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ETON

Biweekly e-newsletter of Community Day School

15 September 2016

12 Elul 5776

Issue #2

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In this issue:

Weekly Torah Portion:

                           

Light Shabbat candles - 7:08 p.m.

Shabbat ends - 8:95 p.m.

Did you miss Back To School Night? Misplace your handouts or presentations or need extra copies for family members? Don’t fret. Click here find links to the syllabi shared that night by grade level. Please reach out to your child's teachers if you have any questions or concerns or need to have a face-to-face conversation. Save the date for Parent-Teacher Conferences on Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11, when you will have the opportunity to discuss your child's individual learning needs.

New on the calendar:

  • Tuesday, September 20 is Bike/Walk/Ridesharing to School Day. Everyone is encouraged to get to (and from) school that day using a lower (or zero!) emissions form of transportation to help improve the quality of the air our children breathe!

  • Next Friday, September 23 is CDS Picture Day. Students should follow the dress code for pictures, and the photographer recommends no green clothing. No forms or pre-payment are necessary. The photographer will send an e-mail with the proofs, and all ordering will take place online.

  • Register and pay online for the CDS Parent Association Shabbat Dinner on Friday, September 30 from 5-7 p.m. Join us for a community Shabbat experience with songs, dinner, and kids’ activities. Dinner will feature pasta and meatballs, vegetarian chili, salad, rolls, and Carole’s famous apple crisp. This BYOB event is $10 per person with a $36 max per immediate family. Children 4 and under are free. Advance reservations are required.

It is with great humility and deep appreciation that I give my Head of School space in this week’s ETON to Mark Minkus, our Head of Intermediate School and Middle School. He speaks for all of us. Read his D'var Torah (reflection on a Torah portion), and you will see why. ― Avi Munro

More Than Enough
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School

“And Moses spoke to the entire community of the children of Israel, saying: “This is the word that the Lord has commanded to say:” In today’s world of digital signs, tweets, and banner ads, there are a lot of ways to get the attention of a large group of people. Even though he didn’t have a megaphone, iPhone, or microphone, Moses had the attention of his audience. What was this message that the Lord wanted the people to hear so clearly? Can a few words spoken thousands of years ago really have any importance to us today?

This story, found in Shemot (Exodus) 35-36, describes when Moses asked the Israelites to make offerings of various precious stones, metals, and fabrics, as well as give of their time as craftsmen, seamstresses, and carpenters. This request was made so that they might construct the Mishkan or tabernacle, a portable sanctuary where God could dwell among His people. I believe that the instructions given and the people’s response are an illustration for something that happens with our staff, every day of the year, here at Community Day School.

“Take from yourselves an offering for the Lord.” They gave for a worthwhile reason. The children of Israel were highly motivated to give of their possessions and their talents because they were commanded to do so by God. They also were giving to something that had great meaning to them. Not only was it a place to atone for sins and display gratitude, but it also contained the Luchot ha’brit (stone tablets) in the Kodesh HaKodashim (Holy of Holies). At CDS, our teachers and staff give of themselves every day for the most worthwhile reason on Earth: to help children grow. I have never seen people work so hard for something so worthwhile. Nothing could be more important than ensuring the future of the children entrusted to our care.

“Every man and woman whose heart inspired them to generosity to bring for all the work that the Lord had commanded to make, through Moses, the children of Israel brought a gift for the Lord.” They gave with a generous heart. The people had a choice. They were commanded to give, but they could have chosen not to give. If you crack open a thesaurus, you will see that the word ‘unselfishness’ is a synonym for generosity. The people gave because of what was in their hearts, a giving, selfless attitude. Similarly, the teachers at our school are passionate and inspired, and they are generous with their time and talents. They are tireless in displaying a willingness to give whatever they can to benefit their students.

