The Official Blog of Denver Jewish Day School

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Faculty Profile - Get to know Ashley Landow
  • Upper Division

I work at Denver JDS because it combines two things I love to do, working in the office environment and working with kids. This school gives so many opportunities to grow as a person and grow within my religion!

Teacher Profile - Get to know Ms. Sprayregen
  • Lower Division

I felt an immediate sense of community as soon as I walked through the front doors of Denver JDS. Fostering a supportive and warm community forms the very foundation of my teaching practice and philosophy so I knew Denver JDS was going to be an excellent fit for me!

Meet the Jacobs Family
  • Lower Division
  • Outside the Classroom
  • Upper Division

We would recommend Denver JDS to other families because of its mission of providing a program strong in both social-emotional and academic training and because of Denver JDS’ amazingly warm, inviting and inclusive community.  Thanks to all of you for making this a smooth transition for us!

Teacher Profile - Get to know Mrs. Woods
  • Upper Division

I chose to leave my last school to come to Denver JDS because I believe in Jewish Education, I believe that students are amazing no matter where they are, and because I have wanted to teach at Denver JDS for many years. This was the perfect time to come to Denver JDS.

Faculty Profile - Get to know Samantha Raizen Walsh
  • Alumni
  • Lower Division
  • Upper Division

I love the community here - both from my days as a student, and now! I have so much faith in the school leadership and knew from my earliest conversations with them that everyone is here to help raise and educate our Jewish children. I am so thrilled to be part of that!

Teacher Profile - Get to know Ms. Schafer
  • Lower Division

I work at Denver JDS because every path in life that I have taken has been lit by my passions for education and Judaism. Denver JDS finds the perfect crossroads of the two things that matter the most to me. I am so happy for the opportunity to share these passions with a like-minded community.

Teacher Profile - Get to know Mr. Thayer
  • Lower Division

I am a huge fan of the culture and the inclusion that I've seen here at Denver JDS. All walks of life are welcome and the class sizes make it so manageable to teach and work on fun new skills and activities

The Beginning of an Exciting 19-20 School Year
  • Head of School/CEO
  • Lower Division
  • Upper Division

Upon reflection, I realized the source of my excitement about the start of the school comes from my deep-seated beliefs about the importance of Jewish day school education. There are so many compelling reasons to send your children to Denver JDS. Here are three that rise to the top for me.

PTO Volunteers
  • Lower Division
  • PTO
  • Upper Division

We want to nurture what our kids experience in their physical space and social well-being at Denver JDS. As a PTO, we can help contribute to those objectives. PTO went through a process of asking for wish lists from both divisions, consulted with administrators and teachers, while focusing on the social, fun aspects for our kids. Here's what we're now able to do!

World History Film Festival
  • Upper Division

Like teachers of any subject, I hope to convince my students that the subject matter of our course lives not only in the classroom, but “everywhere.” Practically speaking then, my goal was for my students to create an experience that others would enjoy, using history as the raw material. The challenge of producing an “experience” for a real audience tends to bring out the best in students, in part because it draws on skills that go beyond what is normally required to complete an academic assignment.

Kindness at its finest
  • Alumni
  • Judaic Studies

Both Craig and Shapir embodied chesed, as well as scholarship. Chesed, along with the other Divrei Chaim (Words to Live By) and middot (values) that are the foundation of the Denver JDS community are what truly prepare our children for their lives in the world. Teachers like Craig produce alumni like Shapir, graduates who are able to navigate life, in all its challenges and successes, with self-reflection, kindness, and scholarly curiosity. 

Project Based Learning: Creating a Travel Resort
  • Upper Division

PBL units are often grounded in real life scenarios and should be as “authentic” as possible. Our sixth graders recently demonstrated their expertise by taking on a science and English challenge: create a marketing tool, e.g. a website, travel magazine, or promotional video for a fictional island based on the island from Theodore Taylor's The Cay.

Reflections on the 2018-19 School Year
  • Lower Division
  • Upper Division

When I reflect and evaluate how we are doing as a school I look at the big picture. This time of year we get some important big picture data that indicates how the school is doing at preparing our students for the real world.

Make summer reading fun!
  • Lower Division
  • Outside the Classroom

Help plan a summer that will keep your kids engaged in reading and ready to return to school in the fall! 

Bridging the gap between cultures
  • Upper Division

Our school hosted a program in the Upper Division for Crescent View Academy, a local Muslim school. All of the programs are educational and teach a lot about both faiths to the students.

Geo Challenge
  • Outside the Classroom
  • Upper Division

By participating in the National Geographic Society's Geo Challenge, our sixth graders learned the value of cooperative learning, how to put creative thinking and problem solving into action, and the value of grit and determination.

Positive behavior is a learned skill
  • Lower Division

Learning how to interact positively with others is a skill, and just like math and reading skills, these social skills need to be taught.

Hands-on science is a highlight of the year for eighth grader
  • Upper Division

I really enjoy getting to experience and witness how science applies to real life. To me, that is the coolest part about Eureka Week and science at Denver JDS. Students have the opportunity to research something they find interesting, and then explore it further and make it relatable.

Theater Club

If we can get kids of different ages to take risks, get out of their comfort zone and to learn to work together as a team in the vein of theater, then why can’t these same kids go out in the world and behave the same?

Student D'var Torah by Heather Kletzky
  • Weekly D'var Torah

I really think what this week’s parashah is trying to teach us is that to help others be the best people they can be, first you need to be the best you you can be. In order to make others happy, you have to make yourself happy.

