Tilden Preparatory School

Community Subscriber

Private School
200 students
Website: http://www.tildenprep.com
Email: alladmin [at] tildenprep.comPhone: (510) 525-5506
1231 Solano Avenue Albany, CA 94706
Program Type: 
Alternative school, Independent study, Special needs support
Editors' Notes: 
  • Tilden also has a site in Walnut Creek

Tilden Preparatory School is a private, college preparatory school for grades 6-12. We utilize a mastery learning approach to teach curriculum one-to-one and in small groups. 

The mission of Tilden Preparatory School is to provide an engaging, accommodating and individualized learning environment in which students gain confidence in themselves as learners, face challenges, and achieve successes while mastering college preparatory course content.

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Is there anyone out there who can speak to the experience of having a kid concurrently enrolled at Berkeley High School and Tilden Preparatory School in Albany?

    Some background: Our daughter is about to finish middle school at an independent school in Berkeley. She has ADHD, which shows up particularly as difficulty with executive function and attention (esp. in classes that do not interest her), and a degree of slow processing. Her social skills are good, she is both self-reflective and thoughtful about the needs of others, and is creative and fun to be with. During the pandemic, she found it impossible to learn much of anything on zoom, and so we arranged to have her take two of her most essential classes--English and Math--at Tilden Prep, while maintaining her enrollment at her current school. It was a game-changer, and to this day, she is still being tutored twice a week by a most beloved teacher at Tilden (who has also become a very important all-around mentor in her life).

    Looking at our high school options, one idea (and the one that she is leaning towards) is to have her enroll at BHS, but take 2-3 of her core classes at Tilden. We've been told that this is something that people do, and so we would love to know more about that experience. Does attending two schools mean the best of both worlds? Or does it mean never fully belonging in either school? How do you get your child from one school to the other during the school day (when both parents work)? Does it make more sense to have her enroll full time at Tilden for 9th grade, and then transfer her to BHS beginning in 10th grade, when she can take advantage of the "small schools" there?

    Other options we are considering: Latitude HS (a new charter in Oakland, emphasizing the connection between classroom and real-world learning--very appealing for a kid who likes to experience what it feels like to do things with what they have learned, and to learn by doing) and Bayhill HS, a small and highly respected high school designed for kids with learning differences.

    Would be grateful to hear from parents (or students) who would be willing to share their thoughts and experiences.

    I cannot speak to Tilden Prep or BHS, but I know quite a bit about Latitude HS (from personal experience and insider knowledge) and can give you some insight on that. Feel free to contact me directly.


    Regarding your question about getting your child from/to Tilden Prep and BHS when both parents work: Your child is more than old enough to do this on their own. AC Transit’s 18 bus stops one or two blocks from each campus (Albany campus for Tilden). BART stops close to BHS, and about a mile from Tilden, with a pleasant walk along the greenway between them. I believe Tilden’s WC campus is also BARTable. This is an opportunity for your teen to learn how to get herself around via public transit. The Albany campus can also be reached via a 15 minute bike ride from BHS. 
    Our kid is now 25, but started taking themself from our S.F. home to school on MUNI in fourth or fifth grade, and by late middle school rode BART to their grandparents’ home in Berkeley every Friday afternoon. 

    One of the many benefits of raising children in an urban environment is that you don’t need to chauffeur them everywhere. Your daughter will appreciate that you trust her to get herself to school, and will learn how to navigate their community independently. Win-win!

    We tried for months to have concurrent enrollment in Tilden Prep approved by BHS and were unsuccessful, despite BHS not being able to provide the educational supports our daughter needs (and has an IEP documenting those needs). My understanding from a special ed advocate is that other school districts are much more flexible about concurrent enrollment.  After a lot of frustration and circular meetings, we've pulled her from BHS and she's finishing this semester at TIlden while we figure out what to do.  The folks at Tilden have been fantastic and supportive in every way (similar to your experience).  Happy to share more about our experience if that would be helpful.

    Reading your post, the one thing I would be concerned about is her college plans. While private colleges might give more leeway in terms of where and how coursework was met, I wonder how the UC"s, for example, would look at a student who had dual enrollment at a public and private and wonder why not one or the other, since the classes you are looking at are not specialized (like a language or specialized science course not offered at a public) and are offered by either school. I know this is not what you are specifically looking to answer, but I would just caution you to investigate this topic as well before you consider this kind of dual enrollment.

    Strongly recommend Bayhill over trying to piece together two different school situations, not to mention the time spent commuting between the two.

    Bayhill has executive functioning support built into its pedagogy and curriculum in ways we never were able to achieve when our kid was in public school.  It also has very small class sizes, which results in more personal attention.  Plus no one stands out as the kid with an IEP or the kid with support, or even the kid with ADHD.  Instead, they learn to identify and talk about their learning differences and their strengths, and advocate for themselves to access the supports they need.

  • We are looking to learn more about the two one-on-one-classroom schools in the area: Tilden Preparatory School and Fusion Academy. If anyone has investigated or has recent experience with either or both of them, we would love to hear from you. Anything that you consider relevant will be news to us!

    Thank you for your help.

    We looked at both and chose Fusion, where our son spent his junior year last year. He is now back at Berkeley High as a senior. We had a great experience and it was absolutely the right decision. I would say our kid didn’t love it, but he acknowledges that it was the right place for him at that time. Happy to chat in more detail! 

    I wanted to note that there is one more option - SIL, School for Independent Learners in Los Altos. Similar 1:1 instruction, full-time or dual enrollment, offers a-g subjects, well-versed in remote. https://sileducation.org/

    Our 7th grader is a full time student at Tilden Prep this year. He is dyslexic, so after spending elementary school years in Albany public school we signed him up for a school for dyslexic kids in Oakland for his 6th grade. He did not like that school, so before COVID SIP in March we thought he would go back to Albany Middle. Over past summer he took a couple of classes at Tilden prep to make up for the sixth grade content. He absolutely loved the personal attention and learned a lot. Tilden is doing remote learning this school year, but since it is just one-on-one he really got to know his teachers. It also helps that he is not stuck in front of the computer for the whole day. He takes 4 core classes: math, science, English and history, but has only two classes per day. (M, Wed, Fri - English & Math; Tues, Thursday- History & Science). The homework load is pretty heavy, but there is no busy work, so he does not complain. We proctor the tests ourselves, but there is an option to sign up for a study hall. Overall this year is the first when our teen is calm and engaged in learning. 

