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Raskob Day School (Oakland, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > Raskob Day School (Oakland, CA)



April 2011

Re: Middle school for dyslexic child
Our son attends Raskob. It is wonderful. The middle school students are mixed so that they take their classes with 6th, 7th or 8th graders that have similar ability levels. All classes have a teacher and aid, and none have more than 10 students. In addition to the traditional core (Reading, Writing, Math, History, Science) the kids have PE, Music and Art. (Since it is spring the middle schoolers are using the pool and currently learning water polo in PE.) The school makes great efforts to create a nurturing environment. Teasing and bullying are addressed immediately and effectively. Social skills are developed as is the students self awareness of their personal learning differences and how they learn best. This is a culminating project over the years and by the end of 8th grade the students are able to advocate for the accommodations they need to succeed. It is very powerful.

As a public middle school teacher I can assure you that what my son is experiencing at Raskob is far and away a superior education when compared with what my district would have offered. (Mainstreaming into classes of 40 for core subjects, a PE class on an asphalt black top with 50 kids, and no elective because that would be when he got a ''study skills'' class supervised by a special ed teacher.) I feel greatful everyday that between financial aid and scrimping and saving we are able to make it possibel for him to attend Raskob. I definitely recommend the school to any family who has a child with a verbal learning disability. Definitely give them a call to see if you can get him in for fall. They are very careful to only admit students who they know they can help, so you dont' need to worry that they will string you along just to get you in the door. glad to be Raskobian


March 2010

I encourage any parent considering private school for their LD child to visit Raskob. Our son began at Raskob this school year (Aug. 2009) in the 6th Grade. He is classified as a LD student - including ''severely dyslexic''. Raskob Learning Institute and Day School specializes in teaching/remediation for students with language-based learning disabilities. I have been very pleased with the support, responsiveness, and caring nature of all of the staff at the school and clinic. The director has been wonderful - in the admissions process and beyond. The middle school teachers have been very responsive to any questions/requests - including accommodations specific to my son's learning needs (they literally said to me, ''That's no problem at all'').

Switching to a private school was sad for our son (as we expected). However, we knew that middle school would be a ''nightmare'' for him academically (and us). Thankfully, he says that he is happy at Raskob, and he has made friends. We see a change in his level of independence and confidence as a student. He has also made noticable improvement in his reading skills! We are very grateful for a school like Raskob in the Bay Area. Raskob Parent


Jan 2010

Great School for Middle/Elementary students with Learning Disabilities!

For anyone whose child is currently struggling in their current academic setting due to a learning disability, please consider the gem located in the East Bay hills, Raskob Day School. Raskob serves students in grades 3-8 with language based learning disabilities including students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and attention deficit disorder . Students with non-verbal disabilities may be accommodated as well.

The school is WASC accredited as well as NPS certified. The teachers and staff are wonderful in supporting the students and providing very individualized instruction. Class sizes are small with a teacher and an aide in each room. Both of my children have attended the school, and from my perspective, it just keeps getting better and better. There is an afterschool program to help working parents which includes a supervised homework club, enrichment classes, as well as participation in a sports league. Additional services such as speech therapy, social skills group, etc are also available on site.

The school is located on the Holy Names campus in Oakland and there are numerous carpools to facilitate transportation from around the Bay.

For more information contact the Director, Edith Gutterres at 510-436-1275 or Admissions Director Jessica Baiocchi at 510-436-1278 or plan to attend the next open house on Monday February 8th at 7:00 pm. ak


February 2009

Re: School for severely dyslexic 3rd grader
We are in our third year at Raskob and love it there. My son has dysgraphia and some oral processing issues, among other things, and we have found the tailored approach to each child really works for him. The school works well for kids with all kinds of learning disabilities and is also improving in it's communication/relationship to parents [a problem in the past that comes up less and less], in large part due to an active parent community and great new director. I can highly recommend it. Satisfied Raskob Parent


March 2008

We are considering placing our son at Raskob Day School due to mild learning disabilities. I would like to hear from current and past parents regarding the quality of instruction, including do you feel like your child is learning equivalent content and critical thinking with their peers in mainstream schools, and are they ready or getting ready for high school. I admit to concerns about the level of distractability in the classroom because of the high quotient of students with ADHD. Thank you. And for students who have graduated or are getting ready to do so, have you had or do you feel your child has independent high school options other than Bayhill, Sterne, and Springstone? Thanks. Anon


