Biweekly e-newsletter of Community Day School
27 April 2017
30 Nisan 5777
Be sure to visit the beautiful all-weather mural on the lower playground created in IGNITE over the past several months by our 1st Grade students and artist-in-residence Saihou Omar Njie
In this issue:
Light Shabbat candles - 7:31 p.m.
Shabbat ends - 8:40 p.m.
New on the calendar:
Head of School Message
As I walked on the dirt path and the stones at Birkenau, wearing comfortable, expensive shoes, I thought of the innocent Jews who walked that very trail, frozen in the winter months, barefoot and dressed in rags. Everything became very real suddenly, and Ben understandably had to step away at one point from our tour. I will never forget the way he embraced his 84-year-old grandfather when Carl came out of the crematorium a short time later. While I have a very good life here in the United States, for me, Israel will always be home, and I was never happier to land in Israel than that day when we flew back from Poland.
In Kindergarten, we spend time at the Keeping Tabs Sculpture and talk about the word “upstander.” Our journey to Poland renewed my conviction in why it is so important to continue with Jewish education and to start early. We must give our children the roots to know and love who they are—and never be ashamed—of their Jewish identity. That’s why what I do everyday in kindergarten matters so much, and although it was harrowing, I’m a stronger teacher because of my trip.
Up Ahead At CDS
Squirrel Hill Clean-Up
Kol HaKavod to the CDS families who helped with the Squirrel Hill Clean-Up last Sunday and to Middle School teacher Lin St. Clair for rallying a team of 33 students to participate. Your hard work in cleaning up trash throughout Squirrel Hill helped to make our neighborhood cleaner, greener, more beautiful, and more livable! Also, Mazel Tov to the two 5th graders―Talia G. and Kylee S.―honored at the event for winning the “Save the Earth” mug design contest sponsored by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Litter Patrol.
Special thanks also to the Green Team volunteers (parents and students) who cleaned and scrubbed the new Mirpeset (outdoor classroom) on the Annex porch. This beautiful space is now ready for spring use!
The hardworking volunteers at the Squirrel Hill Clean-Up got a visit from Murray the Squirrel
IGNITE Expo: The Spark That Inspires
At CDS, our teachers believe that we must nurture, challenge, and value the natural curiosity and creativity of every child. That belief truly came alive this week at IGNITE Expo. Our IGNITE experiential learning program takes a process-based (rather than product-based) approach to learning and creation. Still, our students’ impressive work and their accomplishments during IGNITE were showcased beautifully on Thursday night—and we know they were rightfully proud to share them with their families and friends!
Excitement, surprise, and gratification permeated our halls that night. A fiction reading in the library and a comic performance of The Three Little Pigs in the Annex Chapel had a standing-room-only crowd. The Pre-K Wonder Fair gave us insight into the creative, flexible, and inquiring minds of our youngest learners. The Archery demonstration showed the focus, skill, and strength of our Intermediate School students. The Intermediate School jewelry IGNITE group dazzled, and they were even doing actual blood-typing of visitors to the anatomy and physiology group in Ms. Grosso’s Science Lab. 2nd Grade showed us what the holiday of Sukkot has to do with states such as Florida, North Carolina, and more, as they put their research, discussion, problem-solving, and compromise skills to the test in their “Sukkot in the States” project. The 3rd graders had their “identities” on display in beautiful shadow boxes. And a true highlight was the stunning mural (see the banner above) created over several months by 1st Grade together with artist-in-residence Saihou Omar Njie in a project funded by the CDS Parent Association GRANTED! Program. Be sure to stop by the Lower Playground if you didn’t get a chance to see their masterpiece.
IGNITE Expo truly was a celebration of everything wonderful about our students and their unique creative gifts and their unlimited capacity as learners, makers, and doers. Special thanks to the parent and community volunteers who made IGNITE even more rich and meaningful this year, as well as our extraordinary teachers for inspiring our students to follow their passions.
CDS came alive tonight with passion-driven learning at IGNITE Expo
First-Ever Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Odyssey of the Mind Competition Coming to CDS
On Sunday, May 21, more than 50 students from CDS, Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, and Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh will put their creative problem-solving skills to the test in the first-ever Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Odyssey of the Mind Competition.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment. Participants build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential. For example, Odyssey problems have challenged students to design mechanical dinosaurs, invent new factory machinery, build working vehicles, write a new chapter to Moby Dick, put a twist on classic artworks, turn Pandora’s Box into a video game, and so much more.
