We moved to California and chose the Orinda community, in part, because of the school district. The pros: the teachers and administration are engaged, academic excellence is valued, and the kids are prepared for top-level universities, it's a safe environment. The cons: it's hard to break in socially since the kids have known each other since elementary school (track, cross country , performing arts, public speaking are the most welcoming groups - no one gets cut). Parents and kids can be judgmental if you're not from the same socio-economic strata. You will be solicited from all directions for donations, and with the exception of EFO, accountability is an issue. There is a "no problem that money can't solve" attitude and being extravagant vs. trying to do things effectively, inexpensively and valuing inclusion. The pros outweigh the cons, but it can wear you down on some days.
I went here. Read my other review about OIS. I had the same problem here as well. I was hoping with two years of Orinda living under my belt that I can fit in. Nope. I was wrong. Some of the girls went to the same preschool, kindergarten, same elementary (wagner, glorietta, del rey), same soccer practices, same church, same clubs - they have known each other since they were little girls. I never felt like I really fit in with them. I always felt like the outsider. Maybe because I was Asian - no they weren't overtly racists. My immigrant parents were obviously WORLDS apart from their parents. During events, my parents will huddle in the corner not talking with any of the parents. It's a great school, ya da da ya da, but people fail to realize that high school is not about just academics. It's shapes your life. I never fit in and I am still struggling with it.
i hate this school more than anything in the world. yeah the teachers and academics are nice but the other students are complete jerks, id say 40% do crazy drugs. I am a transfer student from the el sobrante area and mexican and not accepted because of that. If you look anything out of the ordinary of their already pre-set environment or cliques, such as i am, you will be stared and and be made fun of behind your back, i am being called ghetto because i am not either white or asian. this school is a complete joke socially. and the so called link crew that helps you try to fit in only gives you free pizza.
Miramonte is a great school for college prep. After attending this school, I feel that my children will be well prepared for college. They had some wonderful teachers who were very dedicated and inspiring. However, I agree that if you are not an advanced and very well-prepared student, you could easily get lost here. I also think the alcohol issues at this school are disturbing. Why does there have to be alcohol at so many school fundraisers and related activities? After noting this, I'm not surprised at the number of DUI's among the students. Also, there is quite an exclusive attitude at this school. So for my third child, I am exploring other options.
The academics and sports programs are superior to most surrounding schools, however the staff and students, not counting teachers, are very unconventional. In fact the student body as a whole are out of control, seeing how students have died from drug use, with staff failing to take any significant actions. Be very careful when placing your child in this school. -Note. The new principle is apparently doing a much better job than the former failure of a principle who recently "resigned" a year ago. The former principle did very little to quell drug dealers and bullies on campus, even when directly reported to about such activities and individuals.
Great parent involvement. The teachers are some of the most dedicated people you will ever meet in your life. Miramonte puts a lot of pressure on the students to perform and some students will crumble under the pressure. Everybody takes AP or Honors and some students end up taking courses they aren't ready for. The counselors will not guide the students much except for when it comes to colleges. If your child is naturally gifted this school will treat them well. However, if the student is not self-motivated or naturally bright he/she will not fair too well.
Miramonte is a high-achieving and fun high school with arguably the best and most committed teachers you will find in any public or private high school. My classmates are interested and interesting, talented, athletic, artistic, intellectual, and passionate about work and fun. It is the best high school around!!!!!