Biweekly e-newsletter of Community Day School
7 September 2017
In this issue:
Light Shabbat candles - 7:21 p.m.
Shabbat ends - 8:37 p.m.
New on the calendar:
Head of School Message
I could not be more excited to share the news that we begin the 2017-2018 academic year with 20 new students in Grades 1-8 and nearly full classrooms in our Early Childhood Program. Much of our increasing enrollment is thanks to your positive word-of-mouth. Our recent Parent Satisfaction Survey, with more than 70% of our parents responding, showed that more than 98% of current parents would recommend Community Day School to other families.
In our next ETON, I plan to share with you our Parent Survey results and the priorities we’ve set in response to your voices. But for today, as our heads and hearts are filled with the sights and sounds of the first two weeks of school, I am eager to take a moment to reflect on what I think is behind stunningly positive parent feedback and increasing excitement about our school.
Last week, during the first days of school, teachers and students spent time establishing classroom norms. What does it take to be part of a class and school community? How do we want to be heard? How do we want to listen? We did this in our professional development time with our teaching faculty before the students arrived, setting protocols for our professional learning community. And it’s been happening in classrooms since day one. First we lay the groundwork for our social community, and through that, we lay the foundation for our learning community.
Mindful and Menschful. Marketing gurus spend a lot of time creating tag lines and missions and messages. But sometimes, most of the time, kids come up with the best lines, and they don’t require consultant fees! Kids’ lines come from their hearts, and they speak the truth. If you asked me for two words that capture my dream for our community of CDS learners (big and small), I could not have captured it better.
Mindful and Menschful. If our students are coming home learning to be mindful and menschful individuals, then CDS parents are seeing our shared efforts reflected in those characteristics. And that’s why we’re feeling so much love coming back at us from all of you!
I will leave you to discuss, over the dinner table, what the terms “mindful and menschful” mean in your family. It is a great conversation to have leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is a great conversation to have in this year of escalating division and turmoil in our country. It is a great conversation to have as we raise these young people to be educated Jews and citizens whose actions will have consequences in a world that desperately needs them to bring their mindful and menschful selves into positions where they can steer the conversation.
And, as we have those conversations, let’s remember that the expectations for being mindful and menschful came from Mrs. Scearce’s 3rd grade classroom.
I know I am going to try every day to live up to our 3rd graders’ expectations. And I know that I work in a place where I will not be alone in trying.
The sounds of Drum Olam rang in the first day of school here at CDS
Up Ahead At CDS
Market Research Study Kicking Off
Over the coming weeks, current families and friends of CDS might be contacted by someone from the school or Measuring Success asking for your participation in a survey or interview session. Or, you may be asked to help our team connect the researchers to your friends or acquaintances who may not be considering CDS for their children’s schooling. We know your schedules are busy and we greatly appreciate your participation where needed in this work that is vitally important to the future of our school.
Back To School News Roundup
First Weeks of Firsts
By Sarah Glascom-Morris, 3-Year-Old Lead Teacher and Early Childhood Co-Director
Throughout the year, the 3-year-olds will engage in a blend of planned and spontaneous experiences, and we'll document the journeys along the way. During our first weeks of school, the flow in our classroom has been intentionally open-ended, allowing everyone to explore and engage at their own paces. As educators, our primary objectives have been to make the children feel welcomed and safe, and to begin forming relationships based on trust and respect. We know how intimidating it is to come into a new situation, and it's very important to us that the children (and their parents!) are comfortable—and comforted—as they adjust to infinite newness.
The newest CDS 3-year-olds just began an incredible journey of growth and discovery
Learning From The Mess
By Lindsey Shope, Early Childhood Co-Director
As we start the school year, we are learning about our new classroom. Important questions always seem to arise, such as “How do we clean our classroom?” Because we are all building the Pre-K class together, the teachers asked the kids to join us in our “Bayit” (home) to help clean with two questions in mind.
When the group found a stethoscope in the sink, they were unsure what to do with it. Neta suggested putting it in the basket, “It goes in here. I saw it there before.” Ollie pointed out, “It’s a doctor thing.” Felix supported this by adding, “It goes with the doctor stuff.” It became clear that we all were putting things away in different spots for different reasons. Which lead us to a new question. “How do we decide where everything goes?”
