Sue's News & Articles

Sue’s News – February 26, 2020

Sue’s News – February 26, 2020

A blog from the Head of School
Vol. 2, No. 1 – February 26, 2020

Recent News
Coronavirus – Public Health officials now believe the coronavirus will have a widespread effect on the US, and so we are creating plans in the event that schools are required to close. Our tentative plan is to have “Virtual School” in the event of a closure; we will be in touch with details in the weeks to come. In the meantime, we are taking precautions here at school to minimize the spread of germs, including having more hand sanitizer available in each room, wiping off doorknobs regularly, and reconfiguring the areas where food and cutlery are available. We will send students home immediately in the event they become sick at school, and please keep your child at home if they display any flu-like symptoms.

2020-21 School Calendar – Here is a link to the calendar for the 2020-21 school year.

IMPORTANT 2020-21 CALENDAR DATES – Note that the first day of school will be on a Friday. Additionally, based on parent feedback, we have made some changes to our parent conference system. Rather than meeting with advisors in August, December, and June, parents will now meet one-on-one with their child’s teachers twice per year – in October and again in March, after mid-semester grades. Meetings will occur on October 8 or 9 and March 15 or 16. Please mark your calendars! Meetings will be scheduled in early fall.

Feather the Nest, Saturday, March 21, 6:30-10 p.m.! Buy your tickets now for the school’s annual get together/fundraiser. Join us to celebrate and strengthen our community, connect with fellow parents, and show our OA pride!

Sue’s Muse

I bet you a million bucks that you worry more about your kids than your parents worried about you.

How do I know this?

First, because your parents didn’t read some Head of School’s newsletter about how their kids were doing, which served to remind them that they should think about their kids.

Second, because your parents weren’t bombarded by what I call the Parenting Industrial Complex, which is designed to make parents feel insecure about their parenting and therefore buy parenting books, watch parenting shows, listen to parenting podcasts, and read parenting blogs.

Finally, because your parents couldn’t track you all day long, in real time, via cell phone and through social media, so they actually got a healthy break from you every day, at least while you were at school.

So, lucky them, because your parents didn’t have to contend with all of this anxiety-provoking stuff. But we do, and what can we do about it?

Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways to reduce parental anxiety in the face of all these pressures, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

What if, for just one week, or maybe for just one day, or even for just one hour, we told ourselves that everything is going to be okay. And tried to believe it.

Seriously, just try this on for size:

Everything is going to be okay.

Before you argue, or point out a hundred things that might go wrong, just let this thought settle in.

Everything is going to be okay.

There’s no parenting book in the world that begins and ends with this premise, but there should be. Wouldn’t life be so much better if we could, just for an hour every day, relax into the thought that everything is going to be okay?

I bet you another million bucks that if you allowed yourself to believe that everything is going to be okay for even a little while you would feel better about yourself, feel better about your kid, respond to problems with less anxiety, and have more bandwidth for spending quality time with your child.

Everything is going to be okay.

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.

Sue’s News – January 29, 2020

Sue’s News – January 29, 2020

A blog from the Head of School
Vol. 2, No. 10 – January 29, 2020
Recent News

New Furniture – You know when you finish a home improvement project and the first thing you think about – just nanoseconds after the task is complete – is, what’s next? Well, that’s the thought that went through my mind last Wednesday once all of the new classroom furniture was in place. It looks fantastic, by the way, and I encourage you to take a peek, and next on the improvement list is the classroom walls, which will hopefully get painted during February break. So, it never ends . . . and thanks, as always, for your continued support of our efforts to beautify the school.

Field Trips – One of the things that warms my heart is when teachers return from chaperoning a field trip and report that the logistical challenges were all worthwhile. I was really pleased, therefore, to hear rave reviews from all of the teachers on Thursday, after the school had scattered to various destinations on Wednesday to explore, learn, bond, and have fun. One of the benefits of being a small school is that we can easily take advantage of the myriad opportunities that exist all around us in the Bay Area, and last week we did.

Coming Around the Corner

Parent Support Group – I am excited to report that the details of our newly forming Parent Support Group are coming into focus. Jocelyne Gardner, LCSW and mother of Ethan, ‘21, will host and facilitate, and Jocelyne will be present at next week’s OAPG meeting to discuss details. I hope you will consider taking part in this wonderful opportunity. The purpose of the group, as its name suggests, is to provide a place where OA parents can gather, share challenges, and provide fellowship for each other. The group will meet weekly throughout the spring. We plan to rent a space in the office building next door, up the hill at 21 Altarinda Road, and there will be a nominal fee to cover rental of the space. Please be on the lookout for info about dates and times, and please join Jocelyne and your fellow parents for what I’m sure will be a wonderful, supportive experience.

Accreditation – OA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, otherwise known as WASC. The accreditation cycle is six years, and this year OA is scheduled for its mid-cycle “check-in.” The WASC accrediting process is thorough, to say the least, and in March we will welcome two members of a WASC visiting committee to campus for a full day visit to take a look under the school’s proverbial hood. In preparation, teachers, administrators, and Board members have been compiling and reviewing data on everything from campus improvements to our new Honors designation for UC approved classes to student achievement to the school’s long term plans. Laura Turnbull, our Director of Academics, has been charged with compiling and writing the mid-cycle report, which stands at 120+ pages to date. 

The accreditation process is vital, as it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our mission, purpose, operations, and future with unbiased outsiders, whose role it is to help us better understand ourselves. I look forward to sharing the results of our self-reflection process, and the WASC committee’s response to their visit, later in the spring. If you have any questions or would like details about the accreditation process, please let me know.

Sue’s Muse

I was going to title this Sue’s Muse It’s Not Adolescence Until Everyone’s Angry, but then I thought better of it. Not because the sentiment isn’t true, but because I’m trying to channel my inner Buddha (which isn’t going too well, by the way).My mind has been fixated lately on teenage angst because almost every conversation I’ve had with parents recently has involved a detour into the terrain of how teenagers behave at home (not so well, by many accounts), and how dealing with the teenage emotional rollercoaster is exhausting, dispiriting, and lonely. Ugh.