  • Any feedback on Tilden Prep School WC

    (1 reply)

    Hi fellow parents,

    I have a incoming 7th grader with ADHD and we are going to try a mastery learning, 1:1 school and I am undecided between Halstrom Academy vs. Tildon Preperatory School campuses in Walnut Creek.  Truthfully, I have found many parents that have great things to say about Tildon Preperatory since their W.C. campus has been there longer but I have learned that Halstrom Academy's qualifications for teacher's are that they are actually CBAS certified, and need actual teaching experience in order to teach at Halstrom where Tildon Preperatory teachers qualifications are that they have to have a BS, tutoring experience preferred and a love for learning.   So, for that reason I am favoring Halstrom Academy.  The only thing is I don't know anyone who's child has attended that school or knows anyone who has?  Do you? 

    Thank you so very much for your help

    Hi Suzanne, I can answer this for Tilden Prep (Walnut Creek campus).  In a nutshell, I have more and fantastically great things to say about Tilden Prep!  No experience with Halstrom.

    Our story:  my daughter is ADHD, dyslexic, and a very outgoing, athletic kid with a temperament somewhere between that of a politician running for office and that of a French poodle.  Also very smart.  Public elementary school didn't work so very well - the learning difference and ADHD made it so when she came out of 5th grade, she was reading at about a 3rd grade level, and had internalized some pretty unhelpful messages (largely that she could never do anything right in school, and that her path in life was best that of the party girl or dumb jock.  Not exactly the value system I wanted.)

    I enrolled her at Tilden in Walnut Creek for 6th grade and it was a total life-changing course correction for her and for all of us.  The one-on-one tutoring in a relaxed environment helped her see that the ADHD/dyslexia made her a slow reader, which was very different than a non-reader, and by the end of the first year she was back to reading (slowly) at grade level.  She could now discuss Harry Potter with her friends, which was a huge boost of self confidence.  The study halls there enforced homework, so we as a family got our evenings back - all the homework was done at Tilden, so evenings were now pleasant family time instead of screaming procrastination-fests and battles of willpower.  Tilden solved problems I didn't even know I had - she wasn't coming home from school with stomachaches anymore, so I didn't lose so much work time, and she was sleeping better at night, so we were all better rested.  She also quit picking at herself and scratching from stress.

    She loved, loved, loved each one of her Tilden teachers and developed great relationships with them.  This teacher owns a snake; that teacher does Cal Shakes; the other one 'allowed' her to read 9th grade literature when she was an 8th grader because she really wanted to read it.  Tilden also taught her how to self-advocate, and ask for what she needed to learn best.

    The Tilden teachers were all quite qualified to work with my kid.  I'm one of those hopelessly overeducated parents (engineering PhD from Berkeley) and I never had any reason to question a Tilden teacher's qualification.

    As a parent, I really enjoyed the electronic reporting system - each day I got a little three-sentence writeup of how each day's classes had gone.  If she had two classes and a study hall, I'd get a writeup from each class and a writeup from the study hall.  It also really lessened the burden on me, because I knew I'd get a phone call or an email from a teacher if something really was up.

    Three years later, my kid is headed for public 9th grade, confident about her skills as a student.  She's still a little worried about her English classes, but over the summer (unknown to me) emailed all 3 of the English teachers, asked for the reading list ahead of time so she could get a jump on the year's reading.  This confidence and self-advocacy is directly from Tilden. 

    Feel free to contact me directly if you have any other questions.  Tilden rocks!

    -- Carrie Beam, Walnut Creek

Parent Reviews

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I'm not sure how useful this will be, because we only enrolled our daughter, who is very bright but has ADHD, part time at Tilden (math and English), while she was fully enrolled at her regular, independent school. She was unable to learn on Zoom, and so we figured that--as a 6th-grader-- she would eventually catch up on other subjects, we were very concerned about her falling behind on these key skills. Tilden was a game-changer, and we continued using their services on a tutoring capacity once in-person learning resumed. The teachers there are just wonderful, understanding how to connect with their students and inspire them to learn. Our daughter never ever balked at going to Tilden (2x/week) even after long days at school, and the support and guidance (not to mention confidence) that she acquired over these two years have reverberated through many aspects of her life. I would particularly recommend Ben Graber, but my sense is that most of the teachers are excellent. We did not consider Fusion, largely because of the cost, and because of a somewhat corporate feel to the school. That said, Fusion does have better digs, and as a result seems able to offer more opportunities for kids to develop friendships and a sense of community.

Our child is highly gifted and suffers from moderate to severe mental health issues that impact their ability to maintain a 'normal' school schedule. We have been very impressed with Tilden Prep's understanding, flexibility, and collaboration with us as we've tried various schedules and teachers to accommodate our child's needs. They have remained very open and compassionate and have never used punitive or shaming approaches that we've experienced at other schools. The 1:1 set up at Tilden means that when our child is ready and present to learn, they are able to go as deep or as fast with the material as desired. They're just very accepting and able to meet our child where they are. Good luck to you! I hope you find the right place for your child.

Check out Tilden Prep.  They have campuses in Albany and Walnut Creek, and an affiliate in Marin.  It's not exactly project-based learning, but classes are taught 1:1 so it's very flexible and the pacing is individualized, and the whole social aspect of school is kind of optional.  The school has a mastery-based system in which kids basically can't fail; if they don't earn at least a B grade in a class, they keep working on that material until they do. What a concept, no more "you got a D/F, on to the next unit" but "here's what you need to learn, we'll keep teaching it and testing it in different ways until you succeed"!  It's expensive, especially if your kid takes a long time to get through a "semester" class (you more or less pay by the class hour, rather than a set amount of tuition per semester or per year); it was worth it for my 2E son whose freshman year in public high school was a disaster.  They offer a solid range of classes, including honors and AP, and have both full time students and part timers who are taking just a class or two to supplement their schedule at another school. (My other kid took French III at Tilden after taking I and II at, and while still primarily enrolled in, public HS, long story, but we were very glad to have the option.)

Hello:   my child attended Albany High School and took all of her math classes at Tilden.  The math program at AHS is pretty accelerated and she definitely would have struggled considerably, even in the regular classes (there seemed to always be 2 tracks).  I can't remember how we put it all into place, but she also had an IEP for her dyscalculia and the anxiety it caused.   AHS accepted the class for credit and there were no issues at all.  Her experience at Tilden was very positive, and the only drawback it it's expensive.  She was able to do 4 years of math at Tilden (at a very slow pace), which allowed her to apply to UCs.  Happy to talk to you off line!

My daughter went to both Tilden Prep and OA. She had anxiety and ADHD. The biggest difference is 1-1 vs classroom style learning. She did MUCH better with 1-1 as long as she felt comfortable with the teachers, and she loved her Tilden teachers. She did well at Orinda Academy when she liked her teacher and when her anxiety wasn’t overwhelming and making it hard to go to school. She made friends at both schools. I never ever had to struggle to get her to go to school at Tilden. The days of struggle at OA were because of the size and the classroom style learning. People worry that kids who go to Tilden won’t be ready for college, but she did great in college because she was solid academically and she could choose her classes due to her accommodations. It’s hard for kids with ADHD to learn in a classroom setting, so I think Tilden might be ideal for your son. It’s always good to visit all the options and see what you think is the best fit. 

