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

Exploring the Developmental Milestones Faced by Middle Schoolers

Private School Orinda

The middle school years are a time of significant transitions for children. At this age, it’s common for students to experience peer pressure, question authority, and develop a worldview. Of course, every child develops at his or her own unique pace. During these years, it’s particularly important that your child enjoy the strong support of a positive college prep school environment.

Cognitive Abilities
Elementary school set the stage for an explosion of learning in middle school. During these years, your prep school student will refine his or her abilities to organize ideas, make decisions, and understand abstract concepts. Students often begin to take an interest in current events and they develop their own perceptions of the way the world works. In middle school, memory retention becomes increasingly important.

Language Skills
Your middle school student will improve his or her grasp on abstract language and pragmatic language skills as they apply to a social context. For example, he or she will display a heightened understanding of metaphors, tone of voice, and nonverbal language cues. Middle schoolers often enjoy debates and “what if” discussions.

Socio-Emotional Issues
Middle school students often find themselves caught between two worlds. On one hand, they want to have their own unique self-identity; on the other, they yearn to fit in with their peer groups and be like their friends. You might notice that your middle schooler becomes increasingly sensitive to the reactions and perceived opinions of other people. Support your student’s growing independence from family life, but provide ongoing guidance on ethical dilemmas and the need to empathize with others. Since middle schoolers can sometimes react poorly to perceived criticism, try to ask open-ended questions about difficult situations.

At Orinda Academy, it is our mission to guide every child in reaching his or her full potential by administering a rigorous curriculum and fulfilling the socio-emotional needs of our students. Our smaller class sizes in Orinda, CA, allow our teachers to provide the one-on-one support that students need to thrive. To inquire about admissions, parents can call (925) 478-4504.

Taking a Closer Look at Orinda Academy's Science Program

Private School Orinda

Here at Orinda Academy, we recognize that students have different learning styles and they progress at different paces. Our mathematics and science department supports each child’s individual progress through the curriculum. The eighth grade at our prep school learns about physical science, which lays a solid foundation for the basics of scientific thinking. In ninth grade, our college prep school students learn about environmental science. They explore ecosystems, renewable and non-renewable resources, and environmental health issues.

Students in 10 th grade may take either biology or honors biology. Biology explores cell division, genetics, evolution, and plant and animal classifications. Our 11 th graders study chemistry. They learn about atomic structure, chemical bonds, and chemical reactions. In physics, 12 th graders study energy, light, electric currents, and magnetism.

Our science curriculum in Orinda, CA, allows us to make use of the area’s many learning opportunities, including museums, laboratories, and natural resources. Parents can call (925) 478-4504 with questions about our academics.

What Your High Schooler Should Know About College

College Prep School Orinda

Every prep school student has a different vision of what college might be like. Some students may dream of making lots of friends, while others are anxious to see the inside of a well-equipped laboratory. The reality is that college life will be whatever a student chooses to make of it. Every student needs to find his or her own path, starting with solid preparation that begins in high school.

Self-motivation is crucial.

Within a nurturing college prep school, students have access to ongoing support services and one-on-one time with teachers. They also have their parents nearby to check on homework and answer questions. In college, students must rely on themselves to stay on top of deadlines and get to class on time. Students who are motivated to succeed will reach their goals.

Good time management equals academic success.
Time management skills are also essential for academic success. In high school, students should master the use of day planners, wall calendars, and similar time management tools. High school teachers may sometimes be willing to grant an extension on a deadline, but students should not expect any special accommodations from their professors in college.

Conflict resolution skills can improve life in a dorm.
Life in a dorm can be both fun and difficult. Two or more strangers are expected to live with each other peaceably in one small room. Rising college freshmen who have good interpersonal and conflict resolution skills are more likely to get along with their roommates and other residents in the dorm.

Familiarity with one or two professors can open doors.
Achieving success in college takes dedication, but students must also look beyond graduation to their future careers. Networking becomes increasingly important in college, both with fellow students and professors. Students should strive to become acquaintances with one or more professors in their departments by visiting during office hours or perhaps taking a work/study job in the department. These mentors can provide letters of recommendation.

Students graduate from Orinda Academy as resilient, capable, and independent young learners ready to succeed at institutes of higher education. Our college prep school in Orinda, CA, focuses on giving students the tools and resources they need to fulfill their true potential. Questions about enrollment in our private prep school may be directed to a friendly staff member at (925) 478-4504.

How to Improve Your Memorization Skills

While you progress through the curriculum at your prep school, you may begin to realize that knowing how to learn is a critical step toward greater academic achievement. When you watch this video, you’ll learn about the differences between verbal and visual memory. Verbal memorization techniques include the use of acronyms, word associations, and acrostics to help students memorize chunks of information. Visual memory, on the other hand, utilizes the power of imagination and the use of the senses to preserve information.

This video provides a demonstration of each. You’ll notice that in the visual memory demonstration, the narrator often includes adjectives to bring the information to life and make it more memorable.

At Orinda Academy, our smaller class sizes in Orinda, CA, allow our dedicated teachers to provide full support to each student in accordance with his or her learning style. To find out whether our college prep school might be a good fit for your child, you can call our admissions office at (925) 478-4504.

Ways That You Can Foster a Parent-Teacher Relationship

Private School Orinda Academic success requires a collaborative effort. Students, teachers, and parents all play important roles in helping students reach their academic goals and in fostering a dynamic learning community. When you become actively involved at your child’s college prep school, you’re letting your child know that his or her education is a priority for you. There are many steps you can take to build positive parent-teacher relationships.

Be Proactive
Unfortunately, it’s often thought that parents and teachers only need to get together to discuss problems that the student is having. But to support the student properly, a proactive and positive approach is most effective. At the start of each school year or after a transfer between schools, take the first step to introduce yourself to your child’s teachers. Schedule a brief meeting to discuss your child’s particular strengths, needs, interests, and learning styles. Ask the teacher what you can do to support your child’s academic progress at home. Orinda Academy has a fall conference to help with these goals.

Communicate Regularly
Communicating regularly, even when your child is doing well, is another proactive step you can take to build your relationship with your child’s teachers. The first time you meet a teacher, take the time to find out the teacher’s communication preferences. Explain that you’re passionate about being involved in your child’s education and would appreciate hearing from the teacher periodically. Provide your email address or other contact information. Orinda Academy sends out progress reports three times per quarter. Shadow visits are available throughout the school year on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

Join or Start a School Group
Your child’s prep school might already have an organization that provides ways for parents to get involved in the school community. If so, contact the group, ask that your name be added to the member list, and ask about the upcoming activities the group is planning. Volunteering your time at the prep school is a great way to become more familiar with the school community and to maintain parent-teacher relationships.

Orinda Academy is firmly committed to fostering positive parent-teacher relationships. Our preparatory school in Orinda, CA, encourages participation in our Parent Group, which hosts activities throughout the year. For more information, visit us on the Web or call (925) 478-4504.

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