Here are some takeaways from these conversations, and from working with teenagers all day, every day:Parents should never judge the effectiveness of their parenting based on how their teenager feels.I spoke with one mother recently who is at her wit’s end because her child is constantly surly with her. If she asks him a question, he is surly. If she leaves him alone, he is surly. When she drives him to school, cooks his meals, says hello, and even breathes, he is surly. Suffice to say, she doesn’t feel good about these interactions, and I could sense from our conversation that she is questioning everything about her parenting choices.

Imagine her surprise when I reported that, at school, her son is polite, pleasant, engaged, and touchingly self-reflective. In fact, this very same surly teen recently wrote a reflection piece in English (shared with me by his teacher) about how much he loves his parents, appreciates what they do for him, and wants to work hard because he owes them for all their sacrifices. Who knew? Well, obviously not his mom.

Parents should never judge the effectiveness of their parenting based on how their teen feels because negative emotions don’t necessarily mean something is wrong.Teenagers feel bad for all kinds of reasons, and most of them will pass in short order, and frankly, most of them have nothing to do with parents. Teens are hungry, or tired, or bored, or overstimulated, or confused, or overwhelmed, or in love, or in hate, or . . . or  . . . you name it.

The point is teenagers haven’t learned how to recognize many of their emotions, let alone manage them, and so they tend to be moody and self-absorbed as a result. And because they have to put up a good front for their peers during the day, at school, they tend to let everything hang out when they are at home with parents. Teens are keenly aware of how they are judged by other teens, and so they focus much of their energy on being their best selves at school. But this is exhausting, given that many of their feelings, especially in their intensity, are new to them. So, how do teens cope? They come home and dump on you. And you take it, which means . . . You are a much better parent than you think you are.Look on the bright side. Most days your teen goes to school. Most days they do most of their homework. Most days you don’t get a call from the school. Most days they eat some vegetables. Most days they put their shoes on the right feet.

And on some days, out of the blue, you hear that your child wrote an English essay saying how much they appreciate you, and that it’s all worthwhile. And if you haven’t heard that yet, take it from me: YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! Your child is headed in the right direction. They are learning, from their teachers and from each other, and especially from you. They are figuring things out, even when it’s really, really hard, which sometimes it is. And it’s all because of you.Yep, your child is grumpy and surly and at times ungrateful, and despite all of their angst, you are doing a really great job!
Sue’s News for November 21, 2019

Sue’s News for November 21, 2019

Recent News

November has been extremely peaceful thus far (knock wood). I don’t want to push my luck by saying more…

 

Coming Around the Corner

Winter Concert – Please join us for our annual Winter Concert on Friday, December 6 at 7:30.

Open House – Our second Open House of the season is scheduled for Saturday, December 7, from 1-3 p.m. Please let Janet know if you would like to volunteer.

Painting – We are painting the exterior of the building over Thanksgiving break. If the weather holds, we should return to school to a fresh, updated look.

Thanksgiving Break – I hope you get the opportunity to relax during the holidays. Students have worked hard over the past few months and are looking forward to a nice break. Expect your child to sleep a lot, eat a lot, and spend time just chilling out.

 

Plans for the Future

Chloe’s Maternity Leave – Chloe, one of our wonderful Coyote Coast School Counselors, will be going on maternity leave starting in January. During her leave, we will welcome Casey Loughran, a member of the Coyote Coast team who has extensive working with adolescents, to provide coverage. I met with Chloe and Casey last week to discuss plans for transitioning Casey into the community, which will start with her being on campus, with Chloe, for several days in December. 

New Lunch Vendor – After listening to your feedback, we have contracted with a new vendor for our hot lunch service. Flo’s Friendly Foods will begin lunch service in January. We will be sending parents details about how to sign up for lunches soon. I sampled some of Flo’s food last week, and it was delicious. I am looking forward to welcoming Flo and her friendly and tasty food to campus in the New Year.

Parent Support Group
Parenting is the loneliest job in the world, and we recently decided that there was an opportunity for us to provide the OA parent community with additional support. This week I met with Jill Gorman and Rebecca Castelli, OAPG co-presidents, and Jocelyne Gardner, LSCW and OA Parent, to discuss creating a support group for OA parents. Jill, Rebecca, and Jocelyne are working on the details and will announce plans in January. After our conversation, I am excited about the possibilities for increased support and fellowship for OA parents.

 

Sue’s Muse

I read an article recently about the fandom communities springing up around podcasts and the phenomenon of something called “parasocial” relationships. I’d tell you more about it but I stopped reading the article mid-stream, in part because it was stating the obvious (podcast listeners develop an attachment to podcast hosts and feel like they “know” them, and podcast hosts don’t feel the same way – duh), and in part because it was just plain depressing. All of us listening to podcasts, creating identities and subreddit groups and Facebook communities in response to the podcasts, and then realizing that maybe this isn’t real community, and blah, blah, blah. Sigh.

Actually, because I didn’t finish reading the article I’m not sure whether there was a realization that these communities aren’t “real,” or that maybe we’re missing something by spending so much of our energy trying to feel connected to people who have no interest in being connected to us. Maybe the takeaway was that these communities are great – who needs actual friends? –  and that we should spend all of our time in a sub-subreddit group discussing whatever.

Regardless of the takeaway, the fact is many of us spend more time interacting online than we do in person, and many of us are lonely as a result. Of course, a virtual connection is a connection, sort of, just like ice cream is food, kind of, but at the end of the day neither are very sustaining or health-promoting. What we all crave, I think, is real human connection, even when it is messy and challenging, as many human connections are.

As our world becomes more digitized, and as we interact with each other more online than in person, I am increasingly grateful for our school community. Every day, throughout the day – and especially at lunch – I see students talking with each other, laughing, playing games (Uno and Bingo are popular at the moment), looking at each other in the eye, and just hanging out. More students than not are off their technology at lunch, and those who are online are often sharing the experience with a friend. 

Because OA is so small, we see everyone every day. We say hello, we say hello again, we don’t say hello a third time because let’s be honest, we know we’ll see each other again in a few minutes so we don’t have to, and then we say goodbye at the end of the day. I can tell you where most students hang out at lunch, where small clusters huddle together in the mornings, and where they practice their Tik Tok dance routines at the end of the day.

At OA we feel connected throughout the day not because we listen to the same podcast or play the same game online, but because we are part of something greater than ourselves, a school that sustains us in community and also recognizes and values each of us as individuals. We have actual voices that can articulate actual opinions, and we give actual feedback to each other. Teachers and students creating an actual community – that’s what we do, all day long.

