All About Us

Big Minds represents a foundational and necessary change in how Twice-Exceptional children are educated.

Big Minds was founded by Dr. Melanie Hayes in 2015. Our school is the product of a grassroots movement of 2e parents — led by Dr. Hayes — recognizing an unmet need in their community. Where we come from informs how we operate and grow today; our approach to education is holistic, community-driven, strengths-based, and responsive to our students' needs. Each of our programs has its own distinct personality, in reflection and celebration of our unique students.

See a student's typical day →

We believe that our students deserve a school that meets them where they are.

In more traditional settings, our students are often not provided with appropriate accommodations, are stifled in their areas of giftedness, or both. We also believe that socio-emotional support should be prioritized over rigorous academics and that, in fact, the latter is not possible without the former.

The accessibility of our program and model is important to us, and we do our best to provide financial aid as needed to our families. We feel that the Big Minds model should also be incorporated into public school settings wherever possible, and we are interested in exploring ways to collaborate with school districts to increase access and opportunities for 2e students and families.

Our goals for our students are pragmatic and validating in nature. We want our students to have the tools to navigate the world successfully without sacrificing their authentic and often quirky selves. Our schoolwide learning objectives are described in more detail below.

Schoolwide Learning Outcomes

Icon of a person with a bright light bulb

The ability to engage in creative inquiry and investigation as self-directed learners

Icon of a magnifying glass

The ability to research and critically analyze others' research

Icon of two people and a lightning bolt

The ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing

Icon of two people with conversation bubbles facing opposite directions

The ability to successfully navigate social interactions

Icon of a flag with a heart in it

The ability to maintain a clear connection to their passions and areas of strength

Certifications and Affiliations

  • California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) – Professional Member
  • Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) – Professional Member
  • Independent Educational Consultants Association – Professional Member
  • Grassroots Microschools Association – Professional Member
  • LCW Golden State Independent Schools Consortium – Consortium Member
  • Independent Schools Group – Professional Member
  • Collaboration with Gender Spectrum
  • WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) Accreditation

Take a campus tour!