Hi, we live in the East Bay, and my son attended Raskob Day School in Oakland for six years. He is now in high school at Sterne School in San Francisco. I can tell you that many students in the 8th grade classes at both Sterne and Raskob move on to mainstream public and private high schools. It is common. In my son's case, over half of the students in his 8th grade class at Raskob made that transition to the mainstream. The best fit for addressing my own son's language-based learning needs, however, was not a mainstream high school but, rather, the well-structured high school program at Sterne, complete with its Pathfinders program for making the transition to life after high school, whether it be college or work or both. I'd be happy to share detailed information with you on this topic of special middle schools and students' transitions to high school programs, if you were to email your contact information to me. I'd also be happy to address the question of students with ADHD, and the impact on other students, just from my parental perspective. Kathleen
My son has been at RDS for 6th and 7th grade. He came from a fabulous SDC class at Joaquin Miller where he was for 3 years. RDS has been a great fit for him, small classes with caring teachers who know how to teach children with many different ways of learning. Each student is learning at their own pace so it is hard to compare them to peers in mainstream schools. The new director has really focused this year on organization, communication and using the resources at HNU since Raskob is a Lab School. This spring Dr. Chuck Ahern has been working with the teachers and students incorporating his ''Brain'' research into the classroom setting. My son enjoys school and has made many friends which is so important in Middle school. We look forward to working with the 8th grade teacher next year in selecting the right high school for him. Joan
Feb 2008

My Daughter Attended Raskob Day School From September 2007 until February 2008.I experienced difficulty with communication before she even began and then truly up until I decided to pull her out early in February not feeling comfortable to have her stay there any longer.

Upon my initial visit I was taken aback by the general appearance of the school the small claustrophobic classrooms and complete lack of playground equipment,many kids seem to just stand around at free play time. I was also unaware that Raskob uses Teachers aids to teach classes such as math and reading, separately from the homeroom teacher as well as act as substitutes when class room teachers are absent.

After hearing many inappropriate quotes from my daughter regarding what the teachers aid had said to her I was concerned about the lack of experiences these aids might have in dealing with children in general.My child was extremely reluctant to go to school ever day.I would suggest to anyone looking at Raskob to ask all the questions you can think of. I wish I would have done a better job at that. In the end my daughters reading level is the same as when she started and it has actually declined since we traded Raskob for the private tutor.All kids are different it just wasn't the right place for us. j


Jan 2007

I would like to learn more about Raskob Day School and Institute, and would love to hear reviews from families with students currently or recently enrolled in the elementary school. I am evaluating schools and outside tutors for my son, who has a graphomotor disorder and processing challenges and needs a lot of assistance in the classroom. He's been getting help but it's just not enough. Raskob seems appropriate but the interim director freely admits that she's not a great communicator and that's a big concern for a parent of a child with learning disabilities. Thanks. anonymous


I have been a parent at Raskob Day School for almost six years, a record for the school. I would be happy to respond to any of your questions if you wish to call me. Raskob parent
Both of my daughters, now in 7th and 4th grade attend Raskob. We have been very happy there. They previously attended a respected East Bay private school. However, their learning disabilities were beyond that which could be accomodated there. Both have had fantastic instruction, but more importantly has been the effect on self esteem. With few exceptions, I think most parents will tell you that the best aspect of the school is how it makes your child feel - It gives them back the confidence that they can in fact be good learners. Kids learn not only the academics, but also to understand their own disability and to be an advocate for themselves.

The school has also expanded considerably in the last few years so that although these programs are still developing, there are now art, music, afterschool, and sports league programs. The change in the director is a situation that has just occurred. The previous Director has accepted the position as the Executive Director at the new Bayhill High School which will be opening in the fall, taking the place of Raskob's high school which is closing this year. ak


I just wanted to respond to the parent asking about Raskob. We have a child currently enrolled at the school and are extremely happy with the education and the extra help he is receiving. Previously, we had him in a private school and brought in outside tutors and took him to speech therapy and... (you know the drill). Now he gets all that help right in his school, which has been just an amazing improvement for everyone concerned. Less stress for the parents and the child!

