Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA) was founded in 1966 by a group of parents who felt strongly about having a Jewish day school education for their children. Their goal was to provide an exceptional foundation in both general and Jewish academics to the children of Kansas City. The school, then named Hebrew Academy, opened its doors with 33 students, with Hyman Brand, z”l, serving as the first president.
The school first rented space at Ohev Shalom Synagogue, in Prairie Village, KS, and offered academics for grades K-3. Each year, new grades were added, and by 1973, HBHA had grown to include an Upper School.
FIRST HBHA GRADUATES
In 1976, HBHA proudly graduated its first class with nine seniors, and in 1978, the school took on the name of Hyman Brand, in memory of the great man who had helped ensure its success. Continuing to grow, HBHA moved into a former elementary school located on College Boulevard to accommodate a dramatic increase in student numbers.
HBHA'S FIRST MAJOR MOVE
The property consisted of 7.3 acres of land, including the Louis and Dorothy Cumonow Lower School Building, with 13 classrooms, the Lowenstein Library, the Flo Harris Social Hall, and a kosher kitchen furnished by the HBHA Auxiliary. During the spring and summer of 1984, building additions, including a new kindergarten wing, four Upper School classrooms and a new science laboratory were added.
HBHA MOVES TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY CAMPUS
When the Jewish Community Campus building opened in 1988, HBHA moved into the new Campus facility, where it resides today. It was during this move that “Student Families” were created to maintain a strong sense of togetherness among all of the students. Since the younger students were now located on a separate floor from the Upper and Middle School students, the older students wanted to ensure they maintained a connection with students of all ages. Many years later, students still participate in - and grow up with - their special families which contain students of all ages. The families enjoy Shabbat together each week, and participate in a variety of other special activities throughout the year.
Since HBHA moved to the Campus, additions to the school include the beautiful Dan Fingersh Memorial Garden for quiet reflection and outdoor instruction, a new state-of-the art science lab, and a growing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) curriculum to round out the strong academic foundation.
Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, HBHA continues to grow and thrive, with more than 200 students currently enrolled in the school. Today HBHA serves grades K-12, and takes a whole-child approach to teaching its students: developing and maintaining a curriculum that teaches beyond the test to give students what they need to create a path to their own lifetime of success.
"It's largely at HBHA that I learned ... that there are many different people living Jewishly, and that it is incumbent on us to love each other with all of our differences."