“Everyone who set aside an offering of silver or copper brought the offering for the Lord, and everyone with whom acacia wood was found for any work of the service, brought it. And every wise hearted woman spun with her hands, and they brought spun material: blue, purple, and crimson wool, and linen.” They each gave something different. This passage shows us that some of the Israelites brought material possessions such as: gold, silver, linen, wool, wood, spices, and precious stones. Others brought their talents, like: weavers, coppersmiths, lapidaries, embroiders, and master craftsmen. The connection to our teachers and staff couldn’t be more clear. The diversity of talent in this building is astonishing. From helping 5-year-olds learn to share to challenging 8th Graders to master postulates in Geometry. From installing a new light fixture to making delicious, kosher food for hungry kids. From 3-year-olds learning songs about the Torah to 13-year-olds lifting the Torah. A diversity of gifts, liberally applied by highly motivated people, yields amazing results.

“And they spoke to Moses, saying: "The people are bringing very much, more than is enough for the labor of the articles which the Lord had commanded to do. So Moses commanded, and they announced in the camp, saying: "Let no man or woman do any more work for the offering for the Holy." So the people stopped bringing.” They gave more than expected. Have you ever heard of a charitable organization issuing a press release to announce that they will no longer be taking donations? As ludicrous as that sounds, the children of Israel gave so much that they were told to stop. The power of the cause, the generosity in their hearts, the value of the material possessions and talents that they had, all converged in a beautiful scene of giving and then giving some more. The teachers and staff at CDS are constantly going “above and beyond” as they come early, stay late, and then take work home. There is a culture of exceeding expectations among the staff of CDS. There is no task too difficult or work day too long if the outcome of that labor benefits a child.

Is this school a perfect place? No. But it is a place that reminds me of a group of people, thousands of years ago, that gave more than anyone thought they could, because it was worth it.

Our teachers and staff give “more than enough”

New Learning Innovation Coach at CDS

Dear Friends,

Last fall, Community Day School (CDS) convened a Technology Visioning Task Force to evaluate how best to move our school forward so that global learning tools and strategies could be applied in every classroom, in every subject, at every age.

The Task Force included:  

  • CDS science, math, computer science, robotics, and engineering teachers
  • Technology department staff members
  • Advancement and communications staff members
  • Current CDS parents who created high-tech companies that were recently sold to high-tech giants such as Google.
  • Professors from CMU’s Cognitive Psychology program, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and Entertainment Technology Center
  • Apple and Google employees

Our visioning task force addressed three basic questions. First, what real-world skills do our students need to be successful? Second, what resources do we have access to from within our entire school community that can help them obtain those skills? Finally, what partnerships could we form with other organizations (public and private) to help us toward our educational goals?

The answers to these questions all pointed to one crucial key to success―a dedicated staff person who can lead our staff, students, families, and school through a paradigm shift in how learning happens.

We are pleased to announce that on October 5, we will welcome Rebecca (Becca) Huff to our staff full-time to work side-by-side with teachers and students as a Learning Innovation Coach. This new position was made possible thanks to a generous multi-year start-up grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation and generous funding commitments from other individual donors.

Becca’s job will entail visiting classrooms, listening to teacher and student needs and interests, matching resources to best fit classroom goals, and supporting our faculty in creating innovative, authentic learning experiences that connect our rigorous academic standards with real-world applications. She comes to us with a B.A. in Middle Grades Education 5-9 specializing in Science, and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, both from Saint Leo University in Florida. Here are a few introductory comments she shared:

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Becca Huff

I began my teaching career in 2011 as an Intensive Reading and Physical Science teacher for 9th, 11th, and 12th grade students. I made the transition to middle school in 2013 to teach 8th grade science, and the following year I had the opportunity to teach science to 7th grade Gifted students. I also took on the responsibility of Department Chair and Professional Learning Community Facilitator. In 2015, I transitioned into an Instructional Learning Design Coach position with a focus on classroom instructional strategies, interventions, model teaching, and technology integration.

I am honored and extremely excited to be at Community Day School! My husband and I are relocating to the Pittsburgh area after many years of planning to make the transition. Being a native Floridian, I am looking forward to experiencing the seasons. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful staff at CDS to create engaging and innovative lessons that provide students with real-world skills through a STEM lens. Also, I am extremely excited to use the grounds of CDS to engage students in hands-on lessons about their impact on the environment.

