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Philly Hebrew charter school eyeing Sept. launch

(JTA) — A Hebrew-language charter school in Philadelphia is waiting for approval to open.

The school, which organizers plan to open in September in the city’s downtown, would be the region’s first charter school aimed primarily at Jewish children, the Philadelphia Exponent reported Thursday.

The district’s School Reform Commission, which oversees the Philadelphia School District and charter-school applications in the city, has not yet approved the school. The district hasn’t approved a new charter in nearly two years, according to the newspaper.

The school’s organizers told the Exponent that its curriculum will focus on the Hebrew language, as well as on the history and culture of Israel and the Middle East. But the school will not teach religion; it cannot by law. It will be open to students of all backgrounds, the Exponent reported.

Organizers plan to have the school serve as an offshoot of an existing charter school — the World Communications Charter School in South Philadelphia that serves a largely African-American student body. They expect to open with at least 100 students in grades 6 to 12.

It has been proposed to call the school World Communications-Mideast Academy.

The country’s only Hebrew-language charter school opened in Florida three years ago. Hebrew charter schools also are being developed in California and New York.

 

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