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

Shevatim (Tribes)

Part of Community Day School’s ongoing commitment to the social and emotional development of our students is our innovative Shevatim (Tribes) program. This initiative, created in conjunction with our Mensch Project (a research-based positive behavioral support program), brings together students from each grade and staff on alternate Fridays to either celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat as a community or to participate in team-building educational activities. All students 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 interact with their “tribal elders” (our faculty and staff) who facilitate activities and act as mentors for the students in their tribes.



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, the Mensch Project is an evidence-based, data-driven program to maximize academic engagement and improve student behavior outcomes. "Mensch" is the Yiddish word to describe a person of integrity and honor. In the first month of school, students are taught the set of expectations at CDS that fall under the categories of being "Ready, Respectful, and Responsible" and have the opportunity to practice these "menschy" behaviors. They are then rewarded for displaying these behaviors with Mensch Cards—pieces of paper that provide a token, but tangible reward for doing good deeds or following the school's expectations. Mensch Cards are used as positive reinforcement for doing the right thing, and their distribution (as well as consequences for non-ideal behaviors) are carefully tracked. Our Mensch Project also includes a group recognition for the tribes whose members routinely go above and beyond what is expected of them, and who stand out as “upstanders." Typically, the reward for these tribes is a dress-down day, which is announced with great anticipation every other week at full-school Kabbalat Shabbat.


Watch a video about the Mensch Project!

I didn’t know what it felt like to belong somewhere, to belong to a community, until I spent time at CDS. If I had gone to any other school, I don’t think I ever could have gotten as far as I am now. As a person, as a student, as a young woman, and as a Jew. I don’t think any school could’ve been my home like CDS was.

- Bella Markovitz, Class of 2014

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Community Day School | 6424 Forward Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 | 412-521-1100 |


Community Day School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid and loan programs, athletics, activities, or other school-administered programs.