Half a Million Dollar Grant Awarded to Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy Charter School

Hebrew Public school awarded grant from Borough President Adams
Grant provides $500,000 for science & technology

New York – The office of Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams has awarded a $500,000 capital grant to Hebrew Language Academy (HLA) for “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, art & design, and mathematics) equipment.

HLA is a flagship school of Hebrew Public, the charter management organization that manages three Hebrew-English public charter schools in New York and supports six affiliate schools across the country.

This fiscal year 2018 funding will provide technology tools designed to augment the school’s STEAM curriculum. It includes computers and carts for each of HLA’s 27 homerooms, a suite of virtual reality and robotics tools and STEAM carts and other equipment for all grades.

Jon Rosenberg, president and CEO of Hebrew Public, said this grant from Borough President Adams helps to support the network’s commitment to building and sustaining exceptional public charter schools that provide high quality instruction.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the borough president’s office. It allows us to equip our HLA students with skills to pursue advanced studies and to become scientifically literate in this increasingly technological age,” Rosenberg said. “We are deeply grateful for BP Adams’ support and we are excited to partner with him to strengthen our work.”

Founded in 2009, HLA is located in Mill Basin in Brooklyn’s District 22 and currently serves over 600 students from grades K-8.

Hebrew Public is leading a national movement of exceptional, diverse public charter schools that teach Modern Hebrew to children of all backgrounds and prepare them to be successful global citizens. The network includes schools in Brooklyn, Harlem, New Jersey, Washington, DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.




HLA2 Names New Director of Operations


Lina Shuster named director of operations at HLA2

Former Human Resources Director, Lina Shuster, has been named director of operations at Hebrew Language Academy 2 – the newest Hebrew Public school opening in District 21.

“We believe Lina brings the necessary expertise to ensure smooth and efficient operations management at HLA2,” Elyse Piker director of school operations at Hebrew Public said. “Her prior experience working in a school and her intimate knowledge of its day to day functioning will be invaluable to our new school.”

Shuster has over ten years’ experience working in facilities management and human resources. Prior to joining Hebrew Public, she worked at Staten Island Hebrew Academy as director of development and human resources. She was responsible for all non-instructional operations of the school such as managing busing, daily scheduling, staff hiring, marketing and recruitment. 

“I was super excited to learn I was joining the team of HLA2 as the director of operations, because I have been interested in joining the Hebrew Public network for a few years,” Shuster said. “I strongly believe in the mission of HLA2 and think that giving children superior education – together with a knowledge of foreign language – is the key to preparing them to become productive global citizens. I look forward to using my skills and experience in my new role to support this mission.”

Shuster earned a BS in Psychology and a MA in industrial and organizational development from Brooklyn College.

From her expansive experience, she also brings to HLA2 her expertise in event planning and fundraising events as well as managing social media, communications and promoting community engagement.

Founding Head of School Named for HLA2

New York –  Hebrew Language Academy 2, which will open in CSD 21 this September and is part of the Hebrew Public network of schools,  appoints new principal.

Ashley Furan, Head of School at HLA2.

Ashley Furan, Head of School at HLA2.

After a thorough and extensive search for a principal, ten year teaching veteran, Ashley Furan, has been named founding head of school for Hebrew Language Academy-2 (HLA2).

“We believe that Ashley’s skill set and experience demonstrates the instructional leadership, and work ethic to be a successful leader at our new school,” Adam Miller, HLA2 board chair said. “Her proven record of driving exceptional student achievement across grade levels, both as teacher and instructional leader, will ensure we carry on the mission of providing the highest level of academics at HLA2.”

Among Furan’s strengths, board members were especially drawn to her ability to cultivate warm and authentic relationships with teachers and staff as well as create a positive school culture that ensures excellence across all dimensions.

“It is an honor to be selected to serve as the Founding Head of School at HLA2,” Furan said. “I know, first-hand, the power of a community school which emphasizes academic and personal growth, as well as service learning and global citizenship. Together, I look forward to building a diverse learning community where we prove the possible for all children.”

