Transitional Kindergarten in Oakland School District

Parent Q&A

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  • Our son will turn 5 in November and he is eligible for our neighborhood school's TK program (Hillcrest). The TK program will be at a different location,  Kaiser Early Childhood Education Center , where it will be pooled with the 2 other TK programs (Chabot, Peralta). it seems like it will be a big transition for one year of TK, followed by another big transition the following year when he begins K-5 (another new location, new friends, etc). 

    Would love to hear from other parents who have had experience with Kaiser TK about their experience. Any pros/cons of TK overall are welcome too.. Did you find your kids grew more than they would've at their preschools, was it worth the extra transition? 

    We are considering keeping him at his preschool one more year mostly because we feel bad uprooting him from his friends (once for TK, then again for K-5), plus we are planning to enroll his younger sibling at his current preschool this fall which would make logistics easier if he stays. But we are also worried he might get bored with one more year at his Montessori when he's the oldest next year (ages 3-5). Thanks!

    No responses received.

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  • TK at Melrose Leadership Academy

    (1 reply)

    Hi all - I'm currently in the process of applying for TK in the OUSD for our 4 year old. She's bilingual (Spanish/English) having attended a bilingual preschool from age 2 to 4 and speaking Spanish and English at home. We'd like to keep her in a bilingual program, but options for TK are fairly limited.

    We've heard good things about peoples' experience with Melrose, and I'm hoping anyone with a child in attendance could speak to a few questions I have:

    - General experience with the program? Both lingual and more generally academic

    - After-school care experience? We both work full time, so after-care is a must.

    - Experience with the educators?

    - Drop off and pick up ease/difficulty?

    - Did you stick with it after TK?

    Our neighborhood Elementary would be Montclair FWIW, and the rest of our list of TK schools are not bilingual (Sequoia, Glenview, Thornhill, Hillcrest). So if anyone has any experience with any of these would also be very helpful. Unfortunately we've been out of town and tour dates have been very difficult, so we're relying on virtual tours and parent recommendations.

    Thanks so much!

    I'm afraid I don't have experience at MLA but my second kid is in TK at Greenleaf right now. While their Spanish immersion program doesn't technically start till K, since the majority of students are Spanish speaking much of his classroom time has a Spanish component. The main teacher only speaks English but teaching aid is bilingual and does at least 30 minutes of Spanish instruction a day. My child had also been in a Spanish immersion preschool and he has continued to increase the letters and sounds he knows in Spanish along with his English pre-literacy skills. And if your kid is there for TK, you've automatically got a spot there for K. My oldest is in second grade there now and we've been very pleased with the school and the education they've both gotten. Would recommend to other families looking for bilingual education in OUSD. Happy to chat more about the details. 

    (I believe that Manzanita SEED also has TK but I'm not sure how their program is set up and don't have personal experience with it.)

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  • Hi BPN,

    my son is eligible for OUSD TK next fall, and we are zoned for Peralta elementary for regular kindergarten... We are trying to decide if it would be best to send him to the Peralta feeder TK program, which is at Kaiser ECE and quite far from home, or go to Sankofa for TK (walking distance) but then need to reapply for Kinder at Peralta.  Is the trek worth it to get to know the kids and families who we will eventually see for elementary? Does it not matter, because the school is so big, he won't see the TK kids next year (Peralta)? Do any other kids attend Sankofa for TK, but then go to Peralta? We know quite a few neighbors of ours will go to Sankofa and we really like that community, but we hear Peralta is an amazing school with arts, gardening etc... My son  is very sweet and friendly but definitely more shy, slow to warm up, and not a rough house/ jump into the action kind of kid, if that helps?

    Both Peralta and Sankofa are small schools, so certainly he will see TK classmates the following year if he continues at either. One wondering--and not one I know the answer to--is whether you are considered to be enrolled at Peralta by virtue of being in the Peralta TK, and therefore won't need to reapply for kinder. If that's the case, it's probably wise to do that if you definitely want to be in Peralta long term, since there's no guarantee that there will be enough kinder seats for all neighborhood families if the TK kids and siblings have priority. But we know families who love Sankofa too so if you do opt for their TK and then don't get into Peralta, you could consider just staying there. This will be the first year Peralta has offered TK (and only the second for Sankofa, I think), so hard to know what the enrollment patterns will be. Personally when we looked at schools, I wasn't willing to drive up to Kaiser (which was then an elementary school) and prioritized schools closer to home.

    So a few things, if your child goes to the Peralta TK, they are considered to be enrolled at Peralta and guaranteed a spot at the school going forward. (Same for Sankofa). Peralta has moved from having 2 Kinder classes to 3 Kinder classes, so really “should” have spots for all interested neighborhood families (again tricky to forecast, but odds I would be willing to take). They are both small sweet schools, so no wrong choice. (There are definitely Peralta families looking at Sankofa TK because it’s walkable). Which school gives you the better commute for K-5? 

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  • OUSD TK Waitlists?