My son had difficulty with math at Berkeley High School and the Tilden program has had excellent tutors that he was worked with to catch up.   He has done both in person and zoom and both have worked well for him.  With the focus that one-on-one tutoring provided, his grades improved significantly.  

Our child has an LD that makes math hard for her as well, and when her private school switched to remote learning during the pandemic, it didn't take long before we realized that she was at risk of learning absolutely nothing for the duration. We decided to take her out of that math class completely and enroll her full time for two classes--Math and English--at a one-on-one school in the area. The school supported us in this, generously and proactively giving us a break in the tuition for the remainder of the school year. We looked at both Tilden and Fusion, and chose Tilden because of the generally superior credentials of the teachers and their greater longevity at the school. We kept the math teacher as a tutor once things went back on campus, and all of this was the best thing we've ever done. She is meeting expectations in math, finding things easier all the time, and scored on the MAP test as being in the 87th percentile for improvement over the last learning period. The head of the school is responsive and professional, and these teachers deeply care about their students. So, my advice is that you work something out with Tilden, and see if your kid's school, in recognizing that they can't meet their needs, will help you to make this possible.

Hi, our student was in exactly the same position before the pandemic. He attended Raskob day school in Oakland in 6th grade and we realized that he is not learning much. By March of 2020 we already made a decision not to continue with Raskob, so we were looking to prepare him for a return to public school. He started at Tilden in the summer of 2020, so the classes were remote, but one-on-one. We saw a real growth in our son’s understanding of math. He also learned to work with a textbook. We kept him full-time at Tilden for the 7th and the majority of 8th grade. Since you do not plan to withdraw you son from his current school, you might not need an accredited school tough. I would look for an experienced tutor or maybe a retired math teacher. Best of luck to your student.

My daughter just finished up her second year of Latin at Tilden Prep in Albany. I'd highly recommend it. All of her classes there have been a great experience, but Latin is one of her favorites. Many of Tilden's teachers hold advanced degrees in the subjects they teach, and the Latin teacher at Tilden is among those. Another comment mentioned teacher absences. We have not experienced many teacher absences with Latin, though there were a few here and there in other courses during the 2021-22 school year. This, however, is being experienced across the nation. Many schools have teacher shortages and substitute shortages. Tilden is feeling these effects just like other schools are. In addition, strict COVID guidelines around illness and exposure protocol may mean that teachers have had to stay home more than they normally would. Luckily, with one-on-one classes, Tilden can often pivot immediately to online class sessions. And when that isn't possible, our experience is that the teachers adjust what's happening in class to make sure the pace of the course stays on track.

My daughter is a rising junior and has been at Tilden full time since 8th grade. She was a part-time student in 6th and 7th grade. Her teachers have been extraordinary in their subject-matter knowledge, passion for teaching, ability to build relationships with students, and commitment to their work. Plus, it's one-on-one instruction, which is hard to beat. I'd recommend Tilden for any course, and for Latin in particular. 

I would encourage any parent whose child is struggling -- whether due to large class sizes, classroom pace that is too slow or too fast, a rigorous extracurricular schedule, learning disability, giftedness, or any combination of these things -- to consider Tilden Prep. My daughter has been a student there for nearly five years now (part time while we homeschooled in 6th and 7th; full time since 8th grade). We chose Tilden because we knew we wanted to transition out of homeschooling for high school. She is twice exceptional and for about 100 reasons we knew a traditional school wouldn't work. Though it seems a long time ago now, her confidence in her academic ability was destroyed during elementary school. We homeschooled for several years and spent much of that time trying to repair that damage. She is a sophomore in high school now and Tilden has shown her how capable she is. She is a year ahead (so, 11th grade) in honors English, taking second-year Latin, advanced math courses and all the other standard sophomore coursework—and she has straight As. What may be more amazing is that she has become involved socially, which has historically been extremely difficult for her. She is on the yearbook committee and in the Games club, and has made friends with kids in her art elective class. (While most classes are 1:1, some elective courses are in small groups.)  She has also absolutely loved her teachers every year. I am continually impressed with the subject-matter knowledge Tilden's teachers show, and their incredible ability to make students feel empowered and special. In particular, my daughter's English teacher for the past couple of years has scaffolded her writing skills such that she will be well-equipped to take on college writing. This has involved finding techniques and tools that work for THIS PARTICULAR student, not something that works for most of the class. That is the truly amazing thing about Tilden—teachers are teaching YOUR child in the way that works for them. My daughter feels respected by her teachers, and in turn respects them and also feels accountable—she doesn't want to let her teachers down by slacking on homework, etc. 

Tilden is small, so school leaders get to know each student and help them to grow socially as well as academically. The students are all on their own paths, so there is no brutal competition for grades, and students become friends with kids across the grades (6th-12th) based on their interests more than their age.

I always knew I had a daughter who was perfectly capable of learning deeply, but Tilden is the only school that showed me that they believed it as well. We are forever grateful to Tilden for helping us to raise a confident, lifelong learner. If you're looking for something different for your child, please check out Tilden. 

I would highly recommend Tilden Preparatory School for middle school math support and classes. My son, now a freshman, started Tilden Prep at the start of Middle School. Due to learning differences that impacted math the most, he experienced extreme anxiety about math and math classes in general. His former school had him in resource classes for math. Tilden’s learning specialist and teachers understood my son from the start and used multiple modalities of instruction to support his distinct learning style and make math understandable and even enjoyable. He’s now doing sophomore math as a freshman! I would recommend having a conversation with Dr. Hawley (Director of Special Education and enrollment) to see if Tilden would be a good fit. They offer a range of options. 

Our daughter had success at Tilden Prep, in a similar situation. It’s one-on-one instruction, conducted at the student’s own pace. My daughter missed an entire semester of school due to depression and she was able to get caught up at Tilden. You are welcome to contact me for more info. 

RE: Math Help for 7th Grader ()

Hi, I feel your pain about middle school math. My daughter, now 16, had a 6th grade math teacher who told me, in front of my daughter, that “some kids can’t do math and never will and she is one of them.” I was gobsmacked. We had been using a private tutor for two years at that point. She did not have an IEP or 504 and school testing showed that she had no cognitive issues they could find, but that her anxiety was too severe for her to perform. They offered her no help.

I ended up pulling my daughter out of public school entirely at the end of 7th grade and enrolling her at Tilden Prep. The teaching there is one-on-one and mastery based, so they do not move onto a new unit until they have successfully (above 80%) completed the current unit. For math, this proved invaluable. They were able to fill in the holes where she had completely missed concepts necessary to advance. And now, as a sophomore, she is successfully completing geometry with confidence and she says math is one of her favorite subjects. Not sure if private education is the direction for your child, but just wanted to share my experience. 

