Best of SRQ Private Schools
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School
Going to school as a kid is essentially a full-time job and for parents picking the perfect education can be overwhelming. Luckily, our readers make it easy to narrow it down by voting for their favorite private schools. In a landslide win, COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL - HERSHORIN SCHIFF COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL wins Platinum with over 500 votes. CARDINAL MOONEY CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL did the right calculations to end up our Gold winner. OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY proved to be the perfect playground as a Silver stand-out while SARASOTA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL spelling-B'd their way to Bronze.
By now most of us have seen and read about the fallout from the recent antisemitic rant by Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West.
This issue is larger than the increasingly overt use of antisemitic slander by public figures – it’s also about the perpetuation of negative stereotypes and the use of threats among their followers. We know these statements of hate are finding a receptive audience: just days ago a message declaring “Kanye is right about the Jews” was projected on an electronic video board at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville and displayed elsewhere across that city.
The Hershorin Schiff Community Day School has received an $8,000 Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to help fund books and technology for its Janis Kaplan Multicultural Media Center.
Dan Ceaser, Community Day’s head of school, said when CDS secured a permanent campus in Sarasota one year ago, installing a state-of-the-art multicultural media center directed by a qualified media specialist was top on its wish list.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School recently appointed Dr. Jesse Ehrlich and Rabbi Michael Shefrin to its board of trustees, a committed group of leaders who continue to guide the school after its success moving onto its new campus in 2021. According to Mitch Blumenthal, who serves as president of Community Day School’s board of trustees, the board is entrusted with the responsibility of creating school policies, as well as financial and strategic planning for long-term success.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School (CDS) announced that it has received an $8,000 Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The grant will help fund books and technology for its Janis Kaplan Multicultural Media Center. Dan Ceaser, Community Day’s head of school, explains that, when CDS secured a permanent campus in Sarasota one year ago, installing a state-of-the-art multicultural media center directed by a qualified media specialist was top on its wish list.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School (CDS) recently appointed Tracey Bortz as its director of Early Childhood Education Center programs. Bortz had previously served as the director of early childhood education at the Gross Schechter Day School in Pepper Pike, Ohio. According to Dan Ceaser, CDS’s Head of School, Bortz was chosen as the result of a nationwide search that took place over a period of six months. “Our search committee sought a veteran leader who has a clear appreciation for diversity and the teaching of universal values to students of all faiths through Jewish values, traditions, and practice,” says Ceaser.
Dan Ceaser, the Head of School of Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, was recently selected to serve on the Alumni Council of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Ceaser’s term begins on July 1 and will run for four years. The Alumni Council is an international committee of highly accomplished Harvard Graduate School of Education alumni selected by Harvard to provide a valuable connection between the university and its growing network of alumni.
Great work can have small beginnings. For some, that’s a proverbial truth. For Parrish resident Dr. Steve Hiller, it’s a personal experience. The great work he recently created began with a simple request. He was asked if he could build an “Aron Kodesh” for Community Day School’s new sanctuary.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School (CDS) recently welcomed Rinat Heiman as its new Hebrew and Judaic studies instructor. Heiman had previously served in this position at Temple Sinai from 1994 to 2013 and, more recently, as a private bar and bat mitzvah teacher. Beginning as early as 14 months old, all students at CDS are offered classes in both Hebrew and cultural Jewish studies.
Great work can have small beginnings. For some, that’s a proverbial truth. For Parrish resident Dr. Steve Hiller, it’s a personal experience. The great work he recently created began with a simple request. He was asked if he could build an “Aron Kodesh” for Community Day School’s new sanctuary. Aron Kodesh means “holy ark” In Hebrew—an ornamental chamber for the Torah scrolls.
April 29, 2022 – Sarasota
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School students gathered on Thursday, April 21, to celebrate reading at the 4th Annual Janis Kaplan Author’s Day. This year’s event featured recipients of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards, which are presented annually by the Association of Jewish Libraries to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience..
The American Library Association reported a total of 330 “book challenges” in 2021. These weren’t for “fringe” texts but for books on recommended reading lists that had been rigorously approved for school libraries. The complaints came from parents, “concerned citizens” groups, school board officials, activists, religious organizations, lawmakers and lawyers.
