925.478.4504
Orinda Academy is a Co-Ed, College Preparatory, Independent School for Students in Grades 8-12, and has a Convenient East Bay Location.

A Quick Look at Assignment Scaffolding

College Prep School Orinda

Assignment scaffolding can be a helpful way to break down large assignments so that they are more manageable for students. Scaffolding gives students with different learning styles a broad view of an assignment and splits it into manageable pieces so that students can determine the best way to approach the work. Using scaffolding in a college prep curriculum helps students develop the tools to tackle university-level work after graduation.

Assignment scaffolding is all about breaking work down into smaller steps. For instance, if a student has to write a research paper, the assignment may be scaffolded by breaking things into smaller goals, including a topic selection, research, thesis statement, first draft, revisions, and final drafts. Each step of the scaffold accomplishes one step of the project and creates a framework for the next stage.

We teach assignment scaffolding in our study skills class at Orinda Academy to give students in our college prep school the tools they need for academic success. For more information about our school in Orinda, please call (925) 478-4504.

A 10th Grader's Checklist for College Planning

Private School Orinda If your child is in a college prep school, then you know college planning is no longer relegated to senior year. In fact, students start planning for college as early as 10 th grade to ensure that they are on the right track to get into the school of their choice. What should your 10 th grader be doing to get ready for college? Be sure to check these items off your list during sophomore year.

Visit College Campuses
It’s not too early to start visiting college campuses when your child is in the 10 th grade. In fact, visiting a few colleges is a great way to help your child decide what kind of school is most appealing and to get inspired to pursue his or her college goals. You can arrange for official campus tours, or simply visit a few schools on your own to stroll the campus and check out the surrounding area on your own time.

Prepare for the SAT
In 10 th grade, most students take the PSAT 10 or the PSAT/NMSQT. It doesn’t matter which of these tests your child takes, as the tests are the same but simply offered at different times of the year. Orinda Academy students in Grades 10 and 11 will take the PSAT on October 11. The PSAT will help your child prepare for taking the SAT. When the scores come in, go over them together and decide what kind of SAT prep classes could help him or her get ready to take that test in 11 th grade.

Talk to a College Counselor
Encourage your student to set up a meeting with Melissa and Norm. They can help students make a short list of college choices and understand the admissions requirements for those schools. Melissa, Norm and Roger can also help students choose the right courses to create a competitive college application.

You can contact Orinda Academy's college counselor Melissa Masland at melissa@orindaacademy.org.

At Orinda Academy, smaller class sizes mean that every student gets the support they need for academic success. For more information about our college prep curriculum in Orinda, please call (925) 478-4504.

A Look Back at Our 2016-2017 Accomplishments!

College Prep School Orinda

We’re heading toward the end of another incredible school year here at Orinda Academy, and we’re very proud of what our prep school students have achieved! The 2016-2017 school year started with a retreat to the redwoods, where our advisors and students bonded over s’mores. Later, our entire college prep school headed out to see Othello at Cal Shakes. We’ve been busy with all-school meetings and advisory chats to talk about hot button issues like feminism, race, and religion.

Somewhere in the midst of our ever-popular winter concert, visit to the Oakland Museum, and Black History Month presentations, we managed to find the time to create a totally new country in our World Cultures/Environmental Science cross-curricular mashup. Our Environmental Science students have also been hard at work on an ongoing watershed restoration project, our physics students have been busy building rollercoasters, and our Spanish students built an altar for Dia de los Muertos. On top of all those accomplishments, the house cat at our college prep school welcomed her kittens! We’re grateful to our incredible school community for coming together to help them all find loving homes.

When you join us at Orinda Academy, you’ll gain access to much more than just superior academics in Orinda; you’ll also become a member of a close-knit community. Call us today at (925) 478-4504 for more information.

Quick Tips for Succeeding Despite Dyslexia

Private School Orinda

Dyslexia is a common learning disability that involves problems identifying speech sounds, which leads to difficulty reading. Dyslexia is not reflective of a student’s intelligence, but rather is simply a learning difference. Although dyslexia is a lifelong, incurable disorder, it is possible to overcome its challenges—especially with the positive support you’ll find at a private college prep school.

Take your time working on tests.
At the beginning of each school year, it’s helpful to sit down and chat with your teachers and our learning support coordinator, Mollie Mowat, about your dyslexia-related needs. Teachers tend to be very accommodating about giving students extra time to complete tests. You should have as much time as you need to fully understand and respond to the questions. Orinda Academy uses a modified block schedule to accommodate students who need extended test time.

Study your textbooks while listening to the audio recordings.
Whenever possible, request the audio recording of your textbooks. Orinda Academy has access to audiobooks through Learning Ally and you can ask Mollie Mowat (Learning Support Coordinator) for information on how to access the audiobooks. You can listen to the audio while you read along. This engages your visual and auditory senses, which helps reinforce the material. Before you begin reading novels or plays for your classes, consider watching the movie version, if available. The movie should give you a basic sense of the characters and plot, which will help you as you read the book. Just remember that the movie versions of books and plays often omit material or add other material that isn’t in the books.

Choose your course load carefully.
Talk to Roger Wise, Academic Dean and Mollie (Learning Support Coordinator) about your course load. Whenever possible, aim for a balanced mix of classes. In other words, try not to take too many reading and writing intensive classes in one semester. This is also a smart strategy to follow when you go to college.

Try using speech recognition software.
Speech recognition software isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot more accurate these days. You can use speech recognition software to brainstorm ideas and outlines for your research papers. You can also use the software to write papers. Just be sure to proofread them thoroughly, as speech recognition software is known to make mistakes.

At Orinda Academy, you’ll find a welcoming college prep school community in Orinda. We embrace innovative teaching strategies to accommodate all learning styles and learning differences. To find out what makes our private high school stand apart from the rest, call us at (925) 478-4504.

A Family's Guide to Community Service

Private School Orinda

If your child is attending a private school, he or she will likely be expected to participate in community service programs. Community service is arguably one of the most rewarding activities to do as a family. Spending time in service to others is fun, personally fulfilling, and teaches valuable lessons that build character—not to mention that community service helps others!

Organize a fundraiser.

Fundraisers are limitless in their versatility, and they’re a great way to bring together families from the college prep school. Your student can coordinate with other students to organize a bike ride, walk, or fun run to support a charitable organization. Other creative fundraiser ideas include:

  • Dance-a-thon
  • Recycling collection
  • Car wash
  • Crowdfunding
  • Cake sale
  • School-wide yard sale
  • Raffle

To host a raffle, students and their families can contact local businesses to request donated items for the raffle. To hold a school-wide yard sale, families can donate unneeded items and advertise the sale throughout the community.

Help the homeless.

There are countless ways to help the homeless in your community. Your family could organize a hygiene kit drive. Donated personal hygiene items can be assembled into gift baskets for delivery to the local shelter. Students can also host a shoe or coat drive.

Lend a hand to fight hunger.

Food pantries always need plenty of helping hands. Take the whole family to a local food pantry or regional food bank to spend a day sorting food for those in need.

Work with shelter animals.

Many shelter animals have been rescued from lives of neglect and abuse. They need lots of love and care, and shelter employees are often hard-pressed to give each animal the attention he or she deserves. Your family can volunteer to walk shelter dogs and cuddle with shelter cats.

Here at Orinda Academy, we take great pride in our school, students, and community. Our prep school in Orinda expects all of our students to complete 40 hours of community service prior to graduation, as we are firmly committed to compassionate, hands-on learning. If you have any questions about our curriculum or student life, you can call (925) 478-4504 to speak with a friendly staff member.

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