Her school leadership experience includes working as assistant principal at Success Academy in Brooklyn. In that role, she served as an instructional coach and supervised teachers and administrative services. She also supported and maintained school discipline and culture, led professional development workshops and reviewed and used student achievement data to drive instruction.

Prior to joining Hebrew Public, she worked at Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School as an Inclusive Learning Team Teacher. There she focused her efforts on specialized curriculum design, creating school culture and building relationships with the parent community. She also provided support for teachers with lesson planning and delivery and ensured appropriate accommodations for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s).

Furan has honed her expertise working at other notable charter networks such as KIPP Journey Academy in Ohio where she taught eighth grade and Explore in Brooklyn where she was the lead third grade teacher.

Furan earned a MS in Education from Hunter College and a BA in Individualized Study from NYU. An alumnus for Teach for America, she was a finalist for a leadership award from the organization in 2013 for “transforming students’ lives through exceptional leadership”.

To the inaugural students and families and HLA2 community at large, Furan says, “I cannot wait to meet you and welcome you home to HLA2! Education opens the door to live the lives we have imagined and I am excited to begin this journey.”

‘Diverse Charter School’ is Not an Oxymoron

‘Diverse Charter School’ Is Not An Oxymoron

by Sara Berman

Ten years ago, when we applied for permission to establish the city’s first Hebrew-language public charter school in Brooklyn’s District 22, representatives from the Department of Education questioned us about who exactly would patronize our proposed school. The DOE worried that only Jewish families would send their children to a school in which Modern Hebrew (instead of Spanish or Mandarin or French) was the second language of instruction. We were convinced otherwise.

“We want a diverse school,” I replied, imagining parents from all over this Brooklyn district vying for a spot at our rigorous yet nurturing school. “We want all families in District 22 to know that this is a school for their children,” District 22 is one of the most diverse districts in the city: Residents speak Spanish, Creole, Russian or Urdu, among other languages; some people enjoy the comforts of middle class or face profound poverty; some families have lived in America for generations, and others have just arrived on our shores. Our student body reflects that diversity: Forty-six percent of students are children of color; 61% come from economically disadvantaged households and about one-in-five have special needs.

But we were after something different. Decades of research (including data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Program for International Student Assessment, and studies by Richard Kahlenberg and Gregory Palardy, among others) show that one of the best ways to improve academic and life outcomes for children in poverty is for them to attend economically diverse schools. They also show that middle-class students in economically diverse schools do just as well as they do in schools that are more homogenous. Another area of research shows the lifelong benefits of learning alongside children from different racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. And yet another shows the benefits of cognition from learning another language (these are well summarized by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).

What we did with our first school, Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy, what we continue to do with our school in Harlem, which opened in 2013, and what we will do with our soon-to-be-launched school in Coney Island is create “diverse-by-design” environments that draw on all the aforementioned types of diversity.

We link student diversity to the study of Modern Hebrew, to the diversity of Israel and to concepts of local, national and global citizenship.

More than 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed legal segregation, too many of our public schools remain stubbornly segregated. Efforts by New York City to change attendance zones to reduce segregation have hit local political roadblocks. Too many neighborhoods remain segregated as a legacy of years of redlining.

But diverse-by-design schools like ours are on the rise. Educators and policymakers around the country realize that bringing together children from different backgrounds helps them learn from one another, narrows the achievement gap, strengthens urban neighborhoods and builds community among people who would otherwise remain apart. As schools of choice, charter schools are uniquely suited to create diverse environments. The federal government has taken note, and the U.S. Department of Education’s charter school grant program now rewards diversity in its program application process. There is even a new National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools.

