Skip To Main Content













Landing Nav


Shevatim & The Mensch Project

Students celebrating at outdoor Kabbalat Shabbat

Shevatim (Tribes) | שבטים

Our innovative Shevatim (Tribes) program fosters a strong sense of community, connection, and shared values among students and faculty.

Student and teacher high-five during Shevet time

Similar to a school "house system," all students and staff are assigned to a Shevet, or Tribe, at the beginning of their CDS experience. These Shevatim, named for the Twelve Tribes of Israel, give our students an opportunity to mentor younger students, learn from older students, and build meaningful relationships with their “tribal elders.” 

12 Tribes of CDS: Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, and Zebulun

Shevatim engage in a wide range of activities together throughout the year, including team-building exercises, community service projects, and educational programs centered around Jewish traditions and values. 

Students across grades work together on a drawing project in their Shevet

The Mensch Project

The Shevatim program works in conjunction with our Mensch Project, a school-wide positive behavioral support program developed in partnership with education researchers at Duquesne University.

This evidence-based, data-driven program aims to maximize academic engagement, improve student behavior outcomes, and teach Jewish values.

"Mensch" is the Yiddish word to describe a person of integrity and honor. Students are rewarded for exemplifying positive Jewish values (Middot) with Mensch Cards—pieces of paper that provide a token, but tangible reward for demonstrating these virtues.

Example of a Mensch Card used at CDS

Mensch Cards are used as positive reinforcement for doing the right thing, and their distribution is carefully tracked. The Shevet that earns the most Mensch Cards each month is rewarded with a dress-down day, which is announced with great anticipation at Family Kabbalat Shabbat.