    (2 replies)

    Hello parents! Does anyone have any insight about OUSD TK waitlists? My kiddo is #12 at Thornhill. I've read through BPNs posts about kindergarten waitlists, but I know that TK is a whole different thing given the limited availability of classes. If we don't get off the waitlist, does my kid just not get a placement this year? (He's also in the 50s on the Montclair waitlist, so I won't hold my breath.) Our neighborhood school (Hillcrest) doesn't offer TK, unfortunately.

    Any advice on moving him further up the waitlist, other than patience? People keep telling me to "stay on top of" (aka nudge) the school and/or OUSD, but it seems like everything is centrally controlled and there's not much an individual parent can do. It's not in my nature to bug people and be the squeaky wheel, so I'm perfectly comfortable letting the system do its thing, but I also don't want to disadvantage my kid if there's something else I could or should be doing to help him. Any advice is welcome!

    Unfortunately there's not much you can (or should) do except wait. There was a time before the enrollment process moved online when being a squeaky wheel sometimes helped, but one of the upsides (in my opinion!) of the online system is that it is more transparent and simply moves in order of your lottery pull. Principals and other staff can't bump you up above other families. If you're willing to wait past the start of the school year, spots sometimes open up then, but possibly not enough to get you in with #12. If you want your child in TK even if it's not at one of those schools, you can call the Student Enrollment Center to find out which schools have space--there are many that do, or that have shorter waiting lists.

    If you are set on Thornhill or Montclair, I think you need to have a backup plan because it's very possible that you may not get in at #12 on the waitlist.  If you would really like your child to go to TK next year, I suggest reaching out to the Student Enrollment Center to see what other programs might still have space.

  • Hi BPN families,

    We're hoping to send our son to an Oakland TK program this coming fall and the schools we're looking at only have one review each from 2021, all the rest are really out-dated - I understand that TK is recent for these schools and I can't imagine what a nightmare it was for parents last year. That being said, if any parents have current thoughts about the following schools, I'd love to hear! Full disclosure: we had no idea TK was a thing, only learned from a preschool parent 2 weeks after the OUSD deadline. So, I'm hustling to learn and hopefully choose by March 24 - I'd love to not pay $25/k for a 3rd year of preschool if possible!

    We're deciding between: Emerson Elementary, Sankofa or Manzanita SEED. 

    I'm not totally clear what we're looking for, but I think: focus on social/emotional development, little to no homework, passionate teachers that have been there for a bit, some creative element, diversity (ability, socio-economic, racial, etc.), commitment to anti-bullying, after school options, etc. We're not concerned about testing scores or the other things Great Schools website focuses on. Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated!

    Our son is a first grader at Sankofa and we are sending our daughter to Sankofa for TK this coming fall. It is the first year for TK at Sankofa so it will probably be hard to find reviews on the TK program specifically but we can comment on Sankofa as a school overall. We absolutely love the school and the teachers we’ve met so far. The principal is amazing and very communicative. Sankofa United is a blended community and that process has been done with a lot of attention to equity and inclusion. Diversity, social emotional learning and inclusion are highlighted in the schools mission and values. I believe there is a Saturday play date coming soon where you could tour the school and meet some families, which I highly recommend. 

    best of luck in your search!

    Sankofa is great

    Our son is in TK at emerson and we’ve been thrilled with his teacher (Ms. Sellers) and the school.  We’ve formed a really nice community as a TK class and the kids all seem really happy and sweet. Ms. Sellers manages the classroom beautifully and brings creativity, love and patience to the group. My son is learning so much and I believe will be well prepared for kindergarten from a social and academic standpoint.  He will be attending school at Emerson next year. Hope to see you there! PM me for more info.  Laura. 

    I have a son in 1st grade at SEED and another son entering K next year. SEED is really wonderful and my son had really flourished there this past year. I’m sure you know it’s a 50/50 Spanish/English immersion school, and it’s been quite amazing for my son. I speak Spanish at home, but my husband doesn’t, so my kids get a decent amount of exposure at home. That said, my son has greatly improved his Spanish and is ahead of the average benchmarks for non-native speakers. Like many kids, he started below grade level this school year because of the zoom hell that was last year, and is now at grade level. He’s really progressed a lot and it’s because the teachers are so great.  The principal is new this year, but seems engaged with the community. The TK teacher is new as well, but he was is also really great. We actually know him because he was a student teacher in my son’s kinder class last year. He’s very warm, brings lots of energy, and the kids this year seem to love him. I do find it to be rare to have a male teacher for such young kids, and so it’s a great opportunity to give your kids a strong and compassionate male role model at school. We’re really happy at SEED. Hope this helps! Happy to chat further if you’d like. 

  • Hello, I'm seeking recent feedback on experience with TK at Thornhill and Montclair elementary schools in Oakland. We're deciding between sending our daughter to TK or keeping her at preschool next year. Specifically looking for input on:

    • What did you like about TK that felt like a change from a preschool program?
    • What didn't you like about the program?
    • How academically rigorous is the program? Are kids learning to read and write? Trying to determine if TK is more academic than preschool.