Back in Brooklyn, families ended up coming to our first school for a wide variety of reasons. Some were drawn to the focus on Modern Hebrew and the study of Israel. Others found our diversity attractive. Some simply wanted an option different from their local zoned school. All of them stayed because they were welcomed into a community and treated with respect and care, and because their children were provided a terrific, well-rounded education.

Creating and maintaining such diversity is not easy. It requires ongoing outreach to communities, constant attention to the quality of teaching and learning, and consistent operational excellence. But in a time of civic strife and increasing polarization, the hard work of creating diverse and excellent schools is more important than ever.

Sara Berman is the chairperson of the board of Hebrew Public, and a founding board member of Harlem Hebrew Language Academy and of Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy.


Hebrew Public Approved for Second School in Brooklyn

Hebrew Language Academy 2 to Open in CSD 21 in Fall of 2017
Regents Approved only Three of 25 Applicants


November 16, 2016 – The New York State Board of Regents has authorized the opening of Hebrew Language Academy 2, a school that will be part of the Hebrew Public schools network.

Hebrew Public, a New York-based nonprofit that manages three public charter schools in the city, will work with the new school’s board to open the school in the Fall of 2017.

The new school will be located in Community School District (CSD) 21 in South Brooklyn. Open to all children eligible for kindergarten and first grade in 2017, the new school will be patterned after Hebrew Language Academy in CSD 22, which opened in 2009 and has now expanded to include a middle school. Hebrew Public’s New York City network also includes Harlem Hebrew Language Academy, which opened in 2013 and currently serves children in grades K-4.

Each Hebrew Public school emphasizes global citizenship, serves students from all backgrounds, and provides a rigorous and supportive academic program that includes a focus on the study of Modern Hebrew.

Jon Rosenberg, president and CEO of Hebrew Public, which also works with six affiliated schools around the country, said the Regent’s approval is a testament to the organization’s and its schools’ hard work, dedication, and commitment to the children of New York City.

Rosenberg says he is particularly grateful for the Regents’ stamp of approval since only three applications were selected from 25 submitted. “It is a very rigorous process, so the fact that we were one of the three approved to move forward with a school is a strong validation of our work.”

The new public school will serve students in grades K-1 in its first year and add an additional grade level each year. Children living in CSD 21, which in­cludes parts of Midwood, Gravesend, Sheeps­head Bay, Brighton Beach, and Coney Island, will have preference for admission to the school.


HEBREW PUBLIC is building a national network of academically rigorous dual-language charter schools that teach children of all backgrounds to become fluent and literate in Modern Hebrew and prepare them to be productive global citizens. The network includes schools in Brooklyn, Harlem, New Jersey, Washington, DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.

$4.91 Million Federal Grant to Hebrew Public

Funds to be used to help replicate and expand their reach in New York City

September 29, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has awarded a $4.91 million grant to Hebrew Public, the New York-based nonprofit that manages three English-Hebrew public charter schools in the city.

The five year grant will help Hebrew Public, which also works with six affiliate schools around the country, with funding to expand its Harlem and Brooklyn schools and to develop new schools in New York City.

Jon Rosenberg, president and CEO of Hebrew Public, said the grant will help the organization accomplish its mission of leading a growing movement of racially and economically diverse public charter schools that have a curricular focus on the study of Modern Hebrew and of the history and culture of Israel.

“We are thrilled to be among the recipients of this critical funding,” says Rosenberg.  “It will allow us to roll up our sleeves and continuously improve our current schools while launching new ones. Receiving this vote of confidence from the federal government is an important recognition of the hard work of our teachers, school leaders, board members, staff, and – most importantly – of the students and families that we serve.”

Overall, the DOE awarded approximately $245 million under its Charter Schools Program, which funds the creation and expansion of public charter schools across the nation. The full DOE release can be accessed here.


HEBREW PUBLIC is building a national network of academically rigorous dual-language charter schools that teach children of all backgrounds to become fluent and literate in Modern Hebrew and prepare them to be productive global citizens. The network includes schools in Brooklyn, Harlem, New Jersey, Washington, DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.