We too had issues surrounding communication with the school when we were in the application process and, frankly, that is an area where they really do need to improve. However, that has not affected our experience as parents at the school. Once you get in, the communication home is actually pretty good. They use the schoolnotes email program that sends you weekly, sometimes daily, updates with important information. And, the teachers have been wonderful as well.

I just want to add that the director left quite abruptly, just last week in fact, to take a new position. Carolyn Ingle-Price is now trying to step in and do two jobs, I believe. So please know that this is an unusual circumstance right now. I am sure she is doing the best she can, she is a very nice woman and really wants the best for these kids.

Overall, we are very happy and feel quite lucky to have our child at Raskob. Good luck! Happy Parents (finally!)


I had a child who attended Raskob for one year. There is a real need for an LD School like Raskob, we just didn't find this to be it. I gathered that for parents in bad school systems like OUSD it is a safehaven, but it could be so much more. Holy Names (Raskob is part of Holy Names University) does not give it the attention it could.

Rather than just say negative things, here are some items to look at. Some may have changed . . . I hope. Believe what you see not what you're told.
- no ''real'' art or music program
- no science
- the math was Saxon Math and taught self paced out of a workbook. In our case, we taught most of it at home because my son couldn't learn from the book. The teacher didn't teach it.
- facilities are falling apart. When we were there several exterior doors that didn't lock upstairs -security issue. Other maintenance items - fixing fences, washing windows, earthquake supplies were mostly done by parents and teachers if at all.
- our teacher (and others)weren't credentialed in California (there is a website to check this) and was at Raskob to get low cost or free tuition to attend Holy Names to get her credential through them. She also didn't work the full classroom day so she could attend classes.
- when our teacher was sick, in class or on vacation, the aides teach the class. Never saw a substitute teacher or the head teacher even though this was her job.
- The old director only worked parttime. Not sure about the new director. (I think a new director is positive)
- our teacher wasn't teaching regular state curriculum.
- children with social/emotional problems are in class with kids with learning issues like dyslexia. On a good note: with small class size and other non-traditional kids, they may feel more comfortable and feel like they are part of the class. Sometimes for the first time ever. This is cool.
- Physical Safety Issues - Ask what happens if your child arrives late and P.E.just started in the gym accross the university campus, they arrive late for an assembly on the campus or where do they do their running? Holy Names is a University Campus with Dorms and Delivery Trucks, etc. and one big circular driveway.
- If your child has special needs, what training does your specific teacher have to address it? You are only as good as your classroom teacher - really check them out.
- Look at the classroom resources. Each class is different. Most have very little. Teachers are out of pocket for most supplies. If you decide to go, consider giving the teacher some $ like a classroom fund.
- Not all grades are WASC accreditted and even the ones listed on the WASC website might be provisional. If that concerns you, contact WASC by phone. If Holy Names would really get behind Raskob it could be so much more for not a lot of $$. Holy Names was stopping Raskob from grant writing when we were there as they didn't want to compete for the same $. Maybe this has changed?. That would be huge. We met some great parents and teachers there, but it just never came together for us. We went back to public school and should have held my child back to make up for the year lost. There are flaws with any school and I know there will be a bunch of responses defending Raskob, but I wish someone had told me the tough questions to ask so we could have made a more informed decision. Certainly some have done well there, but I know many like us who had better options. Maybe someone will send this to Sister Rosemarie at Holy Names to try to get things improved?? I hope so. Good Luck. Anon


October 2006

My son has ADHD and a significant Learning Disability, but has a very high IQ. I am feeling more and more that he is out of sync with the other kids in his great public school (where he receives all possible services). Also, I am feeling more and more out of sync with the parents, who all have much pride (and rightfully so) in their childrens accomphilshments, but can notice something is not right about my son. I am very interested in Rascob Day school, and I wonder if there is a way to get in touch with some of the parents of children that attend Rascob. The school sounds great from the tours and literature. I am wondering if both kids and parents of LD kids feel more ''at home' at Rascob. Do the kids really learn better there? Thank you for any help. -Out of Sync Mom


I have two children at Raskob and what I can tell you is that it has been a terrific fit for our family. My older daughter started in 5th grade and now is in 7th. My younger started last year in 3rd. Both of my girls had been unable to achieve in their previous school setting despite being in a small private school that theoretically handles a ''wide range of learning styles'' and both had tutoring throughout summers and the school year.