    Thanks in advance for feedback!

    If finances allow you, I recommend considering pre-k program at a preschool instead of OUSD TK. It’s unclear whether OUSD will be able to open school in the fall and even if it does, it may be part time (maybe 2 days a week) or mornings or afternoons only. TK is what K used to be. It’s academic and structured. Zoom Schooling is terrible for little kids. One benefit is that if you get into TK, you are in the school. These schools have had to turn away neighborhood kids in some years.

  • We live in the school boundary for Glenview but my son landed on the wait list for TK. He's at #3, so I realize he may move up before school starts. My main concern is that if he's still waitlisted on the first day of school, what do we do? Do we just show up? (I got that advice from an OUSD teacher friend of mine at one of the top schools.) Do we stay home and wait to hear back? How long? Who would contact us to let us know he got in or didn't? 

    I'm concerned that if I'm not proactive, my son could be overlooked, but I'm also concerned about starting off on the right foot and not being disruptive. It's a crazy time, it's a new campus, we're new to the whole process, so I'm nervous. Any insights from those of you who've been through this is much appreciated!

    In normal times, they would call you to offer the spot, and generally TK neighborhood waitlists do clear, so I expect you will have a spot shortly after registration ends in June and it will be moot. But if you don't get in, there's no particular benefit to just showing up--the school doesn't have control over getting you in. (This used to be less true, but one benefit/downside to the newish online enrollment process is that the waitlists go in order, and you can't jump them by being the squeaky wheel as you could before. I think this is a plus from an equity perspective, but appreciate that it can be frustrating!) If you've accepted a spot elsewhere in the district, you'd go to that school until the waitlist moves. If you haven't accepted any other spot and are just on the waitlist for Glenview, then yes, you can stay home until something shifts. The waitlists expire on the 10th day of school and then you can go into the enrollment office to see what other openings exist if you don't get in and aren't placed anywhere else (i.e., if you were planning to do preschool or have your child home if you didn't get into Glenview TK). It's not yet clear how the pandemic may affect all of these processes, though.

    #3 is very high on the waitlist. So many kids get off of waitlist in the summer or during the first 2 weeks of school. 

  • Piedmont Ave Elementary TK

    (3 replies)


    My son is #4 on the waitlist for the TK program at Piedmont Ave Elementary. I haven't visited the school yet and am quite far down on the waitlist for other Oakland schools. Has anyone sent their kids there? Please let me know feedback if possible. 

    If Ms. Drake is still the TK teacher at Piedmont Ave. elementary, I wholeheartedly recommend the school. We did TK at PAES with Ms. Drake and we had a great experience. She is such an amazing and warm teacher. TK class was very diverse and TK parents tend to have more resources and were supportive. Any supply that the teacher needed was promptly provided by parents. The classroom is nice and big with ample play areas. The teacher was beyond patient with our child who had a tough time transitioning from Regio Emilio preschool to traditional school.  we did not stay beyond TK as we live closer to our catchment school which doesn’t have TK. our child was fully prepared for K from day 1. 

    if public schools is what you are choosing, PAES TK with Ms. Drake is among the best.

    Thank you so much! This is very helpful and reassuring information. I really appreciate it. 


    I definitely encourage you to consider our TK program and school.  Although I no longer teach TK (I have moved to 3rd Grade) our TK Teacher, Ms. Parker, is an incredible early childhood educator, committed to the education of the whole child.  The TK classroom is inviting and spacious and structured to the learning needs of the students.  In addition, TK students participate in weekly computer class, PE, Science lab, and music with Ms. Rhonda from the Oakland Youth Chorus.  If you have not yet done so, please check out our website: for more information.

    All the best,

    Ms. Drake

  • Montclair TK, how many classes?

    (1 reply)

    Hi all,
    We are waitlisted #12 for Montclair TK. Trying to understand if there is 1 or 2 classes? Otherwise it looks like another year of expensive preK.

    Hi. There’s one TK classroom at Montclair Elementary. 

  • Recent experiences with TK in Oakland?

    (1 reply)

    Hi, it's time to submit the OUSD ranking, and I'm looking for recent information about the following schools' TK programs:

    • Montclair
    • Emerson
    • Glenview
    • Thornhill
    • Sequoia

    It's hard to get a sense of the TK classroom environment in short tour or info session.  Any info about the teacher, the curriculum, the teacher's aide and other supports, general school environment, etc.  Also looking for insight into how you've liked the before- and after-school options for your TK child.  Feel free to reply by private message, if you'd rather not post publicly. 


    It’s not on your list, but in the area of others that are...Have you considered Piedmont Avenue TK? The teacher, Ms Drake, is AMAZING! I was really impressed by her and the kids in my daughters Kindergarten class who had been through the TK there. 