Becca will leverage her skills and experience to support all areas of our curriculum, as well as IGNITE and the other experiential learning opportunities we provide. I know you’ll join me in warmly welcoming her to the CDS family!

 Avi Munro, Head of School

Up Ahead at CDS

Grandparent Sukkah Decorating

The first CDS Grandparent Association event this year will take place on Thursday, October 13 from 4-5 p.m. Help CDS get ready for Sukkot by joining your grandchildren after school in decorating our Sukkah! The event is geared toward students in Pre-K through Grade 3, but kids of all ages are invited to participate. You will enjoy arts and crafts and a snack together as we prepare for Sukkot during this rain-or-shine activity. RSVP here or call Jenny Jones at 412-521-1100, Ext. 3207.

Lulav and Etrog Sale

Sukkot is coming! Purchasing a lulav and etrog for your children to use at home in your Sukkah or during our morning tefillot at school would greatly enhance our teaching of this mitzvah. The cost per set is $45. Complete the order form and return with payment by Friday, October 7.

Apples & Honey Fall Festival

Celebrate a sweet New Year with Shalom Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Jewish community! Join CDS and our community partners for the Apples & Honey Fall festival at Anderson Playground in Schenley Park on Sunday, September 25 from 1-4 p.m. Families can enjoy apples and honey, crafts, activities, a bounce house, shofar making, and more. RSVP here; this event is free and open to all ages.


Student Council Pink-Out

Buy your pink CDS “To Life” T-shirt: STUCO is selling these shirts to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for the school-wide Pink-Out dress-down days on October 7 and 28. Complete the order form and return with payment by Tuesday, September 20. Extra-small sizes are now available; please contact rpasternak@comday.org if you need to change a previous order.

Lion’s Pride Open Hours

The Lion's Pride Used uniform shop will be open on the following dates:

  • FRIDAY afternoons from 2-3 p.m. on 9/16, 9/23, and 9/30
  • WEDNESDAY afternoon from 3-4 p.m. on 9/21
  • TUESDAYS from 8-9 a.m. on 9/20 and 9/27

As always, donated items can be dropped off in the school lobby. Thank you for supporting your CDS Parent Association!

Democracy in Action

By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” Yesterday, our Middle School students took full advantage of their right to vote when the Student Council elections were held in the Ulam K’lalee. On Wednesday afternoon, all STUCO members running for office gave a speech, making their case for why they should be President, Associate Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Historian. The 5th graders were our special guests for the speeches. Earlier in the day, the first Jr. Student Council meeting was held in Ms. R’s room, so the 5th Grade was exposed to a lot of student government yesterday.

The election process began when MS students voluntarily joined MS Student Council and then requested a reference form to be able to run for an office. Each candidate had to complete the form, detailing the reasons why they wanted to be a STUCO officer, and then had to get my signature for approval. For me, the most fun part of the process was when the creative campaign signs began to populate the walls and doors of the MS hallway. One of my favorites was a large photo of a Koala Bear, with the caption: “Vote 4 Dania. She has all of the Koalafacations.” Another fun sign had a picture of Spongebob and said: “Don’t pick your nose, pick Ada for Historian!” I’ll let you guess what Spongebob was doing in the picture.

At the conclusion of the speeches, the MS students exercised their right to vote by filling out a secret ballot. Of course, the students waited with anticipation until the winners were announced today at lunch.

Congratulations to Sophia L., President, Elana K., Vice President, Madison Z., Associate Vice President, Gabriella N., Secretary, Nadav G., Treasurer, and Ada Perlman, Historian. These student leaders will help guide our student government organization through events and activities all year long. Stay tuned for more about what MS STUCO is up to in future ETON issues!

Introducing a new crop of student leaders in Middle School ...

Growth Mindset Culture

By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School

Is your intelligence fixed? Are you born “smart?” Or is there something you can do to grow your intelligence? Can you actually change your own brain?

