THE STORY OF THE BIRTH of New Community Jewish High School is not unlike the founding of other Jewish institutions. It began as a dream in the mid-late 1990’s; a vision of people committed to Jewish education as well as a simple study of the demographics of Jewish Los Angeles. By 2000, two groups of community leaders joined forces to create one community high school in the West San Fernando Valley. The ground-swell quickly grew as the community backed the idea. A core group was formed to lead the movement. A name was chosen, the mission created and the first Head of School, Dr. Bruce Powell, was hired. Founding board members and donors set the school’s foundation. A five-year business plan was developed. A scholarship fund was created by dedicated board members and other donors. Let no qualified student be turned away for lack of funds! Word spread rapidly. The San Fernando Valley would soon have its own Jewish community high school!
Under the leadership of Dr. Powell, the doors of the new school opened on September 3, 2002 in rented space at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills. Forty ninth-grade students from Jewish day schools, public schools, home schools, private schools and schools in other countries applied and were accepted to the pioneering class–the largest first class of any Jewish community high school in the history of the United States. Within weeks, the school that promotes a culture of kindness became known as “New Jew,” a term affectionately coined by pioneering students.
NCJHS began its rapid growth from the day its doors first opened. After two years at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus, also the home of the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation, NCJHS moved to its current campus on the grounds of Shomrei Torah Synagogue. Two modular buildings were installed and fully equipped with science labs, computer lab, art room, music room, library, classrooms, faculty and administrative offices. In 2006, NCJHS was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for six years, and the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater L.A.
NCJHS quickly became the third largest Jewish community high school in the nation, expanding its range of academic, extracurricular, and co-curricular offerings. In 2006, the 47 students in the pioneering class of 2006 graduated. Since then, more than 680 alumni from the first 8 classes have assumed leadership positions on college campuses and professional positions at prestigious companies across the country while others are pursuing advanced degrees in medicine, law, design, film, international relations, business, education, Jewish communal work, entertainment, marketing, and more. Still others are or have served in the US and Israeli militaries, and/or participated in post-high school programs in Israel. Annually, more than 200 outstanding colleges and universities accept our graduates. Our highly personalized college guidance program successfully matches students with colleges, universities, and post high-school programs.
In early 2010, NCJHS received provisional membership in the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). In the fall of 2010, NCJHS purchased the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. In June 2012, NCJHS became accredited by CAIS, and re-accredited by WASC and BJE. In July 2012, NCJHS closed escrow on its permanent home began a phased multi-year renovation process. On August 29, 2013, NCJHS opened the doors of its new campus to the classes of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.