  • Transitional Kindergarten in Oakland

    (4 replies)

    Hello Dear Parents,

    I have a 3.5 year old daughter. Her birthday is in November. She is eligible for transitional kindergarten. She is my only daughter and I am a foreign citizen. The school system is such an unknown for me. There are so many mixed information like lottery,neighborhood based transfer such as such. They sound an alien language at the moment.

    We live in North Oakland and the closest transitional kindergarten has 1 out of 10 in great schools web page. It  really looks bad from outside as well.There are good TKs like Thornhill or Montclair but they are 3 miles away from our current rental. Is it possible to choose those good schools as our choice in the application? Do we have any chance that we might get in? If so, we will just stay in our current rentals. If that is not possible, we need to move out to a good school district in North Berkeley, which is a big hassle and almost impossible with our dog. We cannot afford a private school either.

    I would appreciate if you could show me a roadmap during this TK application procedure to get in a good TK. I want her to go to a good school where she will love learning and social as much as possible and love schools.

    Thanks a lot

    I wouldn't put too much stock in the Great Schools website assessment - it looks pretty inaccurate to me, and the parent reviews are almost all glowing.  We have known several Emerson families who have all been really happy there, including with the TK program.  Emerson has been steadily improving over the years and I predict will be hard to get into within the next few years as the demographics of the neighborhood change.  The school our kids went to, Peralta Elementary, was similarly low-scored on the Great Schools site, and it's an incredibly in-demand school now.  Parent involvement at Peralta made a huge difference, and I believe there is a very engaged parent group at Emerson as well.  I would tour the school, meet with the principal, and seek out some PTA members to talk to before writing it off.

    Unfortunately, the deadline for OUSD has passed and school assignments have already been made. Montclair Elem TK had a long waitlist and I know many who did not get in. It won't hurt to try but I think it's a long shot now. If you are not working or have flexible hours, MCPC (also in Montclair) is a co-op based school where parents volunteer hours to offset cost, and they have a TK program. Their preschool program may be a bit difficult to get into, but I think their TK program is not so bad since there are completely free, public school options.

    We are zoned for Thornhill.  My oldest did TK there and my youngest will also do TK.  The OUSD options process allows you to rank schools outside of your zone, although siblings and neighborhood kids are supposed to have priority enrollment.  Not every school offers TK, and there were a number of non-neighborhood kids in my daughter's class.  The thing about TK is that it is optional, so you could go in to the enrollment process with the idea that if you don't get into a school that you want, you will just stay in your current preschool.  FWIW, some friends of ours sent their daughter to a TK program that was rated a "1" because they were planning to enroll her in private school starting in K.  They had a positive experience. Even outside of TK, the OUSD options process takes patience, which sometimes means dealing with uncertainty about where your kid will end up through the first week or two of school.  

    Hello! Yes, the process can be very confusing!  I’m not sure if you are aware of this requirement, but TK was created for kids who are turning five in the fall, not for kids turning 4. If your daughter is 3.5 and will be 4 in November 2018, she is not eligible for TK until Fall of 2019. TK for this Fall is for kids born between Sept 2 and Dec.2 of 2013. There are some very good schools with low scores—Melrose Leadership Academy is one of them. When the time comes, you can put whatever your first choice is; it doesn’t have to be the school closest to you. People very very often get their first choice! I hope this reply is helpful!

    This is from the OUSD website:

    What is Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?
    Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is a full day class OUSD offers for students whose birthdate is between September 2, 2013  and December 2, 2013.

  • Any experience with Oakland's expanded TK program?  Our pre-school is no longer affordable and we are looking into other options.  Our daughter has a Dec. 31 bday so TK is not an option (or so OUSD tells me), but the ETK program is limited to 4 schools (PLACE @ Prescott, La Escuelita, Reach Academy and Carl B. Munck), all of which are geographically inconvenient, not to mention they don't have great ratings.   

    Expanded TK was new this past year and is largely intended to reach low-income children who may not have had access to preschool, so it's a pretty limited and targeted program. It's correct that the TK cutoff is December 2nd, unfortunately. Another option may be OUSD's preschool program, which has a full-pay option that is still far less costly than private preschool. There are many OUSD preschool programs across the city, so that could give you some additional options. The list is on the OUSD website.

  • Oakland school lottery myths

    (2 replies)

    hi, I’m hoping to gain some insight and debunk some ousd myths about the school lottery system. A friend just told me that you may gain priority in the lottery if you submit your application sooner in the open enrollment time. This goes contrary to all logical thought since most schools don’t tour until December and enrollment starts mid November. The city itself doesn’t even do a school fair until December. Is there any truth or founded rumor to this? 

    Also, if you don’t get your first choice are your chances higher of getting your second or third? I’ve heard of people playing the lottery in sf (putting their first choice second or third). 

    We are hoping for a non neighborhood school so mainly wanting to know if there is anything to the rumor of time of submission having anything to do with your chances. 

    Thank you!!!