Good luck!

We have a daughter attending Tilden Prep and have been very impressed by their inclusiveness and ability to meet each student where they are at with great instructors, quite a deep course list, and a fairly strong queer community. It is a bit pricey given its 1:1 model - but it can be used in addition to home schooling/online options.

If you can afford one to one coursework, you might try Tilden Prep- my daughter took Geometry through them one summer. Pricey but she got credit she needed. Also Berkeley has an independent school. I’m not sure of requirements to use it but they provide once weekly meeting with teachers & kids work independently. My daughter used this for 2 classes one semester when migraines made it impossible to be at school for a full (overly stimulating) day. It wasn’t the most inspiring instruction but it got the job done.

I would recommend checking out Tilden Prep. My son took a class there over the summer and was able to get through a full year of precalculus. I think that they offer physics too. 


I would definitely call Tilden Preparatory School in Albany on Solano.  They also have a school in Walnut Creek and it looks like now in Marin.  My son was able to have one on one with an amazing teacher (Miles) and only had to take the required classes for his diploma. 


RE: Online High Schools ()

I wanted to suggest that you might also look at Tilden Prep, which offers flexibility in HS coursework because of their one-on-one instruction, and they can do video/FaceTime as well.  They are in Berkeley (on Solano Ave) and Walnut Creek.

RE: Algebra 2 During Summer ()

Tilden prep. Cost a lot but my daughter learned a lot.

RE: Algebra 2 During Summer ()

My son took Algebra 2 last summer at Tilden Prep. It was pricey, but he learned a lot with the one-on-one instruction (math is NOT his strong suit). To receive credit, your son might need permission from his current school ahead of time, even if he takes it over the summer. We didn't do that and I had to grovel with the registrar at Berkeley High to make sure he got the credit. Your son's current school probably is familiar with Tilden Prep and will be able to let you know the process. Tilden is helpful too. Give them a call: www.tildenprep.com

RE: Struggling 10th grader ()

Our son spent a semester at Tilden Prepatory Academy in Albany (http://www.tildenprep.com/), which has middle through high school level courses. Each class is one-on-one, so students go at their own pace -- that's the ULTIMATE in support!  My son was in 7th grade and recovering from an illness (in fact, I credit Tilden Prep not only in catching him up an entire academic year in 4 months, but also with decreasing the stress level so that he was able to fully recover). We were so impressed with the teachers -- they were really knowledgeable and motivating, and many of them had advanced degrees from, e.g., UC Berkeley.  Perhaps these great people teach here because they don't have to have urban high school classroom management skills, they just have to love teaching, learning, and knowledge! My son (now a sophomore in high school) still talks about things he learned from his teachers there.  Students go there for a variety of reasons, and include musical prodigies and Olympic athletes (who need a very flexible schedule), students recovering from viruses and concussions, students with learning differences, and students who are so bored out of their minds in a traditional high school that they start falling behind. In addition to the one-on-one teaching, there are also group activities, clubs, state-approved PE classes, etc. It was a godsend for our family; I can highly recommend it.

Hi there,

Have you considered Tilden Prep? It's a great option for kids who don't fit the mold of a typical brick-and-mortar school, for whatever reason. It's great because kids can work at their own pace but still be in group classes if they wish. There are two campuses: Walnut Creek and Albany: http://www.tildenprep.com/. However, it is pricey. We live in BUSD and they offer an Independent Studies program. You might want to see if your school district offers a similar program. Good luck!

My son is thriving at Tilden Preparatory School, which should be on your short list. Some kids simply need one-on-one instruction to learn, and Tilden has the process to successfully do this. Unlike some of the ASD-specific schools, Tilden has the academic curriculum both for the students who are struggling or are looking for something far more challenging than public schools.

My son has several neuropsychological conditions including dysgraphia. He cannot complete a simple math exam without accommodations and has severe trouble writing anything due to the dysgraphia.  The local school district wouldn't give the necessary accommodations for him to survive, yet he is brilliant in some subjects with an amazing ability to memorize subject matter. Challenges include getting what he knows on paper and helping him see the "big picture" (details that keep running through his mind prevent him from answering test questions). Tilden determined how to he optimally learns within the first two weeks and found him the right teachers for each subject. He improved his writing to an Advanced Placement standard within six months, is improving the way information is processed and communicated, and is challenged in amazing ways. Today he is taking AP and Honors classes, has made friends, and is involved with several clubs. Wow.

Private schools offering one-on-one instruction can do amazing things with a wide variety of kids, but some are going to be better with certain categories of kids than others. We interviewed several, which you will obviously do. Consider Tilden (Albany and Walnut Creek) during your search.

My kids found excellent calculus tutors at Tilden Prep. Tilden Prep primarily offers one-on-one classes, but if their teachers are not full and your times work with theirs, their teachers will also tutor. We used 3 math teacher/tutors at different times and all were excellent.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Dec 2015

Re: Unmotivated, unfocused bright 16 yr old boy who hates cookie-cutter school

If you can afford it, the solution is Tilden Preparatory Academy! There is a campus in Albany and one in Walnut Creek. It is a one-on-one teacher to student format. It practices mastery learning which means they will go at your child's pace and keep teaching until your child has learned the material! The teachers will also adapt the material to your child's interests so the kids develop a love of learning. The classes are all UC approved, including an abundance of AP offerings. My son is exceptionally gifted and was very unhappy in the ''cookie-cutter'' public school. He was miserable so we enrolled him in Tilden and he is a totally different person. He is happy as a clam, loves his school, loves learning, and is eager to prepare for college. Because of self-pacing, he will graduate early. As for the social aspects, they have lunch clubs everyday, activities, movie night, and he has a lot of friends he enjoys hanging out with in the student lounge where he hangs out all day doing his homework. You can also do concurrent enrollment, taking some college courses and receiving both high school and college credit. Big fan of one-on-one learning

I would encourage you to contact Tilden Preparatory High School on Solano in
Berkeley/Albany.  Talk to them about focusing on the CA high school requirements
for graduation.  My son had the most amazing teacher that to this day he and I are
so grateful for.

You don't mention what your financial situation is, but he might be a good
candidate for Tilden Prep. It's essentially a tutoring school -- either one on one
with the teacher or a tiny class. Our brilliant  ADHD son was starting to check out
in large classes with lots of rote learning. Doing his senior year at Tilden got
him straight A's and he never complained about going because of 1) the individual
attention from good teachers, 2) the lack of social pressure -- there is really
very little school community, except at lunch. (Our son is an introvert.) 

