Valley Beth Shalom Harold M. Schulweis Day School

Valley Beth Shalom Harold M. Schulweis Day School is a K–6 Jewish school that has served the Los Angeles area for more than 40 years. In addition to offering an interdisciplinary curriculum, the school gives students the opportunity to practice social justice (tzedakah) and engage in mitzvot (ranging from volunteering at local homeless shelters to advocating at the state Capitol). Students also participate in programs such as athletics, robotics, musical theatre, chess, ceramics, invention club and visual arts.

How do you encourage students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset?

“One way we encourage an entrepreneurial mindset is through our Shark Tank project. Our sixth graders spend a week working in teams to develop a venture capital project that solves a real-world problem. The presentation is then pitched to an Emmy award-winning producer on ABC’s Shark Tank, who is also a friend of our school. This project complements our sixth grade ‘Innovators, Changemakers, Visionaries and Heroes’ curriculum.”

Tell us how families get involved at your school.

“Our active Parent Organization continues to be the backbone of community-building at our school. Parents love volunteering and making lifelong friends with other families while planning programs, fundraisers and more. A VBS Day School experience is for the entire family. At our school, parents are true partners.”

What feedback do you get from students?

“One of our graduates who recently won the sportsmanship award at his middle school told us that our athletics program transformed the way he understood competition, and it inspires his leadership daily. Another says, ‘I learned how to fail safely, which led me to succeed!’ Students are given a solid academic foundation and take risks without fear of failure. They form meaningful and lifelong friendships with peers. VBS helps students stay grounded in their Jewish identity and their love for Israel in order to cultivate the responsibility and leadership to help others. They tell us that VBS Day School is like a second home.”

How does your school embrace social emotional learning?

“VBS Day School is proud to be three years into our partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence using their RULER program—an approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools. Parents are also provided with educational opportunities to learn ways of using the skills of emotional intelligence to build trusting relationships at home, which creates an even stronger home and school partnership.”