Posted June 6, 2012

Orion Academy is a school in which I can be myself and walk around without fear of being judged. I'm taught by teachers whom I can rely on and I know I can ask them for help.
—Submitted by a student


Posted December 20, 2011

This school's teachers vary greatly in quality from very poor to extremely skilled. This school is small, and as such name-calling and gossip tends to spread like wildfire, with the result that I never felt safe anywhere as though someone were name-calling, laughing, or gossiping about me behind my back. I would give this school no stars if I could. They make a huge deal about how the courses here are UC accredited and thus challenging, but in reality they only prepare you for community college at best. It's as though they expect the students to be flipping burgers at McDonalds at the pinnacle of their career. I think students with autism and other so-called learning disorders deserve better than this. The whole game plan here is forcing the students to be as 'neurotypical' or normal like their peers as possible, regardless of self-esteem, happiness, or love. No one should be pressured to be something they are not. I am not saying that autistic children do not have challenges that need to be overcome, many of them do. But I don't believe that the leadership of this school, which practically drips with condescension for students and their families, constructively aids them at all.


Posted April 20, 2011

Orion Academy is a great school for people with Aspergers, NLd and other neurological diagnostics. Orion Academy has a strong academy program. Orion know also offers winter abroad trips to selected juniors/ senior during the 3 week winter break. Orion in 2011 offers trips to the Oregon Shakespeare festival and in the summer of a 3 week backpacking program. The teachers I have have been excellent and pro at the subject they teach. Orion Academy also offers in the Fall and Spring and Track/Cross Country Program, which run around the town and in community races.
—Submitted by a student


Posted December 1, 2010

For me, the main strong point of this school is the social part. Going here, I made a lot of friends, more than at previous schools. I felt I fit in because my peers had differences like mine. Another strong point of the use of technology. The technology used in this school makes learning a lot easier. Academics here is okay. Small classrooms strengthens academics. There are definitely some very good teachers, but there are others that aren't as good. The lack of homework is nice, but it doesn't really prepare students for college, where they will have a lot of outside work. I also agree with some parents about the lack of respect given to students and their parents. I have experienced this. But still, better than public school for kids with Aspergar's and similar differences.
—Submitted by a student


Posted April 20, 2010

This school has been a vast improvement for my gifted son with NLD. He has friends, is comfortable, and is learning. Some reviews on this site have complained that the academics are somehow lacking. The academic level is not on par with a top tier private school, but it is college prep and brings the kids along academically so that they are successful and learn to compensate for their weaknesses. My son's academic testing is strong and we are confident that he will be successful in college. Most importantly, he is HAPPY now. The director of the school is an extremely strong personality. She does not endear herself to many people, but she has designed a strong program and the kids are the beneficiaries.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 2, 2009

Orion Academy does not deliver on its promises academically. Also there is a pervasive and inherent lack of respect of students and their families, and it starts from the top.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 28, 2009

This school is much better then all the other schools I've been too in a long time. I am making many more friends then I did at public schools, and my writing skills have vastly improved. Almost everyone is friendly with everyone else here, and small classes are a good thing to have, too. All in all, a great school for Aspergers people.
—Submitted by a student


Posted January 22, 2009

It is a good program. However, the administration takes a very strong and intimidating approach which has been counter productive in our case.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 21, 2009

Not college prep as advertised. Difficult communication with administration. Expensive.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 28, 2008

This school is the best thing for AS kids ever. My child is so happy here. Lots of friends, great curriculum, high expections, he can work independently. Teachers who 'get it'. We are so lucky to have this school in the bay area. The best place on earth for an Aspie!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 16, 2006

This is a wonderful program, innovative and smart. I especially like that it is a high school only - not trying to do middle school or lower grades on the same campus. AS and NLD kids thrive, make real friends...so different from public school. The program has really grown and the facility and services have grown as well. Excellent course selection for such a small school...everything an AS kid could want. The director is an expert in the field with published books and the program refelcts this professional level.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 90% 26%
Two or more races 5% 3%
Black 2% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 2% 1%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hispanic 0% 52%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

