Frequently Asked Questions 

When was Tilden founded and why?

Tilden was started in 1985 by Whitney Tjerandsen. She visited over 25 schools looking for an appropriate place for her Kindergarten son. She decided that the only way to get both the strong academics she loved, and the kindness she felt was crucial, was to start her own school. Whitney will be retiring at the close of the 2020-2021 school year. Our new Head of School will be longtime Tilden teacher, Sarah Shearer. 

Why would I pay tuition to have my child go to Tilden when he or she can attend public school for free?

Our class size is smaller, which encourages personal, social, and academic stretching that develops sturdy intellects and responsive characters. We have a low student-to-adult ratio. We set clear and consistent boundaries maintained by caring adults. We make maximum use of our students’ and teachers’ school hours,  providing a rich and rigorous program for the intellectual, artistic, social, emotional, and physical development of each student. (See also: What does your monthly tuition payment buy?)

Do you have before- or after-school care for students?

We typically offer an after-school program for current Tilden students, from 3 to 6 pm. Our after-school program is currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will resume our after-school program when we have determined that we can so safely and responsibly. We do not offer a before-school program.

Can Tilden accommodate my child with special learning or behavioral issues?

Although Tilden is not a special-education school, we are sometimes able, with parental support, to welcome children with some learning and behavioral issues, depending on the level and type of support required. If we determine our resources, expertise, or facilities do not permit us to accommodate a student’s academic, social, and emotional educational needs without detracting from the learning environment for other students, or if the student’s parents do not provide the needed support, the student will need to find an alternate school arrangement. To avoid the disruption this causes to the child’s educational experience, it is important to discuss any special learning or behavioral issues with us upon applying for admission.

Do you do standardized testing?

No. We feel that tests like the “Smarter Balanced”/WA-AIM take away at least a week of important student instruction time, impose a narrow focus to the curriculum, are unfair to students who do not test well in that format, and do not give us information that we don’t already have from the non-standardized, informative testing we do here at Tilden almost every day.

Where do students go after Tilden?

Our graduates have been accepted and welcomed at every private, parochial, and public middle school in the area.

How many minority students do you have?

It depends on the year, but generally we average about a 15% minority student body.

What are your volunteer requirements?

We welcome parent participation, but do not require it.

What is the fundraising commitment at Tilden?

There is no requirement with regard to fundraising.

Is there any affiliation with the church that you rent space from?

There is no affiliation; we just rent our space from them.

Is Tilden accredited?

No. The state of Washington does not require accreditation until eighth grade. We are, however, a state-approved school.

Where do the children play?

All Tilden students have 45 minutes of free-play recess after lunch every day, supervised by the principal, teachers, and aids. Students in Kindergarten through third grade have an additional morning recess. We use our fenced off parking lot, and Dakota Place Park across the street, as playground areas. Once the parking lot is clear of morning drop-off vehicles, additional gates are set in place for extra safety and blocking runaway balls. A wide variety of play equipment is available for both recesses.

See this post for more details.

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