School Reviews: Community Day School

Community Day SchoolThe Hershorin Schiff Community Day School provides Pre-K through 8th-grade instruction at the Kane/Karp Educational Center on a campus shared with Temple Beth Sholom and The Sarasota YMCA Berlin Branch at the corner of Bahia Vista and S. Tuttle.

When I visited the campus this spring I was impressed by the garden and outdoor areas and the colorful interiors.  More importantly, in the classrooms students were busy and active creating only a task-focused hum of work getting done. I observed a teacher to student ratio of 1:8.

Community Day School students on computerThe curriculum at Community Day School is project-based offering plenty of problem-solving opportunities. Each grade-level also participates in a community-based service project. In fact, the school follows the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching. It is a pedagogy described as student-centered and constructivist that utilizes self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery through a self-guided curriculum.

The school proudly declares it’s mission to impact the world by creating a community where children of all faiths demonstrate integrity (tzedek), academic excellence (limud), and a desire to improve the world (tikkun olam).

Academics are strong with a STEM program and solid grade-level math and reading. There is a dedicated reading specialist to work with students who need that extra assistance. Student growth is measured annually with the IOWA test.

Electives in the areas of Spanish, Hebrew, PE, music, agriculture, world religions and art are further supported by an impressive list of community curriculum partners. Among those are Sarasota YMCA, Florida Studio Theater, Sarasota Film Festival, Fusion Dance, Selby Gardens, Mote Marine Laboratory, Ringling Museum of Art and Design, Historic Spanish Point, Music Compound, Let’s Rock Sarasota, Children First, All Faiths Food Bank, Embracing Our Differences, Aviva, Salvation Army, Senior Friendship Center, Vintage Paws, and Humane Society.

Community Day School students in garden

Other notable features are an enriching after-school program and scholarship support. McKay and Step-up scholarships are also accepted.

Originally established by Temple Beth Sholom in 1974 and having expanded and evolved in the years since, Community Day is now incorporated as an independent community day school and currently serves as the only independent Jewish day school in southwest Florida.

Community Day School is accredited by the Florida Kindergarten Council and the Florida Council of Independent Schools. Justin Lee Wiesner Preschool is accredited by the Florida Kindergarten Council. The School is also a member of RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network.

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