College readiness and student pathways

Students typically attend these schools prior to attending this school Public school
home school
Percentage of students going to 2-year college 50% (2013)
Percentage of students going to 4-year college 40% (2013)
Percentage of students going to the military 0% (2013)
Percentage of students going to vocational programs 10% (2013)
Percentage of students going directly into the workforce 0% (2013)
Colleges most students attend after graduation California State University
St. Mary's College
Art Institute
Read more about resources at this school
Source: Manually entered by a school official.

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
College counselor(s)
Math specialist(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
School psychologist
Special education coordinator
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Special education
Level of special education programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular special education needs
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Autism
  • Other health impairments
  • Specific learning disabilities
Staff resources available to students
  • Special education coordinator

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Technology
Staff resources available to students
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
Clubs
  • Math club

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
  • Improv
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • Computer animation
  • Video / Film production
Clubs
  • Anime club
  • Art club
  • Arts and crafts

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Latin
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • School psychologist
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Gifted / high performing
College preparation / awareness resources offered
  • College prep programs/courses during the year
  • College presentations or information sessions
  • Community college courses
  • SAT/ACT prep classes
  • School-sponsored trips to college campuses
  • Visiting teachers or lecturers from colleges
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:50 am
School end time
  • 3:45 am
School Leader's name
  • Dr. Kathryn Stewart
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • College prep
  • Gifted / high performing
  • Internships
  • Project-based
  • Standards-based
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Special education
  • Technology
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Moderate - the school consistently offers a full program for particular special education needs
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Autism
  • Other health impairments
  • Specific learning disabilities
Foreign languages taught
  • Latin
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • None
Vocational or skills-based training offered
  • None

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • College counselor(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
  • Robotics/Technology specialist(s)
  • School psychologist
  • Special education coordinator
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Career/college counseling
  • College coursework w/credit
  • Counseling
College preparation / awareness resources offered
  • College prep programs/courses during the year
  • College presentations or information sessions
  • Community college courses
  • SAT/ACT prep classes
  • School-sponsored trips to college campuses
  • Visiting teachers or lecturers from colleges
Transportation options
  • Passes/tokens for public transportation
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Audiovisual aids
  • College/career center
  • Internet access
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • Tice Valley Gym
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Cross country
  • Track
Girls sports
  • Cross country
  • Track

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
  • Photography
Music
  • None
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
  • Improv
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • Computer animation
  • Video / Film production

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Anime club
  • Art club
  • Arts and crafts
  • Book/reading club
  • Chess club
  • Community service
  • Game club
  • JCL
  • Lesbian, gay, transgender club
  • Math club
  • Student council/government
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
More from this school
  • Orion Academy is the first school of it's kind and we are the model program for academically bright students on the spectrum. WASC accredited with UC approved courses, Orion also provides more than classes but a community for families and students. College counseling and other post high school decisions are part of the overall Orion program that includes a real internship experience. "Success" is more than good grades in high school, but realistic preparation for life after high school.
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
Apply now
 

What are your chances?


4 out of 10students were accepted for the 2012-2013 school year.


Students accepted for the 2012-2013 school year
15
Applications received for the 2012-2013 school year
35
Students typically come from these schools
Public school
home school

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$30000 - $35000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
California State University
St. Mary's College
Art Institute
College preparation / awareness offered
College prep programs/courses during the year
College presentations or information sessions
Community college courses
SAT/ACT prep classes
School-sponsored trips to college campuses
Visiting teachers or lecturers from colleges
Students' post-graduation plans in 2013
2 year college - 50%
4 year college - 40%
Military - 0%
Vocational - 10%
Workforce - 0%
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

350 Rheem Boulevard
Moraga, CA 94556
Website: Click here
Phone: (925) 377-0789

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