The class was eager to come up with solutions. Josie explained, “If you don’t know where stuff goes, someone needs to tell you.” This lead to our first idea to have a “Clean Up Teacher.” Addison brought another important thought to the discussion. If you don’t know where something goes, “We can think about it.” Now we had two ideas to explore. Eliana had one more possible solution to add to our list. “We write a sign down, so they know where stuff goes that tells people where stuff goes.”
With three great solutions to explore, the class will take time together to find the best answer to our questions. We will be sure to keep you all updated as we discuss our success and setbacks in this process. What cleanup methods do you use at home? We would love to share them in our class.
In our Reggio Emilia-inspired Pre-K, even daily chores are an opportunity for child-driven learning
MyMath Comes to Lower School
By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Over the past few months, Lower School math teachers worked together with Grades 4-8 math teachers Tekla Hilton and Leslie Frischman to develop a plan for better aligning our math instruction across all academic divisions.
Last year, Ms. Hilton and Mrs. Frischman identified a need for resources beyond those offered by our Everyday Mathematics curriculum for differentiation, enrichment, and managing student achievement data. They methodically evaluated several alternative curricula, and in 2016-2017, they chose to pilot the MyMath program in Grades 4 and 5. After a successful year of using this curriculum in our Intermediate School, Grades 2 and 3 will pilot MyMath in the Lower School this year.
Developed by McGraw-Hill Education, MyMath rigorously approaches the study of mathematics by: 1) giving students a hands-on way to understand a concept (concrete learning), 2) teaching them a “pencil-and-paper” (abstract) approach to a concept, and 3) challenging students to use their critical-thinking skills to apply a new concept they’ve learned through literary exercises and real-world problem-solving. Both natural math learners and those who find math more challenging will have more strategies in their toolbox that they can use to approach a problem through this curriculum that encourages “productive struggling” for deep, authentic command of mathematical concepts.
Along with taking advantage of many online training opportunities, our teachers participated in a full day of MyMath training during our professional development week in August. They are ready for an exciting new year as we transition to this new math curriculum and look forward to sharing more information on Back To School Night on Thursday, September 14.
2nd and 3rd graders have started digging into their new MyMath curriculum
By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies
As a new year begins, we all look forward to what it will bring. New teachers, new rooms, new materials, and new expectations. Along with all the new, it is always comforting to have some things that don't change, things on which we can count. For our returning Lower School students, comfort came at the start of the year with passing by kindergarten and 1st Grade teachers waiting in the hallway of the 1st floor, greeting former students and welcoming their new students. With the sound of the first bell, tefillah brought the familiar sounds and melodies of prayer to the building.
Of all the mitzvot observed at Community Day School, tefillah (prayer/services) is the one that most directly nurtures and promotes the spiritual growth of our students. Toward this end, each child participates in a daily service geared to their developmental level.
Of course, with the new year also comes the month of Elul, where at CDS you can count on being able to test your skill in blowing the shofar during tefillah. Every day during the month of Elul, as a “wake-up” reminder for Rosh Hashana, our students get to hear the shofar. Students are welcome to bring in a shofar and see how long they can hold a Tekia G'dolah. Some students have found that a year older does make a big difference when it comes to their lung power! Ask your child what the current CDS record is for blowing shofar (and who holds the record), and they will probably know the answers!
Friday was our first full-school Kabbalat Shabbat and Spirit Day, with all of our students coming together in the Ulam Sport for a joyous and inspirational morning service. Join us at 8 a.m. on the first school Friday of every month for this not-to-be-missed experience with your children.
Reflecting on the old and welcoming the new...we look forward to a wonderful year together!
New beginnings and comforting traditions are both part of Jewish learning in Lower School
Just Getting Started
Last Tuesday, the 4th Grade Class of 2022 made the leap from Lower School to Intermediate School. Butterflies about 4th Grade quickly turned into excitement, as students learned more about how Intermediate School works. They spent the morning of the first day of school learning how to navigate their schedules and how to organize and label their school supplies with the help of their IS teachers.