    We optioned last year for TK. It was their 1st year using an online system (or so I was informed). They don't even collect the data until the close of the lottery window. Perhaps when it was paper, there were people starting an early tally, but that is not a lottery, that's 1st come 1st serve. What is true is that OUSD works out the lottery results for applications submitted within the options window before they look at late applications. Perhaps that's where the "sooner application' priority myth originated.

    A friend of mine put her 1st choice as #1, 2 and 3 on her child's option form. She suggested we do the same convinced it made statistical sense. OUSD told me that is not how it works, and when I filled out our online application it wasn't even physically possible. You can't use the same school twice in the digital form. 

    The one thing that did help us was putting a "safety school" (i know, sounds awful) in the lower rank of our list. No one in my neighborhood wants our neighborhood school. There were 5 kids in the surrounding blocks applying for TK. Of course everyone tried for the star schools, and everyone who didn't put a "safety school" was assigned our neighborhood school. Everyone of us who did put a school with a better chance, were placed in the lower ranked/with less demand school.  One family stayed in Pre-k, and a few petitioned for another placement. 

    The welcome center urged us to put the schools down in order of our preference. 

    My experience is also with TK. That is a fraction of the student population and quite a few desirable schools still do not offer that grade, so the statistical properties of that lottery are a little different, and weren't reported separately in the OUSD book to give insight into some hidden strategy. 

    There is zero truth to this (although apparently it was once the case--many years ago--that applications were first come-first serve and people lined up in the wee hours to submit them, and we were actually at an open house last year where a retired administrator told parents this, causing some panic!) In today's enrollment process, all on-time applications are processed at the same time. In the past, I believe the lottery has assigned a number to each application and when your turn rolled around, it ran through your list of schools looking for open spots before defaulting to your neighborhood school if none were available, so there was no particular benefit to listing a less in-demand school first (but certainly a benefit to not stacking your list with schools that are all hard to get into). That also explains why there's no benefit to listing the same school three times--if there's not a spot, there's not a spot. You're not getting a raffle ticket (as in some charter assignment processes where numbers are drawn and certain priorities might get you extra entries). However, I understand that the assignment process is moving online this year (last year just the applications were collected online, but the lottery was not run in the online system) so that may be handled differently--I'd ask and see.

  • I am curious to hear about experience with the transitional kindergarten at Emerson and any feedback about studio one for aftercare. Our local school does not have TK and Emerson was on our list in part because it's in between home and work.  My child could theoretically stay at preschool so I'm trying to assess whether or not switching for one year is a good idea since he would go as a kindergartner to our local school (I hope!). Any advice/  thoughts are appreciated;  he's very active and does well at preschool but has a lot of energy and I've been relieved that he's eligible for TK because I think going to kindergarten right now would be too soon for him. 

    I can't speak to that specific TK program, but my daughter did TK at a different school from the one where she ended up going, and it was totally fine. The TK program was great and she was very ready for kinder. Though she was ahead academically, she was right on track for kindergarten emotionally, so it was good that she basically got 2 years of kindergarten. You know what I'd recommend? See if you can go to that school and meet with the TK teacher. Maybe see the class in action. That's what I did and she was amazing and we ended up having a great experience. Best of luck! 

    My son is currently in TK at Emerson and is in the same situation - he will go to Kinder at a different school. For us, the decision was pretty clear - he had completely outgrown preschool and needed to move on, but I was really nervous. He's very active, lots of energy and has a hard time sitting still. It's been a big struggle. The social emotional aspects have been very hard, impulse control, keeping his hands to himself, learning how to act in a big school setting. The academic side has been good, and I'm surprised and pleased and how much he is learning. But, all in all - it's really a struggle. It may continue to be a struggle in Kindergarten, but I'm hoping that we are laying the foundation now for better experience in the future. I will say that the TK teacher Mrs. Minor has been great. She is very caring and patient and really has been trying and working with us to get my son in a better spot.

    Studio One has been fine, it's certainly convenient. Although I would prefer an afterschool option that was strictly play or sports for my active boy.

    Good luck.

    I do not have direct experience with TK at Emerson, but my friend's son went to Emerson TK and then moved onto Chabot, which is their zoned Elementary school. My friend's son is also a very energetic child, as most boys are. The parents liked the school alright. It's definitely not fancy and wasn't perfect but there were a lot that they liked about the school. They liked the after school program option there, the teacher was really great. Coming from a play-based preschool where the boy got to run outside and run around almost whenever he wanted to a structured, traditional school setting was a big adjustment. But, the boy did pretty well, made friends, and the parents particularly commented that the TK teacher was amazing. The class size is larger for sure but the parents felt that Emerson TK was very convenient because it was on their way to the BART station and the son got the transitional education he needed and the son was very well prepared for K at Chabot. The son is now a 1st grader at Chabot and is thriving. The parents could have kept the boy at preschool for another year, but they felt that they made the right decision because it made the financial and logistical sense. They also felt that 1 year of TK is a drop in the bucket. They felt that even if it's not 100% the absolute best ideal situation, it's only for a year, so they decided to give Emerson TK a chance and they are glad that they did. (I'm in a similar situation with my child assigned to another TK school that is outside our zone because our neighborhood school doesn't have  TK, so I had an extensive conversation about my friend's TK experience. That is why I'm able to share a lot of info.)

