To: Philadelphia School Reform Commission
From: Jon Rosenberg, Hebrew Public CEO
Subject: Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School Application
Date: May 17, 2018
On behalf of the whole Philadelphia Hebrew Public team, I’d like to thank the SRC for your consideration of our application to open a new school in 2019. We were pleased and grateful to have received such a positive Evaluation Report from the Charter Schools Office. We took feedback from the Charter Schools Office and SRC adjudication very seriously, and we strongly believe that the revised application addressing each note from evaluators demonstrates our commitment to Philadelphia.
We are confident that we have met the requirements of the Charter School Law relating to new school proposals. Further, we have met each of the criteria put forth in the charter school application guidelines: including complying with the Charter School Law, demonstrating our capacity and capabilites to provide a comprehensive learning experience to all students, demonstrating sustainable community support, and serving as a model for innovation as Philadelphia’s first diverse-by-design charter school.
We appreciate the Charter Schools Office’s prompt revision of the Evaluation Report, so that it now acknowledges that our application fully meets state curriculum standards. The report noted some concern about the appeal of Modern Hebrew to families in Philadelphia. We think this concern is unwarranted, given the overwhelming demonstrated interest from parents, including more intent to enroll forms than there are spots for eligible families in our opening years. Further, we continue to receive intent to enroll forms each day, including a dozen more from eligible families since our revised application submission. These families represent diverse communities and are all interested in our model of Modern Hebrew and global citizenship.
Twenty-five elected officials, community organizations, churches, program partners, and preschool programs submitted letters detailing their support of our model, intent to partner with us, and request for the SRC to approve our school. Among this group are Representatives Donna Bullock and Jared Solomon, both of whose nearby and diverse communities we would serve. Teachers, parents, and center directors at KenCrest early childhood education centers expressed deep support for the school, particularly given the diverse crosssection of families enrolled in their HeadStart and PreK Counts programs.
I come from New York City, one of the most segregated cities in the US. Despite that segregation, Hebrew Public has created 3 schools there that are among the most racially and economically integrated in the City. Philadelphia is a great city that nonetheless suffers from its own severe segregation. We urge you to approve our creation of a diverse and integrated school here. This map shows both the extreme segregation in the city’s neighborhoods and the diversity of communities from which Philadlephia Hebrew Public would draw students. If approved to open, we will create a school to make Philadelphia proud, one that will bring together teachers, students, and families from a wide array of backgrounds, and that will forge a community of shared values of empathy, cross-cultural communication, caring, and excellence.