One week later, the 4th graders are navigating their new schedules with confidence. Many students are enjoying the new responsibility of walking independently from class to class in the IS hallway. What else do students LOVE about 4th Grade so far? Answers include having two lockers, having classes with a lot of different kids in the 4th Grade, rotating to different teachers for each subject, and getting to participate in all kinds of IS clubs this year such as Drama Club, Math Olympiad, and Junior Student Council!
Something else that the 4th graders have experienced this week is their first exposure to Growth Mindset. Mr. H-G presented a mini-lesson on this topic last week, and the students are already showing that they grasp this concept. Growth Mindset is a way of thinking that includes some of the following ideas: failure is not a permanent condition, mistakes should be celebrated, effort and strategy are usually more important than talent and ability, and you can actually get smarter by trying something really hard, failing at it, and then trying again with a different strategy and more effort. This week, Mr. H-G will be talking to the 4th graders about neuroplasticity and how they use Growth Mindset to literally “retrain” their brains.
It is exciting to finally get the new school year underway and welcome our newest students to Intermediate School. Their first steps have been confident and in the right direction. And they are just getting started!
4th graders are using their newly learned Growth Mindset to navigate the exciting challenges and opportunities that Intermediate School brings
Something To Tweet About
Did you know that Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, and Katy Perry have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of Germany, South Africa, Turkey, Canada, Argentina and Egypt? Did you know that Twitter co-founder Evan Campbell wanted to name the company “Friendstalker”? Creepy. Did you know that that little blue bird has a name? His name is Larry, after Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird. Finally, I’ll bet you didn’t know that of the 500 million worldwide tweets per day, the word “Starbucks” is tweeted at least 10 times per second.
Well even if you don’t know a hashtag from a pound sign or a tweet from a retweet, that’s OK! What you do need to know is that Twitter is a fun and convenient way to keep up with what’s going on in our Intermediate School. Several members of the IS team are on Twitter, and I tweet an “Intermediate School Photo of the Day.” Our 4th and 5th graders are doing some pretty cool things throughout the day and following a few of the IS teachers on Twitter will give you instant access to photos and videos of your kids in action. 4th Graders giving “TED Talks” in Social Studies? Tweet. IS kids planning an event in Jr. Student Council? Tweet. A 5th Grade “Dance Party” to get ready for a Math test? Tweet. You get the idea!
Click here for a full list of CDS teachers on Twitter, and I promise that you will be pleasantly surprised by what our 4th and 5th Graders are up to every day. It is definitely something to tweet about!
Follow our IS teachers on Twitter to get real-time information about what’s happening in our classrooms!
Hitting the Wall
In life, we all face challenges. Some of these obstacles seem insurmountable, especially if we try to overcome them by ourselves. Last week, the 6th graders learned this lesson in a unique and meaningful way. Faced with the challenge of getting all 26 class members over the top of a 10-foot wall, several students said: “I can’t” or “I won’t.” However, by applying teamwork, encouragement, and a growth mindset, every single student made it over the wall! This was a special moment in a memorable week for the Class of 2020.
Last week, the new 6th graders were welcomed into the CDS Middle School with two different special activities that they will remember for years to come. Last Wednesday started with a special Tefillah service for our Middle School students. During the service, the Class of 2020 participated in our annual “6th Grade Moving Up Ceremony.” Many of their parents were in attendance to see each student called to the front of the Ulam K’lalee to receive a new siddur. The Intermediate School siddurim will now be placed lovingly on a shelf, and these new Middle Schoolers will use their new siddurim for many years to come.
The next morning, the students boarded a bus and were whisked off to the JCC Family Park in Monroeville. The fun started with low ropes team-building initiatives led by myself, Mr. Steinberg, and Ms. Williams. The students took on the challenge of the “The Wall,” "The Fidget Ladder," "Nitro Crossing," and "The Human Ladder.” The class solved the challenges in different ways, but they worked together as a team to accomplish their goals.
After all the team building, the kids enjoyed a delicious lunch of hot dogs, chips, fruit. Who knew that Mr. Steinberg was a Food Network-worthy grill master? After cleaning up, everyone was off to the pool for some fun in the sun. Everyone had a blast, and the Class of 2020 also learned how to work as a team.
Welcome to Middle School, Class of 2020!