  • OUSD TK Options - Sankofa or Emerson?

    (1 reply)

    We are just starting to tour and get ready to submit our Options paperwork to OUSD for TK 2017/18. We are zoned for Sankofa, but are looking into Emerson (the next walkable TK school), & a few other schools down hwy13 that are on our weekly commute route, and where we already have a large community of friends. I am drawn to the idea of a neighborhood school, saturating our efforts into our immediate community, and being able to walk. That's why we're making a go of an urban family life after all.

    I'm looking for recent Sankofa & Emerson parent and student experiences. PTO, TK, K & beyond. I've had a comfortable experience so far reaching out and getting encouraging information from Emerson. I can't say it's been positive or even organized with Sankofa. Am I missing something?

    Also, I'd love to hear any experience, advice or protocol for re-optioning for Kindergarten after a TK assignment, just in case that seem best for our family.

    Thank you.

    We know families that have gone to Emerson for TK then Peralta for K. I live less than a block from Sankofa and our daughter is at Peralta. 

    Last year OUSD discouraged any family outside of the Peralta district from putting it as their first choice. I don't know of any new families outside of the district that got in on the first pass, but I know many that got in from the waiting list over the summer or in the first week of school.

  • I am a mom of an almost 4 year old (late September bday) and we are starting the school search process for a good TK program. It is very important to me that she learn another language (not tied to any particular one although leaning to Spanish) at an early age. I am looking at Dual Immersion language programs at OUSD and have found that Melrose Academy, Manzanita Seed, Korematsu and Esperanza all have dual immersion in Spanish. Would love any insight parents have into these schools and your experiences with them. Also looking at Yu Ming, but we are not in the area, they do not offer TK and I understand getting in is extremely difficult. Any tips on getting in? Can I get into another school and still go to Yu Ming later?  I'd also like to be able to send her to EBI, but the tuition price tops Cal and I cannot afford that at the TK stage. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    My daughter goes to MLA and it is awesome. I highly recommend you check it out. The principal is a strong leader with caring, loving teachers. I know parents who have kids in TK there and are very happy with it. 

    If you're open to dual immersion in French, don't forget about Francophone Charter School of Oakland.  The school is in its second year of operation, and there was a lottery for K this year but it's certainly possible to get in.  Not sure if there will be a lottery for TK but I know they offer a TK program. 

    Regarding Francophone Charter School of Oakland, there was a TK wait list for this year. There was also a change in school leadership from last year. If you do decide to consider the school, I suggest finding out as much as you can about plans for next year, faculty retention, potential site changes, and the hiring/recruitment process for teachers. 

  • We are about to submit an offer on a house that is zoned for Montclair Elementary. But since Montclair doesn't have TK and our daughter has Sept. birthday, we are told that he'd be going to Thornhill for TK. Would truly appreciate hearing about any experience with Thronhill's TK or K program in general and after school care options.  Thank you!

    Montclair does have a TK program.  You are most likely to be assigned to the school where your home is zoned, but if a school is oversubscribed then the district offers placement where there is space (and hopefully in one of your top choices).  So, if you buy in the Montclair zone, your child will most likely get assigned to Montclair for TK.  The enrollment for TK is a separate process than K.  You are not guaranteed a spot in the same elementary school for K after attending TK. If you buy a home in Montclair and for some crazy reason you don't get TK at Montclair, your child would get assigned to Montclair when applying for K.  After K, you can seamlessly continue in the same school for the remainder of the elementary years.

    The best source of OUSD Options enrollment advice is the OUSD website or the Student Assignment Office.  Be careful to submit your OUSD Options application on time.  :)

    For school tours or information about programs offered at each school, call the school directly or go to the individual school's website.  Schools offer on site aftercare or have "enrichment" programs before or after school, but they vary by school. 

    Good luck with your home purchase.

Parent Reviews

My son was born on Dec 7. I called OUSD before he was ready to start school, and there was absolutely no flexibility. He did another year at his preschool, which luckily had a good "pre-K" program that satisfied his curiosity. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Experience w/ TK Classroom @ Emerson Elementary?

June 2016

Hi There! We're enrolled at Emerson for the Fall - my daughter is 4 1/2 and I'm nervous. She's been in a preschool with a 6-1 ratio for the past year and the ratio at Emerson is ....24-1!?? I wonder if anyone has experience in the TK classroom at Emerson and would be willing to share. I'm curious about how kids do there with less adult support and also about how the day looks (are they expected to sit still and listen to the teacher most of the day?). Thanks so much, Kasey

My son is currently attending TK at Emerson. He originally came from a tiny preschool that only had 12 children. We attended some of the first of the month Emerson Saturday playdates to get a feel for the school, meet some parents and have some questions answered prior which helped a tiny bit with the transition to a big school.

