SARASOTA, FL – 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.
“We are at a critical time in our history and we want to send a clear message that we care and recognize the importance and benefits of a CDS education to the children and to our community as a whole,” said board of trustees co-chair Mitch Blumenthal. “We have been thrilled at the response from supporters who believe in our educational philosophy and understand how crucial it is for our school to design and own its future.”
Despite the challenges of fundraising and connecting with supporters during a pandemic, the school already raised enough money to purchase the property outright. The campaign has earned lead gifts from prominent members of the community as well as earned the support of 100% of its board of trustees.
At its new location, the school will be able to accommodate families who are currently on waitlists. It will achieve greater financial independence, without the burden of rent and with new potential revenue streams. The new location – just four miles from its current campus – will be convenient for families coming from areas southward like Palmer Ranch and northward through Sarasota all the way to Lakewood Ranch. As the owners and managers of the campus, the school will have the freedom to adapt and adjust its facilities to meet any arising need or new programming.
Academics will be positively impacted as well. Working with The Starling Group, the school is constructing two custom-designed school buildings that will enhance its Reggio Emilia philosophy for preschoolers and support its project-based learning philosophy for grades K-8. Additional features already or will include a chapel for weekly Shabbat services and holiday observances, state-of-the-art science labs, full-sized, lighted outdoor athletic fields, a recently updated gymnasium, an organic garden/outdoor classroom, age-appropriate playgrounds, and much more.
“When the pandemic surprised us all, CDS could have hunkered down for the duration,” said trustee Gregory C. Farrington, Ph.D., who has worked in higher education in roles including executive director of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, president of Lehigh University, and dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. “Instead it went into overdrive to sustain its programs, strengthen its commitment to its students, and create its future by pushing forward to acquire property for a new campus, design a new school, and raise funds to bring its vision to life.”
The school, which has attracted attention from communities across the country interested in learning more about Community Day’s operations, is noted for its unique educational model that combines a global vision, religious and cultural diversity, project-based learning, small class sizes, service learning, and community partnerships.
For more about Community Day School or to learn how to get involved with the “Owning Our Future” campaign, go to communityday.org or call 941-552-2770.
About Hershorin Schiff Community Day School
The mission of the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, which serves students in preschool through eighth grade, is to impact the world by creating a community where children of all faiths demonstrate integrity, academic excellence, and a desire to improve the world. Community Day offers a rigorous, project-based academic program in a diverse and vibrant learning environment rooted in the Jewish values of honesty, integrity, mutual trust and respect. For more information, visit the website at communityday.org or call (941) 552-2770.