School administrators fought these challenges. But they didn’t always win, and they’re fighting more challenges today.
SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Students at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School in Sarasota have seen the devastation surrounding the conflict in Ukraine and wanted to find a way to help.
“I got an email a few weeks back from the fifth grade,” said Head of School Dan Ceaser. “The fifth grade said we understand and we are watching what is going on in Ukraine and our hearts are hurting and we want to do something.”
At the end of each school year, students donate all of the “tzedakah” or charitable funds they raise to a nonprofit or cause of their choice. This year was a bit different; the students wanted to act now.
SARASOTA, FLA. — Students at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School raised money to help orphans who left their country to find safety during the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
Joannie Bloch, a 5th-grade teacher at Community Day School, said her students were curious about current events and the world around them.
A month ago, one of her students asked, "Why do we learn about history if it happened in the past?" Weeks later, she said her students became worried about the families fleeing Ukraine.
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Students in the Suncoast are working to ease the pain in Ukraine. 300 students at the Community Day School in Sarasota are connected with an orphanage in Ukraine and via Zoom to Rabbi Mendi Wolf at the Congregation housing the orphans in Europe.
For 52 hours, the group ran buses and evacuated the children from Ukraine. 83 children are safe from the war in Berlin, Germany and now they have new friends in Sarasota, Fla.
Ray Bradbury envisioned a dystopian America in his classic novel, “Fahrenheit 451” – a future America where those in power banned books in an attempt to control what and how others should think.
Sadly, this isn’t science fiction. A wave of book-banning is happening today, and not during some bleak tomorrow. If you’re an adult reader, it’s easy to miss. But grownups aren’t the censors’ target – young readers are, and over the last few years America’s school libraries have become battlegrounds.
The funds will be used for food, shelter, and other necessities for 83 orphans who fled Ukraine to Germany.
The horrifying pictures emerging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine inspired 300 students from Hershorin Schiff Community Day School (CDS) to act. Dan Ceaser, Community Day’s head of school, said that the crisis quickly became an urgent topic of discussion throughout the campus. After meeting with Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz with Chabad Lubavitch of Sarasota and Manatee Counties, the students decided to donate all the “tzedakah,” or charitable funds they had raised, to an orphanage based out of Odessa, Ukraine.
To read more, click HERE
Pizmon, a Jewish a cappella group of students from Columbia University, Barnard College, and the Jewish Theological Seminary, visited Hershorin Schiff Community Day School on Friday, February 11.
Group members held morning workshops with Community Day School's kindergarten to eighth-grade students and performed a concert of liturgical pieces, Israeli rock and pop, and Yiddish music later in the day. The group's name comes from a Hebrew word meaning "chorus" or "refrain of a song" and its mission is to share Jewish music with diverse communities across the globe.
Throughout the pandemic, a dedicated group of people have been hard at work raising millions of dollars to provide teachers and students with the best possible learning environment.
The Hershorin Schiff Community Day School is now in the final weeks of construction of their new campus on Wilkinson Road in Sarasota. In just a few weeks, they will welcome in more than 250 kindergarten through eighth-grade students into the new school.
“I’ve never seen our teachers so excited and almost giddy about the new learning opportunities they can build in these new spaces,” said Dan Ceaser, the head of school.
Students at the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School recently stepped out of the classroom and into the garden to help build a home for a family of four.
Seventh and eighth-grade students first planned the home using geometry and algebra. They then priced materials before finally using saws to cut the lumber necessary for the home.
Working together, they put up wall by wall until they had completed a two-story home that fit the family’s needs: a large living space and individual bedrooms.
"Community Day School is noted for its rigorous academic program, distinguished by hands-on learning and partnerships with area organizations that help to bring learning to life." - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
On March 19, middle school students at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School participated in sheep heart dissections, led by local cardiology specialist (and Community Day parent) Dr. Vivek Kumar.
In just four months, a school has taken shape on the corner of Wilkinson and McIntosh roads. The future home of the Hershorin-Schiff Community Day School is under construction, with the global pandemic doing nothing to slow it down.
It's been a whirlwind year for Community Day School. In just 11 months, the school raised more than $5.5 million, purchased a nine-acre site and began construction on a 45,000-square-foot facility. This summer, the school will move from its current site at Temple Beth Sholom, and in August the new building will open to the 300 students enrolled at the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school.
