Brooklyn Hebrew charter school reauthorized, adding middle school


NEW YORK (JTA) — A Hebrew charter school in New York — one of the first in the country — was formally granted a four-year charter renewal and permission to add a middle school.

The Hebrew Language Academy Charter School in Brooklyn, which opened in 2009, was granted the renewal on Tuesday by the New York State Board of Regents following the New York City Department of Education’s recommendation.

The school currently has 475 students in grades K-5; it will add a sixth grade in the fall.

The renewal came just a year and a half after the Department of Education gave the school an F in its annual grading of city schools. Advocates for the school argued at the time that the grade was misleading, in part because it was based on the performance of only a small percentage of its students. Last year was the final year the department assigned letter grades to city schools.

The Brooklyn school was the first established by the Hebrew Charter School Center, a network funded by philanthropist Michael Steinhardt and others that now has seven schools, with another to open this fall in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Hebrew charters are public schools — tuition free and open to all — but teach Hebrew language and also offer instruction about Israeli history and culture.

Another Hebrew charter school network, Ben Gamla, launched in 2007 and operates several schools in South Florida.

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