Robert M. Beren Academy
Robert M. Beren Academy is the only Jewish day school in Houston to serve students from preschool to 12th grade. It was originally founded in 1969 as The South Texas Hebrew Academy at the corner of South Braeswood and Chimney Rock. In 1998, the school’s name was changed to Robert M. Beren Academy (RMBA) in recognition of a gift by the Israel Henry Beren Foundation.
RMBA is a private Modern Orthodox Jewish school which serves Jewish families of all affiliations. It is philosophically affiliated with the Yeshiva University. The curriculum incorporates Judaic studies within a comprehensive college preparatory program.
Location and Facilities
In 1999, RMBA built a state-of-the-art, 54,000-square-foot facility on a new 52-acre campus at the southern terminus of Cliffwood Drive. The campus includes a 10,000-square-foot library, multiple laboratories, a gymnasium, an art room, and athletic fields.
To apply, all prospective families must complete an online application and submit medical forms, teacher recommendation forms, and records release forms. Students must also submit their transcripts, any evaluation forms, and standardized test scores. Almost any test is acceptable, including ERBs, the ISEE, and the SAT. Prospective students must visit the school for a meeting, testing, and observation. Parents must also meet with the school administrators.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
In grades 1 -5, students may choose to participate in the traditional educational track or the Montessori track. The middle school follows a traditional curriculum and mode of instruction, but enrichment is offered through the Nature’s Classroom curriculum at Camp Young Judaea Texas and bi-annual trips to San Antonio.
Students in grades 9-12 will follow either the standard track or the AP track. RMBA’s dual curriculum of Judaic studies (Bible, Talmud, Jewish philosophy, and Jewish law) and college preparatory subjects (English, math, science and social studies) also includes special courses such as art, physical education, and journalism.
A student must earn 33 total credits and complete 25 hours of community service annually to graduate. The distribution requirements are as follows: English (4), math (3), science (3), social studies (4), foreign language (3), physical education (1), electives (3), and Judaic studies (12). Two semesters are equal to one credit.
The school employs two counselors who provide regular assistance to students with diagnosed learning differences.
Students must complete up to College Level Hebrew to fulfill their foreign language requirement. Spanish is also offered as an elective in the high school.
Students attending RMBA are required to complete one course in the fine arts. Art, AP Art, and an after-school drama club are all offered for transcript credit.
RMBA has open Wi-Fi throughout the building, Smartboards in multiple classrooms, and a computer lab with 22 Windows based workstations. iPads are available at a 4:1 student to tablet ratio. Teachers interact with students and parents via Renweb, an online educational tool where teachers may post assignments and grades and send emails to parents.
RMBA hosts a number of extracurricular programs throughout the school year. Students may join Drama, Model UN, SAGE, MAD, Stand With Us, or other student-facilitated clubs. In fall 2013, RMBA participated in the ADL Step Up Anti-Bullying Program and the nationwide Girls on the Run and Girls on Track programs.
During the summer, students from 18 months to sixth grade may attend Camp Moshava Houston, which is broken up into Machaneh Aleph (8 months-Kindergarten) and Machaneh Beta (grades 1-6). The camp takes place on the campus of RMBA.
RMBA features four sports programs at both the middle and high school levels: basketball, intramural flag football, tennis, and volleyball.
RMBA encourages an active parent body. While most parent-centered activities are geared toward family-centric holiday celebrations, the PTO is crucial in its leadership position in fundraising and volunteer coordination for multiple school events.
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11333 Cliffwood, Houston, TX 77035