And it all came about because of – not just in spite of – COVID-19.
As Hershorin Schiff Community Day School prepares for its move to a new, nearly nine-acre campus in central Sarasota for the 2021-2022 school year, it has recently partnered with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to lower barriers to enrollment and ensure more families are able to benefit from the school’s academic excellence and purposeful pluralism. Barancik Foundation has awarded $100,000 to bolster the school’s existing scholarship program for low-income families and another $50,000 to serve as a match to expand early learning efforts. “Community Day School has enhanced its reputation for outstanding educational programming and remain focused on being a diverse and inclusive school,” said Teri A Hansen, President and CEO of Barancik Foundation. “These efforts ensure more students will have the benefit from an exceptional education, especially those who need it most.”
When a family outgrows its one-bedroom apartment, it looks for a new space in which to grow.
The same thing is happening at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, just on a larger scale.
The school, which enrolls 270 students from 12 months to eighth grade, will move from 1050 S. Tuttle Ave. to the intersection of Wilkinson and McIntosh roads, giving it a capacity of 300 students and additional facilities.
The new location will not only offer the school a chance for expansion, but it also will be more centrally located in the county, which Head of School Dan Ceaser said would allow the campus to serve more families throughout the county.
Since Hershorin Schiff became an independent community day school five years ago, the demand has tripled.
“We’ve just outgrown the campus,” Ceaser said. “We’ve been renting it, and it’s been a dream of our board of trustees for us to own our own space, and we’ve been working toward that goal for several years.”
On February 11, the students at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School enjoyed the annual Panther Pride / Spirit Day, with various activities to build teamwork and showcase school spirit, with the added bonus of a Valentine’s Day-related “Ahavantine” community service project to help spread some love. (“Ahava” means “love” in Hebrew.)
This year’s community service activity featured the making of “Healthcare Hero Bags” in appreciation of those on the front lines of the pandemic who are working to protect our community from infection and heal those who fall ill.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, a Sarasota private Jewish day school that serves children of all faiths in preschool through eighth grade, has received a gift of $500,000 from Barbara and Gary Rodkin in support of its “Owning Our Future” campaign. The contribution will name The Rodkin Family Lower School Building – the preschool – on the school’s new 8.8-acre campus, the former Suncoast School for Innovative Studies / Temple Baptist Church property at the corner of McIntosh and Wilkinson Roads. Community Day School plans to open at the new location for the 2021-2022 school year.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School recently hosted a “Beyond the Groundbreaking” celebration on the site of its new school campus in central Sarasota. The school purchased the 8.8-acre property—the site of the former Suncoast School for Innovative Studies/Temple Baptist Church—last year, and the larger footprint will enable Community Day to accommodate families on waitlists, achieve greater financial independence, and be convenient for families throughout Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch. The new facilities will be ready in time for the 2021-2022 school year. Learn more.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School has announced its 2020-2021 board of trustees, which is charged with safeguarding and upholding the mission of the school. Co-chairs of the board are Mitch Blumenthal and Rachel Saltzberg, Robert Landman is Treasurer, and Stacey Edelman is Secretary. Trustees are David Chessler, Andrew Cohen, Gregory Farrington, Ph.D, Rev. Kelly Fitzgerald, Rabbi Elaine Glickman, Wilma Hamilton, Dr. Wendy Katz, Lillian Lincoln Lambert, and Betty Rosenthal. Richard Hershorin is a Lifetime Member. New to the board this year is Barbara Rodkin. "The vision and leadership of the current board will be critical as we are immersed in the massive fundraising and planning effort to support the move to our new campus," said Head of School Dan Ceaser. "We are grateful to our continuing board members and to Barbara for their dedication, time and resources in ensuring our success, particularly at this pivotal time."
The Hershorin Schiff Community Day School has received a $300,000 donation from an anonymous family foundation in support of its “Owning Our Future” campaign.
The gift is designated for the gymnasium on the school’s new 8.8-acre campus – the former Suncoast School for Innovative Studies/Temple Baptist Church property at McIntosh and Wilkinson roads.
Leaders at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School - with the support of several community partners - planned Hanukkah activities as well as virtual celebrations during the holiday's eight days that enabled school families of all faiths to share in the joy and fun of the holiday while keeping everyone safe and distanced due to COVID-19.