If you ask the Intermediate School students, they will confidently tell you that we all have the power to change our own brains. That is because IS students now know our brains are like muscles that can become stronger with practice. Research shows how, thanks to neuroplasticity, we are actually able to carve out and strengthen new pathways in our brains over time.

In Mr. H-G’s classes, students are learning how strengthening your brain all begins with adopting something called a “growth mindset.” Students who have a growth mindset embrace challenges. They know that intelligence is not a fixed trait, but rather a trait that can be developed. Instead of trying to always “look” smart, students with a growth mindset have a goal of learning something new. These students are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone. They value the learning process and they are not afraid to make mistakes. Most importantly, they don’t give up when they are challenged along the way.

Over the coming school year, IS students will continue to develop growth mindsets in all of their classes as we help them to view mistakes as powerful learning opportunities and to embrace challenges with persistence and perseverance. To learn more about growth mindset, check out Carol Dweck’s TED Talk.   

We’re building a Growth Mindset culture in Intermediate School

Odyssey of the Mind Begins

By Rebecca Williams, Middle School Language Arts

Odyssey of the Mind is underway at CDS! Now into its third year, a record 22 members have joined this fast-growing team (doubled in size from last year!). Students in Division I (Grades 4 and 5) and Division II (Grades 6 to 8) meet on Mondays and Wednesdays after school to learn how to think outside the box to solve problems through open-ended challenges that appeal to a wide range of interests. While encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to identify challenges, communicate effectively, work as a team, and to think creatively to solve problems.

During their first Odyssey session this year, students at CDS engaged in a number of activities including designing a structure that will carry water across an area without spilling, building a tower that can hold weight, devising a system of nonverbal communication to complete tasks, and brainstorming ideas for their solution to the 2017 Odyssey of the Mind team problem.

We are excited to announce that on May 21, 2017, CDS will host the first Pittsburgh Jewish Day School Odyssey of the Mind Sunday Competition. During the competition against teams from Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh and Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, students will have the opportunity to show off their solutions to spontaneous verbal and hands-on problems, as well as their 2017 team problem.

We look forward to an exciting and memorable year of Odyssey of the Mind at CDS!

MS IGNITEatory

By Chaim Steinberg, Middle School Social Studies


This summer I began a 13-month Teacher Leadership Fellowship at Brandeis University. To list all of the things I learned or am in the process of learning would take too long, but suffice it to say, the program was amazing.

Something that came up a lot in discussion among my colleagues and myself was the idea of Project Based Learning (PBL). As a group, we watched the movie Beyond Measure, which follows a number of different educational institutions as they try to adapt PBL to their curriculum. As soon as the movie was over, I started thinking about how to apply what I had just watched to CDS. We already have a PBL component; it’s called IGNITE. But I was excited to add a little more timeliness and a different kind of structure to the program.

My idea, shamelessly stolen from the movie, was that our PBL opportunities should be structured around solving specific problems, and students need to demonstrate responses that reflect broad, cross-curricular learning. Considering current events this fall, it was an easy decision to ask the students “How do you get elected President of the United States?”

While seemingly direct, there are many different ways students can address the question. Will they look at voting trends and data models? Will they study great speeches and write their own? Will they examine the major issues that faced a candidate in the 1830s and ask whether or not a modern candidate faces any of the same concerns? I’m excited to test this model of IGNITE in the laboratory of a smaller group. I’m sure the students will come up with some incredible ideas and I can’t wait to find out what they will create.

Taking on the presidential election in a Project Based Learning lab

Garden Harvest

By Michal Schachter, Hebrew and Jewish Studies teacher

At CDS we are fortunate to have a beautiful seven-acre campus that includes garden beds with Jewish holiday themes. Last spring, in honor of Shavuot, students in all grades participated in a spring garden planting under the direction of CDS parent and Green Team leader Molly Muffet and with the help of other parent volunteers. They planted cantaloupes, squash, watermelon, green beans, pumpkins, potatoes, and more. On a sunny afternoon this week, with the help of Molly Muffet, students in kindergarten and Grade 4 harvested the butternut squash and pumpkins in the Sukkot Garden, literally seeing the fruits of their labor (and fun) from last spring. If they last, these root vegetables will be used to decorate the CDS Sukkah next month together at an event with the CDS Grandparent Association on Thursday, October 13 (RSVP here).

