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Re: School for dyslexic middle schooler
Arrowsmith Academy is a high school near the UC Berkeley campus. It is a warm and welcoming small school (100 students) and many of the students have what we call, ''issues'', which range from dyslexia (my nephew who is seriously dyslexic went to Arrowsmith and flourished) to emotional problems, neurologic glitches, or just that they don't fit in with the regular mob at Berkeley High. The staff is supportive and willing to adapt curriculum, make recommendations, deal with IEPs, etc. Tobie
Re: Looking for alternatives for 15-year-old boy
My fifteen year old son is just wrapping up his freshman year at Arrowsmith Academy in Berkeley. Although he misses the breadth of social options that would be available to him at Berkeley High, he is having a good experience at Arrowsmith. Until this year he spent his entire academic career in the Berkeley Public Schools, having been identified with learning differences in Grade 2. The public schools were getting to be a real struggle for him, even with the resource class. The small classroom size at Arrowsmith, combined with teachers who have been educated to cope with kids with learning differences, have resulted in the development of his confidence and equally importantly his academic achievements. He still struggles with reading and organization but he's in an environment with many other kids who similarly struggle. I highly recommend you give them a call and have your son visit the school. Dave
I am considering sending my child to Arrowsmith Academy next year. I read the relevant posts on the other Berk. Parents sites. I would appreciate any comments, pro or con, from parents whose teens currently attend Arrowsmith. How much attention does your teen receive from instructors? Quality of instruction? Social life? Tips on admission? My student in not thriving in a public school with too many kids in each class; in fact, he has learned to hate school since beginning middle school. Thanks.
Arrowsmith has made a big difference. We had reservations, but she is happy to be in smaller classes and genuinely likes her teachers. We have found the climate of the school be accepting and affirming. All of her teachers are great so far. They may not be educational professionals but they are intelligent and caring, and work hard to help the students be excited about learning. Also, communication and dialogue with parents is an important component of Arrowsmith's program.
Her social life is not extensive but she has always been a shy girl. Other kids who have been at Arrowsmith for years have strong social connections to classmates and many of them spend a lot of time together outside of school. Homework can be challenging but the teachers are flexible and willing to work with kids to help them be successful. For the first time in years, she is happy about school and starting to talk about College.
As far as admission, visit the school, talk with the kids and teachers and the administrator. Make sure it really is a got fit for your son. We needed two letters, one from a math and one from an English teacher. Lynn
From the discussion "Transferring to Berkeley High from private school ...
I wanted to let the mom looking for a new school for her 10th grade daughter know that Arrowsmith Highschool in Berkeley may be an alternative. I have only gone to visit it once, but it does seem to have a mix of kids and they also seem willing to work with kids that have learning problems. I know one 9th grader there now and her mom may be willing to share more with you. If you want her number, write me back. Also, I have heard that Maybeck can be pretty vigorous and I must say that the woman who talked at the most recent information night (last May or June?) was pretty discouraging to parents of kids with LD issues. Good luck! Karen
My daughter is a junior at Arrowsmith, and we have been happy with the school. The classes are very small (her Spanish III class has about 4 students). They are conducted seminar-style, and mentor relationships often form between student and teacher. Communication between school and home can be excellent - with notices sent home at parental request for late homework, etc. There is an underlying, benevolent structure that keeps kids on track but does not set off a headstrong teenager. Many kids who did not fit into a standardized program blossom there. I especially like the way there are no exclusive cliques (respect for each other is a strong value enforced in the classroom). My daughter, who considers herself very shy, has found a real social home there.
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