Chabad of Sarasota provided hanukkiah (nine-branch menorahs that hold the candles to be lit each night) for families that didn't already have one; dreidels and gelt from the Sisterhood at Temple Beth Sholom; and "Hannukits" from the Jewish Federation of Sarasota County and PJ Library!
In spite of the pandemic, Hershorin Schiff Community Day School – a Sarasota private Jewish day school that serves children of all faiths in preschool through eighth grade – has announced its plans to move next year and has already raised millions in support of the effort.
The school has purchased a new campus – the former Suncoast School for Innovative Studies/Temple Baptist Church property at the corner of McIntosh and Wilkinson Roads – and broken ground on new construction. Its recently-launched $8.8 million “Owning Our Future” campaign will fund upgrades to the current spaces and the construction of two new buildings as well as assist with ongoing annual needs.
The school plans to move onto its new, nearly 9-acre site, for the 2021-2022 school year.
Community Day School began in-person, on-campus and remote "Adaptive" Learning on August 17, 2020. Pre-K - 8th grade families are able to choose the learning method that is best for their student on a day-by-day basis, meaning that students can shift between in-person and Adaptive learning as-needed. Click the button below to see a news story from Suncoast News Network about the ways that Community Day and other private schools are keeping students as healthy and safe as possible for the 2020-2021 school year.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School is pleased to announce that it has hired Rabbi Anat Moskowitz to work on staff. She will serve in a part-time capacity, performing outreach to the community and leading K-8 Shabbat services as well as assisting with the planning of special services and events, advising on curriculum, and guiding students, families, and teachers on Judaic issues and beyond.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School recently received a “Software and Learning Equipment” grant of $5,000 from Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Initiative. This grant has funded training and the purchase of technology that is helping Community Day School to remain accessible for all of its families, whether they choose in-person or virtual learning for their students.“With the Google technology, students who opt for virtual learning can feel like they’ve got a seat in the front row of a classroom,” said head of school Dan Ceaser.
Thanks to supporters Ed and Betty Rosenthal, through the Rosenthal Roots Family Foundation’s “Go Green” program, Hershorin Schiff Community Day School will receive Aerus air filtration units in time for the 2020-2021 school year. A gift of $12,000 has enabled the purchase of 24 Aerus Pure & Clean units to be placed in classrooms throughout the school. The Pure & Clean devices reduce airborne contaminants and freshen air in otherwise stale-prone environments.
The COVID-19 crisis has hit many area families financially, with reduced hours, lost jobs and shuttered businesses. At Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, a local private Jewish day school serving students of all faiths in preschool through eighth grade, there are students now at risk of not being able to afford tuition costs. Thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from the Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse Family Foundation, starting in the 2020-2021 school year, Community Day School will have a bigger safety net for families who may never have needed scholarship support in the past.
Two funds of $25,000 have been created through the gift from the Culverhouse Family Foundation. The Eliza Perlmutter Culverhouse Scholarship Fund will provide need-based assistance for qualified families. The Eliza Perlmutter Culverhouse Assistance Fund for Educators will offer need-based assistance for qualified families for the children of educators.
We were both honored and humbled to welcome Hillel Academy Tampa this week as they toured our campus to learn more about what makes the Community Day School experience so exceptional. We are proud to be seen as a model for what a 21st-century day school should be!
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School honored longtime former preschool teacher, school parent and grandparent,
and all-around mensch Sue Rosin, Sunday January 19, 2020 at Michael’s on East ballroom.
She was recognized for her years of volunteering with the school’s literacy program and her dedicated service as a featured reader during the annual Dr. Seuss Day.
Event highlights included a delicious brunch, presentations by family and friends, and a special performance by students in Rosin’s honor. Proceeds from the day supported learning resources and literacy programs at the school.
Our preschool students had an unforgettable day at The Mall at University Town Center this week! Every student was invited to join in on the fun as they went sledding, decorated cookies, rode on the carousel, and enjoyed lunch on the lawn. Thank you to everyone at The Mall at University Town Center, as well as the staff of Holidays on the Green who made this event a smashing success!