In addition to everything OA students learn in the classroom, they are learning something equally important as they participate in the community. They are learning how meaningful and sustaining genuine human interaction is, and that the person who exists right in front of them is more important than anything they have to do online. They learn that relationships are life-affirming and that what they are creating, and what is vital, are social, not parasocial, connections. Today at lunch, for instance, students were having so much fun with each other – face to face – and laughing so much that I got a headache, but this is the best kind of problem for a Head of School to have.

As we enter the holiday season, it is to the spirit and practice of community that I give thanks. 

And to all of you…Thank you for being part of the OA community, and for being part of this wonderful co-creative community-building endeavor.

Friday Flyer| November 15, 2019

Friday Flyer| November 15, 2019

Sign Up for First Semester Conferences

Macy sent an invitation to a SignUp Genius to sign up for first semester conferences with your student’s advisor. Conferences take place on Tuesday and Wednesday December 18 and 19. The link to sign up is also below for your convenience. Conferences are for parents AND students to meet with advisors.

Conference Signup

 

Final Exam Info from Danielle

With Finals just a few weeks away, it’s time for students to start planning their finals schedule and thinking about how they will prepare.  If your child needs one on one help with making a finals schedule and a plan to study, please let me know or have them email me.  Also, if your child has an accommodation to take tests outside of the classroom and would prefer to do that, they will need to let their teacher know and also come talk to Laura or me, so we can add them to the schedule. Since finals can be a stressful time for students, the SST will be having daily “stress break activities” on final exam days from 11-12.  Stay tuned for the daily offerings. 

Final Exam Schedule

 

Senior Success

 

Art and Photo Field Trip

Art and Photography students took in No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man exhibit at the Oakland Museum on Thursday. Photos: Janet and George.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Supply Drive

Pet Supply DriveFrom 10th grader Melody: I am running a pet supply drive from November 18 through conferences. Supplies such as beds, toys, treats, and other pet supplies will be donated to animal shelters that took in animals from shelters that were evacuated in the recent fires. Thanks for your help!

 

Driver Education at OA – More Details!

We are pleased to announce a new opportunity for students to take driver’s education at OA beginning in January. The after school program will cost $500. The program includes the required 30 hours of classroom time and the 6 hours with the instructor in the car. We believe that our students benefit from the face-to-face instruction rather than the online version of driver’s ed which is usually offered. 

Class details: Class will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5 p.m. beginning January 7 and ending around the first week of May (no classes during President’s week, EA week, or Spring Break). 

The instructor, Moira Motil, is experienced in working with anxious students and students with learning differences. If you would like to sign up, please bring in a check for $250 to Janet by December 16. The balance will be due prior to the first day of class in January. 

Click here to read a letter of introduction and more information about the instructor.

 

Bryson and Simon: S2, E10

 

 

Images from Open Mic

Friday Flyer | November 1, 2019

Friday Flyer | November 1, 2019

Air and Power: The New Normal

Dear OA Community,

Over the past few weeks we have been exploring solutions to what will, unfortunately, be a routine part of our future lives: power outages. Last year we missed only one day of school because of the wildfires, and this was due to poor air quality. This year, we have missed three days of school already due to preemptive blackouts, and fire season isn’t over yet. 

Here’s what we are doing to prepare for the new normal. 

First, we are installing Purple Air air quality sensors. This will allow us to precisely gauge air quality in and around school and help us determine whether it is safe to be in school when there is smoke in the air.

Second, as a short-term solution, we have purchased small, gas-fueled generators that will enable us to keep our essential services functioning, including lights, phones, and the internet, in the event of a power outage. 

Third, as a long-term solution, we are purchasing a large, natural gas-powered generator that will give us seamless coverage in the event of an outage. This type of generator requires special hook-up and approval from the City of Orinda, so, unfortunately, we cannot implement this solution immediately. It will certainly be in place within the next few months.

Finally, I have asked all teachers to create packets for each course that will include assignments that can be done from home, and without power, should we be unable to be in school despite the above solutions. We will have more information about this in a few weeks, and moving forward we will provide these packets to students at the beginning of each year. This will allow students to remain engaged with their work when coming to school is an impossibility.

We are looking forward to putting these solutions in place and being able to keep school open during future outages.

 

9th Grade Service Learning

Vicky’s 9th grade environmental science classes worked with EBMUD on Wednesday morning to restore creekside habitat. Vicky reports that her students hold the record for removing old tires – they dug out 104 of them in one morning. Nice work, class of 2023!

 

Halloween at OA

We take Halloween seriously, with a good deal of persistent silliness fueled by so…much…candy. We also had Coraline, a pumpkin carving competition, most excellent costumes, and a good amount of faculty participation! 

 

Open Mic Night: November 8

The last open mic night of first semester will be on Friday, November 8 from 4:30 – 6:30. See Sara to sign up if you’d like to participate, and be sure to come out and support your fellow Blue Jay performers!

 

Mountain Biking, Anyone?

Rich Manalang, father of Luke (9th grade), is the Head Coach of Oakland Devo, a non-competitive mountain biking club for middle and high school students. Beyond it being really fun, research suggests that biking is a great activity for kids with ADHD, so check it out!

 

Student Activism: GEN-Up

From senior Francesca:

GEN-Up is a student organization fighting for education funding for public schools and community colleges in California. Come march with us at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 9 in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Mateo. We have partnered with March for Our Lives, Women’s March, Oakland Teachers Union, and many more. Feel free to share the march details on social media, with friends, family, or email lists. You can find additional information at generationup.net

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Saturday, November 2 (one week before the march) sign and banner painting at Lake Merritt Amphitheater from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Additional information and sign up to help here.
  • Help collect petition signatures for the Schools and Communities First (ballot initiative) Campaign. You can find further information about the campaign here. Although one has to be 18+ to actually collect signatures, students are invited to bring along an adult ally in order to work together. We can train you on how to collect signatures an hour before the march start-time on the day of the march. For more information or questions you may email me at 31francescadoyle@gmail.com.

We invite all students to join our effort by applying to our organization through this link: tinyurl.com/bayareaorganizer

 

OA 2020 Vision – Join Us!

