Orinda Academy is a Co-Ed, College Preparatory, Independent School for Students in Grades 8-12, and has a Convenient East Bay Location.

Here's What Your Ninth Grader Will Learn in World Geography

High School Orinda

At Orinda Academy, our 9 th grade world geography program has a robust curriculum designed to help students succeed in their subsequent social studies classes. Our entire social studies curriculum exceeds the requirements of the University of California system for incoming college freshmen.

In world geography, students learn the Five Themes of Geography, economic systems of various countries, the role and effects of corporate business expansion in developing nations, and the religions of different cultures. They will also examine the Apartheid system, global commerce, and the physical and political geography of multiple countries. Students will apply their knowledge through a project in which they create their own country and by taking part in a symposium about how countries can help future generations.

Do you have more questions about the curriculum at Orinda Academy? Our admission counselors are happy to answer all of your questions about our college prep school in Orinda. Call (925) 478-4504 to learn more.

Making History Meaningful in Middle School

Private School Orinda

In today’s fast-moving, forward thinking world, history can sound like a dry subject to students. For teachers and parents, engaging students in studying the past may be challenging, but the key is to demonstrate how relevant history really is for young learners. At Orinda Academy, our 8 th grade students spend the year exploring U.S. history in a curriculum designed to be engaging and meaningful. Here are some of the ways parents and teachers can make history matter for students.

Highlight Personal Connections
Students want to know how their lessons impact their lives, and history class offers many opportunities for teachers and parents to draw connections between the material and the lives of students today. In each lesson, look for the links to things that are happening in real time that resonate with the students. Putting history lessons in this context helps students understand the importance of learning them and will help them grow into more thoughtful adults later in their lives as they engage with their own civic responsibilities.

Discuss Perspective
Help students not only learn facts about history but also to consider who is presenting those facts. Show them how facts about historical events can differ depending on who is telling the story. Let them explore history through the lenses of different storytellers to see the difference and evaluate the roles of perspective and different motivations in how people describe events. This lesson is not only important in teaching students the skills they need to evaluate academic sources, but also has applications in their own lives, as it can make them consider the sources of rumors and gossip in their friendships.

Use the Words of Real People
Descriptive texts are useful in giving information and setting a scene, but there is no substitute for hearing the words of real people explaining why a cause matters to them or telling what happened to them. Whenever possible, bring in essays, speeches, pamphlets, and other documents created by real people to supplement lessons. These accounts give students a more vivid image of events.

Orinda Academy’s college prep curriculum meets the state’s requirements for history, and our small class sizes are perfect for allowing students to explore their subjects in depth. Call (925) 478-4504 for more information about our college prep school in Orinda to see if we could be the right fit for your student.

How Is College Different from High School?

Private School Orinda

Although most people think of academics when they think of a college prep curriculum, preparing students for college in other ways is also critical to their success. One thing that college counselors can do for high school students is to help them understand exactly how college is different from the school they are at now. Entering college armed with this knowledge about what to expect can ease the inevitable culture shock that happens for college freshmen and let them focus on their new classes instead. What exactly makes college different from high school? Here are some of the big changes students can expect.

You have to manage your own schedule.
Although academics, extracurricular activities, and social events in high school require students to juggle their schedules, there are always teachers and parents making sure everyone stays on track. In college, you are in charge of managing your own schedule. Your professors will give you an assignment and then expect you to have it ready on the due date, without prodding and reminders. No one will be making sure you are doing your homework and keeping up with your classes in between all of your other activities. You are expected to manage your schedule appropriately without help.

You are expected to apply your knowledge.
In college, you won’t just recite information you’ve memorized to your professor. You will be expected to know the class material well enough to discuss it and examine it from different angles. You may also have to apply material you have learned to different topics and problems. Doing readings and taking notes in class is just the surface of what you are expected to do. The real learning comes from applying that material.

You have to ask for help.
In high school, teachers often offer help and repeatedly check in with students to make sure they don’t need assistance. In college, if you need help with material, you need to go to your professor and ask for it.

The college counselors at Orinda Academy work hard to ensure that all of our graduates succeed in the post-high school classroom and beyond. To get answers to your questions about our college prep curriculum in Orinda, please call (925) 478-4504.

Hear How Students Can Change the World

Students often feel like they are at the mercy of their teachers and parents, but in reality, students have the power to change the world. One small act of kindness at your prep school could be life-changing to someone else, and spark a chain reaction that improves the world for everyone.

Watch this video to find out how students can use empathy to impact the world around them. Being empathetic increases tolerance and helps people who are suffering. Standing out among your peers by using empathy in your dealings with others can inspire change that has far-reaching implications.

At Orinda Academy, we embrace students of all backgrounds and learning styles. Our private college prep school in Orinda is dedicated to helping students find their paths and develop both in their academics and as people. Find out more about our school by calling (925) 478-4504.

The Importance of Health Education and How Parents Can Help

Private School Orinda

Although a college prep curriculum is focused on things like science, math, and foreign language, health education never stops being important. A comprehensive health education curriculum gives students the tools to care for themselves for life. Achieving academic success is closely tied to staying healthy, and students need the educational tools to prioritize their well-being to achieve good health. Here is a look at why your student’s health classes are as important as the rest of his or her schedule and how you can help to ensure that your child learns about how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Why Health Education Matters
Health education is one of the most immediately applicable subjects your student will study. He or she can leave health class and use the information he or she learned there right away. In health class, students gain important knowledge about nutrition, first aid, disease prevention, and safety. They learn about mental health, the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, and reproductive health and safety.

In health class, your student will learn about symptoms that they should report to you, how to eat a balanced diet so that he or she can make smart food choices, and why experimenting with drugs could put his or her future in jeopardy. These lessons aren’t just an investment in academic success but in life as well.

How Parents Can Help
You can help your student reap the rewards of health education by reiterating the importance of his or her health classes and by being an advocate in the school for including health education in the curriculum. You can also talk to your student about health issues on an ongoing basis at home to reinforce school lessons and to show him or her that you value a healthy lifestyle.

Orinda Academy offers a rich college prep curriculum at our private school in Orinda that includes health and physical education classes. Is our school the right fit for your child? Visit our campus or call (925) 254-7553 for more information.

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