A bounty of squash and pumpkins was harvested this week from the CDS Sukkot Garden

Stories from the 4th Grade Hallway …

The Memory Box
By Ronit Schulman, Intermediate School Hebrew

When you walk through 2nd floor hallway, you will be surprised by the beautiful display of boxes made by the 4th graders. In my Hebrew class, they read a story titled “Which Is The Most Important Box?”

We discussed how there are many important boxes in the classroom, including the first-aid box, game box, coloring box, and yes, a treat box. But which is the most important? According to the story from our curriculum, the most important box in our class is the Memory Box, which the students guessed correctly is like our brains.

We now look forward to filling our Memory Box will all the Hebrew we learn throughout the school year!

Exodus Comes to Life

By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Walking down the 2nd floor hallway, I noticed some 4th Grade students sitting in small groups. They were talking―at times arguing―but very engaged in what they were doing. I found that they were examining a quote from the narratives in the beginning of the Book of Exodus, which chronicle why the Israelites became enslaved in Egypt.

 
  “Which he did not know”       אשר לא ידע  

The students were trying to figure out what is meant by that sentence and how the medieval Biblical commentator Rashi interpreted it. As I entered Mr. Harris-Gershon’s Jewish Studies classroom, I saw more small groups scattered throughout the room doing the same thing. Very enthusiastically, they explained that they have been assigned their first task as “FBI agents” analyzing the Biblical text. They are working on the problem of why the Torah starts with a sentence which states that the king did not know Joseph.

Mr. H-G brings life and excitement to text study. His students are happy to use the Hebrew and analytical skills that they have developed to investigate and resolve a problem. And their introduction to Torah commentary is one that makes them look forward to the next challenge that will be put in front of them.

Best Laid Plans

By Sarah Glascom Morris, Early Childhood Co-Director

Sometimes you mean to read a Rosh HaShana book, but instead you end up with a marathon barefoot base-running session. At least that’s how we roll in the CDS 3-year-old room.

Today brought us a picture-perfect fall morning, so we decided to enjoy our snack outdoors on the athletic field and then read “Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah” as we start to get ready for the High Holidays. However, during our picnic, Arbel happened to notice the dirt on the baseball diamond was still wet from the morning dew and wanted to see what it felt like.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been inspired by the children’s fascination with water to explore the element in different ways, such as painting with water outside using funnels, flat and cylindrical brushes, plastic syringes, and pipettes. We’ve also incorporated a variety of shovels, rakes, scoopers, and miscellaneous kitchen utensils into the equipment that we use on the natural playground. We decided to follow Arbel’s curiosity to continue these explorations on the baseball field.

Then his friends decided they wanted to see what the wet sand felt like between between their toes. Next thing we knew, shoes were flying off and all of our friends were racing around the bases with abandon. The cries of pure joy were priceless, as we got our morning exercise, learned some things about the properties of dirt, and felt very blessed to be together as a class in such a beautiful place on such a beautiful morning.

 Sometimes the best laid plans of Early Childhood teachers go awry …

Pre-K Upstanders

By Jessica Pindzola, Pre-K Teacher

Morah Lindsey was out of school unexpectedly last week for an appendectomy, but the Pre-K students knew how to handle the situation because in Pre-K we work everyday to be upstanders.

Our substitute Morah Jamie (CDS Class of 2008) needed to learn the ins and outs of our day, so the students showed her what to do. They explained to her how specials work, demonstrated how we walk quietly in the halls, and told her where we go for each class. They showed her where toys go during clean-up and how we all work together to put things away, even if we didn’t create the mess. The students even remembered to pick up the area they were playing in before asking Morah Jamie if they could please take out something else. They worked hard on projects and played hard on the playground. They learned that the best way to keep from missing someone is to have fun while they're gone so you have lots of stories to share with them when you see them next!