August 2014

Re: Alternative for 14 year old who hates school?

One alternative I highly recommend is Tilden Preparatory School (on Solano Ave in Albany, also a branch in downtown Walnut Creek) for middle through high schoolers. My child was there for middle school last year due to a chronic illness and it was a godsend. Students there may be Olympic athlete hopefuls, musical prodigies, have chronic illnesses or learning disabilities, or just in need of a more intellectually-engaging environment --- but each student's classes are tailored to him/her and to his/her schedule. My child took algebra, history, science, english and latin one-on-one with fabulous and stimulating teachers, all with advanced graduate degrees! Wow! It went from a potentially completely wasted year to a year of stimulation and learning, accomplished at his own pace (which was very fast once he was finally feeling better, and I credit sending him to Tilden Prep as part of what finally led to his complete and full recovery). There are full time as well as part-time students, electives like photography, and some academic group classes, as well as optional club meetings and discussion groups at lunchtime. It might just be the stimulating alternative your child could thrive in. Thankful Tilden Prep parent

I really encourage you to meet with the Directors of Tilden Preparatory School on Solano in Albany. http://tildenprep.com/

If it wasn't for this school, I'm not sure my son would have finished high school. They truly understand the issues we face with our kids and get why they have lost faith in education.

My son had an amazing one on one teacher named Myles, who connected with him in a very special way. My son says he will never forget him and will always hold him in high regard. I am eternally grateful to Myles and to this school.

I wish you luck as you navigate this difficult time. I wish I had found Tilden earlier than I did A supportive parent

My heart goes out to your girl. My kid, just starting middle school, found school torturous for many of the same reasons. We opted to homeschool and now have her enrolled at Tilden College Prep, which is also serves high school kids. It is an alternative school in Albany & Walnut Creek that basically one on one tutoring with group electives and clubs. The teachers customize curriculum to meet your child's interests while also meeting standards. They even have AP class options for high schoolers. It is not cheap, but neither is private school, that still has unpredictable social dynamics and hit or miss curriculum. If your daughter is as smart as she seems, she can have less hours with the teacher and work more independently to get through the coursework. They have open enrollment as long as they have teacher availability. Also, you may want to check out support from Jade Rivera. She is a huge advocate for girls that are gifted and are struggle in traditional schools. I believe she has a scholarship option - 4 free sessions - to counsel, support, and commiserate with your daughter. If not, she has a sliding scale for those that need it. I encourage you to check her out: http://jadeannrivera.com anon

March 2014

Re: School for profoundly gifted 12 year old
Hi, Our son sounds a little like your daughter. We had a bit of a time finding a school for him because of his asynchronous development, several years behind emotionally, ahead intellectually. Our son's case is a little more complicated by some learning issues. These were undiagnosed for a time as he was able to compensate for them keeping them hidden, (but at the cost of his self esteem). You might have your daughter tested to see if there are any hidden issues like these. We have a bunch of little ones, no huge smoking gun, but learning about them has really helped. However, the biggest change for us came from finding the right school, which turned out to be Tilden Prep. They are lovely, and have a campus in Albany and one in Walnut Creek.

Most schools just aren't made for or accepting of kids with these kinds of extremes. They should be, everyone is different. Tilden really does a respectable job in this department. Our son was miserable in public and a school for gifted kids ended up only highlighting all of his weaknesses. Tilden teaches one on one, or rarely, in very small groups, so your kid can be at their comfort level all the time, learning the way that works best for them. Your daughter could do AP classes there. They gradually worked my son up the homework ladder so to speak, being careful not to overwhelm him because that is something that can really frustrate him. It's a small school, but there are group electives and they have clubs and other activities that are well suited to our son. They really work to get a good fit for your child in terms of teachers and types of classes and they are very responsive to our kid's needs. I have only had cause to bring a few things to their attention but all were compassionately and almost immediately resolved. He's quite happy there. Now that we don't have drama around school, we've had time to find some other activities and outlets for our son that he really enjoys and we are all of us, much much happier. good luck to you!

Oct 2013

Re: Private high school for disorganized smart kid
We are parents of a 13-year-old 8th grader who is high-achieving, but disorganized. Starting with 7th grade, we enrolled him at Tilden Prep. It's been a great fit for him. The one-on-one teaching keeps him focused and moving forward. The school is well-managed and extremely responsive. We definitely encourage you to check it out. Berkeley Dad

Tilden Preparatory School for Kids without Special Needs

June 2013

Hello, I'm interested in the one-on-one instruction and mastery learning at Tilden Prep School in Albany. That approach sounds great, but Tilden is such a small school. Our daughter does not have any learning issues, but she's been distracted during her freshman year and her grades were not very good despite the fact that she's a bright girl. We want her to have a chance to refocus on academics and to improve her grades. She of course is thinking more about the social aspects. Could Tilden be a fit? Or should we just give it up? (We find the teaching approach to be so appealing!)

If you have first hand experience with Tilden Prep, could you please share the following:

1. How are the teachers? Do Tilden teachers really get kids engaged in learning? Do kids really do better and retain the knowledge better with this learning approach?

2. Do we need to worry about drug issues? Because the school's so small, does it make it easier for drugs to be accessible?

3. My husband and I have had traditional education in large public schools, and, although we find Tilden's teaching approach to be very appealing, we're undecided about considering this non-traditional approach for our daughter. If she goes to Tilden, there would be no school dance, school plays, team sports, Prom, etc. Is it worth giving up those things for academics? Esp. when she does not have any learning issues (except for the teenage-disease ad lack of focus)? Has anyone tried Tilden for the academics and successfully supplement the social aspect somehow? How?

We'd appreciate any feedback you have! Anonymous

My daughter attended Tilden part time and a public high school part time. Tilden was fabulous! The teachers she had were engaging, knowledgeable, and she learned a lot from them, both about the content and about other skills (eg writing). The classes go at each student's pace, and they can adapt the curriculum to some extent to meet each student's needs.

I've not heard about alcohol or drugs, and doubt that it's much of a problem.

There are some great social activities, but there is not the variety that large schools can offer, nor is there usually the opportunity to meet other students in class (some classes are 2-3 students if desired). If your student is involved in social activities outside of school, this might not be a problem, but it's something to consider. How easy/hard it is to attend part time depends on which public school is involved. Good luck!

Editor Note: Maybeck High School was also recommended

May 2013

This is another rave review for Tilden Prep. I did everything I knew to do for my ADHD son (meds, special programs at his public school, therapy, used ed consultants, sent him to a special boarding school, sent him to another special boarding school, researched all the Bay Area schools suitable for him, sent him to Sterne School in SF). None of it worked nearly as well as his time at Tilden, because Tilden is 1:1 teaching by talented staff and talented administrators who set everything up with great intelligence and full customization. My son HATED being sent away to boarding school, but I could find nothing as good in the Bay Area, and I did an exhaustive search -- for middle schools, at the time. I now wonder how much better it all could have been if I had discovered Tilden Prep several years earlier.

