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At School

CESJDS is a premier JK-12 Jewish day school with an international reputation for academic excellence and a vibrant pluralistic community guided by Jewish values.
 
CESJDS  was bestowed as a Blue Ribbon School by then-U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos in the fall of 2020. 
 
The National Blue Ribbon Schools program has honored and recognized exemplary American public and private elementary, middle, and high schools since 1982 and is run through the U.S. Department of Education. 
Regardless of the challenges that were presented during the 2020-2021 school year, CESJDS students flourished and were able to resume many of the programs and activities that were paused for many months (be it in-person or virtual). 
 
CESJDS was named one of fourteen national “press freedom” schools. JDS was recognized for supporting, teaching and protecting First Amendment rights “and responsibilities of students and teachers, with an emphasis on student-run media where students make all final decisions of content.”
 
CESJDS students earned 90 total National Spanish Exam medals and honor certificates, 21 of them gold. 
 
The school became the Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) network K-12 school for the DC Metro area.  As a TOM school, we will be fostering STEM and social entrepreneurship among our own students and students across the area through events and club activities, particularly focused on high school but also involving elementary and middle school-aged students.
 
CESJDS forged a partnership with Ramah Day Camp of Washington, D.C. to help with their STEM offerings for Summer 2021. STEM Center faculty and fellows led a variety of STEM activities over multiple days. The school's virtual partnership with National Ramah continued with a Coding Club. 

Wellness-Palooza took place distanced and outside at the Upper School including physical and mental wellness activities. 
 

Rigorous Academics

Our daughters found supportive teachers who have gone above and beyond to help them succeed. We have found an administration that is responsive and generous with their time. Whether it is the middle school science fair, the high school guidance office, or the outstanding college counseling services, we are always impressed with our interactions
with the CESJDS community.

Erika Dickstein and Todd Rosenberg 
Parents of Yael (Grade 9) and Lily '20

Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and dual-language communication skills are CESJDS’s core objectives for each student. Our unique approach of emphasizing inquiry, logical reasoning, and interpersonal relationships, is adapted from Jewish learning from thousands of years ago, i.e. Midrash, Talmud, Hevruta (partner learning), and interpretation, and is combined with 21st-century learning. No matter where a CESJDS student is on their JK-12 journey, he or she is inspired to make connections across the curriculum in fun and engaging ways.

A few highlights include:

  • 2nd graders developing an appreciation for the value of money during their online Economy unit.
  • 6th graders were treated to a 'Skype a Scientist' series, where they expanded their vision of how they might use science in their lives.
  • The high school Rendering Legal Decisions ADV class presented halachic decisions, based in research and precedent, answering three distinct questions: 
    • Is it appropriate to cancel school for Christmas?
    • Can you stop services if there is an animal (i.e. mouse) in the room?
    • Is violence ever justified to make change?  
JDS provides our children with a great education and an atmosphere which allows them to grow and express their individuality in a warm and safe environment.

Kira and Jules Bricker
Parents of Hannah (Class of 2031) and Selena (Class of 2029)

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Arts

It started out as a dream, but now…I’m searchable.

Shiri Cohen (Grade 9)
on releasing her own E.P. and a love of music that started at CESJDS

Our faculty translates the Arts into subject areas including science, literary arts, prayer, identity, and history.  Art and design education value the transformative impact art can have on learning.  
 
Faculty members maintain active professional involvement with the latest research in art education--collaboration, discussion/critique, initiative/self-motivation, focus, leadership, preparedness, polish and craftsmanship, and risk taking.  
We don’t consider Art to be an “extra,” but instead a critical part of a student’s learning and development at CESJDS. 

Jessie Nathans, Middle School Art Instructor

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Athletics

Because of the past year, you don’t really think about track and how you’re doing in the meets compared to the other teams. You just kind of think about your own goals.

Ethan Safra (Grade 9)
via The Lion's Tale on the Spring 2021 Track season

In a typical year, almost 400 students in grades 6-12 participate in athletics across 39 teams, spanning 12 sports at the Middle School, Junior Varsity, and Varsity levels. CESJDS participates in the PVAC with 13 other independent schools in the Washington Metro area.
 
The Middle School athletic program is unique in that students in grades 6-8 have their own teams across 8 different sports, thus allowing for playing time and maximum skill development.
In the absence of interscholastic play for more than half the year, CESJDS continued with outdoor practices and scrimmages. Approximately 75% of middle school students participated in CESJDS's outdoor athletics. Athletes, both middle and high school alike, continued to train and condition outside of school. 
JDS athletes are so dedicated and they show up and work hard. I think it says a lot about the character of our teams that they are willing to try new things to be successful and move forward. 

Edie Boyar, Swim Team Coach

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Extracurricular

I can think back on a number of seniors auditioning, and remembering them audition in middle school, and about how far they’ve come.