Once we found out that Morah Lindsey would be out longer, recovering from surgery, the students began making "I love you" and "We miss you" cards for her. They decided that it would be nice to make a “Welcome Back” poster to hang up in the doorway to greet her when she returned on Wednesday and planned to hug her gently because “her belly hurt.”

We are glad to have Morah Lindsey back and we hope she can return to her full strength quickly. However, when she is at home recovering, we want her to rest easy knowing that the students are up for the challenge of being responsible and ready―as upstanding mensches are―for whatever comes our way. We wish Morah Lindsey a Refuah Shlema!

Pre-K stepped up when Morah Lindsey had to step out

Lions Take The Field

By David Thyberg, Assistant Athletic Director

On any given afternoon throughout the week, you’re likely to see lions out on the beautiful grass field adjoining the Beechwood Boulevard curve at the back of our campus. Not the kind of lions you might see on a safari, though. These are a different breed. Our dedicated student-athletes of CDS have taken to the outdoors, training in the shining sun and listening carefully to their coaches as they pause for water breaks in the shade between drills. Practices have been productive, and now it’s time to put all the skills and teamwork to the test against real competition.

The Girls Soccer team took on Ellis in their season opener this past week, while the Varsity and JV squads faced off against Winchester Thurston in their first league matches. Mr. Helfer and Mrs. Goldblum have prepared the players to exhibit control on the ball and good sportsmanship towards the referees and the opposition. The Lions hustled up and down the field, tried out new positions, and used collective teamwork to meet each challenge head on. Everyone is having fun and looking forward to the next set of matches.

Meantime, CDS Cross Country launched their 2016 campaign with their first meet against Hillel, Ellis, and Shady Side Academy. There were more than 70 runners in attendance, and CDS performed admirably as athletes, as well as hosts for the event. Our school has a tradition of producing spirited runners, and this year is no different. Mr. St. Clair has everyone working in unison, as usual. The 8th Grade class leads the way, as younger students follow in their footsteps. Cross Country may be seen as an individual sport, but the team aspect should not be overlooked. Being part of a united and determined group makes each individual stronger, and it shows in our team performances.

Last, but not least, we have our youngest athletes to acknowledge and encourage. The Little Lions Field Hockey and Running Club continue their training as the school year gets fully underway. Some of these runners will undoubtedly become future Middle School Cross Country members, and it’s great to see everyone developing healthy habits being outdoors and physically active at an early age. As for the field hockey club, participants have been having a blast learning the basics and mastering the fundamentals of play. It’s a tough sport to learn, but the kids are making great strides.

Stay tuned for more news from the CDS athletic department as our fall season progresses. As always, don’t forget to come out and cheer on our student-athletes at their various events. The support is much appreciated. Let’s go Lions!

CDS Lions are on the prowl!

Staff Profile: Nurse Susie Kerr

This fall, we’ve welcomed Susan Kerr (“Nurse Susie”) to the CDS staff. Nurse Susie has her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and school nurse certification from Slippery Rock University. She worked as a staff nurse for more than a decade at Westmoreland Regional Hospital in Greensburg and comes to us after six years at Penn-Trafford School District, where she was a school nurse helping to meet the daily medical needs of more than 500 elementary school students and staff. Susie lives Claridge, Pa. in Westmoreland County with her husband, Jeff, who is an engineer, and their sons, Josh, 15, and Billy, 17, who attend Penn-Trafford High School. We sat down with her to learn more about life and times in the nurse’s office so far at CDS:

Why did you decide to become a nurse? I like to help people. My grandmother was very ill when I was little, and my mom used to take care of her. As I got older, I naturally became a caretaker, too.

What do you enjoy about school nursing? I like the kids, of course. And I like that it’s ‘healthy nursing.’ I see the kids when they are sick obviously, but generally, they are healthy kids, so it is a more pleasant type of nursing than acute care or hospital-based nursing

What’s the biggest challenge in your job?

