Bay Area Educational Institute (BAEI) was founded for the purpose of starting an independent high school in the Bay Area and developing programs serving secondary students with learning differences. The only one of its kind in the East Bay, Bayhill High School opened its doors to its students in September of 2007.
The need for a comprehensive high school for students with learning differences is widespread. Roughly fifteen percent of the United States population has a form of learning disability. There is a high number of highly talented and intelligent students with learning disabilities — such as dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, non-verbal learning disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, and a host of other major challenges — who are unable to succeed because traditional schooling systems are not equipped to cater to the needs of these students. Schools devoted to addressing their special needs are far too rare. The scarcity of such schools in the San Francisco Bay Area — especially in the East Bay Region — is a particularly dire problem. And while several mainstream private high schools occasionally enroll learning-disabled students, they welcome only those whose deficits are at the mildest end of the spectrum. A still smaller number of students from families of means are able to attend special education boarding schools on the East Coast. Regrettably, both scarcity and affordability factors leave most students with learning disabilities to struggle, and many times fail, in school settings that are not designed to address their neurobiological differences.
The creation of a new high school for learning-disabled teenagers is necessary to educate this population of deserving, special needs students and thus assure them the opportunity to thrive as productive and contributing members of society.
Building on what has come before…
The course being charted for this new high school draws directly on the decades-long success of the Raskob Institute and Day School, a program of Holy Names University in Oakland, California. The Raskob Institute, founded in 1953, is one of the oldest tutoring centers in the U. S. Raskob Day School was then established in 1973, and is licensed as a nonpublic, non-sectarian school that offers full-time instruction to learning-disabled children in 3rd through 8th grades.
Following the unanimous endorsement of its board of trustees in October 2004, Holy Names University expanded Raskob’s offerings by opening a high school in September 2005. Their decision was based heavily on a well-identified demand for these specialized educational services. Raskob High School was designed to accommodate and instruct more students than any comparable special education high school in Northern California. In Fall 2005, teachers welcomed a fully enrolled 9th grade class of 20 students – implementing the first phase of a plan that intended to add a grade each successive year until the high school reached a full enrollment of 80 students in all four grades.
Just five months later, in January 2006, the university announced, with regret that Holy Names University’s limited campus space would no longer allow for the expansion of the special needs high school. Increasing enrollment in the university’s undergraduate program — its top priority — necessitated the reversal of the university’s decision to expand Raskob.
Following Holy Names University’s decision to end Raskob High School after the 2006-2007 school year, Bay Area Educational Institute (BAEI) was incorporated in February 2006, as a California non-profit corporation for the purposes of providing educational services to high school students with learning differences.