SSDSRV and HaTikvah Charter School
[T]he state department of education approved the opening of a charter school in East Brunswick whose mission is to teach Hebrew and Israeli culture. The school projects opening in September with an enrollment of 108 in K-2 and will grow until it is K-5 with 240 students.
We do not envision the charter school to be competitive with SSDSRV. The program we offer cannot be duplicated by them. In addition to excellence in general studies, as attested by the Blue Ribbon designation we received just this week, Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley offers a significant foundation in religious studies: the Bible, rabbinic literature, Jewish holidays and Hebrew language and culture. We see all of Jewish studies ineluctably reflecting Jewish religious principles — something that is not legally permissible in a charter school.
The charter school is limited to East Brunswick residents, with minimal opportunities for others to attend. SSDSRV draws students from not only East Brunswick, but Highland Park, Princeton, Edison, Metuchen and many more communities. For these latter students, the charter school is not an option.
Our greatest advantage is the opportunity to integrate Jewish studies with general studies as we do in so many interdisciplinary courses and experiences. This is so important in helping our students to find meaning, something highlighted in this High Holiday season.
We see SSDSRV as the primary address for the best possible school in general studies, Jewish studies and religious values in the area. Our faculty, administration, staff and board are committed to continuing to expand the quality of our school for our entire central New Jersey Jewish community.
The part about the charter school being “limited to East Brunswick residents” needs unpacking. Here’s the relevant New Jersey Statute:
18A:36A-8. Enrollment preference
8. a. Preference for enrollment in a charter school shall be given to students who reside in the school district in which the charter school is located. If there are more applications to enroll in the charter school than there are spaces available, the charter school shall select students to attend using a random selection process.
18. d. If available space permits, a charter school may enroll non-resident students. The terms and condition of the enrollment shall be outlined in the school’s charter and approved by the commissioner.