Our Ancestors
Saba John David Skief
 
Harambee founder John David Skief had a vision that was larger than life- a vis ion that some of his closest friends wondered if it could become reality. l-lis was a vision of a system of education
that taught African American students the truth about their full history and who they really are as individuals and as a people.
 
After graduating from Cheney Universi ty in 1968, John David Skief accepted a teaching position at West Philly High. It was there he began to put his convictions into practices by teac hing true
African American history, re lating back to the continent of Africa. His classes were often standing room only as a number of students were known to forgo other classes to hear him speak.
Throughout the years, he would travel to Africa to learn more about the land and the people 10 whom African Americans are connected. With each trip, he brought back a wealth of
information.
 
In the early I 970s, a sustained Philadelphia teachers' strike brought K-12 education to a standstill. Sk.iefrose to the occasion by bringing the community together to educate its children.
After the strike had ended. Skief maintained and enlarged his vision. In 1997, Pennsy lvania passed the Charter School Act, allowing communities to take responsibil ity for their chi ldren's
education by establi sh ing tuition-free public charter schools.
 
The Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School ex ists today as evidence that Baba Skiers vision has become reality. providing students the tools and direction they need to
obtain Education for Self-Reliance. Saba Skief believed that in order for students 10 fu lly achieve Education for Self Reliance, they must learn the truth about who they are as a people and
the global contributions made by members of their race. He further believed that in so doing. African American chi ldren will not allow themselves to be defined by negative images portrayed
through the media or by stereotypes assigned by others. Rather. they will define themse lves through the lens of truth, hence developing healthy sel f-esteem that will empower them to
sllcceed in life both collectively and as indiv iduals. And, as they become successful in li fe, Harambce alumni will be motivated to give back to their communities in a manner that will
inspire others to seek Education for Self Reliance so that they too can succeed.
 
Baba Skief vision was not confined by the school's walls. He saw Harambee as a base where the seeds of positive and meaningful societal change would be planted, resulting in a bountiful
harvest that would be enjoyed both at home in the local community and throughout the worl d. That vision has grown into reality. Today. Philadelphia is among the leading U.S. cities with African-centered charter schools- this much in part due to Baba Skiers vision and his
pioneering efforts to provide Education for Self Reliance through public school choice. Moreover, Saba Skiers work is playing a sign ifi cant ro le in reducing the city's dropout crisis because
Harambee's unique educational environment builds within children at an early age healthy se lf esteem rooted in their true hi storical heritage, in stilling within them a drive to seek Education for Self-Re liance-the
antithes is of quitting school. The dropout crisis begins not in high sc hool-but in the early years when children form their views of education and self.
 
In December 2007, 10hn David Skief passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 59. Yet, Harambee's continued success is a solid testament that his vision was anchored to
something far greater than one man's convictions. Today, Harambee remains a popular public school of choice with a waiting list that exceeds 100 hopeful students.
Baha Kaleb Whitby (Baba K)
 
Kaleb Whitby was the first Chief Academic Officer (principal) of the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School. A leader of many with a servant's heart, the good of
others was his chief priority from a young age, until his passing in 2004. As a student of West Philly High, Whitby was instrumental in organi zing the Black Student
Union during the 1960s. He helped organize African American high school students throughout the city to march and demonstrate at the Philadelphia School Board building on November 17,
1967 to demand that African History be taught in the high schools. During that march, the high school youth were confronted by Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo and numerous police
officers. Whitby was one of the many youth who were beaten by the police for their attempt to exercise their consti tutional rights of freedom of speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition
the government for a redress of grievances.
 
Saba K was always involved in the betterment of our youth. He was a neighborhood block captain and committeeperson and affectionate ly known as Coach K during his 20 year
commitment to the Sonny Hill League.
 
A strong advocate of Education for Self Reliance, Baba K was a force in establi shing Indepcndent Black Lnstitutions (IBI) throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey, to include the
Harambee Institute. A lifetime member of the Council of Independent Black Institutions (ClBI), he was the organization's first National Science Expo Coordinator of all CIBI schools
throughout the United States. He was also a Regional Conveyor of Atlantic North Area IBI schools and served on CIBI 's Curriculum Committee and Accreditation Conunittee.
Saba K employed his experience and knowledge to help write Harambee's Charter School proposal after the 1997 Charter School Act was establi shed. As the charter school's first
principal, he created all of the cultural ceremonies and rituals in our school that we adhere to today to include Umoja Circle, Harambee Pledge, Monthly Kuzaliwa Ceremonies, and Libation
Words.
 
On March 2, 2004, Saba K transitioned. His influence in our school remains just as powerful as the time when he walked our hall s.

