Harlem is about to get another charter school. The Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School plans to follow in the steps of Brooklyn’s Hebrew Language Academy, which opened in 2009, in celebrating the rich diversity of New York City by bringing a diverse cultural learning and dual language experience into the classroom.

HHLA will be located on St. Nicholas Avenue between 117th and 118th streets in the building that was formally the St. Thomas of the Apostle Church School, rather than share space with an existing public school facility. The school is free and will initially serve 156 students grades K-1 in its first school year. It will grow by one grade each year for the next five years to reach its capacity of 450 students. Classes will have 26 students with two teachers each. The school day is extended from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The school year is also extended to 190 days. Opening day is planned for August 2013.

Students will have a rigorous academic program with instruction in English Language Arts, math, social studies, science (all of which will be conducted in English and Hebrew), as well as standalone Hebrew instruction. Students will also have classes in music, physical education, art and technology each week.

Dual language curriculums have increased in popularity, as these programs have been proven to help better prepare students to think, live and thrive in a global society. Students are bilingual and biliterate. Hebrew was chosen as the second language because of its revitalization over the last 150 years from a classical to a living language.

“At the Brooklyn school, 81 percent of the children speak a language other than English in the home,” said Maureen Campbell, director of outreach and recruitment. “We’re becoming bilingual and we have a very diverse population. The curriculum has been a springboard for kids to do other projects. They bring the history of their families into the classroom. The elders come in and talk about their cultural positions. It is inspiring to the children. They ask questions, they are active learners,” she said.

Thanks to a partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Harlem school will have the added component of a curriculum that includes the storied community’s own history. Why Harlem history?

“As part of art development of Harlem Hebrew, we reached out to many community organizations, and it’s very important for us to have partnerships and leadership within the communities. We reached out to the Schomburg Center early on,” said David Gedzelman, secretary of the board of trustees and one of the founders of Harlem Hebrew.

“It’s important for us to build relationships. We found that when we met with Deidre Hollman, associate director of the Junior Scholars program, and research historian Christopher Moore at the Schomburg, it really clicked. We had long conversations about the histories of various communities over that last 150 years that made Harlem their home, and it really emphasized the idea of migration and why people make decisions about leaving where they lived and focus on new opportunities. Harlem was a beacon for folks over many decades.

“There’s a history of Harlem as a beacon and the Great Migration, which included West Indian and West African communities. But there were relationships between the Jewish community and the growing African-American community,” Gedzelman continued. “For the Schomburg, it will be the first extensive curriculum project for fourth-graders specifically. This is an exciting challenge. It’s about accessing the archives and the latest research, and bringing scholars together to bring history alive in the classroom for the children.

“We’ll have our first think tank with of a number of academic experts at the Schomburg to develop a curriculum. We will be working with our colleagues to emphasize the neighborhoods that children live in. There will be 78 kindergarten seats and 78 first-grade seats, which will be awarded by lottery. The school will host students from 59th Street to 122nd Street, from the Hudson River to Central Park and to Fifth Avenue above 110th Street. This area includes tremendous diversity, allowing us to create a school where children can have relationships with communities that they would not otherwise,” he said.

“It’s very powerful to see these children from all backgrounds truly loving each other. It’s one of the most integrated and diverse school communities in the city,” Gedzelman concluded.

Robin Natman, who has enjoyed a long career as a public school teacher and administrator, will serve as the head of school at Harlem Hebrew and is excited about bringing the model of the Brooklyn school to Harlem.

“Part of our social studies curriculum will be focused on exploring the culture and history of Israel and how these communities interact with all world cultures and people,” said Natman. “At the end of the day, we’re looking to provide another alternative for parents to provide their children with an environment that encourages them to be critical thinkers, move up through grades and be college ready.”

To learn more about the Harlem Hebrew Language Academy or to download an application, visit www.harlemhebrewcharter.org.