Contribute to our vision for OA by donating online (link below) or mailing a check to:

Orinda Academy
Attn: OA 2020 Vision
19 Altarinda Road
Orinda, CA 94563

Make a Gift to OA 2020 Vision

 

College Corner

This week Peter, Katherine, and I are helping many seniors proofread and put the finishing touches on their college essays so that they can make early deadlines. Many do not understand the benefit of early applications or the difference between early decision and early action.

Want to know more? Read here: https://professionals.collegeboard.org/guidance/applications/early

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Upcoming Events: Mark Your Calendars

November 8 – Open Mic – 4:30-6:30
November 11 – Veterans Day – No school
November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Break – No school
December 6 – Winter Concert
December 7 – Open House for Prospective Families
December 11-13, 16 Final Exams
December 17 – Teacher Work Day
December 18 and 19 – Conferences
December 20 – January 5 – Winter Break

Friday Flyer | October 25, 2019

Friday Flyer | October 25, 2019

Special Programming: Wednesday, October 30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 30 we do not have regular classes; instead, we will have special programming for all students as follows:

9th grade – Habitat restoration field trip with Vicky, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
10th and 11th grades – PSAT/NMSQT test at OA, 9 a.m. to approximately noon
12th grade – College essay/planning day 9 a.m. – noon

9th graders will receive more detailed information about their field trip (along with a permission slip) from Vicky. 9th graders will participate in habitat restoration and will receive two hours of community service credit as part of this field trip. The group will eat lunch together and return to OA at approximately 1 p.m.

10th and 11th graders should plan to be at school by 8:50 so that we can start the testing on time at 9 a.m. Test information booklets were distributed in advisory on Tuesday. Individual scores on the PSAT tests are NOT reported to colleges and are preparatory and practice for students who may take the ACT or SAT for college admissions. For 11th graders nationwide, the PSAT is used to determine National Merit Scholarships for the very top tier of scores. We do not expect or encourage students to spend time preparing for this test; rather, we encourage curious students to take a look at the question types and/or try out the practice test in their information booklet, but only if time allows. If you would like more information about the content of the PSAT, click HERE

12th graders (all students) should report to the Art and Music rooms at 9 a.m. and plan to stay until noon. Students who need more time may stay later than noon. Please note that attendance will be taken. Cyndy, Katherine, and Peter will be supervising college application processes and essay writing, and for those students who are not applying to four-year colleges, there will be a supervised study group for working on missing work, upcoming projects in senior classes, or test preparation. Cyndy, Peter, and Katherine will be available to both groups of students for help with their college and academic tasks.

Lunch will not be served on Wednesday, and we are dismissing early as noted above (depending on grade level and activity, from noon – 1 p.m.)

 

Spirit Week + Halloween

Next week is Spirit Week with a class competition for participation in each Spirit Day:

Monday
 – Dress for the job that you want
Tuesday – Class Colors: 9th=pink, 10th=teal, 11th=purple, 12th=orange, Faculty=black (like our souls…)
Wednesday – Blue Jay Day
Thursday – It’s Halloween! Wear your costume! (and there will be treats)
Friday – Pajama Day

It’s spooky season

 

Student Activism: GEN-Up

From senior Francesca:

GEN-Up is a student organization fighting for education funding for public schools and community colleges in California. We want to ensure students are getting a complete education and teachers are compensated fairly. Given the Oakland school board’s recent decision to close multiple elementary schools and the recent arrests at the school board meeting, taking back control of the education in our cities and state is crucial. Our teachers and students need your help and support. Come march with us at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 9 in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Mateo. We have partnered with March for Our Lives, Women’s March, Oakland Teachers Union, and many more. You can also share the march details on social media, with friends, family, contacts, email lists, or any other method of spreading the word is greatly appreciated! You can find additional information at generationup.net

We’ve already marched for science, for gun violence, for gender equality, and for climate: Let’s finally march for education and show the community that education matters! 

We also have a few unique volunteer opportunities coming up that we would appreciate help with. On Saturday, November 2 (one week before the march) we will be painting all of the signs and banners to be used on the day of the march. This will take place at Lake Merritt Amphitheater from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. You can find additional information and sign up to help here. Additionally, we are looking for volunteers to help collect petition signatures for the Schools and Communities First (ballot initiative) Campaign. You can find further information about the campaign here. Although one has to be 18+ to actually collect signatures, students are invited to bring along an adult ally in order to work together. We can train you on how to collect signatures an hour before the march start-time on the day of the march.

For more information or questions you may email me at 31francescadoyle@gmail.com.

We invite all students to join our effort by applying to our organization through this link: tinyurl.com/bayareaorganizer

 

Mountain Biking, Anyone?

Rich Manalang, father of Luke (9th grade), is the Head Coach of Oakland Devo, a non-competitive mountain biking club for middle and high school students. Beyond it being really fun, research suggests that biking is a great activity for kids with ADHD, so check it out!

 

OA 2020 Vision – Join Us!

Contribute to our vision for OA by donating online (link below) or mailing a check to:

Orinda Academy
Attn: OA 2020 Vision
19 Altarinda Road
Orinda, CA 94563

Make a Gift to OA 2020 Vision

 

Food of Western Europe

The CIA (Cultural Inclusion Association) shared foods from Western Europe – Italian Pizzelle, Irish soda bread, scones, pretzels, and crepes (with Nutella!). It was all delicious and a fun way to learn about students’ cultural associations. The students’ next activity will focus on Native American cultures. Stay tuned!

 

Bryson and Simon – S2 E8

Bryson and Simon are here with announcements and special guest Katherine who clarifies the unclear. Peter’s still fired.

 

College Corner

Wonders never cease. Every year there are new changes to college admissions processes that blow me away. However, ACT’s new policy that allows students to retake just one section of the exam at a time will benefit high school students as they ready themselves for college applications. Although the changes come too late to help the Class of 2020, underclassmen should be smiling. The changes will be implemented in September 2020. Read more HERE.

Katherine, Peter, and I are planning to spend the morning with you on Wednesday, October 30 (there will be treats!) to work with you on college application tasks and work in progress for senior classes. We are looking forward to this dedicated work time with all of you in the class of 2020! Please be on time to the Art and Music rooms at 9 a.m. on that day, and plan to stay until noon. Students who need more time may stay later than noon. 