3 Join Hebrew Public Network

New York – Hebrew Public, a national network of dual language charter schools, is welcoming three new professionals to its team:

New Head of School for Harlem Hebrew

Ben CostaA veteran teacher and school leader, Benjamin Costa, has been named as head of school for Harlem Hebrew Language Academy, one of the nine schools in the Hebrew Public network of charter schools.

“His expertise in leading schools with diverse student enrollments and his commitment to their academic and socio-emotional development makes him particularly well suited to carry on the mission of Harlem Hebrew,” said Sara Berman, chair of the board at Harlem Hebrew.

Costa replaces Robin Natman, founding head of school, who is taking on a new role as director of talent and recruitment for Hebrew Public.

Costa began his career as an English teacher at the Yeshiva of Greater Washington. He spent several years in the classroom, having also worked as a third grade teacher and middle school English teacher, before moving up to serve as dean of students, principal and most recently as head of school at Fusion Academy, a private school in New Jersey.

“I am very excited to join the Harlem Hebrew family as head of school,” Costa said. “I am eager to bring my experience and my passion for the Hebrew Public mission to Harlem Hebrew, and to build on the incredibly strong foundation that Robin Natman has laid.”

Costa’s school leadership experience spans over a decade and includes: principal of F.C. Hammond Middle School in Virginia, assistant principal of Westland Middle School and dean of students at Northwood High School, both located in Maryland. He received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Merrimack College and later earned a master’s degree in education from Bowie State University.

New Director of Talent Joins Hebrew Public

RobinRobin Natman, former head of school for Harlem Hebrew Language Academy, has been named as director of talent and recruitment for Hebrew Public.

“We are thrilled to have Robin at Hebrew Public,” Jon Rosenberg, president and CEO of Hebrew Public, said. “In her new role she will drive our teacher and school leader recruitment efforts, support onboarding of new staff, and develop meaningful career pathways for our talented school staff members.”

In addition to her time at Harlem Hebrew, Robin has a wealth of experience working as an educator. She spent 13 years as a teacher in various New York City public schools. She also served as director of humanities for the East Meadow School District, supervising over 120 staff members. She then worked as an education consultant for a large publishing company where she conducted workshops to assist teachers with curriculum development and strategies for student success.

Robin holds master’s degrees from Brooklyn College, Queens College, and Bank Street College of Education, in elementary education, supervision and administration and special education leadership, respectively.

Interim Principal for Hebrew Language Academy in Brooklyn

Peter Katcher, former middle school director at Hebrew Language Academy (HLA) in Brooklyn,  has been named interim head of school for the 2016-17 school year. Katcher has more than 20 years of experience as an educator in both district and charter schools. As middle school director at HLA, he managed curriculum development and was responsible for mentoring and developing the middle school staff. Before joining HLA, he worked as associate head of school at Innovate Manhattan Charter School. Katcher began his career as a school teacher in the Massapequa public schools and Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School. He holds a master’s degree in education from Queens College and a bachelor of music degree from College of Saint Rose.



We’ve moved!

Hebrew Public Moves to New Offices

New York City – Hebrew Public has moved its headquarters to 555 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.  “As we have been developing into a mature organization with expanding services to our nine schools, and particularly to our CMO schools – those that we have comprehensive involvement with in the New York City region, we have found the need to move into offices that will better serve our needs,” says Jon Rosenberg, CEO of Hebrew Public.  “This is a very exciting time for us.  We’ve changed our name (from Hebrew Charter School Center) to Hebrew Public, and along with that, our visual and messaging branding has evolved, so our new headquarters helps complete this transformation as we grow.”