Paperwork. And I think helping the kids understand the difference between “I’m sick and I have to go home” and “I have a cold and don’t feel 100% but I should still be in school.”

How would you describe your approach to school nursing? I’m here to help the kids stay healthy so that they can learn because ill children can’t learn. My role is to help them when they need it, but also to get them back into the classroom because while you are with me, you aren’t learning which is the point to being here. So I see myself as an adjunct to the learning.

What advice do you have for parents in communicating with the nurse’s office?

If there is a question or concern, my door is always open, especially because I don’t know all of the children or parents at this point.

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Nurse Susie

What have you been excited to learn about CDS so far? I’m excited to learn about the Jewish religion and traditions. I grew up in New Wilmington, Pa., where there is a large Amish population, so learning about beliefs different than my own is something that has always been interesting to me.


What do you do when you aren’t at CDS? What don’t I do?! I’m an American Heart Association CPR instructor and very active in Boy Scouts of America. As a breast cancer survivor, I am a member of a Relay for Life team for the American Cancer Society. I am also a board member for the Penn-Trafford Inline Hockey Club and a health resource for Inferno Hockey. I play piano and I run my kids everywhere! Oh, and we love to camp and kayak.

Alumni Profile: Rachel Haalman Blaufeld

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.

Name: Rachel Haalman Blaufeld

What year did you graduate? 1988

What are you doing now? After receiving a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work, I worked for a number of years in adolescent outpatient therapy. Following that, I managed several entrepreneurial ventures of my own. I received a U.S. Patent for an organizational product that I have since licensed, and I ran (and continue to do so) online media for my blog, Back’nGrooveMom. Over the years, I have combined my social work degree and love of women-owned businesses to coach many women find their own niche.

Currently, I write freelance for many online sites, and I have published a number of titles, both nonfiction and fiction. I’ve also been featured in Tory Johnson’s Spark and Hustle book and Fast Company magazine.

Favorite CDS memory: Israel Trip, 1988. We went during a different time of year—in the springtime, and we experienced Yom Hashoah at Yad Vashem and Yom Haatzmaut while being in Israel. They are both moments that I will never forget.

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What is the biggest impact from having CDS education?
 We were a small group in 1988, and a diverse one at that. I feel as though we came to accept the idea that Jews come in many different “packages” and the feeling of being Jewish is what brought us together.

What do you want to do next as a CDS alum? I love seeing my younger son (CDS K-5) working with various Jewish nonprofits. He really has a Jewish heart, and so I hope to follow in HIS footsteps.

Tell us something silly about you. I LOVE doughnuts. Any kind. Any flavor. Any day—not just on Hanukkah.

Kol Hakavod to …

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Want to say Kol HaKavod to an employee at CDS? Fill out this online form.

Michal Schachter

She helped me so much last year as my mentor and this year as my co-teacher.
Michal is always thinking of others and happily willing to help.

Nicole Lewis

Thank-you for always being so organized and keeping everyone around you organized as well!

Elke Cedarholm

Ms. Cedarholm always greets everyone with a smile and friendly comment.
Thank you for adding so much positivity to our school!  

Vanessa Pfendler
Thank you to Vanessa for continually seeking out creative ways to support teachers. We really appreciate it!

Nosh and Groove Like It’s 1972

Click here to sponsor the gala

Each year, more than 400 members of the CDS family and our friends join together for our Winter Gala fundraiser, helping us to uphold this tradition of excellence and take bold steps to carry our vision forward into the future.

We invite you to support the upcoming CDS Winter Gala, which will be held Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the August Wilson Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. The theme will be “Nosh and Groove like it’s 1972” in celebration of our 45th anniversary year.

So far, we’ve already raised more than $84,000 for the gala. Pledge names received by October 31, 2016 will be included in the gala invitation and newspaper ads, and your early commitment will inspire others to support Community Day School.

Iton is the Hebrew word for newspaper. Since ours is electronic, we call it an E-ton!

Community Day School
An independent Jewish day school educating children age 3 to Grade 8

6424 Forward Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
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