I too wish I had discovered Tilden Prep earlier. What a relief, when you have a very sensitive child or a child who simply needs more attention to specific needs! Our education system at large tends to work only if you fit into one particular mold, so it does not meet the needs of a very large percentage of the population. Tilden is a great alternative for the rest of us, who need a little more attention and flexibility, and need to go at our own pace, slower or much faster than the rest. A great school for a child who is seriously into extracurricular activities, has a busy performance schedule, etc. as well, for the school administration is great at tailoring the schedule to your child's specific needs, without compromising on academic quality. By the way, the quality of academics will be far superior than anything you can get in any public school around. You do need to supplement your child's social life however. Individualized learning is great, but does not promote an active social life at school. They do have clubs and social groups that you can elect to join, but you probably want your child engaged in activities outside of school.
I am glad to sing the praises of Tilden School so that other parents are aware of this wonderful alternative to more traditional schools. After several years of bad experiences with public school and even Montessori school, my son (8th grade) had developed anxieties around attending school. The staff at Tilden were very willing to work with us to meet my son's specific needs and were very patient, understanding and caring in working with us through difficult times. The teachers we have had are uniformly excellent, but if, for whatever reason, we needed a change, the staff were always accommodating and flexible. I have never seen such responsiveness to student/parent needs in a school. It also is very well-run administratively; everything runs smoothly. One-on-one teaching is available, or teaching in small groups, and electives (such as digital photography) are available. And it is accredited. I wish I had been aware of Tilden sooner!
We highly recommend SIL/Albany, now called Tilden Prep. Our child attends full time, taking UC-approved, college preparatory classes . The school's co-directors are caring, compassionate, competent, and highly experienced. Close proximity to UC Berkeley gives Tilden an edge in recruiting top, young teachers, and our child's teachers have generally been excellent. Students may enroll part time, for example to complete a course not offered at their regular high school, or full time. The full time program draws students for various reasons: Some are seeking individualized learning or scheduling flexibility; others have had academic or mild behavioral issues in a prior school setting. The latter could be a drawback, except that most courses are conducted in tutorial style -- one teacher to one student -- so one student's issues have little impact on others. Tilden's individualized learning environment is unique in our area and has been a definite 'plus' for our child.
My son attends this school. It has turned his life around. The staff are incredible. The curriculum is challenging and UC accredited. He hated school, but loves his classes here.
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