Democracy in Action
The election process began when MS students voluntarily joined MS Student Council and then requested a reference form 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 this process is when the creative campaign signs begin to populate the walls and doors of the MS hallway. One of my favorites from last year was a large photo of a Koala Bear, with the caption: “Vote 4 Me. I have all of the Koalafacations.” Another fun one 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 will exercise their right to vote by filling out a secret ballot. Of course, the students will wait with anticipation until the winners are announced the following day. Our new officers will help guide our student government organization with things like: the All-School Pink Out, MS Penny Wars (for Breast Cancer Research), Thanksgiving Food Drive, Winter Dance, Purim Door Decorating Contest, Spirit Days/Purim, the Children’s Village (Karmiel) Fundraiser, Teacher Appreciation Week, Passover Food Drive, plan the PSAC District Conference Fall Conference (which will be here at CDS on Friday, October 27), Spring Dance, and the 8th Grade Clap Out. A special thank you to our MS STUCO Advisors (and PASC Advisors of the Year) Ronit Pasternak and Jackie Goldblum. Stay tuned for more information about what MS STUCO is up to in future issues of the ETON!
Student Council elections will be held next week
The Heart Of The Matter
We have all watched medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and ER on TV. But how realistic are those shows? Recently, Ms. Ison and nine CDS MS students found out the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to open heart surgery. Our students and their science teacher traveled to Allegheny General Hospital during the last week of summer break to observe a triple coronary bypass surgery. The students were literally on the edge of their seats as they watched the surgeon remove a blood vessel from the patient’s leg that would be used to bypass the blockage. Not only did the students have a great view from the observation balcony, but the surgeon had a camera on his glasses, so that they could see every detail of the surgery in HD!
One of the representatives from AGH was impressed as our students identified all of the different parts of the beating heart on the video screen. The 8th graders in the group had dissected a sheep’s heart in 7th Grade Biology, and they were discussing the similarities and differences to the patient’s heart. Student Noa P. that her favorite part was “when the surgeon came up and spoke with the group while a resident was finishing up the sutures. He answered so many questions, and it was really interesting when he explained what he was doing during different parts of the surgery.” Fortunately, the patient is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery. What an amazing way to start the school year!
These fortunate MS scientists had the opportunity to observe an open heart surgery
We are “Better Together” in 2017-2018
We are beginning our third year of the Better Together program here at CDS. This program matches our 6th and 7th graders with residents of the various senior facilities operated by the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA) in Squirrel Hill. I held meetings over the summer with representatives of the JAA to plan programming for the upcoming year. We decided that the students and the residents would take a more active role this year in planning their time together, especially with the more experienced 7th Grade. Toward that end, on September 13, a JAA staff member will be meeting with the 7th Grade to set up a student planning committee that will work with the residents to plan programs for the entire year.
On September 26, the JAA will be sending a couple of representatives to introduce the 6th Grade students to the significant disabilities many seniors face as they age—declining vision, arthritic hands and limbs, etc. This excellent program has been introduced before, with dramatic results. The students are given glasses smeared with Vaseline to simulate trying to see and read with cataracts. Fingers are bound together to simulate arthritis, and the students are then asked to pick up small objects. Other “hands-on” activities are introduced as well, all designed to build compassion as they show the students how difficult it can be to perform even the simplest tasks as disabilities develop with age
After this initial meeting, other meetings have been planned for the fall trimester, including a holiday component and a “getting to know you” meeting with the seniors. CDS looks forward to another mutually beneficial year with our friends at the JAA!
CDS Middle School students and JAA residents are “Better Together”
Off To The Races
By David Thyberg, Assistant Athletic Director
The CDS fall sports season kicks off as we enter the new 2017-2018 school year. As usual, kids can expect a bevy of fun sporting experiences full of challenges and triumphs. All Middle School and 5th Grade Step Up students are welcome to join in the after-school athletics through proper registration, and there’s been a great turnout thus far. It’s only the second week of classes, but the Lions are already warmed up and off to the races!
We are pleased to announce the appointment of our newest Cross Country coach, Ms. Kyle Ison. When she’s not teaching Middle School Science, she likes to spend her time training in many capacities. In her own words, “I am excited to be the new Cross Country coach as I start my 5th year as a Community Day School teacher. During my time at CDS, I have assisted with both the Middle School and Little Lions XC and track teams. My love for running began when I joined the U.S. Army more than eight years ago. Since then, I have run eight half-marathons and numerous 5K and 10K races. I look forward to developing a love for running within the students who join the XC team and growing their skills. Together we will have a great season!”
