My special needs daughter had all her needs met here. There was a great peer mentoring program where other students helped the special ed students. My daughter developed great friends through this program. Teachers were very helpful and committed. We moved into the district at the 5th grade level and we were glad we did. No bullying here as in our prior district.
I have two sons that attended Orinda Intermediate School(OIS) The school does well for the most part working with children and the teachers are great. That said, I learned early on that the Admin pretty much blows, Most kids have grown up together and are very clicky, if your child has had any issues in the past they will be multiplied here. They say they don't accept bullying but it's the norm in Orinda, If you complain about anything and rather than fixing the problem your child may receive a days suspension or detention (my son fought back after being picked on by the same group of kids), sports are a great solution and there are some clubs. Principal was friendly with wax lips and it seems that most of the problem with the school comes from the wealthy elite that are guaranteed to be his star pupils and receive kudo's at advancement ceremonies.. The school has major communication problems with Miramonte High School for when it is time to move forward. My advice is Boost, Boost, Boost and boost some more!
I went to this school... Our parents moved from Sunnyvale thinking that going to a school in a small neighborhood would be great. What they didn't realize is how small this neighborhood is. Some of these kids in this school went to preschool together. Let me rephrase that - they have known each other since preschool. How can someone that just moved in, fit in? They are two groups of people - the ones that fit in because they have lived here all their lives and the ones that don't fit in because they didn't grow up here. I never got to fit in - maybe because I was Asian with an Asian name (hey I have asked many times for my parents to give me an American name!!!). If you are Asian and are thinking of sending your Asian American teen age daughter, please do not send them here. I had such a dreadful time trying to fit in. I tried everything - coloring my hair, having an English "nick name" - "Sharon" instead of Shan, trying various clubs - nothing helped. Nothing. I am not saying they are racist. They are not. Just that if you didn't grow up here, you are not part of them. You will never be. Never. No matter how much you try. Never...
I think many in Orinda have their rose tinted glasses on. OIS is plagued by a mix of great, good and teachers who should NOT be teaching any longer. It's been a mixed bag for us. My child's core teachers have been excellent, however, his math and science teachers have not been. We are currently having to tutor him in math because there have been so many subs. We are now trying to get our 2nd child in private school because we don't want him to experience the same mediocre teaching, large class sizes and a cycle schedule that is not conducive to flexibility and electives. Lastly, OIS only teaches two languages: French and Spanish. Where is the Mandarin and Latin? Due to scheduling our son did not get any electives in 6th grade and missed out on having a language and art. Very sad when literally $350,000+ of parent funds go to extra curricular activities. The one thing I am impressed with is the principal, Michael Randall. He truly cares and works hard to find solutions when you approach him. However, bad teachers are still protected by the teachers union. See the movie, "Waiting for Superman" on that subject.
An amazing school of outstanding quality in a community that places a high value on public education. My kids have thrived here as teachers, administrators, and parents work together to challenge the kids and engage them in the educational process. Art, music, computer science, PE, foreign language, wood shop, leadership, yearbook, and a host of other classes round out a great scholastic experience. OIS has a parents club that goes above and beyond to "fill the gap" in funding that the State fails to provide. Along with the Educational Foundation of Orinda, the OIS parents club works closely with administration to raise funds and provide parent volunteers to enrich the experience at OIS.
Teachers do not talk to parents (unless a significant problem has developed). online tools used to tell parents about student work sporatically. teachers are not being evaulated by principal (multiple parents complaining tests are coming before teaching/hwk, no action taken). Math Specialist cut, only 2 counsellors. Reason students do well is that community has highly educated parents and money to tutor their kids.