Our upper school students honored CDS family members who served in the United States Armed Forces this morning with a special Veteran's Day Shabbat service. Temple Beth Sholom Sarasota provided the Sanctuary space, Rabbi Michael Werbow led the Shabbat, and Gary Reinstrom from The First Brass Sarasota played "Taps."
It was an exceptional morning thanking those who served!
A group of Hershorin Schiff Community Day School middle school students, in partnership with the Women’s Interfaith Network (WIN), visited the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton to tour its school and mosque and view an afternoon prayer.
It was a day of sharing – faith, traditions, and food – as well as an opportunity to experience new perspectives. WIN is a group of women representing a variety of religious orientations as well as indigenous and spiritual traditions. The group works to eradicate stereotypes and prejudice in order to promote our common humanity and build a peaceful world. Community Day students have enjoyed and benefited from getting together with WIN for the past four years.
Our 4th Annual Bubbe's Challahween Bake-Off was a huge success! For the second year in a row, a student won the overall competition. Thank you to our judges, our bakers, our amazing volunteers, and our hungry students who helped eat all that challah!
In late September, seventh and eighth-grade students from private Jewish day school Hershorin Schiff Community Day School traveled to Tallahassee for a tour of our state capitol – a trip that has been enjoyed by middle schoolers at Community Day for many years. Unfortunately this year, the state legislature was not in session when the students visited, so they didn't have the opportunity to meet with local elected officials.
In order to facilitate face time with these young constituents, Representative Margaret Good, District 72 (D-Sarasota) visited them on October 2. Rep. Good discussed her motivations for getting involved in politics, explained how the process and calendar works in the Florida House, and then engaged in a rigorous Q&A with the students about some of the pressing issues facing our area. Topics included water quality issues, gun control, school safety, and her take on the challenges of serving in the minority party, especially as the country has become so polarized.
Rep. Good - who noted that she either wanted to be President or a major league baseball player when she was young - emphasized that she works to bridge difference by staying focused on the issues. She said she's happy to get things done, even if she doesn't get credit for it. Although many of the students' questions focused on the frustration of seeing legislators not executing the will of the people (particularly with regard to the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative and background checks, which are overwhelmingly supported by voters of both parties), Rep. Good noted that she is heartened by the rising support for environmental issues on all sides of the aisle.
Rep. Good was asked how kids can get involved with issues that they care about and she encouraged them to stay in touch with elected officials, to write letters and to protest. She is heartened to see young people getting involved and speaking out - she noted that there are 35 high school and college interns involved with her office because they want to make a difference.
This coming year, which is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment (giving women the right to vote), Rep. Good hopes to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified in Florida so that the country can move closer to amending the U.S. Constitution.
When her visit was concluded, Rep. Good was presented with a gift bag from the school and thanked enthusiastically by the students, attending teachers and school leadership.
Community Day School Students of all ages celebrated Rosh Hashanah with acts of love, kindness, and community to welcome in the new year!
The kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades visited local retirement facility Aviva to sing, take part in a tashlich ceremony, and enjoy some delicious apples and honey with residents.
Our middle school students welcomed middle schoolers from St. Martha's Catholic School, where they shared about the holiday and special traditions with the students.
The day was a beautiful opportunity for intergenerational and interfaith connections.
Our 7th and 8th grade students spent several days in Tallahassee learning about the Florida state government.
Over the course of three days, the students visited the Historic Capitol building, took a tour of Florida State University, stopped in to the FSU College of Fine Arts' museum, toured the mural-covered House of Representatives Chamber, and took part in a mock oral argument program at the Florida Supreme Court!
The 5th and 6th grade students took an overnight trip to the Pathfinders Outdoor Education center, where they focused on teamwork, leadership, and engaging with others to gain new perspectives during challenging situations.
While engaging in exciting activities like canoeing, ropes course climbing, and nighttime nature walks, students discovered how to investigate things that make them nervous while also learning firsthand how their actions affect others around them. The students found that by examining their fears, they were better able to manage and face the challenges at hand! It was a successful learning experience for all.
Community Day School students were featured in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for their donation to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. A quote from the article is below:
"A group of students at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School asked their head of school what they could do to help.
He put the question back on them.
'What do you think?' said Head of School Dan Cesar.
