As a mother of four kids, the quality of the school here on island was a major influence in our decision to raise our family on Sanibel. I have to say, we’ve been very impressed at the educational programs offered by the school and their involvement in the community. In fact, all four of our kids have attended the Sanibel School, with our two youngest still in attendance.
Did you know the Sanibel School is a National Blue Ribbon School? The level of academic success of the Sanibel School has earned its designation in the top 5% of schools in the nation. That’s huge!
History of the Sanibel School
The Sanibel School was founded in the early 1900s, and started with just one teacher instructing five grades of students together in one classroom. In the video below, the late Mr. Sam Bailey, one of Sanibel’s longtime family residents, talks about his memories of attending the school saying that eventually the county funded a second teacher and classroom for the school, which allowed it to separate grades 1-3 and 4-8.
In 1999, the school was officially named of the “Sanibel School,” and today, it serves nearly 400 students in grades K-8. Students of the school live on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, as well as the nearby mainlands.
Below, is a video produced by the members of the Sanibel community about the first 100 years of the Sanibel School.
What’s Awesome About the Sanibel School?
Aside from stellar academics, the school also places an emphasis on environmental learning. Our kids have enjoyed trips to “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), and other “Sanibel attractions” that offer a unique learning environment for students. The school even has its own private access gate to the Ding Darling Wildlife Education boardwalk on Indigo Trail (where the kids get to test their scat and tracks knowledge).
Another great aspect of the Sanibel School is the deep community support the school enjoys. Not only are the parents highly involved and engaged with the school events and fundraisers, but also the local businesses on Sanibel and Captiva help the support the school in a number of ways. In fact, one of the biggest school fundraiser events is the annual Sanibel School Seahorse Festival.
The Seashore Festival is a fun, carnival-style fundraiser that brings together the Island community, and raises money for the Sanibel School Fund. Proceeds from the event help fund enhancements for the school’s teaching curriculum and classroom equipment. It’s really a fun event… our kids look forward to the Sanibel School Seahorse Festival every year!
Our Caitlin making a snow cone at the 2016 Seahorse Festival – Image Courtesy of Jeff Lysiak – The Island Sun
Looking For Ways To Get Involved?
The Sanibel School could use your talents and abilities to provide an even greater experience for the kids! The school welcomes volunteers from the community, including businesses, retirees, college students, and of course parents. I actually volunteer with the Kindergarten class every week and LOVE this break in my schedule to interact with the kids. I know the Kindergarten teacher appreciates this little break in her busy day too! I enjoy helping the kids with crafts, singing along to their educational songs and poems, or taking them outside to play on the playground.
You don’t have to be a parent to help, and there are a number of ways to get involved. Volunteer’s can participate in advisory councils, mentor individual students or even provide additional support for school staff members and secretaries. There are countless ways to get involved and the school has a great Volunteer program that’s vital to the school’s continued success.
I’d love to share more information about my experiences with the Sanibel School. As it turns out, the school has proved to be one of the biggest blessings of moving on Island for our family!