All along, I had not heard of Tilden Prep in spite of all my research. I was referred to it by Sterne's wise headmaster. My son has blossomed at Tilden. He has developed a love of learning, his self-confidence has increased, he likes to discuss his school work with me (a first for him), he has loved his Tilden teachers, especially one of them (Hi, KW!) who I view as a teaching genius.

It just makes sense that a student with learning differences will benefit hugely from 1:1 help, and my son has. Tilden is a gem of a school. I'm familiar only with the Albany campus, but the Walnut Creek campus is run by the same amazing leaders. It's a v long commute for us (90 minutes door to door), via BART, but my son finds it well worth it and at long last loves school AND tells me how important it is.

I'd be happy to talk in more depth to anyone: just call Tilden for my contact info. A very grateful Tilden parent

My super-social daughter attended Tilden and loved it! At first she was reluctant to go because she was leaving her friends. She was attending an academically rigorous high school, and she had test anxiety which brought her grades down relative to her ability. She was willing to give Tilden a try and within a short time she created a solid social group that remained friends throughout the time she was there, plus she loved her teachers and thrived academically. To answer your other questions:


We found that this was one of the best reasons to attend Tilden. The teachers were fantastic without exception. Our daughter learned more in a semester at Tilden than she would learn in a full year at her rigorous high school that she transferred from because she was really engaged in learning. Most importantly, she struggled with writing, and her writing skills improved by leaps and bounds. And yes, the knowledge is retained because the teacher really makes sure the student has learned the subject matter before moving on.


Drugs were never a problem for our daughter and we didn't hear much about them from other parents. There was one student who had an issue with drugs that we know of, and the school handled it so that student completed courses at home rather than coming to the school.

Social Opportunities:

Our daughter went to proms at other schools as an invited guest and that worked well for her. At Tilden, they have some structured social events like movie and game nights, all-school potlucks, etc., and everyone has the same lunchtime, so they can socialize then as well. There are also group classes that lead to social opportunities. For example, our daughter took an AP Art class and then the class went to the museum together.

Our daughter got to enjoy academic success, which boosted her self esteem immensely, and made her very confident when she went off to college. She sees herself as the bright student she is and that will be with her for the rest of her life, so we think that was a really good trade off. Tilden Grad Dad

May 2013

We had been looking for some interesting and stimulating extracurriculars for our 6th grader this year. He's been fascinated with computers and technology since he was very young. He's had summer camp experiences getting some degree of familiarity creating simple computer games and web sites, but he really seemed ready and interested in learning about computer programming.

Tilden Preparatory School has a great reputation locally for working with kids on an individual basis for a variety of subjects (up to full-time) for middle school and high school kids. Shary Nunan, the director, was able to offer our son and his friend weekly classes on our schedule, starting with the basics of computer programming. Kenny Wat has been the instructor, and the results have been terrific so far. Both boys are incredibly engaged, and Kenny has the intelligence and experience to adjust to their individual learning styles.

Our son looks forward to programming class every week, and clearly feels he's learning something meaningful. While his biggest goal at the moment may be ''creating mods in Java for Minecraft'', the learning and computer skills he's learning will most likely be invaluable in other ways in the future. We highly recommend Tilden Preparatory, not just for the computer programming class, but for all the good things we've heard and seen about other course offerings, and the great people there who make it all happen. == Very happy with Tilden

May 2013

If anyone had told me last September that my decision to send my daughter to Tilden Prep would have such a positive outcome, I would have laughed and would have not believed it at all. Last fall my daughter, who was a senior in boarding school back East, wanted to come home a few weeks after school started. She was depressed and extremely stressed, and I knew it was not wise to keep her there. It was one of the hardest decisions for me to make, but against all odds I decided to bring her back home. I was desperately looking for school once we came back home to Oakland, and read about Tilden Prep in the Berkeley Parents Network site. It looked like a possible option and I went to meet with the school administrators.

When I met with Shary Nunan last September and told her my predicament, she was so supportive and immediately started working with my daughter's school to get her transcript and prepared curriculum to complete high school. It was a blessing to find this school at such a difficult time. Everything went well and her transition went very smoothly.

I do not have words to tell you how supportive the school administrators and the teachers have been at Tilden throughout the school year. My daughter says that her teachers are the best teachers she has ever had, and that they bring the best out of her. She had a lot of work, classes were challenging and she complained at times. But in the end, she gained back her confidence and is much happier and ready to go to the college of her choice. She was able to work her grades up to A's and some B's, including her AP English class, and she was able to raise her GPA from 2.4 to over 3.0. She has been accepted to many colleges, including her first choice! Overall, it has been a wonderful year for my daughter. This would not have been possible without the teachers and school administrators at Tilden, and all the office staff that made sure all her paperwork was complete and sent on time to colleges. Please feel free to call me at 510/703-7909 if you would like to talk to me. Elsa

Nov 2012

Re: Highly gifted ADHD student - which high school?

My daughter attends Tilden Prep. Like your child, she's very bright but also has ADHD. Academically Tilden has been a great fit. The pace is flexible, redundant assignments are avoided. She loves literature and has a lot of choice about the books she reads. The best thing about Tilden is the teachers, they are very smart and knowledgeable. She feels like she is treated like an intellectual equal when having discussions with them. She gets detailed editing and feedback on essays to improve her writing, that wouldn't be possible if a teacher had to edit 30 students' assignments. There is minimal social interaction among students. There are some clubs that meet at lunch time (book club, anime, gaming) and organized community service events. My daughter feels like there are basically two groups of kids, those who are really smart and don't fit in at 'normal' schools and kids who had to leave their schools for drug or other types of violations, but that doesn't have to change the flavor of the positive aspects unless you want it too (those are mostly her words). The flexible schedule is great, she has a whole day a week with no classes to pursue other interests, music ensemble and other hobbies. Overall it's a good fit for an introvert who is comfortable with adults, because the primary interactions are with the instructors in one-on-one class sessions. We are overall quite happy with the support she is getting around her learning differences too. Satisfied Tilden Parent

To the mother who asked about the three choices for her ADHD son, I have had a lot of experience with Tilden Preparatory School; I am the College Counselor for many of their students. I think it's an environment well suited to a student who would do well with ''mastery learning''. The teachers there work one-on-one with their students, learning a unit until the student feels ready to take a test on the material. A student can, therefore, go at his own pace and when he feels he knows the material, he can be tested. The students get to know each other from meeting in the hallways, going for breaks together, or having the same tutor. However, there aren't traditional ''classrooms''. I love working with Tilden students because they range from A - Z in terms of ''types'' and ''backgrounds''. They all experience ''success'' academically, and that turns them into confident and happy individuals. I would highly recommend Tilden if the environment I described suits your son. You are doing the right thing by comparing the three schools; your son will instinctively know which one is best-suited to him. Best of luck with your process. Jan

