Gracewater’s Sarasota location puts families within easy reach of some of the area’s best elementary schools.
According to Great Schools, Sarasota has 66 elementary schools, 57 middle schools, and 41 high schools within its limits. There are also 6 public charter schools, and 145 private schools. Great schools ranks the top 5 in each area based upon a variety of measures, including academic performance and equity. Another organization, Niche, ranks schools based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, student-teacher ratio, student diversity, teacher quality, grade school ratings, and overall quality of the school district.
Because of the Florida Department of Education’s School Choice incentives, Gracewater parents can choose an elementary school that’s just minutes from the gates of Gracewater or one that’s across town. School Choice allows parents to choose the school that’s best for their students.
In this first of a four-part series looking at elementary, middle, high school, and continuing education in Sarasota, we investigated a combination of rating resources to create a list of some of the top elementary schools. We investigated public, charter, magnet, and private schools to help you make an informed comparison about the educational opportunities that surround Gracewater.
Public Elementary Schools.
Southside Elementary School ranks #4 in the Niche 2022 list of Best Schools and #1 with Great Schools. Students at this school are recognized for making far more academic progress over the previous year when compared to similar students in the state. High progress with high test scores indicates Southside students have strong academic skills and the school is doing an excellent job at supporting their educational growth.
Coming in second on the Great Schools site and third on Niche is Ashton Elementary School. Ashton’s 1,085 students in grades PK and K through 5 have a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. According to state test scores, 92 percent of students are at least proficient in math and 83 percent in reading.
Phillippi Shores Elementary School is second on Niche and third on Great Schools and offers a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio. Test scores at this school are far above the state average, suggesting that most students at this school are performing at or above grade level.
Charter Elementary Schools.
The Suncoast School for Innovative Studies was one of the three original charter schools in Sarasota County. With a small student population of approximately 100, SSIS teaches children in grades K through 8 – an enrollment configuration that allows for a unique peer mentoring program that pairs every middle school student with an elementary student.
The Dreamers Academy is the first dual language school in Sarasota and brings Spanish immersion education to Sarasota families who want the benefit of multilingualism for their children. Students learn to become multilingually proficient across a full-range curriculum, which improves intellectual and social-emotional development.
The Imagine School at Palmer Ranch educates its young students with an individualized focus on learning, character education, innovative programs, and high expectations. It is a Cambridge International School, Florida High Performing Charter School, and Winner of the Promising Practices Awards from Character.org.
Magnet Elementary Schools.
Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Sarasota County’s only school recognized nationally as a “Blue Ribbon School” and has been a “Five Star School” for 19 years. In its twenty-sixth year as Sarasota County’s only magnet elementary school, Bay Haven employs a back-to-basics approach with strong discipline; contracts for parents, students, and staff; and some program offerings not available in other Sarasota Schools. Seats are filled on a “first-come, first-served” basis. The length of their waiting lists for each grade level is a strong indicator of success.
Alta Vista Elementaryis a Community of Caring school. Their educational program is built around the five core values of Caring, Respect, Responsibility, Trust, and Family, which empower students to be responsible and caring members of a community. These five core values serve as a foundation and umbrella for activities and initiatives in our school. The social-emotional growth of students is important in promoting positive mental health and character development as they continue their educational journey.
Sarasota Academy of the Arts (SAA) provides students interested in visual and performing arts with rigorous academic skills in line with The Florida Standards of Education strongly infused with the arts. Students here have the opportunity to experience the arts on a continual basis to promote and enhance academic success. All students receive art and music instruction daily. The goal of SAA is to prepare students to become well-rounded, confident, academically-prepared, and innovative adults who are able to reach their full potential as caring and responsible citizens.
Best Private Schools Accommodating Grades PK – 12.
Hershorin Schiff Community Day School students receive a consistent, well-rounded educational experience–daily outdoor learning, leadership development, fine arts education, foreign language classes, and a rigorous academic schedule–all without teaching “to a test.” Known as the Jewish School For All, their elementary students are ahead of all other students in Sarasota and Manatee Counties in math and language arts.
The Classical Academy of Sarasota is built upon the best of the Western traditional canon through curriculum and philosophy which acknowledges current understanding of child development and growth. Classical education instills in students a large body of factual knowledge, trains them to logically organize and analyze these facts, and gives them the tools to put forth a reasoned and persuasive argument. Classically educated students are coherent, thoughtful and eloquent writers and speakers who are grounded in virtue.
Sarasota’s longest-established private Christian school, Sarasota Christian School has been named the Best Private School and the Best Preschool by Family Living Magazine’s reader’s choice poll. Founded in 1958, Sarasota Christian School began with only 15 students and has grown into a community of over 450 students and 1,000 alumni.
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