The History of Robert M Beren Academy
Our school was founded in 1969, by a dedicated group of families who valued the importance of a Jewish day school education. Originally named South Texas Hebrew Academy, the budding school was housed in United Orthodox Synagogues for its first five years. When it outgrew those facilities in 1975, the school moved to South Braeswood near Chimney Rock. The physical structure was not grand or spacious, but its location in the heart of Meyerland put the young school right in the center of Jewish Houston.
In 1976, with the school facing serious financial challenges and a student body of 70, lay leadership regrouped and redoubled fundraising efforts to ensure the stability of the Academy. The funds were used to renovate and update the school’s facilities, adding the Katz Lower School wing and a learning center dedicated to the memory of Larry Marc Rosen. The physical changes reflected the renewed commitment to excellence in education. In recognition of its high educational standards, the school received accreditation by the Texas Education Agency and by the prestigious Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1977-78.
In celebration of these achievements, and to mark a new beginning, the name of the school was changed to the Hebrew Academy and a high school program was added.
Soon the Hebrew Academy needed additional space. The expanding programs required more classrooms, laboratories, a Beit Midrash, performance/meeting space and facilities for indoor and outdoor athletic pursuits. Persevering through several setbacks, lay leadership found and purchased a large tract of previously unused land from a railroad company. Robert M. Beren’s naming gift anchored the major capital campaign that was launched to build the three wing academic building, gymnasium and outdoor fields, The Hebrew Academy became Robert M. Beren Academy, and in the fall of 2000, RMBA moved just a couple of miles south to its beautiful new 52-acre campus.
In 2006, RMBA implemented an elementary Montessori program beginning with one lower elementary (first and second grade) class. Today the Montessori program has grown to two lower elementary (first to third grade) classes and two upper elementary (fourth to sixth grade) classes, with a total of 76 students. RMBA continues to offer traditional learning programs for early childhood, elementary, middle and high school students.
In 2007, RMBA incorporated the premiere curriculum for Hebrew language and Judaics in the lower school, the Tal Am curriculum. Created in Israel, but implemented all over the world, it is an integrated, multi-disciplinary, creative program for inspired Jewish learning.
The addition of a Day Camp in 2007 was a logical move to utilize the beautiful campus throughout the summer. Now known as Camp Moshava Houston, the Camp attracts close to 200 campers throughout the summer to be immersed in art, athletics and strong Judaic programming in an atmosphere committed to Torah and Israel.
A four year high school program was incorporated beginning in 2008. Before that time, RMBA concluded at 11th grade, allowing students to finish all necessary course work in 3 years. The addition of a 12th grade challenged the school to create a new curriculum. The school rose to the challenge and now offers 11 AP classes.
Building upon our already nationally renowned Bnei Akiva program, RMBA together with its local partner shuls, welcomed Bnot Sherut in 2010. The Bnot Sherut are young women spending a year abroad while fulfilling their Israeli national service. They have brought energy, enthusiasm and creative spirit which have greatly enhanced our cultural and religious programming.
In an effort to increase the number of families moving to Houston who are committed to the Torah U’Madda community we provide, the Houston Modern Orthodox Partnership (HMOP) was created in 2010. HMOP has been extremely successful in attracting attention to the Houston community and has already brought 12 families with a total of 27 children into the school from New York, New Jersey, Florida, Israel and Venezuela.
RMBA’s alumni now span generations of learners and leaders. RMBA is proud to celebrate its 43rd year of excellence in Jewish education.