Please note that attendance will be taken.

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Upcoming Events: Mark Your Calendars

October 25 – Open Mic Night
October 30 – 9th grade Environmental Science Field Trip
October 30 – PSAT for 10th and 11th graders
October 30 – 12th grade College Application + Study Day
November 11 – Veterans Day – No school
November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Break – No school
December 6 – Winter Concert
December 7 – Open House for Prospective Families
December 11-13, 16 Final Exams
December 17 – Teacher Work Day
December 18 and 19 – Conferences
December 20 – January 5 – Winter Break

 

 

 

 

 

Sue’s News for October 23, 2019

Sue’s News for October 23, 2019

Recent News

Narrative grade reports were sent last week. Please let us know if you have questions about your child’s report.

Last week was the Great California Shakeout, and during All School Meeting, our Student Safety Officers demonstrated earthquake response protocols. Given the recent earthquakes in the East Bay, coupled with the PG&E blackout, we are reviewing all of our emergency protocols and will be in touch soon with updates. 

The recent blackout will surely not be the last, and all of us in the Bay Area need to be prepared for what happens when the power goes out. Currently, OA does not have a generator, which means when the power is out we don’t have access to our phone, internet, or HVAC systems. This poses safety issues, and so in the event of a future blackout, we will close school. We have an emergency notification system that we can activate via cell phone, and we will alert and update parents via text in these situations. Please note that in an emergency situation we will dismiss students only with parent permission.

 

Coming Around the Corner

Special Programming Wednesday, October 30
9th grade – habitat restoration field trip with Vicky, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
10th and 11th grades – PSAT test at OA, 9 a.m. to approximately noon
12th grade – college application and essay day + work day for senior-level classes with Cyndy, Peter, and Katherine (all seniors meet in the Art and Music rooms at 9 a.m. and will be dismissed at noon).
Meetings with Sue – I would like to meet with all new and 9th-grade families in the next few weeks. I’d love to hear how your transition to the OA community is going and to learn more about you, your family, and your OA student. Macy will be in touch soon to schedule a meeting.

 

Plans for the Future

We are off to a great start with our Annual Fund, OA 2020 Vision. We have almost $30,000 pledged toward our goal of $100,000. Thanks to all who have already donated or pledged – let’s keep up the momentum!


MAKE A GIFT ONLINE

 

Sue’s Muse

For the past several months I have been writing articles for the Piedmont Post. I draw from my years of experience as an educator and sometimes from my recent experience at OA. My work with you and your children is a constant source of inspiration to me and I really enjoy writing about it. 

Here is an article I wrote this summer:

 

Help for the Feeling Bad Parent

Almost every parent I know feels bad about their parenting. If you’re anything like them, these are some of the things you feel bad about:

You feel bad because you don’t spend enough time with your kids. You feel bad because you spend too much time with your kids. You feel bad because your kids spend too much time online. You feel bad because you secretly like it when your kids spend too much time online because it gives you a break. You feel bad because you don’t spend enough time helping your kids with their homework. You feel bad because you spend too much time helping your kids with their homework (and their grades aren’t even improving, which makes you feel even worse). And mostly you feel bad because if you didn’t feel bad, and if you actually felt confident and at ease about your parenting, this would mean you’re doing something really, really wrong.

Sound familiar?

Feeling bad about your parenting isn’t your fault. Parents today are bombarded with messages about how to parent, and the Parenting Industrial Complex, as I call it, would collapse if parents relied on their instincts, common sense, and the support of friends and family to parent.

So, in this age of Feel Bad Parenting, I’d like to offer some relief.

You’re doing a great job as a parent. Seriously, everything is fine. And I’m going to prove it to you.

For the next week, spend 5-10 minutes every day creating a list of all the things you do well as a parent. Write down everything you can think of–no achievement is too small. The only caveat is that if/when a negative thought about your parenting pops into your head you must dismiss it immediately. Your list of positive parenting achievements might include:

-I work hard (in or outside of the home) to provide for my kids.
-I love my kids more than anything in the world (most of the time).
-I would do anything for my kids.
-Every parent I know can say these things. And this is fantastic.

Parenting will get easier, and you (and your kids) will feel happier when you stop feeling bad about yourself as a parent. If you create a list of all the things you do well as a parent and keep it up daily for just one week, you will start to feel better. I promise.

Friday Flyer | October 18, 2019

Friday Flyer | October 18, 2019

 

RenWeb and ParentsWeb

RenWeb and ParentsWebI want to thank those parents who have brought their concerns about RenWeb to our attention. We are working to address specific issues and welcome additional feedback about the system. We are in the process of troubleshooting and plan to circle back soon with an update. If you have immediate questions, or are having trouble navigating the site, please contact Janet Harrison. Click below to find a tutorial for setting up your Parents Web account.

Instructions: Setting Up ParentsWeb

Also, if any of your address or other demographic information has changed since your student enrolled, you can make changes on ParentsWeb and they will automatically update in our database.

In ParentsWeb, navigate to Family > online filing cabinet > Student Demographic Form.

 

Mid-semester Progress Reports

Progress reports for mid-semester have been emailed to families. Please note that the grade reported on the progress report is a grade in progress only; it is not a recorded transcript grade. The mid-semester progress report is a snapshot of your student’s progress to date. Please direct questions about a specific class to the teacher. Reminder that our email formula for all faculty and staff is teacher first name @ orindaacademy.org

 

OA Open House

OA Open House for prospective families is this Sunday, October 20 at 1 p.m. Please spread the word to prospective students and families you know!

 

OA 2020 Vision – Join Us!

Check your mailboxes (the snail mail kind) for your annual fund letter, which is in the mail.

You can donate online (click below) or mail a check:

Orinda Academy
Attn: OA 2020 Vision
19 Altarinda Road
Orinda, CA 94563

Make a Gift to OA 2020 Vision

 

Special Programming on October 30

On Wednesday, October 30 we do not have regular classes; instead, we will have special programming for all students as follows:


9th grade
 – Habitat restoration field trip with Vicky, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
10th and 11th grades – PSAT test at OA, 9 a.m. to approximately noon
12th grade – College essay/planning day

9th graders will receive more detailed information about their field trip (along with a permission slip) from Vicky. 9th graders will participate in habitat restoration and will receive two hours of community service credit as part of this field trip. The group will eat lunch together and return to OA at approximately 1 p.m.