Baba John David Skief

Harambee's founder, John David Skief, had a vision that was larger than life. A vision that some of his closest friends wondered if it could become reality. His vision was of a system of education that taught African American students the truth about their full history and who they really are as individuals and as a people.


After graduating from Cheyney University in 1968, John David Skief accepted a teaching position at West Philly High. It was there when he began to put his convictions into practices by teaching true African American history, relating back to the continent of Africa. His classes were often standing room only as a number of students were known to forgo other classes to hear him speak.Throughout the years, he would travel to Africa to learn more about the land and the people to whom African Americans are connected. With each trip, he brought back a wealth of information.

In the early 1970s, a sustained Philadelphia teachers' strike brought K-12 education to a standstill. Skief rose to the occasion by bringing the community together to educate its children.  After the strike ended, Skief maintained and expanded his vision. In 1997, Pennsylvania passed the Charter School Act, allowing communities to take responsibility for their children's education by establishing tuition-free public charter schools.

The Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School exists today as evidence that Baba Skief's vision has become reality by providing students the tools and direction they need to obtain Education for Self-Reliance. Baba Skief believed that in order for students to fully achieve Education for Self Reliance, they must learn the truth about who they are as a people and the global contributions made by members of their race. He further believed that in so doing African American children will not allow themselves to be defined by negative images portrayed through the media nor by stereotypes assigned by others, rather. they will define themselves through the lens of truth, hence developing a healthy self-esteem that will empower them to succeed in life both collectively and as individuals. As they become successful in life, Harambee alumni will be motivated to give back to their communities in a manner that will inspire others to seek Education for Self Reliance so that they too can succeed.

Baba Skief's vision was not confined by the school's walls. He saw Harambee as a base where the seeds of positive and meaningful societal change would be planted, resulting in a bountiful harvest that would be enjoyed at home in the local community and throughout the world. That vision has grown into reality. Today. Philadelphia is among the leading U.S. cities with African-centered charter schools- [this much in part due to Baba Skief's vision and his pioneering efforts to provide Education for Self Reliance through public school choice.] Moreover, Baba Skief's work is playing a significant role in reducing the city's dropout crisis because Harambee's unique educational environment builds within children at an early age, a healthy self esteem rooted in their true historical heritage, and instilling within them a drive to seek Education for Self-Reliance the antithesis of quitting school. The dropout crisis begins not in high school, but in the early years when children form their views of education and self.

In December 2007, John David Skief passed away unexpectedly at the age of 59. Yet, Harambee's continued success is a solid testament that his vision was anchored to something far greater than one man's convictions. Today, Harambee remains a popular public school of choice with a waiting list that exceeds 100 hopeful students.

Baba Kaleb Whitby (Baba K)

Kaleb Whitby was the first Chief Academic Officer (principal) of the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School. A leader of many with a servant's heart, the good of others was his chief priority from a young age, until his passing in 2004. As a student of West Philadephia High, Whitby was instrumental in organizing the Black Student Union during the 1960s. He helped organize African American high school students throughout the city to march and demonstrate at the Philadelphia School Board building on November 17,1967 to demand that African History be taught in the high schools. During that march, the high school youth were confronted by Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo and numerous police officers. Whitby was one of the many youth who were beaten by the police for their attempt to exercise their constitutional rights of freedom of speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  Baba K was always involved in the betterment of our youth. He was a neighborhood block captain and committee person and affectionately known as Coach K during his 20 year commitment to the Sonny Hill League.

A strong advocate of Education for Self Reliance, Baba K was a force in establishing Independent Black Institutions (IBI) throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey, including the Harambee Institute. A lifetime member of the Council of Independent Black Institutions (ClBI), he was the organization's first National Science Expo Coordinator of all CIBI schools throughout the United States. He was also a Regional Conveyor of Atlantic North Area IBI schools and served on CIBI 's Curriculum Committee and Accreditation Committee.Baba K employed his experience and knowledge to help write Harambee's Charter School proposal after the 1997 Charter School Act was establi shed. As the charter school's first principal, he created all of the cultural ceremonies and rituals in our school that we adhere to today including Umoja Circle, Harambee Pledge, monthly Kuzaliwa Ceremonies, and Libation Words.
On March 2, 2004, Baba K transitioned. His influence in our school remains just as powerful as the time when he walked our halls.

Upcoming Calendar Events

28 Apr 2017
09:00AM - 11:00AM
Kuzaliwa Celebration
01 May 2017
09:00AM - 11:30AM
PSSA Science
15 May 2017
Interim Reports
17 May 2017
06:30PM - 08:00PM
Board Meeting
23 May 2017
06:30PM - 08:00PM
Parent Meeting
25 May 2017
Testing break - School and Office closed

AKAN National Day of Service

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Track Team

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