Ms. Brooks is great! She has a very calm demeanor and many strengths, as well as recognizing the individuality in each child. (Though I have recently heard that she may be teaching the Kindergarten class next year.) The TK seemed to have an influx of volunteers, including some Oakland High students. There was also a dedicated assistant in the afternoon every day.

There is much more flexibility in the TK room than in the Kindergarten so rest assured the children are not sitting all day. I can't tell you exactly how the day goes but in the morning they do sit briefly and then it is free choice play. They have P.E. with Coach Carter once a week and on rainy days she sometimes comes in too. Ms. Brooks would also do Yoga with the children.

Hope that answers some of your questions. Claire

Considering OUSD Transitional Kindergarten

Jan 2016

Hi, My son will be 5 years old in November (2016). He is in a great preschool, but I am considering transitional kindergarten for him because it is 5 days a week and it's free. I've found very little information about the different TK programs offered through the Oakland School district. I've found lots of helpful info about k-12 but very little about TK. We live in the Cleveland school district - but since they don't offer TK we will have to apply to another school. Can you please share your experience with TK in Oakland? I've looked at Sequoia (but have little hope of getting in) so am interested to hear about other schools. And really any school - or just the TK experience in general. Thank you so much for any help/advice you can share. Katherine

Hi - Our son is in TK at Glenview this year. We also applied to Sequoia, having heard great things about the TK teacher, but didn't get in. Our teacher, Ms Shreve is wonderful, we really love her.

TK in general is more academic than I expected. There are lots of worksheets, tracing etc. I had hoped it would involve more play than it does, and I'm not sure how different it is than kindergarten. Our kid has homework every day, which seems crazy. They are currently developing the curriculum and I'm not sure they've gotten it all figured out yet.

All that being said, our kid is happy at Glenview, and loves the teacher and classmates. Glenview is a sweet place. I wish there was less homework overall but I think it's pretty standard in OUSD, unfortunately.

We do feel lucky to qualify for TK too. Our kid will be well-prepared for K. Good luck! anon

Oakland TK Families: How's it going?

Nov 2015

We are considering TK for 2016-17 and would love to hear from current (or recent) OUSD TK families on how your child is doing and what you think of the program at the school you are at. Also especially interested in hearing from families with parent(s) who work full-time--were you able to find aftercare that accepted your TK student? If not, how did you solve the extended day dilemma? Are there any Oakland preschools offering, or considering offering, a program similar to the TK aftercare program that the Berkeley JCC offers? Thanks! Prospective TK parent

My child started the school year in TK at a school with a good reputation that had not previously offered TK. The curriculum and environment were not ideal for four-year-olds--frequent transitions between activities, incredibly short recesses, lots of many-step directions relayed from across the room, pretty advanced motor work with scissors etc. It was pretty much just kindergarten! I think TK is probably a good fit for a child who is actually developmentally ready for kindergarten but just not chronologically old enough. Our child had a difficult time in TK and we ultimately went back to preschool, where there were thankfully still spaces. Perhaps as OUSD gets more experienced with TK, it'll be a better option for more types of children, but for now, if you can at all afford it, just do an extra year of preschool. If you'd like more details, have the moderator give you my e-mail. Opted out of TK

Transitional kindergarten near Rockridge?

Aug 2015

Due to my son's birthdate he won't enter kindergarten until 6 years old in 2017. Some tell me that it's actually better for a boy, anyway, given slower social development. I have a very smart and savvy kiddo, but he could use some social skills (despite being in a preschool setting for 2 years...). Anyone have advice/experience with this? I have a disability that does not allow me to drive, or even take the bus long-distance. Does anyone know if my disability will be considered by the OUSD when choosing a T-K program for my son? I live in lower Rockridge, Oakland, a few blocks away from Peralta (Rockridge area) and about 1 mile to Chabot. Neither has one, but the nearest schools are Emerson and Piedmont (both a bus ride away). Does anyone have experience with the Emerson or Piedmont programs, or any other in the OUSD? Thanks for advice. CR

Here's what I know about the transitional K program at Emerson:

  • Last year there were 25+ kids with ONE teacher who did not have an assistant or an aide with her for any portion of the school day.
  • The students are given activities that do not seem age-appropriate, such as tracing numbers 1-100 on a hundreds chart, and lots of time spent sitting for instruction. There seems to be lots of desk work (worksheets, closed-ended projects) and not a lot of open-ended, creative/interactive projects.
  • Last year's teacher was dedicated and well-intentioned but new to teaching, and with 25+ kids, I'm worried she will burn out quickly. But she has good classroom management skills and manages to teach the children even though she has way too many in her classroom.

Hope this info helps.

Transitional kindergarten at Sequoia in Oakland?

