Q. Do you have to be Jewish to attend CDS?
A. Students may matriculate at CDS if they are Jewish by birth or choice, or if one parent is Jewish or actively engaged in becoming Jewish.
Q. What happens if my child does not know Hebrew?
A. Knowledge of Hebrew is not a prerequisite to attend CDS, including for students transferring in later grades with limited Hebrew background. In each grade, we have learning support in place to meet the needs of each student's level of Hebrew. Starting in 2nd Grade, Hebrew instruction is differentiated within the classroom from beginning to advanced. A pull-out program is provided for those who need even more personalized instruction.
Q. How involved are parents at CDS?
A. CDS has an active Parent Association that coordinates events and initiatives throughout the year to keep parents informed and engaged. Parents can participate in activities at school on a regular basis. We have Room Parents, Parent Ambassadors, and a variety of committees with parent volunteers. Additional opportunities include: volunteering in the classroom, field trip chaperones, Kabbalat Shabbat services, and holiday celebrations.
Q. We do not belong to a synagogue. Will we feel part of the community at CDS?
A. We are truly a Community Day School, open and welcoming to children from across the range of Jewish practice and belief. Our goal is to ensure that all students, regardless of their personal observance, can feel at home at CDS and develop a meaningful connection to and understanding of Judaism. We respect the diversity of observance in the Pittsburgh Jewish community and we are proud that families from such diverse backgrounds feel comfortable at CDS.
Q. Does the time spent on Jewish Studies take away from secular education?
A. No—at CDS you can "have it all." Our hours of instruction in the core subjects of math and language arts are on par, if not greater, than most Pittsburgh-area independent schools. Valuable learning also takes place throughout the day regardless of subject matter. The Hebrew and Jewish Studies program at CDS teaches and reinforces the intellectual skills of questioning, analyzing, and making choices—the very skills needed to succeed in our rapidly changing 21st-century world. Our secular and Hebrew and Jewish Studies curricula bolster each other. Therefore, the high academic achievement of our students in high school and beyond is not surprising. CDS students also consistently score, on average, well above their peers at independent schools nationwide on standardized tests.
Q. Do you have after-school care?
A. Yes. CDS offers an Extended Day program for our students in Early Childhood through Grade 5. The program runs from 3:35 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2:35 to 5 p.m. (4 p.m. November through January because of the early start of Shabbat) on Friday. A healthy, kosher snack and drink, as well as homework time are provided each day. There is an additional charge for Extended Day.
Q. What extracurricular activities do you offer?
A. CDS offers a variety of in-school and after school extracurricular opportunities for all ages. These include athletics in Grades 3 to 8, performing arts, band, Student Council, Middle School Exploratories, academic competitions, community service opportunities, and more.
Q. What sports programs do you offer for students?
A. Almost 90 percent of our Middle School students participate on one or more of our interscholastic sports. Fall sports include co-ed cross country, lacrosse, and soccer. In the winter, we have both boys and girls basketball. Spring sports include co-ed lacrosse, baseball/softball, and track. We also offer a Little Lions sports program for Grades 3 to 5.
Q. Is bus transportation available to and from school?
A. Beginning in Kindergarten, CDS students who live more than 1.5 miles from CDS and live in the City of Pittsburgh are eligible for free bus service via the Pittsburgh Public School system. Students from other school districts such as Plum, McKeesport, Gateway, Woodland Hills, Fox Chapel Area, and others benefit from free school bus service through their respective districts. If you live outside the city, we are happy to help you determine bus availability through your local school district.
Q. Do students bring their lunch or is there a lunch program?
A. A kosher hot lunch is available daily for students who choose to purchase it. Lunches may be purchased on a semester basis daily or only on select days. Students not purchasing school lunch bring a non-meat (dairy, vegetarian, fish) packed lunch from home.
Q. What time does school start and end?
A. Students in kindergarten to Grade 8 begin their day at 7:55 a.m. and end at 3:35 p.m. On Friday, in honor of Shabbat, the school day ends at at 2:35 p.m. Extended Day has core hours from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Friday with the option to extend to regular school hours.
Q. What is the acceptance process?
A. Each applicant submits an application and provides historical data specific to the grade level of entry. Applicants for our Early Childhood program and Kindergarten participate in a Readiness Assessment Visit to interact with teachers and Admission staff. Applicants in Grades 1 to 8 visit the school for a day in a peer-level classroom and are assessed during their visitation by the grade-level teachers and Admission staff.
Q. Do siblings get special consideration?
A. Qualified siblings get first priority for available spots, but must fulfill the same admission criteria as non-sibling applicants.
Q. Do you offer tuition assistance and how do we apply?
A. Robust tuition assistance is available to qualifying families. Please go to our Tuition Assistance page for more information and links to apply.
Q. Will an applicant needing tuition assistance receive the same consideration for admission as a family not applying for financial aid?
A. Absolutely. Applications for tuition assistance are kept confidential and are not handled by the Admission Office.
Q. When will we be notified of the school’s decision?
A. Decision letters for applications received by the due date are mailed in the beginning of February. Applications received after the due date will be evaluated as soon as all application materials are received.