Tilden Elementary School

Oakland, CA

No longer in business
Public School
operated by Oakland Unified School District
Website: http://tilden.ousd.k12.ca.us
Phone: (510) 879-1560
4551 Steele St, Oakland, CA 94619

Parent Reviews

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

June 2008

Re: Pre-K for Language Delay Tilden Elementary School in Oakland is great for children with language delays. I have personally seen the positive effects it has had on my friends daughter. http://tilden.ousd.k12.ca.us/ Sara

Feb 2008

Re: Finding a preschool for autistic son
Tilden, an Oakland public school, is thriving. It has great half-day programs for preschool kids with special needs (and more). It's part of Oakland Unified, so disregard the enrollment deadline. If your son qualifies for OUSD services, he will get placed in a class that's appropriate for him--Tilden or perhaps another site, like Emerson. To start the process, send a letter (a self-referral) to the preschool team at OUSD: Special Education Office Marcus A. Foster Site 2850 West Street Oakland, CA 94608 Phone: (510) 879-8223 Ask that your son be evaluated for an appropriate class and services.

Additionally, if you need respite care, you can get him evaluated at the Regional Center of the East Bay, (510)383-1200. Good luck with the move. East bay mom

My son went to Tilden for 2 years. It's great school that geared specifically for special needs. They have very dedicated teachers and staff. Although my son was in special ed class part of the day he is integrated regular school. Yes, Tilden has a population that isn't special needs as well. Now in the 1st grade, my son has transferred to Montclair as it was the placement he needed but his twin (non special need)attends 1st grade at Tilden today. Oakland open enrollment time frame is February but with special needs kids, its a different schedule that's dictated by your IEP. The services you mentioned should be included in your IEP.

Tilden is a public school, you do not need to worry about enrolling him early. Private preschools in the area do tend to fill up in March for placements the following fall. Our son has been in a Pre K autism classroom for a year, and we love the school and his teacher. They don't currently have an integrated classroom, in my opinion they really need a push in that direction. I am not sure what Berkeley does about Pre K autism placements. I would be happy to give you more information about the area if you want to email me.

May 2007

I want to report on another great year at the Tilden School in East Oakland. I have two children at this public elementary school (K-2) - one in first grade, one in kindergarten. Both of them are in integrated classrooms where the students are a mix of typically developing and special needs kids.

My ''typical'' 5-year-old is thriving at Tilden. The program is so enriched - Tilden is an arts learning anchor, and the many extras are planned to promote the children's language, social and cognitive development. Every week they take dance, music, art, P.E., and storytelling, all keyed to promote cognitive skills. My son is learning all the usual kindergarten things - more importantly, he's happy interested, engaged. In the afternoons both my children insist on staying after school to play on the jungle gyms with other children.

The classroom curriculum is the California standard; the teacher also gives him extra projects or challenges tailored to his abilities. The teachers use the resources of the school and community to enhance learning - they have been visiting the school's garden as part of science this month, and the second grade class is leading a gardening project.

Tilden is a hidden jewel in the East Oakland foothills. The integrated kindergarten is full for Fall 2007, but the wait list is open and at least one or two on the list will have a good shot of getting in.

Mills College students with small children should consider Tilden. I am finishing my MFA at Mills, and having my two kids at Tilden this year while I go to college four blocks away has been a godsend. I got Mills undergrads to do afterschool pickup and babysitting (on Mills campus - the kids walk from Tilden to Mills).

Tilden's facility definitely needs a coat of paint (and my new job post graduation is to hound the district until they fix all the items on our checklist) but the teachers and the curriculum are topnotch. The diversity of the students means your children will learn great life skills; the multiple qualifications of the teachers means your children will get specialized, thoughtful instruction of the highest caliber.

If you have questions about The Tilden School, feel free to email me. I am going to speak to the incoming class of kindergarten parents some time in the week of May 14, 2007; and there will be a school open house on May 23 showcasing the Arts program - I believe at 6 or 6:30. Email if you are interested and I can get you directions and more information.

The Tilden School is on a quiet residential block just south of High Street and west of Tompkins/Carson, in the foothills above Highway 580. 4551 Steele St, Oakland, CA 94619 (510) 879-1560


May 2006

My 6 year old with global developmental delays is just finishing kindergarten at the Tilden school in Oakland, and we're very happy with his progress and the class. It's an integrated class with half general ed. kids and half IEP kids. My son is reading words and short sentences, singing songs and reciting poems, taking dance class, and has mastered the calendar - days and dates. He has made friends and has been to several birthday parties this year, as well as hosted his own. We're putting our 5 year old in the same kindergarten in Fall 2006, on the general education side. There will be at least one other Tilden School sibling with him. We're very happy with the school -staff works hard to add extras like LunaKids Dance, visiting dance troupes Paul Taylor II and Axis, and a MOCHA arts program. Leila

March 2006

We just came out of an IEP for our three year old who has some problems with the social use of language. OUSD feels that his defecits are severe enough to qualify him for the communications handicapped class at Tilden. We are apprehensive about it and were wondering if there were any parents out there who were willing to share their experiences. Were your kids comfortable there? Did their problems improve? Were there any other options that you considered before commiting to signing the IEP on the dotted line?
New to the world of special needs

Hi, My son Thomas has been at Tilden for the past two years in Monica Del Rio's classroom ( CH). The school is wonderful and Monica delivers the most amazing lessons. She is kind, caring and 110% committed to her kids.I wish she could teach my son forever, her expectations are very high and the kids know that and achieve their goals! My son started with quite a severe communication handicap ( at three his speech was like that of an 18 month old) and this fall he will enter regular kindergarten, I think that speaks for itself!

