This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted June 07, 2014
- a community member
I made a few lifetime friends at Orinda Academy and I am forever thankful for that. However, I felt as though Orinda Academy did not prepare me well enough for college and the quality of teachers was highly inconsistent. I had both terrible teachers and a few excellent teachers. One of the teachers in particular (who is still there) was sexist and chose favorites. It was clear whom he liked and didn t like. This basically meant that he would give certain students better grades. I was one of his least favorite students and he made it very well known. He actually told me, "I don't think you're going to make it in college." This comment was certainly discouraging and uncalled for. He also wrote me a TERRIBLE letter of recommendation for college. He was one of a handful of VERY problematic teachers, and unfortunately there wasn t a policy to let go of them. Fortunately, between the other good teachers at Orinda Academy and input I received from other parts of my life, I was still able to reach my full potential. I graduated from a top UC and earned good grades.
I am the very proud father of 4 scholars that have and continue to attend Orinda Academy!. The founder/director of the school is by and far the most family-needs-oriented person I know. The teachers are exceptional. While other schools struggle to offer music, they offer digital music production and a myriad of computer classes that are centered at them being at the forefront of computer technology rather than just consumers. One daughter just graduated and is now at Colgate University. The rest are on their way.
I'd like to speak about Orinda Academy and how incredible this school has been for my son! He is in his second year and has matured tremendously in his short 2 years at OA. This school is a great place for any student who will thrive in a structured college prep environment. It is both challenging and nurturing, and will willingly take your student if she/he has learning differences. I am a teacher and educator myself and understand how important it is to find the best fit for your child. I can not say enough about how supportive teachers and administrators have been, how challenging the academic work is and how comfortable my son has felt at this school. He is growing into an amazing young man, one who is confident, skilled and looking forward to a successful future.
I first heard of Orinda Academy through a scholar four years ago. The girl I spoke with was vibrant and self confident. I decided to send my daughter there for high school. The teachers were very patient with my daughter and encouraged excellence every step of the way. After four years, my daughter graduated and went on to a 4 year college. She recognizes the positive impact the Orinda Academy experiene had on her social and academic life. The school believes that every child should live up to his/her potential. I now have two children at the school. I have no doubt that their experience will continue to be a positive one.
The decision to send our son to OA was the best thing we could have done for him. My son is in his third year at OA, in the 11th grade. He is a bright boy whose challenges set him up for failure in the public school system with its large class sizes. At OA he is appreciated as a whole child. The faculty and staff acknowledge the strengths in each child and help students grow and work on their areas of challenge in a supportive and non-judgemental environment. My son has also felt safe enough to explore elective classes outside his typical areas of interest. He loves going to school, likes and respects his teachers, and has made incredible, deep friendships. Most telling is the day my son put his hand on mine and thanked me for sending him to Orinda Academy. That, I think, says it all.
I have a son in his second year at Orinda Academy. He has learning differences and tried four schools and homeschooling before finding OA. At admission, we submitted a report on recommended accomodations for our son. We've never spoken to the school since regarding these needs. They have been met and mastered by small classes, very devoted teachers, interesting curriculum, high level of faculty/admin involvement, and enriched curriculum. First year, all students are carefully followed for organization strategies. This year, my son is organizing himself. He has a wonderful collection of happy, kindhearted friends. He is excelling in all his classes. He enjoys a close relationship with his teachers, fostering my son's desire to succeed. He is actively seeking involvement in diverse extra-curriculars. He WANTS to go to school. We could not be more satisfied!
My son is at OA and we absolutely love the school. In fact, he turned from a kid who hated going to school to one who, last November at the Thanksgiving table, gave thanks for his incredible school. The teachers are superbly dedicated; the rules are clear; the students form a small, integrated community; and, all in all, we consider OA to be a little gem of a school. It is a school that works especially well for smart, quirky kids like my son who might skate beneath the radar at another more mainlining school. The school also organizes terrific Academic Adventure programs and theater visits, etc.
We love Orinda Academy. It is a really fantastic school with dedicated teachers who specialize in individualized attention. The school community is very strong - OA is full of quirky, interesting kids who love the environment, Many of them needed just the kind of community and individualized attention that OA can give - so they turn magically into incredible students who find an intellectual or vocational passion.
Our son had been through four schools which professed to address his LD issues. None really did. Finding a college track preparatory school that can also address LD issues is even more difficult. At Orinda, he has found a home and through school support iand work on his part s coming into his own.
Orinda Academy performed a superlative job preparing our son for college. He is now thriving as a freshman at a small, exclusive East Coast college, with two, significant, academic merit scholarships. A bright young person, he initially entered secondary school handicapped by some learning differences. The mastery learning curriculum, embraced by most OA teachers, where students can submit corrected drafts and quizzes for additional credit, allowed him to develop and hone the academic skills necessary for higher education, which, at first, did not come easily. The small classes and genuine, creative support by the dedicated faculty allowed him to take intellectual risks and realize he could achieve almost anything, if dedicated to the effort. The first semester of college went extremely well. He feels better prepared for the rigors of college than most of his colleagues on campus. He remains in touch with several of his Orinda Academy teachers.