For the first time in 10 years, Community Day has reversed its declining enrollment trend, its administration has announced.
Last year, the Squirrel Hill-based K-8 Jewish day school started the school year with 271 students. This year, it starts with 280.
“This is further proof to us that despite tough economic times, families believe in our school and in the value of a day school education,” Head of School Avi Baran Munro said. “It is an exciting time for our school and for the future of Jewish education in Pittsburgh.”
The 2010-2011 kindergarten class is “full,” with 42 children enrolled. There are 17 siblings in the class, “which strongly reflects the good experiences our families continue to have at Community Day School,” Munro said.
She said 33 percent of the kindergarten pupils come from Conservative homes, 33 percent from Reform homes, 26 percent from unaffiliated homes and 7 percent are from Orthodox homes.
Community Day joins Hillel Academy and Yeshiva Schools which also, recorded enrollment growth.
“Over the past two years, we’ve increased our enrollment from 164 students to 222 students,” said Adam Reinherz, strategic analyst and senior advisor to the CEO at Hillel Academy.
He said much of the growth has resulted from the school’s Isadore Joshowitz Early Childhood Center.
Hillel Academy has 70 students in Isadore Joshowitz, 20 students of whom are in kindergarten and 20 are in first grade.
“Due to an enrollment overflow, we’ve been forced to expand dramatically,” Reinherz said. “While working with experts in early childhood education, we built a brand new kindergarten classroom.”
But the enrollment increases at Hillel Academy come with a price.
“Despite these advancements and our exponential growth,” Reinherz said, “the economy remains an issue as we face an increase in scholarship requests. While cognizant of the economic realities, we’re optimistic about the future.”
Community Day also has seen an increased need for financial aid, Munro said.
Yeshiva Schools also reported a slight enrollment increase. According to the dean, Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, 390 students were enrolled as of Tuesday, an increase of 5-10 pupils over the previous year.
Despite financial aid some parents continue to struggle to pay the full tuition, though Rosenfeld added, no one is turned away.
“We hope through the year it will get a little better, but so far it’s tight,” Rosenfeld said. “Obviously our policy is not to turn anybody away, so we continue to count on the good hearts of the community.”
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)