They talked about the obvious — clothes and food drives — but decided the situation in the Bahamas required urgency.
'We didn’t want to wait,” Cesar said. “We wanted to be able to get something to them as quickly as we could.'
The brainstorming pupils at the 270-member Jewish day school that serves children in preschool through eighth grade suggested they use the student fund, fattened over a year with loose change totaling $250, and sent it to victims. They call the weekly giving a Tzedakah, a Hebrew word meaning 'justice.'
'We hopped into the van at lunch, and I took the eighth-graders to meet Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz,' Cesar said. 'He talked to the kids and said they are doing good work.'
'To me, it is very touching to see young people of your age reaching out so far — you’ve never met those people, you don’t know if you ever will in your lifetime, yet you feel obligated to show that you care and can help,' Rabbi Steinmetz told the students. 'In that way, you’ve fulfilled the word mitzvah, the commandment of Tzedakah. You didn’t just do something charitable, you did justice. If someone, somewhere is suffering, you’ve shown that you suffer, too.'
Student Maya Werbow said, 'This is our world, and we have to be responsible. If it had happened to us, the people of the Bahamas would help us.'"
Head of School, Dan Ceaser, was featured in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune regarding Community Day School's commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Ceaser highlighted the positive results experienced by the student body and staff as a result of these initiatives while encouraging educators and legislators throughout the state to implement policies that will support LGBTQ students and families.
The article is below:
Two state lawmakers recently filed bills banning discrimination against gay, lesbian, transgender and disabled students by private schools that receive public funds from Florida’s scholarship and voucher programs.
Current state law bans discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin, but it enables private schools — including some faith-based institutions — to have policies asserting that gay students can be expelled, or that gay, lesbian and transgender families may be barred from enrolling.
At Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, we strongly support programs that enable greater school choice for Florida families while firmly disavowing policies that exclude students from educational opportunities simply based on who they are. We believe that such policies are shortsighted, cruel and inconsistent with any institution that espouses a values-based mission.
We live in a world that is data-driven and the data is clear: LGBTQ adults and children, as well as children raised in LGBTQ homes, are subject to a level of discrimination that should not be tolerated in a civilized society.
According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “2018 LGBTQ Youth Report,” LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been physically assaulted, and four in 10 LGBTQ youth say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBTQ people. Just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people.
Nearly five years ago, our school was established as an independent institution with a mission that emphasizes the values of diversity and pluralism alongside academic rigor and leadership.
Students learn about and share religious values and traditions from around the world while benefiting from a courteous and respectful learning environment that values the beliefs and the rights of every member of our community.
At Community Day, core to our mission is helping shape the next generation to lead the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and sexual, gender and cultural discrimination. We aren’t just teaching students a traditional core curriculum — we’re giving them the tools to build a better world.
As educators, we can all agree that kids need to learn reading, writing and math as well as social and employability skills. But we also need to create safe spaces for children and share the responsibility for raising a generation that is better able to handle the challenges of our society.
In our schools and communities, there are easy steps we can take to address discrimination:
• Although topics such as sexual orientation and gender identity may be uncomfortable to talk about, we need to discuss these issues openly, and acknowledge that discrimination happens.
• Make our classrooms more inclusive. This can mean avoiding the use of gendered language, allowing students and families to self-identify, making sure facilities are accessible for all students, and showing you’re an LGBTQ ally.
• Take advantage of free community resources. We asked ALSO Youth to do an “inclusivity audit” to see how we were doing and identify opportunities to do more and better.
• Walk the talk. Aggressively pursue inclusivity and kindness and actively confront those who speak or behave in a way that is antithetical to those values.
When it comes to education, equity and inclusion, no school — public, private or faith-based — should be allowed an “out.” Independent schools, in particular, have the autonomy, authority and responsibility to lead in this arena. What better use of our faith-based foundation than to teach inclusivity, love and an appreciation of others?
Leviticus 19:18 reads, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s a lesson that many educators in private schools across the state would do well to heed.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel featured Community Day School as a pioneering Jewish Day School that focuses on religious inclusivity.
CDS Alumni Spotlight: 2015 graduate Luca Stine in the news! We are incredibly proud of our alumni and their accomplishments. Read more here.
CDS in the news: The Herald-Tribune featured an article on our common table program between 7th and 8th grade girls and members of WIN. Read more here.
