Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter opened its doors this fall in Harlem thanks, in part, to money from The Hebrew Charter School Center (HCSC). HCSC offers grants of up to $250,000 to found and maintain charter schools. It may sound odd at first that a Hebrew language school is opening in this area of the city, but similar HCSC-related projects have proved successful in the past. The Jewish Week called a Hebrew Charter that the HCSC opened South Brooklyn back in 2009 "one of the most racially integrated schools in New York."
Founded by Michael Steinhardt, who is also involved with Birthright Israel, HCSC funds four separate steps in the process of setting up a school through what they define as "incubation," "innovation," "technical assistance," and "vanguard" grants.
"Incubation" grants go toward individuals and organizations who plan to open new charter schools. HCSC also hosts a conference and "planning group" for those in the research phase to provide access to "experts the in curricular, educational, operational and legal" issues pertinent to founding charter schools.
Once a school receives authorization from the government, it becomes eligible for annually renewable grants from HCSC for "technical assistance" money. These grants can pay for professional development and legal support for employees, new technology developing plans and proposals to attain more money from other sources, as well as increasing student capacity.
Teachers can apply to HCSC to receive "innovation" grants: a special category set aside to develop specific ideas for improving teaching strategies, curricula, and other aspects directly relevant to the classroom. A teacher would apply for this type of grant to fund a class trip or to purchase a software package that would benefit students.
Those interested in how and where HCSC will allocate their funding in the future ought to read their page on "vanguard" grants. The largest lump sums available from the organization come in the form of these packages. HCSC will offer them to four established charter schools each year until 2014; they are renewable over the course of three years for a total of as much as $500,000.