Fifth Grade Exhibition

Kids are way more fun to talk with than grown-ups. Granted, their vocabulary and cultural context may not extend quite as far as most adults’, but they are wonderfully opinionated and thoughtful about the things that matter to them. So why is it so arduous to elicit more than a grunt or “fine” (if you’re lucky) as a response to the age-old question at pick up: “How was school today?”

The importance of teaching boundaries and personal space

As parents, it’s important to be able to navigate this complicated topic in age-appropriate ways. With help from organizations like The Blue Bench, we can do our part to recognize risky situations and teach children about boundaries and consent.

Simon, David and Sam Kaufman
  • Alumni
  • Annual Dinner

As I got ready to watch the Human Fountains on Thursday night at Denver Jewish Day School's Annual Dinner, I couldn't help but think of what so many people had asked me earlier in the night. "Can you believe what this group has turned into?" Most guests naturally couldn't fathom that a one-time Color War act could end up being shared millions of times online and eventually land on national television.

Elaine Abrams delivers d'var Torah for Team Avar
  • Upper Division
  • Weekly D'var Torah

Parshat Pekudei mostly consists of the details relating to the mishkan’s structure. Essentially, the tabernacle, or mishkan, was a portable temple that the Jews used while they were wandering for 40 years. It is one of the most holy places in all of Jewish history. Because God’s presence was there, it makes perfect sense why the Torah would delve into such detail about the contents that lay within it. 

Molly Malek reading Team Atid's d'var Torah
  • Upper Division
  • Weekly D'var Torah

In a sense, our school is just like Moses and Esther. I can tell you with absolute certainty that this mishpacha (family) has created a brighter future for me and for countless others.

Color War is more than just games — it’s the ultimate in team building, community and leadership
  • Lower Division
  • Outside the Classroom
  • Upper Division

What I’m seeing is teamwork and excitement and the building of community. It’s not that kids are rooting against each other, they’re rooting for one another. Each kid is being allowed to shine in his or her own way whether it’s winning points for his or her team through a board game, academic competition, a skit, a dance or some other performance or activity.
 

Denver JDS 5th grader builds his own computer
  • Lower Division
  • Outside the Classroom

I built a PC because I want to be a computer engineer when I am older. I learned what all the different pieces do, like the power supply and the memory cards and the graphics card and mother board. The mother board basically supports everything and creates the computer from the other components. 

Student D'var Torah by Molly Malek: Tetzaveh
  • Weekly D'var Torah

It sounds like we need to struggle. We need to be under pressure to create something great. If we just had things smooth and easy the accomplishment would not be as great. In some cases, maybe the greater the pressure, the greater the achievement. Appreciation for our weaknesses and the things that make us scared is so important because the product they give us could change our lives.

Basketball Team
  • Athletics
  • Outside the Classroom
  • Upper Division

At Denver Jewish Day School, we encourage our Upper Division students to join one of our sports teams. We have a no-cut policy, meaning that every child who wants to participate can. I recall numerous times watching a child start a season as an unsure participant — with little experience — and then blossom in just the space of a couple of months into a confident leader and, more importantly, a good teammate.

  • blog
  • team sports
  • Tigers
What does it mean to be heart healthy?
  • Athletics
  • Lower Division

February is known as Heart Health Awareness Month. In our Lower Division physical education classes, we have been discussing what does it mean to be heart healthy? How can we lead physically active and healthy lives? Our students  have discussed the concepts of heart rate, pulse, and how our blood and oxygen travel from our lungs to the heart and out to the rest of our bodies. 

Parent programs

The more I understand what our children are doing, and the philosophy behind the school’s choices and priorities, the more connected I feel, and the more invested I feel in my choice to send my children to this great school.

Literacy Day at Denver JDS 2019
  • Inside the Classroom
  • Lower Division

This Friday, February 1, our Lower Division students will participate in a Celebration of Literacy Day. Each year this day serves as a reminder of the power of books in the lives of our young students. From celebrating favorite characters, to chatting with authors, to simply listening to an adult share a book out loud — the day brings a feeling of joy about books!

Words to Live By - Community
  • Outside the Classroom

Denver Jewish Day School began offering a Words to Live By (Divrei Chaim) Speaker Series at the beginning of this school year. I have attended all three of the events to date. Each time, I learn something valuable, not only as it applies to my kids’ education, but also for myself. 

HIP on camels 2018
  • Head of School/CEO
  • HIP (Hebrew Immersion Program)
  • Outside the Classroom

There are many trips to Israel but HIP is uniquely powerful and educational. There is really nothing else like it and our school community is uniquely blessed to be able to offer such an impactful experience to our students.

Judaics
  • Inside the Classroom
  • Judaic Studies

In October, we invited all parents to participate in a survey to give feedback about our Judaic studies program, including the goals and the subject areas of focus. We received over 90 responses, spread between both divisions, and we are pleased to share some of the findings here.

Hebrew Class
  • Inside the Classroom

Toward the end of October, we welcomed members of the Hebrew at the Center team. During their visit, they had the opportunity to meet with some parents and board members about our Hebrew program. We wanted to share some of the questions and answers that came out of those meetings related to the work we're doing to improve Hebrew for all of our students

Tinkering with tools and tikkun olam
  • Inside the Classroom

Children are born curious; it’s our job as teachers and parents to channel their curiosity and provide a framework for exploration. We do this by giving students voice, fostering investigation of their interests, and providing spaces for authentic learning. Our creation spaces provide a place for students’ curiosity to flourish.