The Ethical Community Charter School opened its doors at 95 Broadway in September 2009 with 120 kindergartners and first graders. Since then, TECCS has added a grade each year, to become a K-8 school in 2016-2017, educating nearly 400 children.

TECCS was founded when two coalitions—Jersey City families looking for high-quality student-centered schools and a team from New York who wished to create a public school modeled on the principles of the renowned Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York— joined forces to create an ethics-based school suited to Jersey City’s diverse population.  

TECCS has since grown not only in size but also in community ties and mission-driven collaborations. In its second year, TECCS became part of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project, whose members work in support of intercultural dialogue. As evidence of its commitment to whole-child learning, TECCS has also won grants so its students can participate in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” Active Schools physical education initiative, Drew University’s Shakespeare Festival, New Jersey City University professor Mary McGriff’s individualized reading program, and City College professor Shira Epstein’s Civic Literacy Projects. 

The school also forges connections with other local institutions through the Jersey City-Hoboken Charter School Alliance, among other groups. In summer 2015, the alliance hosted its first symposium with Alfie Kohn as the keynote speaker. “You don’t start by doing basic skills and then doing the interesting stuff,” Kohn said. “You do the interesting stuff first.”