June 2014

Hello! I've recently realized that our son will be eligible for TK in the 2015 school year. He will be five in September. We are zoned for Glenview but on the border of the zone for Sequoia. I don't know if zoning matters for TK, and I do know that Glenview will be moving during construction, and currently doesn't have a TK. I've read good things generally about the Sequoia TK. But, I know the TK program is quite new, so I'm wondering if any parents of current TK Sequoia kids can give some input. Do you like the teacher? How was the transition from preschool? What were things that you liked or disliked about the class/teacher? And this is more of a TK general question... How does one decide if their child is TK ready? Thanks in advance! I appreciate your input. Allison

My son is in 1st at Sequoia and was in regular K last year with the teacher who is currently teaching TK (Tontra Love). Last I heard she would be teaching TK again next year but I can't say that with 100% certainty as I am not in a position to know. I can't speak to TK since I didn't experience it, but I can say that any child would be lucky to be in Ms. Love's class. I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about her as a teacher and a person. She is warm and loving yet sets good boundaries. She strives to meet each kid where they are at, provides differentiated instruction, and was unbelievably helpful with behavioral challenges my child had both when in her class and also this year -- never blaming or labeling and always seeing his strengths and wanting to help him succeed. Based on my experience, I really can't imagine a person more suited to teaching TK. She truly surpassed all my hopes and dreams for what his first teacher would be like. I'd also like to give a plug for Sequoia as a school. We have been very happy there and have found the teachers and administrators to be very welcoming to the diverse community served by the school. It is really a very sweet place. A Sequoia Mom

Emerson Elementary Transitional Kindergarten

June 2013

I'm a parent of a child with an early Sept. birthday who ''should'' be starting kindergarten in 2014. We are starting to investigate our school options and are hoping the Transitional Kindergarten program at Emerson Elementary in Oakland will be just what we're looking for. The reason I'm reaching out to this list is because I've had a very hard time finding any parent feedback on the program at Emerson and also feedback on what happens after TK. We plan on sending our kids to our neighborhood school for elementary (not emerson). I'm wondering if many of the TK kids leave Emerson after TK? Also if participating in TK effects your chances of getting into your neighborhood school. Thanks for your insight! Curious Parent

Not all schools have TK programs, so many students go to other schools for TK, then on to whatever school they get into for regular kindergarten. My daughter was in TK at PLACE @ Prescott, and is going to Chabot for kindergarten.

In regards to the TK program, I would describe it as what Kindergarten used to be when we were all growing up. More play-oriented, less emphasis on academics as compared to current kindergartens, and age appropriate. Having had my daughter at Emeryville Child Development Center for PRE-K, I definitely thought my daughter learned a lot more in TK, as opposed to PreK in preschool. I felt she was challenged a lot more, but the program also takes into account the younger age of the children, as opposed to being in kindergarten, so there's nap-time, etc. wendy

My daughter went to TK last year and we were very happy with Ms. E's class. She is a really great teacher and highly recommended. In the TK class had many kids coming from elsewhere, Emerson not their home school. My daughter will stay at Emerson for K, but many of her classmates went back to their home school- I would said 2/3 of the class. Like any other school, parents need to get involved and volunteer in class which we did and that helped the teacher and the kids. TK mother

My son's birthday qualified him to start kindergarten last fall so I enrolled him at our local elementary school, but then worried that he wasn't quite ready for ''big kid'' school and all the confinements that came with that. After much debate and worry, I made the decision to enroll him in the TK program at Emerson--site unseen--which is a 20-minute commute for our family. As it is a pilot program, there wasn't a lot of information going in and all the parents were nervous and didn't really know what to expect. I can tell you that we were all pleasantly surprised. What we got was an amazing teacher (Danielle Erwin) who is passionate about educating young minds. The class sits on the carpet, instead of at desks, so it is not as formal as a classroom. Ms. Erwin does a good job blending play and instruction. The transition to the full-day schedule, limited play time and short lunch period was a big adjustment but I think it's great to have a year to get used to a new routine and school environment without all of the academic pressure that kindergarten now brings. I have absolutely no regrets about enrolling my son in TK and the Emerson community is great. All of the parents are incredibly passionate, and contribute in their own ways. My son's class was approximately 23 kids, and 9 were from outside the neighborhood so will attend kindergarten at a school other than Emerson. Attending TK at Emerson will not impact your assignment as the district assigns you to the school in your neighborhood regardless. Feel free to contact me if I can answer any other questions! Emerson TK Parent Alumni

Experience with OUSD Transitional Kindergarten?

December 2012

Hi, my daughter turns five on September 12 of this coming September and i am interested in the OUSD transitional kindergarten program. Does anybody have any experience with this program? Was it good or bad? Have you heard anything about it? What school did your child attend? I'm also considering putting her in kindergarten and perhaps keeping her there for two years. Does anybody have experience with that? She would be going to Chabot. Thanks for your advice. Mom of sept birthday kid

I'm a parent of a fall birthday kid, we're enrolling her in TK next year. As I understand it, TK is prioritized for kids who have birthdays within the cut off. So for next year, that would be for kids with birthdays between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1. So if there is more space, they'd consider a Sept birthday kid. Don't know anything about trying to do two years in K, sorry. Good luck! fall birthday mama