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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.
In the Spring of 2020, the Council for American Private Education (Cape) nominated CESJDS to be a Blue Ribbon School, and was ultimately bestowed the honor by then-U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. 
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. 
The 2019-2020 school year began like most others.  CESJDS launched the Center for Excellence and Engagement in Jewish History, seeking to leverage the outstanding faculty members in of the School's Sara and Samuel J. Lessans Jewish History Department.
The Center for STEM in Jewish Education (CSJE), born during the 2018-2019 school year planned out a full calendar including seven different competitions and programs, including a Rube Goldberg competition, Community Hackathon, and more. 
Our outstanding athletics programs saw a 1st place PVAC championship for the High School Boys Cross Country team; a PVAC championship for the Middle School Girls Basketball team; and 2nd place PVAC finishes for High School Boys and Middle School Girls Cross Country. 
Chicago: High School Edition, the Joan and Marvin Rosenberg High School Musical went off without a hitch, eight students qualified to participate in the Montgomery County Debate League playoff tournament, and the Middle School First Lego League Robotics team had their highest finish ever during a competition in Baltimore. 
The week of March 9 saw a marked shift in CESJDS's operations as the COVID-19 pandemic took over the country and children were no longer learning in person as of March 16. The School quickly pivoted to a full distance learning model for the remainder of the School year. 
Hallmark events such as the 1st grade Yosef and Sima Nagler Haggigat HaSiddur Ceremony, 8th Grade Completion, 8th Grade Civil Rights Capstone, Model Congress, and many others shifted to virtual platforms. The Lion's Tale churned out a multiple podcast episodes and won a Best in SNO award for QuaranTEENed.
The strength and resilience of the student body, faculty, and community as a whole shone through as greater society took this unexpected turn.

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.

2nd graders developed 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 weekly Upper School KabShabs went virtual, featuring performances, D'vrei Torah, artwork, photography and guest performers--yielding hundreds of YouTube hits per week.

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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I just thought it was an amazing opportunity that Shir Madness would cherish and hopefully get closer through that experience.

Ethan Kulp, Class of 2020
via The Lion's Tale on performing at Millennium Stage in December 2019

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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When 200 people show up to a middle school game, it is a tremendous force and you can feel that in the gym. I coach the team to think of it as playing in their backyard; to play calm, level, smart.

Brett Kugler, Middle School Girls Basketball Coach and High School Learning Specialist 
via The Lion's Tale on the team's PVAC Championship

Almost 400 students in grades 6-12 participated 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.
The Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (PVAC) had to act quickly when the pandemic rapidly shut down schools and accompanying activities. Fortunately, the Winter season had concluded, however, the Spring season had just begun, and the anticipation of an exciting and energetic season was reduced to virtual workouts. 
At JDS, sports teams aren’t an exclusive, overly competitive group where students feel pressured to show off or feel embarrassed if they don’t make a team. 

Zach Gross '20

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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, Chicago: High School Edition, went off without a hitch in the Fall of 2019. 
The pandemic unfortunately halted the Barbara and Allan Topol Middle School Musical, Once on This Island, Jr. However, our Middle School students were able to channel their passion for theater into the weekly virtual KabShab productions. 
The Melting Pot (World Languages Magazine) was awarded First Place with Special Merit by the American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA).  
QuaranTEENed, a podcast production of The Lion's Tale, won a Best of SNO award. The podcast also received an honorable mention in NPR's student podcast challenge. 
Addie Bassin, Tess Mendelson, and Arava Rose (all Grade 11), of the Dimensions  yearbook staff, won an honorable mention in the Jostens yearbook Concept Development Contest. 
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 (Class of 2020)

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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 went virtual in the Spring of 2020, along with model sederot, the 1st grade Yosef and Sima Nagler Haggigat HaSiddur Ceremony, the 2nd grade Kabbalot Shabbat, the Aba Marcus and Sara Marcus Fifth Grade Siddur Ceremony and Siyyum.
Celebration of Purim occurred in person just in time before the closure of schools, 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, and the fan-favorite Yom Ha-atzma-ut celebration as transformed into Zoomriyah to celebrate Israel Independence Day.
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

Faculty and staff participated in professional development activities on educational technology, foreign language, website and school communications, visual and performing arts, school leadership, college guidance, enrollment, and more.

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:
40 Years: Sue Zuckerman
30 Years: Betsy Colbert, Freddy Garrett, Evonne Schnitzer
25 Years: Daniella Frieman
20 Years: Carol Kevy, Guadalupe Mejia, Janet Prigal, Reuvane Slater
15 Years: Ebert Vera-Bracamonte, Deborah Feigenson, Hillary Gruber, Nava Oxman-Amichai
10 Years: Sharon Metro, Miriam Stein, Ben Tellie
5 Years: Rogina Bolt, Dara Buchman, Allison Davison, Ricki Farber, Karen Fowler, Ashley Ginsburg, Nanci Henoch, Sivan Krowitz, Salvador Mendez, Jessica Nassau, Shelli Putterman-Kenett, Rebecca Reiser, Daniel Rosenthal, Heidi Tacktill, Melissa Tomanelli, Leandra Wilson, Mollie Wuor
1 Year: Christine Alcoba, Eder Alvarenga-Morales, Donnie Anderson, Ryan Aqui, Liat Arditi Zarouk, Tamar Bar-Ilan, Rabbi Benjamin Barer, Edith Boyar, Aviva Braier, Anna Brunner-Bayer, Matt Cohen, Hannah Braune-Friedman, Katrina Cristwell, Maria C. Cruz, Tamar Gasko, Matthew A. Jacobson, Sharon Krasna, Emma Lucore, Hannah Margolis, Michelle Marquardt, Julie Rezmovic-Tonti, Joanna Robin, Edryce Rogers, Vered Rosen, Joseph Rushfield, Lauren Scheinert, Marc Silberstein, Cindy Shuman, Yael Uhr, Victoria Wagner. Lindsay Young
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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