Hebrew Language School Attracts Russian Parents
Hebrew Language Academy (HLA) in Brooklyn, a unique charter school that offers Hebrew classes, will hold an admission lottery on April 1.
In anticipation, the Kings Bay Y Jewish center held a press conference on February 25, where teachers and parents of HLA students spoke. Children at HLA can get an excellent American education for free, all while being immersed in Jewish culture.
Admission is based on winning of one of two lotteries: the first is for children who live in the neighborhood, and the second is for children from other areas (space permitting). There is no discrimination based on race or religion.
Like other charter schools, HLA’s funding comes from the city, and private sponsors such as well-known Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and others who support the school’s unique programs. This is especially important today when even gifted programs suffer from budget cuts.
We remind our readers that charter schools are independent schools, working based on contracts (charters), and offering a free high-level education, which meets national standards or exceeds them. That is why many Russian-speaking parents find HLA the perfect choice.
The school offers a free education at an advanced level. It employs Russian-speaking teachers and staff members. Each class provides three teachers for every 25-27 students, with two of them constantly present in each class. All students study Hebrew, and foster respect to Jewish culture as part of their studies. The fact that students of any background can study Hebrew and Jewish culture is the realization of the best traditions of the American democratic society in practice.
On Israel’s Independence Day [known as Yom Ha'atzmaut, which this year falls on April 16], students of the HLA – children from various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds – march together around the school holding Israeli flags and singing songs in Hebrew. At HLA they teach students to respect all religions, and explain that being friendly to all of them is the way things should be in the world.
That is the reason why this school, with advanced programs in math, English, music, chess, and Hebrew, is so popular, and receives many applications. According to the admission rules for charter schools, however, children can only get in by winning the lottery. The lottery application needs to be submitted before April 1.
[Editor's note: The title has been changed from "Jewish Charter School" to "Hebrew Language School" to better reflect the work of the school. Thanks to the readers who called it to our attention in the comments below.]