During the competition, a dozen trained judges from Odyssey of the Mind, as well as four judges from the Pittsburgh Jewish community, will evaluate 10 teams from the three Pittsburgh day schools. The students will compete in solving spontaneous verbal and hands-on problems, as well as present the solutions to long-term problems they have been working on throughout the year. One CDS Middle School Odyssey team has been developing a “time machine” to solve the long-term problem of creating “an original performance about time travelers looking to discover the inspiration for great works of art.” The Intermediate School team has been designing and building a 3-D model of a car chase for the long-term problem called “Catch Us If You Can.”
This exciting event has been organized by CDS Odyssey of the Mind coach and Language Arts teacher Becky Williams, who has been joined this year by CDS teachers Kyle Ison and Elke Cedarholm. Support for the competition came from the CDS Parent Association GRANTED! Program, and official trophies await the winners. “It sounds cliche, but kids in Odyssey of the Mind truly learn to ‘think out of the box,’” says Becky Williams. “Most importantly, they learn to work together and to listen to each other’s ideas. And I see those connections they make at Odyssey translated into the classroom.”
Everyone in the CDS community is encouraged to stop by during the Sunday competition from 2-6:30 p.m. to watch our Odyssey students go beyond conventional thinking and tap into their inner creativity. “Come check it out,” Williams says. “It’s going to be amazing!”
Mark your calendars to stop by CDS on Sunday, May 21 anytime from 2-6:30 p.m., the first-ever Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Odyssey of the Mind competition
Under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, 31 educators representing all nine nine Pittsburgh JECEI and Bonim Beyachad: Growing Together early childhood education programs from across our region attended a two-day professional development seminar in Washington, D.C. and in Maryland this week. Participating CDS teachers included Jessica Pindzola, Miriam Brostoff, and Sarah Glascom Morris, who visited Early Childhood Education centers in the D.C. area and met with fellow educators.
Early Childhood Co-Director and Lead 3-Year-Old Teacher Sarah Glascom Morris said, “One key component of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is that the process of learning and constructing meaning is visible through documentation. At the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital (JPDS-NC), they use the Design Thinking model to visually organize the steps they take to solve a problem or answer a question, highlighting the research and prototyping as reflective tools. In each instance, they looked at the problem or question in the context of their own community with respect to the identity and values of the school, and collaborated over long periods of time to come to a solution, or even better, a new question to explore. It was a wonderful professional development experience, and I look forward to continuing the discussion here at CDS.”
Opening This Week
By Lindsey Shope, Pre-K Lead Teacher and Early Childhood Co-Director
How do you get ready for IGNITE? Maayan explained, “I had to make my board and stick it on the chair so it can show more than putting it on the ground.” There were changes to the room itself. “We cleaned the room very nice,” Lior pointed out, and Ella noted, “We have to put everything where it goes and move all the chairs and tables to our spots.”
Our IGNITE Previews were filled with visitors, and the air was filled with an exciting energy. Noa was eager to talk about her project, “People came to see our IGNITE projects. We tell them what our IGNITE projects were all about. I taught them a lot about my experiments.” Asher was glad the Preview offered a chance for special visitors, “My mom came! I talked to her about my IGNITE and she never sawed it before.”
Perhaps Ryan said it best, “So I just worked so hard on my animals and I love them. It’s good for the world because it helps people learn about the stuff they want to learn about.”
The Pre-K Wonder Fair is always a highlight at IGNITE Expo
3rd Grade Dollars and Sense
By Elke Cedarholm, 3rd Grade Teacher
3rd Grade learns basic lessons in financial literacy
A Tough Act To Follow
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
Rumpelstiltskin is having a bad day. As a private investigator, he gets all kinds of clients. However, this time he could never have anticipated that he would be double crossed by the Miller’s daughter and be under arrest for a crime he didn’t commit. Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye, a one-act play that gives a whimsical take on a popular tale, will unfold right before your eyes during the Intermediate School Drama Club Showcase. This special event will take place in the Ulam K’lalee on Monday, May 1, at 2 p.m. The students will also present The Wizard of Oz as a one-act play when they perform for students in Grades 2-5, parents, and teachers.
Since early December, 27 Intermediate School students have been honing their acting skills under the guidance of Ms. Elke Cedarholm. This is the third year for IS Drama Club and the first time that the group has been so large that it had to split into two casts. The students have been working hard and having fun memorizing their lines and following their cues. In addition to learning what it takes to pull off a high-quality performance, each member of the IS Drama Club was given a ticket to see James and the Giant Peach Jr. Hopefully, all of the 5th graders will continue their acting careers at CDS by auditioning for the Middle School spring musical just seven months from now.
So, if you want to know how Rumpelstiltskin gets out of the jam mentioned above, or if you just want to see a girl from Kansas skip down the yellow brick road, make plans to join us on Monday afternoon!