At Raskob, classes are small. (8-10 in the 3rd/4th grade with a teacher and an aide.) The curriculum is very individualized and set up to insure success. As the children get older, they are taught strategies to do grade level work and to advocate for themselves so that they are prepared to go on and achieve success in the future.

Probably THE most important aspect of the school is how it affects how the children feel about themselves and their ability to learn. In that respect, it has been transformative in terms of my girls' self esteem. My older child has blossomed at Raskob. She could immediately move into leadership roles, i.e. student council, yearbook, etc.- activities where she would likely have been overlooked in another setting. My younger child is exremely social so the small setting can be a bit challenging, but she really likes and enjoys her classmates. I totally can understand your comment that you feel out of sync with other parents in the regular school. It's hard seeing your own child being perceived as ''different'' and over time you do come to feel you are living in a parallel universe. So yes, Raskob is good for us parents too. You meet others who are also living in this other universe - and it is a great universe too, just different!

For anyone who would like more info, they can contact the school directly at 510-436-1275 or www.Raskobinstitute.com


Sept 2006

Re: High School Choices for LD kids
Raskob High School is a school for high school students with learning disablities and is located in the Oakland hills. Although the high school is only in its second year, it is part of Raskob Learning Institute which has been providing tutoring, diagnostic testing, and a comprehensive school program for 50 years in the East Bay. The high school program offers options for students with a variety of learning needs - from college preparatory course offereings to intensive remedial courses, both in classes of 10 or fewer students taught by credentialed special education teachers. There are currently openings for 9th and 10th graders. You can contact Carolyn Ingle-Price, admissions director, at (510) 436-1275 for more information. Next year, in September '07, Raskob High will be moving to a new facility in the East Bay and under the auspices of Bay Area Educational Institute (BAEI). The website at www.baei.org is currently under construction and will have admissions materials shortly. For more information on BAEI, please go to baei.wordpress.com.
ak


Feb 2005

My son has been diagnosed with Auditory Processing Defecit and is having considerable trouble learning to read. The Raskob school was recommended to me as a possible place to send him during the summer for some extra help. Has anyone sent their kids there for the summer program (6 weeks @ one hour a day) and/or the day school which is now opening for the lower elementary grades. It sounds great but it is pricey for us and I would love to get some feedback about it. Thanks! Melinda


Haven't heard much about Rascob but it is very pricey. Have you tried The New Learning Clinic at UC? I think they have a summer reading program and a sliding scale. Concerned
My 6 1/2 yr old son attended the summer tutoring (1 hour per day 5 days per week for six weeks) last summer after kindergarten, while we were in the midst of getting an assessment from the OUSD. I had nothing but rave reviews and was impressed with the staff I spoke with on the phone. I am sure that Raskob works quite well for some children and there is no doubt that the instructors are well trained in technique. Our experience left ALOT to be desired. In hindsight I suspect that the ''match'' made for our child wasn't a good one, and that since it was only six weeks that I didn't intervene and insist on getting another instructor. We now know that my son has both visual and auditory processing deficits is very bright and easily frustrated by his inability to ''get it''. His instructor had an ''adults tell, children follow-period'' style which was in conflict with my contextual approach (context,choices, consequences). One of his strategies for taking a mental break is to go to the bathroom...his tutor at Raskob forbade him from going to the point that one day he was so frustrated and angry that by the time he was allowed to go he made a mess of the stall he was in to respond. That said, the instructor and I frequently strategized on the phone and tried to make the best of it but I don't feel that it was worth the expense and frustration--he hated it, and refuses to go back. My advice...check it out thoroughly. Raskob doesn't do in person intake interviews for summer or assessments any longer...I wasn't give a choice of instructors...you should insist on this, including meeting the person assigned to your child, and intervene if you have the slightest hesitation about it. Please email me if you would like to set up time to talk more about my experience and what we're doing now. There are lots of other approaches to try that may be as well or better suited to your child's needs, such as Tomatis, Fast ForWord, or Therapeutic Listening in tandem with occupational therapy.
February 2003

Re: School for dyslexic middle schooler
I have several friends with children at Raskob. It is a god send of a school. You should visit them and get their advice even if you do not attend there.Their evaluation process might be very helpful. It is not easy to get into and only goes through eighth, but I know people who found it very valuable even for a year or two. claudia