My son and I love Tilden Prep. We've been there through 11th grade and now part of 12th, struggling with ADHD and other issues. Sorry I cannot compare Tilden with the other schools; I don't know them. My son has not been able to learn in a classroom with other students, getting too distracted and then falling behind and getting into trouble. The Tilden 1:1 ratio of student:teacher has allowed my son to do well for the first time after a long series of other approaches, none of which worked well. He has truly blossomed in the last year, after succeeding with his academic work at long last. I've been hugely impressed by the quality and caring of the teachers I have met, as well as the two school heads. Please feel free to contact me via Tilden if you want further details. Parent of a Tilden Prep Student

My 8th grade daughter was diagnosed with anxiety and info processing disorders and her public school was not making needed accommodations. Long story short, we tried Tilden's Walnut Creek campus and it was godsend. Without the visual/auditory/social distractions found in a typical 33-student class, she was able to learn more, faster due to the one-on-one teaching. The directors have a backgrounds in psychology so they GET kids - whether behind or advanced - just looking for a safe, accredited place to learn. Very positive atmosphere, teachers are stellar. maritess

I'm responding to the parent interested in Tilden Prep compared to BISP and Mentoring Academy. My daughter attended Tilden Prep for three years because even though she is very bright, her test scores weren't reflecting what she knew, no matter how hard she studied, and her grades were starting to slip in 10th grade. She thrived academically and socially at Tilden. She loved her teachers, and felt like they made the courses interesting and also helped her do her best. She even attempted classes she would never have considered at her previous (highly ranked public) school, like high levels of math and science, and she did well in those classes! She is extremely extroverted and social, and had a large group of friends there. She said there are all kinds of kids at Tilden, the students respect each other, and everyone finds one or more student that they get along with. All in all, we were thrilled to have Tilden as an option for our daughter, so was our daughter, and she felt very well prepared for college. Proud Dad of Tilden Grad

We have experience with both Tilden Prep and Mentoring Academy. Both schools are good at what they do but they work on very different models.

Our oldest child attended Tilden for one year, getting individual instruction from teachers. The directors are both knowledgeable in the education field, and we found the teachers to mostly be good. They are well-prepared in the topics they teach but they are not necessarily trained as teachers. The school seems to work well for students who are motivated and are able to get work done independently. It also allows students who are struggling with a subject to go at a slower pace. Because the classes are one-on-one it can get expensive.

Our younger child attends the new Mentoring Academy. The students take a mix of Mentoring classes and on-line classes. The classes are accredited and meet UC requirements. A wide range of classes is available and students who are ready for more challenging classes take college-level classes. They are at school from 9-5:30, working on their classes, getting individual tutoring, or working with other students on projects. They also participate in various social events. They complete all their work at school and don't have homework. Our child attended a private high school for two years and was a good student, but somewhat bored. At Mentoring he is taking classes that really interest him. The director, John Muster, is a gifted educator. He was well-respected by parents and students as the head of Maybeck High School. He has an amazing rapport with the students. At Mentoring he works closely with the students to make sure that they get the right classes and are actively engaged in their own educations. Mentoring Academy is new and still very small, but I imagine it will grow quickly as the word gets out, and there are plans to add art and other classes. It has been exciting to see our son so engaged in his classes. Even though he does not have homework he sometimes works at home because he is so interested in what he is doing. A Berkeley Parent

Oct 2012

My husband and I are so happy to have found Tilden Preparatory School (on Solano Ave. in Albany) that we wanted other parents to be aware of this wonderful alternative to more traditional schools. After several years of bad experiences with public and private schools, 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 are always accommodating and flexible. I have never seen such responsiveness to student/parent needs in a school (and we've been through several!). 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! Nancy in Berkeley

Sept 2012

My son has attended Tilden Prep since Sept 2011, and it's the best fit for him EVER, after years of searching for the right place.

After resource help in grade school, extensive evaluations at Children's Health Center (Palo Alto), the help of a number of therapists, and a very rocky time in public school up to 6th grade, I sought the help of ed consultant Molly Baron, who recommended Forest Heights Lodge (Colorado), a residential treatment center that was excellent, except for the fact of my son being so far from home. Next, he went to two other boarding schools that experts said were suited to his diagnosis, and then to The Sterne School (San Francisco), where after one year the director referred us Tilden Preparatory School, or Tilden Prep. Tilden Prep has two campuses, one in Albany and one in Walnut Creek. We started at the Albany location, and I cannot say enough good things about it.

After my long struggle to find the best (or even an acceptable) fit for my son's complicated and hard-to-define learning issues, I can say that Tilden is the first place he has thrived. The one-on-one nature of classes seems very right for him (his diagnosis was originally ADHD with executive function impairment, depression, anxiety and easy distractability (making a classroom setting with even 5 others, as at Sterne, impossible for him). A recent expert called it ''the ABC diagnosis: a little of everything.''

Now, I get encouraging reports from his Tilden teachers (via the Tilden online quick-report daily comment site). I see his depression/anxiety waning. I see him telling me about his work at school. He is offering positive comments about his teachers (a first for years, after slowly coming to like some of his teachers at Forest Heights Lodge). This is the first time I see him actually learning at school, and liking it enough to tell me ''school is important'' the other day.

More about Tilden:

-- The two directors of Tilden Prep have wonderful credentials, and it shows. They far exceed what I saw at most of the 20+ other schools I visited. They are a delight to work with.

-- Most importantly, Tilden has hired teachers who are very impressive in terms of (1) what my son is learning (2) all their skills in engaging him, and (3) their ability to understand very quickly what his academic strengths and weaknesses are, and work from there.

-- Tilden's model of self-paced learning (i.e., not moving on until mastery of the work is achieved) is a blessing in creating confidence in my son, for the first time.

-- The flexibility of schedule is very helpful because of a long commute.

-- My son's learning disabilities do not show (as with Down syndrome) so he was very unhappy to be at ''special'' schools where many of the other kids had visually recognizable disabilities. He kept telling me these schools were not right for him, reducing his motivation to do his best. Esp now, I agree. At Tilden, he is at a ''regular'' school.

-- Tilden of course enrolls students of all kinds (high achievers, those with temp disabilities like illness, those with time constraints), for whom the teachers I have encountered would also be superb.

-- Tilden is like having the very best 1:1 tutor for each subject, meeting the student wherever he is right now, and taking that student as far as individually possible.