The Intermediate School Drama Club showcase takes the stage at 2 p.m. Monday, May 1
By Nicole Lewis, IS Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Intermediate School students have many opportunities to develop their 21st-century multimedia and communication skills throughout the school year. Students routinely have keyboarding class and learn coding with Mrs. Pfendler. With her teaching support, they then bring their skills back to the classroom to work on projects that are seamlessly integrated with 4th and 5th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies content.
Technology integration projects tie in directly with classroom content, as students become more proficient with using Google Docs for assignments and with researching and citing sources and photos. Some projects allow students to showcase their work to a broader audience. Recently, 4th graders were given the task of bringing their textbook to life. Students applied the nonfiction reading skills they have developed in Social Studies with the writing workshop skills they have acquired in Language Arts to research U.S. destinations and landmarks in their textbooks and to write their own podcast scripts. This week, students are using GarageBand to record, edit, and add music to their podcasts. Soon, students will get to listen to one another’s episodes to learn more about the history, geography, and economics of U.S. regions.
One project 5th graders do on an annual basis to hone their research and communication skills is their Native American research project. Students practice researching reliable sources and synthesizing their notes. To culminate their work, students create a Glog (an interactive multimedia poster) showing their understanding and present their project to their class.
Technology infuses our learning in IS Social Studies and Language Arts
Who Tells Your Story?
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
On Thursday, April 20, the 8th graders experienced an evening that they will never forget. Holocaust survivors Moshe Baran, Albert Farhy, Blima Mitre, and Yolanda Willis shared their stories of loss, survival, and faith in a powerful face-to-face conversation at our annual Holocaust Survivor Dinner.
Moshe Baran, father of CDS Head of School Avi Baran Munro, was born on the 5th day of Chanukah in 1920 in Horodok, Poland. During the Holocaust, he was rounded up and sent to a ghetto for forced labor. He was able to escape the massacre of his shtetl community and then joined the resistance movement as a partisan fighter in the forests and swamps of Poland. Albert Farhy was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and his family was forced to wear the yellow star and concentrated in a ghetto in 1943 until it was liberated by the Russian Red Army. Yolanda Avram Willis was a hidden child during the Holocaust posing as a Christian girl. In 1940, the war came to Greece, and she was hidden on the Greek island of Crete and later in several places in Athens. She remained hidden for three-and-a-half years until Athens was liberated.
For only the second time publicly, Blima Mitre (grandmother of three current CDS students) shared her harrowing and remarkable story. After the slaughter of their entire extended families, mostly at the hands of the Romanians, Blima’s mother, Regina Kirmayer, was put on a train to Treblinka extermination camp. She escaped through a hole with 1-year-old Blima when the train made a stop. Blima survived the rest of the war in hiding with her mother, while her father, Max, survived a forced labor camp. Like many other survivors, the family was denied entry to the U.S. at the time due to quotas, and then emigrated to Bolivia when Blima was 6. To this day, she considers Bolivia her home country, which had a mostly open door policy, welcoming Jews and other refugees at the time. Max and Regina ultimately moved to Israel when they were elderly and are buried there. Blima moved to the U.S., after completing medical school in Bolivia, where she was one of the first women to graduate.
Joining our students that evening was a group of scholars from the Higher Achievement Pittsburgh program center in the Hill District. The Higher Achievement students, who have been studying with CDS teacher and Facing History and Ourselves liaison Jackie Goldblum, also had the opportunity to visit the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture site here at CDS. These scholars will also join the CDS 7th Grade for two days during their trip to Washington, D.C. in June to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Several of the students and faculty in attendance commented about how meaningful it was to them to hear the survivors’ stories first hand in such an intimate setting. This is just one of the culminating events in Mrs. Jackie Goldblum’s “Facing History and Ourselves” curriculum. A special thank-you to our guests, Ms. Carole, and the parent helpers who made this year’s event a night to bear witness and to remember.
CDS 8th Grade students and Higher Achievement scholars came together last week to hear the testimonies of four Holocaust survivors
By Cara Shuckett, Middle School Language Arts
What do Community Day School and Al Fatih Academy—a private Muslim school in northern Virginia—have in common? Last Friday during Advisory, Middle School students were asked this very question. With identifying features removed, the students were tasked with comparing the mission statements of both Community Day School and Al Fatih Academy as follows:
One student in Advisory stated, “Both mission statements sound like CDS.” Students listened to a segment on NPR’s Morning Edition about Al Fatih Academy and how the school helps students build a strong Muslim American identity. They next compared our schools and discussed the benefits and challenges of attending a private religious school. Just like CDS, Al Fatih Academy ends at 8th Grade. Students interviewed for the radio segment said that before they go to high school they are given the opportunity to, “learn to be ourselves” and “make my identity here.” She added, “And we go off to public school where we can be ourselves with other people. It gives me the confidence." Sound familiar?
