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Still, the academy was one of only 23 elementary schools in the city to receive an overall grade of F for 2012-13. The annual assessment is based largely on student progress in statewide math and English tests.
As 2012-13 was only the second year that its students took the tests, much of the academy’s overall grade was determined by the performance of its first cohort: 75 students who were fourth-graders last year.
These students — some entered as first-graders in its opening year and others matriculated there as late as the second or third grade — have a different demographic profile than the rest of the school and the schools with which the academy was compared, charter school center officials say.
Overall, the Hebrew Language Academy is 48.6 percent black/Hispanic. Its fourth-grade class is 62 percent black/Hispanic. Harlem Hebrew is approximately 40 percent white, 40 percent black and 20 percent Latino.
Gedzelman said the Brooklyn school is improving, and he noted that its third-graders performed considerably better on average in 2012-13 than the fourth-graders.
Over the years, the academy has offered more academic intervention and support for low-performing students. It is also adding a summer program.
The other schools in the charter school network — including Harlem Hebrew and two others that opened this fall in San Diego and Washington, D.C. — have benefited from lessons learned by the Hebrew Language Academy over the years, Gedzelman said.
For example, Harlem Hebrew launched this year with a reading specialist and English-as-a-second-language specialist on staff, something the Brooklyn academy did not add until later.
Another center-affiliated school is slated to open this year in Los Angeles. The group also is in discussions with planning groups in Philadelphia and Chicago, and is considering opening additional schools in New York City.