With the start of the new school year, Los Angeles is benefitting from expanded facilities at several of the city Jewish schools. Greater enrollment has resulted in millions of dollars in new building investments. Among the schools with new facilities is Maimonides Academy, Shalhevet High School, Darko Learning Academy and Harkham Gaon (previously Yeshiva High Tech).
Details of the new expanded facilities are discretely shared as the schools look to start the new year with well-organized systems for their students. Maimonides’ Principal, Rabbi Aharon Wilk, is pleased with their new facility which has grown to a 50,000 square foot space on La Cienega Blvd at a cost of $20million. The new school will grow to enrollment of more than 350 children from Grades 3 through 8 which will fit comfortably in the new building that has light classrooms, new science labs and a gymnasium. Wilk believes the new space, which opened earlier this year, has created a vibrant school which benefits everyone. He noted, “If the teachers are inspired, they will inspire the kids.”
Shalhevet boasts an impressive new facility as well. The old building was 50,000-square-foot which had originally been built as a hospital. The school decided to sell the original building to Alliance Residential developers, with some of the land, for approximately $14 million. Shalhevet had to temporarily relocate to the Westside Jewish Community Center but they are now relocating back to their impressive new facility at Olympic and Fairfax. The newly constructed school is housed in a state-of-the-art three-story building on the north side of the original property and it boasts a broad range of facilities including an outdoor artificial turf field on the roof. Perfect for recess.
Darko Learning Academy is the only Jewish elementary and middle school that models the Montessori approach to learning. The school has approximately 50 students with children from pre-school to middle school. Classrooms are multi-age which works for the Montessori curriculum which teaches children according to their interest and ability, regardless of age. Darko had been in a smaller space, but it has now moved to a beautiful space vacated by Yeshiva High Tech. After some improvements are completed, this will provide additional smaller classrooms for specialized learning, as well as large main classrooms. The school prides itself on providing individualized education, but Founder and Executive Director Shimon Shain said, “The larger space we are about to move to will also mean that we can take more students and stay true to Montessori techniques. With the additional space we can comfortably design independent learning styles for each of our students so they can own what they’re learning and pursue their studies in a unique way.””
Miriam Dayan, Office Administrator of Harkham Gaon, formerly Yeshiva High Tech, explained that their facilities expanded when they moved to the JCC. They are now able to take advantage of the JCC facility which includes basketball courts, swimming pool, auditorium, as well as many more classrooms for the school’s growing number of staff and students. Harkham Gaon is the only Jewish school that offers Torah learning with a blended learning program that includes online learning programs. Perhaps even better than the new facility is the affordable tuition the High School can offer, probably the most affordable in the city.