10th and 11th graders should plan to be at school by 8:50 so that we can start the testing on time at 9 a.m. We will distribute test information booklets in advisory on Tuesday. These tests are NOT reported to colleges and are preparatory and practice for students who may take the ACT or SAT in preparation for college. For 11th graders nationwide, the PSAT is used to determine National Merit Scholarships for the very top tier of scores.

12th graders (all students) should report to the Art and Music rooms at 9 a.m. and plan to stay until noon. Students who need more time may stay later than noon. Please note that attendance will be taken. Cyndy, Katherine, and Peter will be supervising college application processes and essay writing, and for those students who are not applying to four-year colleges, there will be a supervised study group for working on missing work, upcoming projects in senior classes, or test preparation. Cyndy, Peter, and Katherine will be available to both groups of students for help with their college and academic tasks.

 

Food of Western Europe

The CIA (Cultural Inclusion Association) will be holding a food fair next Friday (10/25) to celebrate the food culture of Western Europe! We will have various selections of food and we welcome the whole school. There will also be music playing to immerse us even further into the Western European culture.

– The Students of the CIA




 

 

 

Teal Pumpkin Project

From Sophomore Melody R:

Halloween is coming soon! Halloween is a fun time for many young children as well as teenagers. But for some children with food allergies, Halloween can be a little stressful. Being a person with food allergies myself there were many years that I had to give all of my Halloween candy up because I was allergic to all of it. The Teal Pumpkin Project is changing the Halloween experience for children all over the world. To participate in The Teal Pumpkin Project, you put a teal-colored pumpkin on your doorstep during the Halloween season. This color shows the kids with allergies that the house that they are passing has something for them – something not food-related, like small toys from the dollar store. This makes it so children have someplace to trick or treat and no child is left out. If you would like to know more about this project please visit the website for more information or feel free to come ask me! Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Bryson and Simon – S2 E7

After a week hiatus, Bryson and Simon are back with yet another retreat video. And they’ve fired Peter again. 

 

November Lunch Menus

November Classic Catering lunch menu and Friday pizza menus are here! Please return menu choices and payment to Macy by Thursday, October 24.

November Friday Pizza Menu

November Lunch Menu

 

College Corner

Hello dear seniors,

Katherine, Peter, and I are planning to spend the morning with you on Wednesday, October 30 (there will be treats!) to work with you on college application tasks and work in progress for senior classes. We are looking forward to this dedicated work time with all of you in the class of 2020! Please be on time to the Art and Music rooms at 9 a.m. on that day, and plan to stay until noon. Students who need more time may stay later than noon. 

Please note that attendance will be taken.

 

Get Social – OA Facebook and Instagram

Check us out and follow us on our Facebook page and our reborn Instagram feed (@orindaacademy). We’ll post photos of what’s happening at OA each week, plus reminders of events and breaking news. Check us out, and spread the word.

 

Upcoming Events: Mark Your Calendars

October 20 – Open House for Prospective Families
October 25 – Open Mic Night
October 30 – 9th grade Environmental Science Field Trip
October 30 – PSAT for 10th and 11th graders
October 30 – 12th grade College Application + Study Day
November 11 – Veterans Day – No school
November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Break – No school
December 6 – Winter Concert
December 7 – Open House for Prospective Families
December 11-13, 16 – Final Exams
December 17 – Teacher Work Day
December 18 and 19 – Conferences
December 20 – January 5 – Winter Break

Friday Flyer | October 11, 2019

Friday Flyer | October 11, 2019

Retreat – Success!

Our retreat was a great success – the weather was beautiful, we hiked, climbed, beached, did yoga, lightsaber battled, played, ate, slept (?), and bonded during our two days at Point Bonita. Here are a few shots from the retreat, and you can find more on our Facebook page.
Thanks to Katherine, Sue, Peter, and Mollie for the photos.

 

Lights On at OA!

The power is back on at OA and we will be open for school on Tuesday. Thank you all for your patience as we navigated this very unusual school week.

See you on Tuesday!

 

OA 2020 Vision – Join Us!

This year’s Annual Fund, OA 2020 Vision, kicks off this week (due to the school closure, you may not receive your fund letter in the mail until late next week). 2020 Vision is about imagining OA’s future and making our dreams a reality. Our goal is to raise $100,000, which will go to enhance our science labs and outdoor spaces. Tuition does not cover the cost of an OA education. The school relies on the generosity of current and alumni parents, grandparents, alumni, and friends to bridge the gap. Please consider what OA means to you and your child and join us In envisioning a bright future for the school. Click below to be redirected to our website where you can make a gift securely online with PayPal.

You may also mail a check to:

Orinda Academy
Attn: OA 2020 Vision
19 Altarinda Road
Orinda, CA 94563
 

 

Stockwell is HERE!

Our machine has been installed, and Simon has already tested it out! Download the Stockwell App so you’ll be ready to use the machine when we get back to school on Tuesday.
All you need is your phone to get access to the Stockwell – just walk up to it, enter the code on the machine, take what you want and leave. A set of cameras inside the machine recognize what you take out and charge your credit or debit card. 

Here’s a video that gives you a bit more info about the machine, how it works, and what you can find inside.

 

Repping OA in the City – Jamie K!

Shoutout and thanks to senior Jamie who attended a school fair with Janet in San Francisco. Jamie represented the school beautifully as always, sharing the story of OA to prospective students and their families. Thank YOU, Jamie, for all you do for OA!

 

College Corner

While I subscribe to the philosophy and belief that students will bloom where they are planted, I also feel strongly that students should ultimately attend a college that is a good fit for them. There are lots of aspects to consider when selecting a campus and figuring out what a student really wants and needs is key to finding a good match. I’ve put together a list of questions that can be used to spark family discussions.

 

Get Social – OA Facebook and Instagram

Check us out and follow us on our Facebook page and our reborn Instagram feed (@orindaacademy). We’ll post photos of what’s happening at OA each week, plus reminders of events and breaking news. Check us out, and spread the word.