The C3 Project showcases how Community Day School and Visible Men Academy worked together last year through improvisation, spoken word, and play. This documentary short about the two diverse schools exemplifies their unique cultures while celebrating diversity. The Asolo Repertory Theatre led activities to help the 22 participating students explore personal identity and find commonality through theater. Show times are April 8, 3:30 p.m. at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium and again on Friday, April 12, 8 p.m. during the "Florida Showcase 1 Shorts" at Auditorium 3 of the Regal Hollywood Stadium 11. To reserve tickets for a showtime of The C3 Project, go to the Sarasota Film Festival website: sarasotafilmfestival.com.
Pre-kindergarten classes traveled to the South Florida Museum for an exciting learning expedition! Students were exposed to natural and cultural Florida history from the prehistoric to the present. Highlights included a planetarium view of our solar system as well as below water views of real manatees. The children were each assigned a letter and asked to find things beginning with their letter as they walked through the exhibits. Guided lessons also included making observations about a variety of rocks and fossils. The large mammoth skeleton just beyond the front lobby was met with much contemplation from these young scholars. Our students loved being out on the town together and departing from their regular school environment. Even the novelty of traveling with their friends in the carpool caravan was very intriguing! As usual, learning expeditions at CDS are bountiful!
Click on the link below to read about our student's local scientific learning expedition!
We have reached the end of an inspirational school-wide week celebrating the power of a random act of kindness. The slogan, "Stronger Than Hate" was birthed out of the desire to spread love after the Tree of Life tragedy in Pittsburg, PA. Our school community stands with our friends in Squirrel Hill to send a powerful message of love to the world. Students have been encouraged to think about how we can show kindness to others in our community. They have been given kindness cards to pass out explaining this mission and calling on others to pay it forward. First graders made inspirational posters with a recipient in mind. Our second-grade class hid hand painted rocks at the bayfront to brighten someone's day. Numerous discussions held over morning advisory have sparked deeds to show care, kindness and empathy to others.
Students in Guatemala thank the Community Day School family for their generous donations. Our third and fourth graders raised money to help victims of the Fuego volcano eruption with sales of Guatemala Grams. Marketing for this service project involved learning about the power of storytelling in motivating an audience to take action. Our students used the Pixar universal story arc to write the story below. In the end, $850 was raised and sent to these students. How wonderful for our students to see their vision in helping others come full circle! As always, we are so proud to see the impact that our students are making around the globe.
Once upon a time, there was an eight-year-old boy named Luis in Escuintle, Guatemala. Every day he played soccer outside with his friends. One day, Volcan De Fuego erupted hot lava. Because of that, his home was destroyed. Because of that, he had to sleep on the floors of the street. Until finally, a small school in Florida, Community Day School, had the vision to help raise funds to support him and his community.
Community Day School hosted the 3rd annual Goldie Legacy Brunch honoring local "Champion for all Children" Wendy Katz. This elegant brunch held at Michael's on the Bay at Selby Gardens included a delicious brunch, mimosa bar and tributes to Dr. Katz. Proceeds from the event will seed the Wendy J. Katz Scholarship Fund, which will assist deserving students who embody the qualities of a non-traditional learner.
Click here to see additional photos and coverage of the event in The Sarasota Observer.
Preschool students have been enjoying their new outdoor play space and tricycle track since it opened for play last week. This incredible shaded area includes a trike track, Poseidon's hideout, a deconstructed race car, a play cottage, a water trough, and the county garage filling station. Our commitment to keeping kids outside playing as much as possible just became more fun! Stop by and see our new outdoor adventure park!
Nearly every head turned as 12 pint-sized students, dressed appropriately and adorably in blue scrubs, made their way to the Simulation Lab of Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Our kindergartners were privileged to enjoy a morning of learning and lunch thanks to the hospital's community outreach program. Each child received a cuddly bear and got into protective gear. They explored some cool medical tools and learned about the different ways people can "get fixed" when they are sick. They worked on their teddies, checking heart rates and giving shots, and gently affixing Band-Aids once the injections were done. The students also enjoyed informative learning demonstrations about robotic surgery and physical therapy. Perhaps most relatable to our students was learning all the ways the pediatric wing works to make their young patients comfortable including a music and playroom. The children arrived back to campus full of enthusiasm and stories about their individual bears' treatment plans. This was certainly a memorable and highly successful learning expedition for some of our youngest students.