Parent of a Tilden Prep Student

Aug 2012

Re: High school that accommodates ADHD student
Hi - I would add Tilden Preparatory School to your list. My son has AD/HD and attended there last semester when he was overwhelmed at his highly academic/competitive public school. It is a wonderful supportive environment for all types of students and tries to help kids learn organizational skills without penalizing them for executive functioning weaknesses. The teaching is usually one-on-one or sometimes small groups. Kids get to focus on the course content without getting overwhelmed by the busy work that some high schools require. Grateful mom

Jan 2011

My daughter is 14 and started at Berkeley High in the IB program this year. In the past, she loved school, but it's gotten increasingly more difficult socially over the years. She excels in school academically (this is a kid who read The Hobbit in first grade) but is bothered by the general attitude of most of the students and teachers who don't care about actually learning. She is also suffering under a huge load of busywork. We're looking into alternate options, especially Maybeck, for next year. Is there anyone who has transferred their child from BIHS to Maybeck?

I think that you have the right idea to transfer your daughter: if she feels bored and subjected to busywork, she may lose the academic spark which she clearly has. We looked at several private schools in the EB for our daughters, and liked Maybeck, but ended up at Tilden Prep on Solano ave. Most instruction is 1 to 1, so the students go at their own pace. Bright students move through material quickly, and since the teaching is tailored to fit the individual, there is little wasted time. Many students end up being able to take extra classes. One of our daughters graduated last June and got into all the colleges she applied to. Good luck! Joseph

Jan 2011

Re: Summer Physics for high schooler?
I highly recommend Tilden Prep on Solano Ave in Albany. http://www.tildenprep.com/ 510-525-5506 The school offers excellent college prep classes taught by engaging teachers who know their subjects well. The course can begin at any time and the student works at his own pace. Our son completed his AP Chemistry class there during the summer - a very challenging course - and had a great experience. He is now finishing his senior year and has been accepted to the four colleges he has applied to. Mom

Nov 2010

Our 15 year old son is shy and often not willing to speak with people he doesn't know. But even he knows that he needs help with his French and Chemistry classes and has asked for help. He is smart and funny, but needs coaxing. The younger (and cooler) the tutor the better. He will need drawing out. Do you have someone you can recommend?

My teenage daughter spent the last three years at Tilden Prep on Solano in Albany. She sounds a lot like your son: needed individual attention, needed a younger, hipper teacher, and needed to go at her own pace. She is bright, but just couldn't focus in a larger group setting. The directors are both psychologists, and the teachers are hand-picked to help children who need patience, flexibility, and TLC. They take full-time students, but also a lot of students come in for a single class or two. Tilden Prep parent

March 2009

My son attended the School for Independent Learners (now named Tilden Prep) during the summer of 2008. He is a student at Berkeley High School and had been ill (with Mono) his junior year. He had fallen behind and need to make up 2 classes, Chemistry and Math Analysis (pre-Calc). It was very important for him to complete these classes prior to his senior year and college application. The School for Independent Learners, located on Solano Ave in Albany was a wonderful experience for my son. He took both classes with a teacher one on one. He learned the material and was able to complete the classes at his own pace. My experience as a parent was very positive as well. Daily progress reports were posted and my phone calls were always returned the same day. I would recommend this school for students that want to make up work, complete classes over the summer for any reason, or want to work at their own pace. kmbw

March 2009

Re: Considering alternatives to public high school
My son, too, struggled with similar problems-- wasn't engaged with his high school classes, spent way too much time on the computer playing video games, and was not very social. He also struggled with anxiety. I took him out of his too large and too hectic high school and he is doing much better at the School for Independent Learners in Albany. The directors, Shary and Karen, are fantastic, and so are the teachers. I wish I'd known about this school when my son first began high school. It is wonderful to see him excited about learning. Grateful mom

October 2007

I would like to hear from anyone who has experience with the full time program at the School for Independent Learners in the East Bay (Albany). I have a 15 year old (10th grade) son who has struggled in school since 7th grade. He is very bright, but does not seem to do well in traditional public school environments. He is currently attending a small public charter school but I am looking for an alternative before it is too late for him to qualify for entrance to a 4-year college. looking for an alternative

Hello, I have a Senior who is a full time student at SIL. He was in a traditional public high school till the end of Junior year. He went into a Public High School from a Private middle school. That was his choice. He spent 3 miserable years and his grades kept falling every year till he announced almost at the end of his Junior year that he will not go back to that school. After a lot of research I came across SIL and sent him there in Summer. He simply loved the school and the teachers. This year he is taking a lot of AP's. Shary and Karen are wonderful people who understand these kids. The teachers challenge the kids and make them do a lot of research on their own. They pace the classes to a students abilities. There is a lot of writing and in Math they work out every single problem in the chapters. According to my son they did maybe 20% of what they did at SIL in the public school but the tests were based on the whole curriculum. Most importantly at SIL the teachers and the directors know the student well which is invaluable when college applications are due. I would strongly recommend you to have your child check the school out by taking a course there or in the Summer. SIL is a very positive atmosphere. If you have any questions please e-mail me at any time. Deepa

I recommend going to talk with Karen Hobbs about your child. She will spend the time to discuss your needs. She is an advocate to the kids with different learning styles and their program is flexible to your needs. We have not any experience with her services yet, but as I was searching for information about tutors, I happened upon their web site and actually had a very long conversation with Herman Ohme, who runs the School for Independent Learners in the South Bay. They are very committed to working with kids to be successful in school. Because they are accredited, students can take classes for credit that fulfill college requirements. Denise

My 16-year-old daughter is attending the School For Independent Learners in Albany on a full-time basis after attending part-time last year. SIL has been an extremely positive experience for her; she is trying in school for the first time in a long time and she is feeling successful and LEARNING. After only being willing to consider community college before she is now exploring what colleges she might want to attend.

SIL is a great alternative to traditional education in that it is truly self-paced, works with the whole child, and works to meet each child's individual needs. If your teen is bored, unmotivated, anxious, struggling, interested in things other kids aren't, I believe SIL can work with your child. Teens with special learning needs, emotional needs, or differences do well at SIL as well as kids who find school boring, slow, who are not interested in the social scene at their school (perhaps put off by the party-drug scene, or who are pursuing a time-consuming interest or sport. My daughter who is bright but was undermotivated found the high-powered High School she attended was not a great match for her needs. No more wasted time, no more repetitive homework assignment, and teachers who take the time to know your teen as a person. We have found the teacher's at SIL are not only warm and inspiring but they show a deep respect for who our daughter is.

Some kids at SIL just repeat a class they received a failing grade in, or take an advanced placement class not offered at their school, or receive tutoring or SAT preparation. Others take several classes or do a full load. If your child is not getting what they need or deserve at their present school, I would highly recommend calling The School For Independent Learners. Happy Parent