Exclusive Interview with Daniela Elena Sarbu: The Vision Behind Waldo International School

In an exclusive interview, Daniela Elena Sarbu, the Founder and Managing Director of Waldo International School, opens up about the journey, philosophy, and future of this unique educational institution. Located in the heart of Jersey City, Waldo International School has become a beacon of excellence in education since its inception in September 2011.

The Genesis of Waldo International School

Waldo International School was born out of a personal quest for the ideal educational environment for Sarbu’s own child. “After becoming a parent in 2009, I explored various preschool options in Jersey City, but none met my expectations shaped by my experiences with the educational system in Romania,” Sarbu explains. Recognizing a gap, she took a bold step in 2010 to start a preschool that would provide a nurturing and robust educational foundation. By September 2011, Waldo International School opened its doors, fully enrolled, and ready to offer a unique, tailored educational experience.

A Growing Community

Fast forward to the 2024-2025 school year, Waldo International School boasts about 190 students enrolled from PreK2 to 8th grade. The school’s growth has been organic, adding a new grade each year and expanding into a full-fledged K-8 institution. With locations at 110 1st Street, 125 1st Street, and a new site at 210 Hudson Street set to open in September 2025, Waldo continues to flourish.

What Sets Waldo Apart

Waldo International School stands out for several key reasons. “Our International Baccalaureate (IB) accreditation is a hallmark of our commitment to global education,” says Sarbu. Currently accredited for the Primary Years Programme (PYP) for grades PreK3-5th, Waldo is in the process of obtaining accreditation for middle school as well.

Small class sizes and individualized learning are central to Waldo’s philosophy. “Our small class sizes, with a teacher-to-student ratio not exceeding 1 to 12-14 for older grades, enable us to offer extensive one-on-one education and tailor learning plans for each student,” Sarbu highlights. The school also prides itself on its culturally diverse community, experienced faculty, and comprehensive after-school activities that include logic, science, fencing, volleyball, foreign languages, cheerleading, and swimming in an indoor saltwater pool.

Private vs. Public Schooling

When asked how private schooling at Waldo differs from public schooling in Jersey City, Sarbu emphasizes the benefits of smaller class sizes and a selective admission process. “Our rigorous admissions process includes an admissions test for kindergarten and higher grades, ensuring we admit students who will thrive in our unique environment,” she explains.

Waldo’s enriched curriculum also sets it apart. “We incorporate informational technology, coding, public speaking, drama, art, music, and physical education into our curriculum, providing a well-rounded education that prepares students for a diverse and dynamic world,” Sarbu adds.

Innovative Programs and Testing

Waldo’s Gifted and Talented Program and early introduction to coding and information technology ensure that students are well-prepared for future success. “We start teaching coding to children as young as 4 years old, enhancing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills,” says Sarbu. Additionally, the school’s use of the MAP Growth test tracks student progress and ensures academic growth.

A Day at Waldo

A typical day at Waldo International School blends academic rigor with enrichment activities. “Our inquiry-based IB curriculum encourages students to explore subjects through questions and hands-on activities,” Sarbu notes. Students also participate in various ‘specials’ like art, music, and languages, ensuring a balanced and comprehensive educational experience.

Building a Community

Waldo International School is more than just an educational institution; it’s a community. “We foster a familial atmosphere where every individual is cherished and supported,” Sarbu emphasizes. Regular school events, parent-teacher meetings, and community projects strengthen these communal ties, making Waldo feel like a family home.

Extracurricular Excellence

Waldo offers a wide range of clubs and athletics, from sports to academic-focused activities. “Our sports clubs and academic clubs like science and logic are incredibly popular because they enhance both physical fitness and intellectual growth,” says Sarbu.

The Future of Waldo

With a new location opening in September 2025, Waldo International School continues to expand its reach and impact. “Our goal is to prepare students not only for academic success but also to become confident, empathetic individuals ready to face the complexities of the modern world,” Sarbu concludes.

For more information about Waldo International School, visit their website at https://waldoschool.com.

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