Hebrew language immersion is, well, sort of niche. But last year, when BASIS and Great Hearts were applying for their charters, I watched Ben Yehuda Academy applying for their charter (their interview was right after Great Hearts), and I was rooting for them, too.
In November, the Texas [State] Board of Education approved a charter for Ben Yehuda Academy, a San Antonio school that will replace the Eleanor Kolitz Academy, a pluralistic Jewish day school. Ben Yehuda, which will open in August with grades k-8, is not currently affiliated with a larger network of charter schools, but is working with Academica, a charter school management company that also serves the Ben Gamla charter school network in Florida.
Hebrew charter schools are tuition-free, publicly funded (but privately supplemented) schools that teach Hebrew; most also teach about Israeli culture and some secular aspects of Jewish culture. By law, they are open to children of all backgrounds and are prohibited from teaching or promoting religion.
“L.A., San Antonio To Get Hebrew Charter Schools”, Julie Wiener, Jewish Week, January 17, 2013.
The Los Angeles school board recently approved a new campus in Van Nuys from the Hebrew Charter School Center, which already operates in Brooklyn and New Jersey, and has plans to open new campuses in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and San Diego.