The more we’re different, the more we’re the same
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
As Graduation Day approaches for our 8th graders, it is not unusual to hear them reminiscing about some of their favorite CDS memories. Usually, those conversations are about the D.C. trip or something that happened at recess a few weeks ago. However, when I walked into Mrs. Goldblum’s room a few weeks ago, I saw several students huddled around a yearbook from 2010. What caused this sudden interest in looking at their Yearbook photos from 1st Grade? Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words…
Earlier that day, Mrs. Goldblum had shown them a beautiful picture that was a real blast from the past. It was given to her at the 1st Grade Siddur Ceremony by the Class of 2017. That’s right, Mrs. Goldblum was the 8th graders’ Hebrew teacher in 1st Grade, and they gave her a keepsake of her year with them. Each student contributed a square upon which was a colorful, original drawing, made with love, for Mrs. Goldblum. On the back of the artwork, written in green Sharpie were these words: “Thank you for teaching us! We love you! Class of 2017!” Mrs. Goldblum kept this treasure all these years, and so it created a spontaneous walk down memory lane all the way back to 1st Grade.
To me, this story is like a snapshot of life at CDS. The past is always connecting to the present in a way that prepares students for the future. The lives of the Class of 2017 have been touched by many teachers, coaches, staff members, and friends. Just like the artwork given to Mrs. Goldblum, all of the little things: conversations, lessons, games, and trips combine to make a whole. In this case, they combine to make a CDS graduate. In a few weeks, the 8th graders will take to the stage, and during their speeches, they will reflect on their time at CDS. Their speeches will differ in many ways, but they will all describe what can happen when passionate people pour themselves into young people over a long period of time. Prepared students. Menschy leaders. Social justice warriors. Listen closely to those speeches. You just might hear someone mention a gift that they gave to a teacher way back in 1st Grade.
8th Grade takes a trip down memory lane as they get ready for the next leg of their life journey
The Home Stretch
By David Thyberg, Assistant Athletic Director and Varsity Coach
It’s hard to believe we are already coming up on the month of May and the home stretch of the spring season at CDS. It’s been a busy year in the athletic department, and these last few weeks hold plenty of exciting events to finish right. The Lions have been hard at work out on the field, taking part in a wide variety of sporting activities. If you’re passing by on Beechwood Boulevard one of these afternoons, there’s a good chance you’ll see one of our many teams immersed in game or practice action.
Just this week, the Ultimate Frisbee team kicked things off with their first official game of the season, hosting Winchester Thurston for the first of a home-and-away series. The disc was flying all over the place as our multi-grade squad took turns subbing in and out of the contest so everyone had a chance to participate. Several more matches are coming up soon with other schools, so make sure to catch one before time runs out! The Lions will be looking their best in their new Ultimate T-shirt jerseys, designed and delivered as a keepsake to the fledgling team, courtesy of the athletic department. Our baseball team also received brand-new ballcaps to trot out around the diamond and keep them cool in the bullpen.
Other programs such as Track and Girls on the Run have been going strong as well. Fitness and camaraderie serve as focal points for these initiatives, and the kids have really embraced the opportunity to be active and work on their physical development. Our coaches continue to give great lessons and hands-on instruction, and we thank them for all their hard work in shaping our student-athletes.
There’s not much time left this school year, so please do take advantage of the few remaining opportunities to come out and cheer on your Lions (schedule here). Also mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 9. The annual Sports Recognition Ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. in honor of all the great achievements of our student athletes this year, highlighted by captains’ awards announcement, as is tradition. Finally, make sure to follow @CDS_Sports for the latest news and updates. Thanks, as always, for the support.
Let’s Go Lions!
Ultimate Frisbee is flying at CDS!
CDS Alum Best Chef in America?
Alumni Profile: Jacki Savage Gelernter
We love nothing better than to hear from our alumni! Send news about your whereabouts, families, simchas, and career and education accomplishments to Jenny Jones, Director of Institutional Advancement.
Get Business Tax Credits & Help CDS!
Kol Hakavod to …
You give all of your heart and spirit to your work here at CDS and Higher Achievement Pittsburgh and you are truly a superhero fighting to make our world a better, safer place. Mazel tov on the beautiful Holocaust Survivor Dinner and for empowering our Middle School students to develop a meaningful Yom HaShoah commemoration that was both uniquely theirs and universally relevant.
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