The wonderful thing about Tilden is that it is integrated, the kids get to mix with regular ed kids and let me tell you, you will never find a more dedicated Principal or body of Staff. The buildings are in need of some updating, but what goes on inside those walls is truely wonderful. They have Mocha visiting, Sports for Kids and any number of other enrichment activities as well as on site OT, PT and speech therapy.

I have nothing but positive things to say about Joslin Johnson, the Principal. She works tirelessly, is dedicated and very approachable. If you would like to talk further please do not hesitate to get in touch.

My son age 4 currently attends Tilden School. He began in a CH (communicatively handicapped) class last March. His diagnosis changed over the summer, so he now attends a different class most of the time, but still spends 2 mornings a week in the CH class. I am very pleased with my son's experience in the CH class and at Tilden in general. Previous to this, he was in an excellent Montessori preschool, but did not really progress in language or social development until beginning at Tilden. Since then his progress has been excellent. I've sat in on all 3 CH classes and saw 3 excellent teachers; I don't think you can go wrong. In addition to the CH class, the children also get ''Sports 4 kids'' (P.E.), MOCHA art, and music. There is a lovely OT room containing a good selection of OT equipment (i.e. ball pit, trampolines, tunnel, flat swing). I know this is a difficult decision to make. I can only say that my son has really benefitted from his experience at Tilden, and I believe the staff at Tilden are delivering a solid education for children with special needs.

My son was diagnosed with a 60% speech delay about this time last year and he's attended Tilden since then. And, we have seen amazing progress! He receives speech therapy at Tilden and the teachers and principal (Joslyn Johnson) are terrifically receptive. It was a nightmare in the beg. because OUSD lagged on his initial IEP, but the fight has been worth it because I feel he's very happy there and learning at the pace and structure he needs. I'm in a bit of dilemma because we can't find nearly a good enough PT daycare for him in North Oakland so, I don't have to pull him out of Tilden. I'm available if you want more info about Tilden. If your child qualifies to attend, he/she should go. Thanks.

May 2005

My 2 year old son is currently receiving services from the Regional Center for global delays in speech, motor, and cognition. Based on his progress in the last 10 months, I suspect he will test out of the Center's services when he turns 3. However, his speech delay is striking and I am starting to investigate preschool/therapy options for him for next year. He uses some rudimentary sign, and some words that his parents understand. His speech therapist is going to start him on PECs to see if he responds well to the program. All this said, has anyone with a child similarly delayed/gifted? put their child in Tilden School in Oakland? I'd love to correspond with you about the IEP process and your impression of the quality of services your child received. Thanks! Ann

It has been a while since your question regarding Tilden School, but I just wanted to let you know I'm out here so we can perhaps correspond about our children's situations. My son just began attending preschool at Tilden in April 2005. I've spent some time at Tilden getting to know the program and my son's teachers. I have found many positives about this placement for my son, and foremost among them are the staff. There is also a great OT/movement room my son's class goes to regularly. There is a lot of variety in the needs of the children, and my son is quite ''advanced'' in language, but weaker in social/pragmatic language. This makes it difficult for him to have ''peers'' to relate to at Tilden. However, his teacher works hard to address his specific needs within the classroom.! sp; I hear that next year the preschool schedule will be improved, with 4 year olds from 8:30-11:30 and 3 year olds 12:00-2:30. This will eliminate the current overlap where 4 and 3 year olds eat lunch together from 11-11:30 and it's really hard for staff to eat/get a break, not to mention noisy and hard for kids. Would be very willing to correspond with you or any other people who have kids at Tilden or are considering it.

Re: Preschool for Language Delay (Sept. 2004)


Sounds as if you are already getting therapy services, which is great. Although you mention that you don't want to put your child in a class with language delayed children, you should really contact the school district to see what they have. (They won't address your child until he turns 3, but you might as well get an appointment for soon after his birthday.)


In Oakland there is Tilden, which has a good preschool for ''communicatively handicapped'' kids, and teachers who are double credentialed in teaching and in speech therapy. One thing to note: kids with delays often do not learn from peers as well as they learn from a structured environment and strong teaching.

My son started the Tilden program at 4.5 years of age and made a lot of progress in many areas. (He's almost 9 now.)

I hope that helps, good luck. I'm happy to discuss with you if you would like. Nancy

Re: School for autistic/aspergers 3 year old (Oct 2003)

You didn't say which school district you were in, but if its Oakland, you should look into one of the classrooms at Tilden School. This is a small special education public school for preschool/kindergarten, and has classes for a variety of non- severely handicapped disorders such as Asperger's, autism, language, deaf/hard of hearing and more. (My son attends there in one of the communicative handicapped kindergarten classes.) If you happen to be in the Piedmont School District, the Asperger's expert teacher who used to teach at Tilden is now teaching at a school there. Her name is Patti Stevenson. If you are in neither of these districts and your district is not offering an appropriate placement, you could perhaps get an inter-district transfer. Under the law you are entitiled to a ''free and APPROPRIATE education'' for your child. If the classroom being offered to you has a mixture of children with disabilities ranging from mild to severe, that is not an appropriate placement for your child. If you need any further information, I would be happy to direct you to some parents who could better answer your questions. Charlotte