top of page
  • Writer's pictureVicky Keston

St Brigid Academy: Neurodiverse and Gifted Friendly Model

Many parents with neurodiverse, gifted, or 2E children struggle to find a school that fits their student’s needs. Hence, my excitement to tour Saint Brigid Academy, a 136 year old school that has reimagined itself with an inclusive model. The Catholic School features a low student-teacher ratio, dyslexia-friendly curriculum, single subject acceleration, and an affordable tuition. 


Academics 

What makes Saint Brigid Academy different from other schools? Reading, writing, and math are taught in the morning at the same time across grades. Students are assigned to leveled groups by subject based on their academic needs, with assessments four times a year to check on those groupings. A student might be assigned to different levels for each subject, and there is virtually no cap on the levels. The levels are named after colors, animals, or people to avoid stigma. These names will be determined by their faculty in August.

All the English teachers are training on the Wilson Reading System, which is considered a gold standard for dyslexic students. Two teachers are dual credentialed in special education and multi-subject elementary school teaching, and all teachers are completing training on how to teach students with learning differences, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. 

For math lovers, one of the math teachers is certified to teach up to Precalculus, a rare commodity in San Francisco middle schools. The school offers programming in Science Technology Engineering Art Math (STEAM). Project based learning is prioritized to meet the needs of their varying learners. 

Technology to support learning includes 1:1 iPads for kindergarten and 1st grade, and Chromebooks for 2nd thru 8th grades.

Student teacher ratio will be capped at 8:1.


Enrichment Classes 

Saint Brigid Academy offers after school programming until 6pm each day, with optional classes, including piano lessons, singing, chess, art, Mandarin, STEM, and more. 

Daytime enrichment classes include Raspberry Pi, art, and music.


Types of Students Served

Saint Brigid Academy serves students who are neurodiverse, including those who are gifted or 2E, and those with learning differences (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia), attention differences (ADHD), and autism. Students who have previously had challenges sitting still in class might find the school welcoming, whereas those who have had physical altercations might seek a different outlet.

For neurodiverse students, the school employs two teachers who are dual credentialed in special education. A full time counselor specializes in IEPs and neuropsychology and educational assessments. 

During the application process, the school asks for any assessment done previously, as well as teacher evaluations, to ensure that their program is a fit. The students with learning differences  complete 2-3 shadow days, where they attend school with regular classes. General education students shadow for one day.

When starting school, the school kicks off the year with a Student Success Team meeting that includes the student, parents, teacher(s), counselor, and principal. This meeting repeats three times a year and develops an accommodation and learning plan for the student.


Catholic School – What does this mean?

Religion class includes ethics, comparative religions, holidays, history, music,  scripture, and the students attend mass together once or twice a month.  The school works to keep religion class fun and engaging. For Catholic families, the students prepare for First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. 

For non-Catholic and non-Christian families, the school is welcoming of all faiths. Religion class is required for all students, so it’s important that families applying to faith-based schools, regardless of their faith, embrace this aspect of the school. For some families, the religion class feels compatible with their values, and their students thrive there.


Tuition 

Saint Brigid Academy tuition will be approximately $20,000 per year for the 2024-25 school year, which is about half of most independent K-8’s and double the typical Catholic school without the extras for learning support. The school uses tuition to support the low student teacher ratio (below most independent schools) with the help of parent volunteers, who help outside the classroom. 

There is a strong Parent Teacher Guild that helps create their community with Friday barbeques, fundraisers, and other fun events. 


Role of a K-12 Consultant 

A consultant can help you craft your school list to be sure of a balanced list offering a match of services with the student and parent’s interests. A consultant can also review all admissions materials, in particular student and parent essays, to help focus them to each school’s admissions goals. A consultant can directly work with your child to brainstorm, draft, and edit their own essays. The consultant can provide feedback on whether the essays read as genuine and how to shine during the application process. 


Want more input on K-12 schools?

Vicky consults with families to help select, apply to, and communicate with public and private schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Vicky maintains a principle of non-judgment. Hourly, VIP, and Season packages include a discussion to review school options, applications, essays, and key decisions. Vicky offers a limited number of packages each year to assure her availability. 

Vicky’s own children have attended both public and private schools, and have received both accommodations and curriculum changes; her elder is in high school, and her younger in middle school. New clients can email to learn more about her services, or see her website to learn about her packages.


512 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page