Sarasota's Hershorin Schiff Community Day School was recently presented with the School of Excellence Award from Keep Sarasota County Beautiful in recognition of the school's environmental stewardship curriculum. The award nomination focused on a school-wide cleanup effort at Siesta Beach in March that mixed community service and learning. The school's entire student body heard from environmental experts on topics such as "Understanding Our Tortoises and Sea Turtles," "Sand Investigations," "Erosion, Environmental Issues and Sea Debris" and "Why Worms?" and collected trash to be sorted and studied by Sarasota County scientists. Environmental stewardship is a key component of the curriculum at the school, which offers classes from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Our talented tennis team played the number 2 ranked team, Incarnation, to clinch the championship! Everyone pulled together to make it happen! Congratulations Coach Gina and the Community Day Panthers!
On the fifth day of Hanukkah, second-graders from Sarasota's Hershorin Schiff Community Day School traveled to Aviva - A Campus for Senior Life to share the joy of the holiday. The students sang Hanukkah songs - including favorites "Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah" and "Sevivon Sov Sov Sov" - and interacted with the residents of the facility, benefiting all who participated.
Community Day School and Aviva have enjoyed a warm relationship for some time, with intergenerational programming throughout the school year. Through the Better Together program the past couple of years, middle school students from Community Day and Aviva residents have enjoyed numerous gatherings to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays, share stories, and create memory books and family trees, among other activities. The focus of the Better Together program is to sensitize students to the challenges of the elderly and incorporate Jewish learning and values in their interactions with them.
Longtime second-grade teacher Barbara O'Brien was thrilled for the opportunity to bring her students to Aviva. "Many of our students don't have grandparents here in town and their opportunities to spend time with older people are very limited," she said. "I've found that our kids absolutely light up when we tell them we're going to do something to make other people smile. They definitely enjoyed their time celebrating Hanukkah with their new friends at Aviva."
Our first and second grade students had quite the treat this Monday when local weatherman Bob Harrigan gave an interactive presentation on the science of forecasting! Bob spoke to the students about the ins and outs of weather and answered our students' questions before heading outside to show students the ABC 7 weather tracker van. The crew from ABC 7 kindly left our students with plenty of swag including signed photos of Bob, sunglasses, rulers, pens, and pencils.
A beautiful night of community and fellowship was had by all recently at our first annual long table family Shabbat dinner. Highlights included the traditional blessings by Rabbi Michael Werbow and the superman prayer from Pastor Kelly Fitzgerald. Many thanks to the Community Day School Parent Association for hosting this incredible night of friendship, food, and fun!
US Lacrosse has selected CDS as a recipient of a lacrosse equipment grant. Special thanks to our own Heather Chase O'Neill, director of Ripcurl Lacrosse for helping to spearhead this program.
We are proud to announce that Dan's character has earned him the much-deserved position of board member on the Education Practices Commission. Dan was recently appointed to this role by the Florida State Board of Education. Read more about this great accomplishment in Sarasota Magazine here.
The middle school STEM drone class kicked off this week with a talk and live demonstration from CDS parent, Tim Nilson. Dr. Webber has big plans for this class. From building drones to exploring the ethics and legality of drones this study is an example of project-based learning at its finest.
Our STEM curriculum keeps pace with modern innovation. The commercial drone market is projected to hit $17bn by 2024: Global Market Insights, Inc.
Thank you to CDS parent Tim Nilson for helping to pilot this program.
Upper school students went to Aviva Campus for Senior Living. The aim of intergenerational learning is to bring people from different generations together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities, which promote greater understanding and respect between them.
Although our chickens live outside in their coop, they have a profound impact on learning throughout the school. Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is an essential part of our mission and our feathered friends help teach those lessons. The 3rd and 4th graders have been reading chicken themed books to their kindergarten book buddies. This week, they also enjoyed scrambled eggs and pancakes made with the eggs provided by our chickens.
Countries represented by our families and faculty at CDS
Languages spoken at home and in our hallways
Religions practiced among our school community
Mile zone of attendance that stretches across multiple counties