 

Upcoming Events: Mark Your Calendars

October 11 – Teacher Work Day – No school for students
October 14 – Fall Holiday – No school
October 16 – Progress Reports – mid-1st semester
October 20 – Open House for Prospective Families
October 25 – Open Mic Night
October 30 – PSAT for 10th and 11th graders
November 11 – Veterans Day – No school
November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Break – No school

 

Sue’s News – October 10, 2019

Sue’s News – October 10, 2019

A blog from the Head of School

Vol. 2, No. 4 – October 10, 2019

  • The All School Retreat was a resounding success. Epic weather, great leadership (thanks especially to Sara Hall-Kennedy for shepherding her first retreat as Dean of Students in fine fashion), and a willingness on everyone’s part to step out of their comfort zones made this annual adventure a memorable one.
  • OA is in the power outage zone and school is closed. We will be in touch with updates, but at this point, we hope and expect school to be open for business on Tuesday, October 15. Our Virtual Day (Wednesday), Professional Development Day (Friday), and Indigenous People’s Day (Monday) mean that we are missing only one instructional day. I hope you and your family remain safe for the duration if your power is off.

Coming Around the Corner – Help OA Thrive!

  • This year’s Annual Fund, OA 2020 Vision, kicks off this week (due to the school closure, you may not receive your fund letter in the mail until late next week). 2020 Vision is about imagining OA’s future and making our dreams a reality. Our goal is to raise $100,000, which will go to enhance our science labs and outdoor spaces. Tuition does not cover the cost of an OA education. The school relies on the generosity of current and alumni parents, grandparents, alumni, and friends to bridge the gap. Please consider what OA means to you and your child and join us In envisioning a bright future for the school.
  • Our first Open House for prospective families is scheduled for Sunday, October 20, from 1-3 p.m. If you would like to participate on a parent panel or help with check-in, please contact Janet at janet@orindaacademy.org. Admissions season is an important time for the school, as we communicate who we are and why we’re unique to the broader community. Please take a moment in the next few weeks to tell your OA story to a friend or colleague who has a child in middle school and encourage them to come to an OA Open House (the second one is December 7).

Sue’s Muse

I start off most school retreats feeling the same way many students do: apprehensive, a little negative, looking for things to go wrong. But then, a few hours in, something in me shifts and I’m able to understand the purpose of the whole endeavor. By hour three, I feel liberated from my phone and get interested in the natural world again, and this frees me up to enjoy myself.

During this retreat, at about hour four, we hiked down to the beach. Sara Hall-Kennedy and I picked up the rear with two students and had a most enjoyable conversation. It started off with me not knowing which path to take (both led to our destination, but one more directly), then the students giving me a hard time because I didn’t know where I was going, then me defending myself, albeit not very convincingly, that I very much did know where I was going, then the students predicting what animals would come and eat us because their Head of School didn’t know where she was going, then me saying they were being way too dramatic for a simple walk to the beach, then the students pointing out that there were coyotes all over the place, then me saying we’d probably get eaten by raccoons instead, and that this wouldn’t make a very good story.

The banter continued all the way to the beach, and we took it from there.

For the next few hours I witnessed the following: students racing each other on the hardened sand; students pushing the “only up to your knees” policy in the surf; footballs and volleyballs being thrown between teams; students sitting on the rocky shore taking pictures and chatting; a lively and oddly competitive “name that tune” game. Students actually frolicked, if you can believe it. It was a great sight.

These days it takes a lot of planning to create “spontaneous” fun, but it’s worth it, and it’s why OA does this retreat every year. For most of the retreat, no one was on a phone, kids were talking to each other, and they were playing. That’s right, playing! Sure, there were some grumpy teenage moments but, whatever, that’s to be expected. But we were all in it together for 24 hours straight, and this is what facilitates and deepens community.

When I think about why I’m at OA I think of experiences like the one I had walking to the beach on the retreat. Not particularly noteworthy, to be sure, but important nevertheless. The truth is those students didn’t really want to go on the excursion—each was apprehensive for various reasons—but they stuck with it. They embarked upon an unknown path, had moments of doubt, managed their anxiety, and made it to their destination in one piece. And we did it side by side, supporting one another along the way.

This is the value of the OA experience. We are all in it together—we’ve got each other’s backs—and hopefully, at least sometimes, we make each other laugh.
Sue’s News – September 25, 2019

Sue’s News – September 25, 2019

A blog from the Head of School
Vol. 2, No. 3 – September 25, 2019

  • Dean of Students, Sara Hall-Kennedy, hosted OA’s first ever Open Mic Night last Friday. I watched students preparing on Friday afternoon, practicing on ukuleles and crafting headgear with which to raid Area 51 (I can’t claim to understand this one). Based on the success of this inaugural event, Sara is already making plans for the next one.
  • Many OA students joined youth across the world to participate in the Global Climate Strike on Friday. If your child participated, I encourage you to have a conversation with them about their experience, and to discuss why this issue matters to them.
  • New furniture for the Lounge arrived last Friday and is receiving rave reviews from students. 

Coming Around the Corner

  • Back to School Night is tomorrow, Thursday, September 26. Please arrive by 6 p.m. and park either on the street or at the Masonic Lodge down the hill from OA, at 9 Altarinda Road. 
  • On Friday, September 27, the entire OA community will take a field trip to Cal Shakes, the California Shakespeare Theater, where we will watch Macbeth.

Sue’s Muse

Risk-taking has been on my mind this week. The good kind of risk-taking, that is. Risk-taking often gets a bad rap when it comes to teens, and yet the brain doesn’t learn without stretching itself in ways that sometimes feel risky.

Take, for starters, the Open Mic night we held last week. I watched several students prepare to get up in front of their peers and perform something of their own making. One of them was literally pacing around the campus at the end of the school day, getting herself ready for her performance, chanting, “I’m so nervous! I’m so nervous!”

Given that public speaking is the #1 fear in America, her anxiety was understandable, and most of us can relate to it. We, too, would be pacing and sweating, and possibly panicking at the thought of performing in front of a crowd. But this student was still taking the risk. And it was a beautiful sight to see.

This is as positive an example of risk-taking as I have ever seen, and whether she knew it or not, it was all in the service of growth. Regardless of how her performance went, this student stretched herself by taking the risk, and it prepared her for taking even bigger, and equally positive risks in the future.

This is what learning is all about.