For more information, contact Morris Ardoin, APR, director of Marketing and Communication for Hebrew Public, at morris@hebrewpublic.org




For Immediate Release

Atlanta’s First Hebrew-English Charter School Being Explored
New Public School Would Be Part of National Dual-Language Network

October, 2015 – The Hebrew Charter School Center (HCSC), a national organization that to date has helped launch nine free, dual-language public charter schools around the country, is seeking community involvement to help open such a school in Midtown Atlanta’s Grady High School cluster.  The area covers neighborhoods such as Ansley Park, Atlantic Station, Virginia Highlands, Midtown, Morningside/Lenox Park, and Georgia Tech.

“Atlanta’s diverse population, vibrant communities, and historical significance in America make it an ideal location for a Hebrew charter school,” says Jon Rosenberg, president and CEO of HCSC. “We are looking at cities throughout the country that will make good homes for the kind of high-quality, diverse, dual-language schools we work to launch, and Atlanta fits that bill perfectly.”

The organization is in the initial planning stages for a charter school that would be part of the Atlanta Public School System and would be open to children beginning in the fall of 2017. “Our experience in other cities since we began opening schools six years ago has shown us what works well – and that, specifically, is having a strong team of local parents and community leaders working with us to make it happen,” says Rosenberg. “We would like for anyone interested in partnering with us to make this school happen, to reach out to us.”   Interested parents and community leaders can contact HCSC atinfo@hebrewcharters.org, or 212-792-6234.

HCSC schools, says Rosenberg, teach students Modern Hebrew, provide a full and rigorous academic program, serve racially and economically diverse student populations, and emphasize the importance of civic responsibilities both as Americans and as global citizens.

The organization’s track record is strong. Its first school, the Hebrew Language Academy (HLA) in Brooklyn, which opened in 2009, has recently tested impressively against community and peer schools in New York City. Its second school, Hatikvah International Academy in New Jersey, also tested strongly against peer and state schools, and both of these schools have now expanded to middle school.

The Hebrew Charter School Center is building a national network of academically rigorous dual-language charter schools that teach children of all backgrounds to become fluent and literate in Modern Hebrew and prepare them to be productive global citizens. In addition to the school in Brooklyn, the network includes schools in Harlem, New Jersey, Washington, DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.


Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy Performs Strongly on Latest NYS Tests
Outperforms City, State, District Peers on Common Core Assessments

Hebrew Language Academy, a public charter school in Brooklyn serving students in grades K-6, posted strong outcomes on the latest round of New York State’s challenging Common Core assessments. HLA was ranked 27th out of 150 charter schools by the New York City Charter School Center. Its students strongly outperformed their state, city and district peers.

  • In English Language Arts, 42% of HLA students met proficiency standards, compared with 31% statewide.
  • In Math, 64% of HLA students met proficiency standards, compared with 38% statewide.
  • HLA’s economically disadvantaged students also strongly outperformed their state, city and district peers.

“We are happy at the progress our scholars have made,” says Laura Silver, HLA’s Head of School. “It reflects hard work on their part and that of our terrific staff, and the support of our families and the whole school community. At the same time, we know we have much work ahead of us and are eager to see all of our students continue to grow academically.”

HLA, which opened in 2009, is one of the most diverse schools in New York: 65% of its students are economically disadvantaged; 15% have special needs; 8% are English language learners; and 46% are children of color.

“HLA is the first and largest school in our network – our flagship – and to see its students perform so strongly sets a high bar in a great way for our entire network,” says Jon Rosenberg, CEO of the Hebrew Charter School Center, a charter management organization that supports HLA and a growing system of Hebrew language public charter schools around the country. “But we and the School will not rest until ALL of our students are achieving at the high levels of which they are capable.”

The School, which has recently moved to the Mill Basin neighborhood in Brooklyn, will grow over the next two years to serve students in grades K-8.

The Hebrew Charter School Center is building a national network of academically rigorous dual-language charter schools that teach children of all backgrounds to become fluent and literate in Modern Hebrew and prepare them to be productive global citizens. In addition to the school in Brooklyn, the network includes schools in Harlem, New Jersey, Washington, DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.