The Middle School Soccer team has started their training with a new, but familiar face at the helm. CDS parent and veteran local club coach Kevin Shevitz brings some new practice techniques and a whole lot of team spirit to the field on Beechwood. As he puts it, “I coach several teams in the area. I’m also a CDS parent and a physical education teacher at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy. I’m looking forward to working with your children this season and sharing my knowledge and passion for the game.”
The Lions Soccer Step-Up squad will be looking extra fresh in their brand-new uniforms this year. Thanks to some hard work from the athletics administration and some great fundraising by our Institutional Advancement department, we were able to purchase custom jerseys with appropriate sizes for our youngest competitors. They may be small in stature, but they’re big on heart!
It’s going to be a great fall season for all CDS student athletes. We look forward to seeing parents and supporters in attendance and games and meets. Don’t forget to follow the action on Twitter @CDS_Sports and stay tuned to team e-mails for all the latest updates and information. Let’s go Lions!
The first soccer games will take place at home next Tuesday, September 12 starting at 3:45 p.m. against Falk, and save the date for the first Cross Country meet on the road at 4 p.m. September 19 vs. Sewickley.
Back To School Blast
Special thanks to all the CDS parent volunteers who made the Labor Day Back to School Blast such a success, with new friends and old joining together for an afternoon of fun at the JCC Family Park in Monroeville. If we had to bid an official goodbye to summer, it was the perfect way to see it go …
We had a BLAST at the CDS Parent Association Back to School Blast!
Keeping Tabs Twilight Tour
By Jenny Jones, Director of Institutional Advancement
More than 125 CDS alumni, parents, neighbors, and other friends gathered on a recent late-summer evening for a Twilight Tour of the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs: A Holocaust Sculpture.
The event began with a wine and cheese reception with beautiful violin music played by CDS alum Naomi Frim-Abrams, followed by a welcome from Head of School Avi Munro. Retired CDS history teacher Bill Walter then recounted to a captivated audience the extraordinary story of the collection of the tabs in the Sculpture over more than a decade (watch his talk). Current CDS Social Studies teacher Chaim Steinberg spoke about cycles in history and our obligation to raise our voices to heed the Keeping Tabs Sculpture's clarion call of "never again,” particularly in the wake of the Charlottesville incident (watch his talk).
It was a powerful and moving evening, with a candle-lighting ceremony at sunset by the Tuckfelts, CDS alumni parent State Rep. Dan Frankel, Board President Debbie Resnick, Bill and Cheryl Walter, and Holocaust survivors Harry Schneider and Moshe Baran. Keeping Tabs student docents Niv Loberant and Sophia Levin also led guided tours of the Sculpture for all of the guests.
You can be part of the legacy at Keeping Tabs by sponsoring a commemorative paver stone ($180) in the pathway around the Sculpture or a glass block ($500) filled with tabs. In doing so, your name or that of a loved one will be forever etched into our history. It's a wonderful way to commemorate lifecycle events and milestones and to memorialize or honor treasured individuals. Please click here to become a sponsor today, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-521-1100, Ext. 3207 for more information.
The Keeping Tabs Twilight Tour was a powerful evening of remembrance and reflection
Alumni Profile: Evan Perilstein
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!
Every year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh helps us get vital tuition assistance money through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). We are partnering with the Jewish Federation to identify companies willing to participate in this program and we need your help.
For more information about how to benefit from the EITC program, visit comday.org/giving/eitc.
Kol Hakavod to …
Thank you to Leslie for keeping Simchas and Such so organized. We all benefit from the time and energy you spend on this program.
The new art work in the Ulam K'lalee is so wonderful and inspiring, especially since it is from our own students.
Jackie Goldblum, Chaim Steinberg, and the PLC Leadership Team
A huge thank you to the PLC team for inspiring all of us to stretch ourselves to become better educators. It is very exciting to know that the PLC will help our outstanding faculty be more intentional about our growth and professional development!
Iton is the Hebrew word for newspaper. Since ours is electronic, we call it an E-ton!
Community Day School
6424 Forward Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
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