Dr. David Solomon, Debra Herman Berger Director of Arts Education
via The Lion's Tale on high school musical auditions 

Lower and Upper School students are proactive in participating in after-school activities, some affiliated with CESJDS, some not. Theater, publication, athletic, and community service activities help develop confident, compassionate thinkers who engage the world through Jewish values. 
 
The Joan and Marvin Rosenberg High School Musical, Broadway Unmasked, paid homage to musical theater and was produced virtually. 
 
The pandemic unfortunately halted the Barbara and Allan Topol Middle School Musical, however, our Middle School students were able to channel their passion for theater into the weekly virtual KabShab productions. 

The Melting Pot earned First Place with Special Merit AND Most Outstanding Foreign Language Magazine for 2020. 

The Lion’s Tale was named a Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Finalist. 

Dimensions, the Upper School yearbook, received an honorable mention in the Jostens Concept Development Contest 

The Lion’s Tale podcast, QuaranTEENed received an honorable mention in NPR’s student podcast challenge and won a Best of SNO award. Addie Bassin (Grade 12) and Jonathan Morris (Grade 12) created the show.  

 
 
It is truly a joy to see our children encouraged to explore, learn, and go above and beyond the curriculum to pursue their interests interests. 

Wendi and Jeff Sager 
Parents of Josh (Class of 2025) and Danny '20

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Jewish Life

I love that CESJDS is forming the next generation of modern Jewish leaders.

Rachell Bitton
Parent of Eilah (Class of 2021), Gaby (Class of 2024), Nili (Class of 2026), Hillel (Class of 2028), Sa'Adiah (Class of 2030)

Jewish Life at CESJDS provides infinite opportunities for our students to live the School’s core values. We celebrate tradition, spirituality, and community. Students on both campuses come together to commemorate holidays and other important days on the Jewish calendar. Each student is encouraged to create their own Jewish journey, and develop an individualized relationship with tradition and practice. 
Lower School students experience a division-wide monthly Kabbalat Shabbat, lead by Rabbi Bellas, Hamorah Sue, and two 5th grade students, including song, dance, recognizing of holidays, and more. This eagerly anticipated event continued virtually during the 2020-2021 school year to allow for social distancing, however, model sederot, the 1st grade Yosef and Sima Nagler Haggigat HaSiddur Ceremony, the 2nd grade Kabbalot Shabbat, and the Aba Marcus and Sara Marcus Fifth Grade Siddur Ceremony and Siyyum resumed in person.
 
Celebration of Purim occurred in a socially distant fashion including spirit week, carnivals, reading of the M'gillah, and a plethora of creative costumes across the grades, as well as faculty and staff.
 
The Upper School's weekly KabShabs were celebrated with videos of D'vrei Torah, performances, and other forms of entertainment. The annual Yom HaShoah vigil was held via livestream. 
 
 
 
We love that Yaeli is having a full Jewish experience, learning, socializing, and celebrating.

Tova Rubin
Parents of Yaeli (Class of 2024)

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Faculty & Staff

I love the way the teachers focus on helping each child succeed.

Jacob Einhorn
Parent of Josh (Class of 2023)

Several faculty and staff reached important milestones in services to CESJDS. We thank them for their commitment, dedication, and the many ways they provide support to our students, parents, and the entire CESJDS community:
 
25 Years: Talya Edery, Melissa Fisanich, Janet Ozur Bass
 
20 Years: John Watkins-Chow, Mira Mordfin, MollyBeth Rushfield, Sue Marx, Nitza Avrahami, Beth Gershman, Hadas Heyman
 
15 Years: Essivi Messan, Brett Kugler, Adrienne Hiatt, Gretchen Gobin, Beth Poston
10 Years: Rebecca Silberman, Carl Atwood, Allison Davison, Michal Friedman, Deby Kijak, Moran Assaf-Blustein, Aviva Gershman, Mirele Kessous, Kimberly Wilkins

5 Years: Staci Koester, Jody Tuohey, Wendi Kaplan, Aliza Libman, Patricia Gradel, Maryana Harouni, Rachel Meytin, Natasha Oksenhendler Jennifer Rittberg, Leslie Ashman, Lynn Harris, Cassandra Batson, Ety Edery
 
1 Year: Gabriella Pilarski, Benjamin Shedlo, Sam Rubin, Tanesha Myles-Anderson, Tatyana Pidgurskaya, Gary Prince, Victoria Simonetti, Ajifatou Kassama, Rebecca Meron, Michal Safra-Yaari, Helen Silder, Jennifer Sisco, Gilah Barker, Lina Kesner, Lorena Perellon-Calvo, Omer Rosen, Noah Stoler, Jacob Winkelman, Jeniffer O'Brien, Rachel Uram
We love that our son feels proud to be a member of the JDS community--from the warm welcome he receives each morning in the carpool line to his amazing teachers who have supported his academic and social growth to the focus on Jewish values.

Natalie and Ethan Selzer 
Parents of Benjamin (Class of 2031)

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