My son now attends Raskob and he is receiving a really terrific education in a safe environment. Up until now he attended public schools in Berkeley and none really addressed his needs even with special ed services. To make a long story short, I investigated schools in Marin (Star Academy), East Bay (Raskob and Stellar Academy in San Leandro) and was beginning to hear about schools in San Francisco (Stern and Gateway) and Belmont (Charles Armstrong). My son really likes the school, teachers and kids at Raskob. Since they are on the Holy Names campus, they are able to use some of the college facilities like the gym and pool. He liked his initial visit there because the other students didn't pick on him. There is an emphasis on organization, thoroughly learning a subject area and working on social skills as well as working with the child's learning needs. The teachers are caring and provide plenty of time and tools for the kids to use in learning. You really must call and try to visit some of these schools in order to see what may fit you and your child's needs. Raskob provides speech therapy and social skills therapy at an additional cost. We see a speech therapist there who has been terrific. We see an outside psychologist for social skills which has helped tremendously and an outside educational therapist who goes over my son's very basic language needs for reading and writing. Hope this helps.
Raskob Institute is also a good resource for testing and also has a very small school for children with learning disabilities. You could check into the services provided by the Ann Martin Center and A Learning Place. We used them for tutoring so I can't give a personal recommendation for their programs, but they do offer the service.
Raskob Institute in Oakland (at Holy Names) was wonderful for specific testing. The also made good recommendations of specialists for treatment. Contact Jack Davies, Ph.d. there.
in reply to the recent discussions on ADD/ADHD and private vs. public school.

I strongly urge people who are looking for a place for a child with learning issues to go and observe Raskob. It is a hidden jewel and is not a place only for those kids at the "far" end of the spectrum. As a matter of fact, what you will see is that it is a school for basically "normal" kids with learning issues. They are quite stringent with who they will take, and this is not in the same way other private schools are. I have experienced both. Most private schools are looking for bright kids whose learning style fits that of the school, and teachers seem less experienced and less willing to work to accomodate kids for whom things are not working. The attitude seems to be that since there are so many others waiting to take the student's slot they can be very choosey about who they accept and who they "invite" to return. Raskob is stringent because they will only take those kids whom they feel Raskob can benefit. They give you no promises, offer no quick fixes. Quite the reversal from the "we are the best" routine of other privates, and very refreshing. Behavior problems, emotional problems, etc. are generally not the population they are looking for, unless such problems stem from the underlying learning differences, lowered self-esteem, etc. that come with constant failure or ridicule. Research on LD-type kids always shows that the ones who go on to successful and independent lives are those who understand their problems, own them, and know what they need to do to compensate in a world designed for the majority of other-type learners. These kids are amazing as they discuss what they know they can do and what they know are their weaknesses. Graduation ceremonies in June are nearly tear-jerkers as these now self-assured teens talk about their experiences both before and after Raskob, their accomplishments and their dreams. Some of them are there for elementary and middle school. Some come for only a couple of years. Many come only in middle school, for a "jump start", a training in how to succeed and stay on task, etc. Raskob has no vested interest in keeping you there forever. When to leave is a decision arrived at collaboratively with the staff and family. When you are ready for the bigger world, they urge you to get on with it.

Right now Raskob has only about 58 students in their elementary and middle school combined. They are hoping to double the size of the middle school in the near future to provide a more "normal" social scene appropriate for that age. Meanwhile, the kids are so kind and accepting of each other. And not everyone comes from the Volvo-crowd. I urge people to call, to check it out. It has been a lifesaver for our young one who tells me that "everyday is a fun day at Raskob"- and this is a child who had stomachaches and nausea every day before school when she was at public school with all its "diversity" and "sense of community". Raskob is not a hard sell- no orientation meetings, no fancy newspaper ads ( again, so different from the other privates).They are there because there is a need and they simply will not give up on these kids. Check it out. Some very unhappy kids have found their wings at Raskob and learned to fly.


My brother is learning disabled. For testing and tutoring my family used the Raskob Center at Holy Names College in Oakland. They were able to asses his disablilities and provide training for him. He was in the third grade when he was diagnosed, and unable to read at all. After their assesment and working with tutors there for three years he was able to read so well that he zipped through all the JRR Tolkein books. I highly recommend them.
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