The second example of risk-taking I witnessed this week involved the students who participated in the Global Climate Strike. This was a different kind of risk than Open Mic – it obviously didn’t involve public speaking, at least not for our students – but it did involve doing something different, and therefore having to plan and take responsibility, doing a cost-benefit analysis of taking the action, and then following through with a plan. I heard students beforehand check in with each other about contingency plans, and arrange ways to keep each other safe. They understood that they were taking a risk by joining a big crowd in the city, and yet they did it anyway.

Finally, in Psychology class this week, I saw another example of positive risk-taking that sort of blew me away. I asked students how many of them were planning to attend the Global Climate Strike (and therefore be absent from class the following day). Every student but one raised their hand. The lone holdout was peppered with questions by her peers about why she wasn’t going to attend. “Because I don’t like being in crowds,” she explained. And with that answer, she took an enormous risk.

Besides public speaking, one of the most anxiety-provoking things for teenagers is to face social rejection, so when this student spoke her truth, she was really putting herself on the line. And yet she did it. It would have been easy for her to fudge a response and half-heartedly raise her hand, or to divert attention from herself in some other way. But she decided to take the risk by telling the truth. Her peers understood immediately what she had done when she provided her answer. All of them immediately backed down and accepted her statement.

Now that I am in my second year at OA, I am starting to realize that examples such as these are not anomalous. It’s what OA is all about, and it’s what makes it a unique and exceptional place. Students can take these sorts of risks all day long, and therefore stretch and grow and learn because they are supported. This doesn’t mean they don’t feel anxious about taking risks – we all do, feeling anxiety is what makes something risky – but OA students are able to take positive risks because they know they have a safety net in the community of adults and peers cheering them from the sidelines. They will not be shunned for speaking their truth or performing in front of each other, or in doing something new. It’s what we expect of them, and it’s what they are beginning to expect of themselves.

Sue’s News 9/11/19

Sue’s News 9/11/19

A blog from the Head of School
Vol. 2, No. 2 – September 11, 2019

OA Website and Mascot – Last Spring the community chose the Blue Jay as the new school mascot, replacing the eagle as the symbol for OA. We spent the summer working with a design team to create a new logo, and we are close to rolling it out on the website and signage around school. Last week we invited students to vote on a design for a school t-shirt, and soon all students will be able to wear the new design with pride. We are also working to create a school “store” where all manner of OA Blue Jay swag will be available.

In addition to the new logo, we are in the process of making some significant enhancements to the OA website that will provide an easier, more user-friendly experience. Once the new format is live, I will be asking for your feedback. Stay tuned!

Sue’s Muse


This fall I am teaching a Psychology elective, and it is an exciting and exhausting endeavor. I love teaching, but it is incredibly hard work. So hard, in fact, that after teaching for two years in my mid-20’s, I decided to return to graduate school to get a degree in clinical social work. I figured dealing with people with chronic mental health issues would be much easier than managing teenagers every day. And I was right.

Teaching at a school like OA involves much more than just mastering content. It means understanding adolescent development, neurological diversity, different learning styles, and the pedagogical techniques that can best reach a broad bandwidth of students. It means having patience, curiosity, and – most of all – humility. 

I like to joke that high school teachers never need psychoanalysis because teenagers will give them feedback every single day about how they’re doing; teenagers let teachers know with a roll of an eye if they’re off the mark. In this way, teaching adolescents is a lot like parenting them. But, as you parents know, being around teenagers is also incredibly rewarding. Their minds are on fire, and watching them make connections and learn new things about themselves and the world around them is one of the most gratifying experiences there is.

Here is something I am learning about OA students in Psychology class that sets them apart from all of my former students: OA students are incredibly self-reflective, often because they’ve had to be in order to manage challenging social and academic situations. They know themselves in a way that the average teenager simply doesn’t, and they are accepting of each other in a way I have never experienced before. Last week in class we explored attachment styles (baby to parents), and the important skill of self-soothing. I asked students to recall the transitional objects they used as kids (such as teddy bears, pacifiers, etc.), and to share with each other how they soothed themselves then and now. The students spoke freely about their blankets, stuffed animals, and even imaginary friends. They also spoke openly of experiences of separation anxiety when they were young (one student followed an ice cream truck down the street and got lost for hours). It was the most poignant, honest, and authentic conversation among teens I have ever witnessed, and the fact that it came in the second week of school is nothing short of miraculous.

And here’s the other thing. While the students were able to self-disclose freely, the class didn’t devolve into group therapy, which is what can happen in these situations. In my experience, often when students self-disclose other students will jump in to rescue their peers from feeling exposed and vulnerable and thus inadvertently introduce an uncomfortable power dynamic, or worse, they will mock the disclosure. But the thing about the OA classroom is that the students don’t feel overly exposed and vulnerable because they are all at very similar levels of self-awareness.

And it gets even better. The following day, after our conversation about transitional objects, several students bought in pictures of their teddy bears or blankets, or they brought in the objects themselves. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see a student hold up a blanket (that he called Moo Moo) and have the rest of the class accept it as though it were no big deal. But in fact it was a big deal. It was a huge deal. And this is what sets OA students apart.

So, teaching is the hardest job in the world, but it’s also the most gratifying.

Feeling Bad as a Parent?

Feeling Bad as a Parent?

Article by Sue Porter featured in the Piedmont Post on Wednesday, August 28, 2019

 Almost every parent I know feels bad about their parenting. If you’re anything like them, these are some of the things you feel bad about: 

You feel bad because you don’t spend enough time with your kids. You feel bad because … Read More…

The Gift of Boredom

The Gift of Boredom

Article by Sue Porter featured in the Piedmont Post on Wednesday, June 26, 2019

 Before you schedule every minute of your child’s summer, consider carving out some time for them to do nothing. In fact, carve out enough time for them to do nothing that they get bored. That’s right, Bored. 

Boredom is a vital emotional state that most of today’s overscheduled children never get to experience.  READ MORE…

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19 Altarinda Road, Orinda, CA 94563
(925) 254-7553
admissions@OrindaAcademy.org

Orinda Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID 94-2692929

Our bright and creative students thrive in our nurturing, small class environment. Through a combination of academic support, executive functioning skill development, and social/emotional balance, every student reaches their full potential.

Orinda Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender identification, sexual identification, or family composition in the administration of its policies, procedures, or admissions process.