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

College Prep Curriculum: A Guide for Parents

College Prep School Orinda

Many private schools offer a college prep curriculum, but what exactly does this mean and is it right for your child? College preparatory schools come in all forms, but they all generally adhere to the graduation requirements of the state and they have a focus on preparing students to excel at institutes of higher education. For instance, students at a college prep school typically have greater access to one-on-one guidance and college counseling, as well as access to advanced courses. Norm Coleman, an Orinda Academy founder, is our college guidance counselor. This spring he is working with juniors in a series of 1:1 meetings to hone their college lists and brag sheets.

Graduation Requirements
A college prep curriculum sets the standards of graduation. Generally, students are expected to successfully complete four years of English, three of mathematics and social studies, and two years of science. Students must also complete one year of foreign language studies or visual arts, and three years of physical education. Of course, students can exceed these expectations and they may choose occasional elective courses. The content of these courses is structured in a way that builds a firm foundation of knowledge and critical thinking skills that will serve students well in the college classroom. With this academic foundation, students graduate well-equipped for any course of study they choose after high school.

Advanced Courses
College preparatory schools typically offer a broader selection of advanced courses compared to most public high schools. Students may choose from honors classes that challenge them to reach new heights. They may also choose to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which are college-level courses that culminate in a College Board AP Exam. With AP classes, students can earn college credit before they graduate from high school. Taking these advanced classes in high school is an effective way to impress college admissions officers.

Students at Orinda Academy can also supplement their schedule with classes taken through Edgenuity. Current students are taking Entrepreneurship and Coding.

Student Resources
Comprehensive college prep curricula are supported by substantial student support resources. College prep students are generally assigned their own school advisor with whom they check in regularly. They can take advantage of savvy college counseling, academic planning conferences, and tutoring.

If you’re looking for a college prep school in Orinda for your child, look no further than Orinda Academy. We are a private college prep school that focuses on accommodating all learning styles, and providing extensive student support and counseling services. Call our office at (925) 478-4504 to request more information.

How Students Stay Active in Our PE Classes

Private School Orinda

Orinda Academy firmly believes in the value of enrichment opportunities for our students, including a well-rounded physical education curriculum. Students at our college prep school stay busy throughout the school year by taking advantage of our spacious playing field and outdoor basketball court. Our weight and fitness room is fully equipped and is carefully maintained with an eye toward student safety. Our prep school even boasts a dance and yoga studio!

Our regularly scheduled PE programs include instruction in dance, volleyball, and badminton. Our students enjoy soccer, weight training, and yoga classes, and they may choose to participate in team sports. Some of our students choose to enroll in sports classes or teams outside of school. They are often eligible to earn PE credits in this manner.

To learn more about our approach to education in Orinda, contact Orinda Academy at (925) 478-4504. We’re confident that you and your child will find student life on our campus to be fun and engaging.

Executive Functioning Strategies for Students

If you’re like many college prep school students, you’re likely looking for ways to improve your academic performance and help ensure your success when you transition to higher education. You might benefit from learning about executive functioning skills and how to develop them. Executive functions are cognitive processes that help you connect a past experience with a present situation. These mental processes help you strategize, organize, plan, manage time, and remember details. Take a look at this infographic from Orinda Academy to learn some executive functioning strategies that can help you succeed in your academic pursuits.

Private School Orinda

Highlighting the Benefits of Arts-Based Electives

Private School Orinda

Arts-based electives are a crucial cornerstone of a well-rounded prep school curriculum. Visual and performing arts encourage personal growth and emotional health. Arts-based curricula have even been shown to support student achievement in academic subjects. Unfortunately, public schools are often forced to reduce or eliminate their art programs due to budget cuts. When you enroll your child in a private prep school, he or she will have access to a full selection of well-designed arts-based electives. Orinda Academy offers a variety of Visual and Performing Arts classes. Some of these include Art, Studio Art, Yearbook, Drama, Stage Band, Vocals, and Dance. Our Stage Band collaborates with the faculty band, providing an opportunity to grow as a school community and learn musical techniques and songs from each other.

Academic Achievement
Most educators would agree that college admissions officers tend to emphasize the importance of achievement in the core subject areas, including mathematics, science, and English. Yet, this should not diminish the importance of art programs. In fact, research indicates that students who participate in art classes demonstrate greater achievements in core subject areas and score higher on standardized tests. Art programs facilitate the development of critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and creative cognition. Arts-based electives are particularly important for children with learning differences, as they help students explore the world in a way that is meaningful to them.

Emotional Wellness
While working through a rigorous college prep curriculum, it’s not unusual for high school students to experience stress that they have difficulty coping with. Arts-based electives provide a welcome respite from worrying about test scores and memorizing critical facts. In an art studio, students can relax a little and enjoy the process of creating their masterpieces. Focusing on the process, rather than the result, is a healthy form of mindfulness.

Personal Growth
The high school years are a time of considerable change for children. Art programs allow students to connect with and develop their self-identities, and to express their innermost thoughts and struggles. Art stimulates self-awareness and self-confidence.

Here at Orinda Academy, a college prep school in Orinda, we are pleased to offer a wealth of enrichment activities and arts-based electives to our student body. We are firmly committed to implementing a comprehensive curriculum that is adaptable to all learning styles and that encourages student creativity. Give your child the gift of a prep school education and call us today at (925) 478-4504.

Is Your Teen Getting Enough Sleep?

Teens often keep irregular schedules. They may wake up early to get to their prep school during the week, yet stay up late and sleep in on weekends. Unfortunately, the lack of a regular sleep schedule and not getting enough sleep overall can be detrimental to teens’ academic success. Sleep deprivation causes poor memory retention, concentration problems, and difficulty learning new things.

When you watch this informative video, you’ll learn that teens need about 9.5 hours of sleep each night, yet the majority of teens fail to get even 8.5 hours. This video offers some tips to help your teen improve his or her sleep habits.

Orinda Academy is a private high school near Orinda that offers students a nurturing, supportive learning community that fosters academic success. Parents can get in touch with our prep school staff at (925) 478-4504.

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