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Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School:
Our Mission, Vision, and Core Values

Harambee Institute exists to offer our community an education with a focus on the origins, current status, and future of the African world.

Our mission is to educate students to succeed as global citizens with a clear awareness of “who I am, where I am from, where I am going, and how I get there.”

Our vision is a collective and informed African American community utilizing science and technology as a means of promoting education for self-reliance, locally and globally.

Our core values are:

Greatness: Pursuit of excellence in all we do
Accountability: Owning what we do and who we are
Innovation: Open to new ideas with a growth mindset
Integrity: Honesty, transparency, and unity in all we do


joseph foster in a robe The story of African Centered education in the city of Philadelphia cannot be told without paying homage to the contributions of Baba Joseph Foster. NO single educator in the city has done more to build African Centered educational institutions than has Baba Joe.

During our organization’s formative years, Baba Joe, along with Baba John Skief decided to continue their work in the community and develop a program that would be African Centered, and community based. Harambee Institute grew from that and was incorporated in 1973. This represents one of the first African Centered community-based schools in the city of Philadelphia. And, while Baba Skief is considered the founder of Harambee and its first Director, Baba Joe was by his side as co-founder and first Business Manager.

In 1997, the inaugural year for charter schools, Harambee Institute School of Science and Technology applied for, and received, a charter to operate the first public African Centered Charter School in Pennsylvania. Baba Joe continued to support the work of Harambee once again, by serving on its founding board. He served this institution continuously in various capacities for over 50 years as Teacher, Business Manager, Board Member, Board Secretary and as Board President.

Additionally, Baba Joe elevated to the position of Principal of Imhotep Charter School in 2003 and served at what became known as “The Miracle on 21st Street” until his retirement in 2012. During this tenure at Imhotep, he taught mathematics, coached girls basketball, and served as mentor, sage, and inspiration to a generation of new African Centered educators and leaders.

Baba Joe dedicated his life to ensuring that the young people of Philadelphia would have educational options that would be impassioned and empower them to work for the liberation of African people and the elevation of humanity. His contributions are immeasurable, and his impact will resound for eternity.

A message from the CEO

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A message from the CEO

Dear Friend of Harambee Charter School,

As the proud Chief Executive Officer of Harambee, I wanted to take a moment to encourage all of you as we approach the PSSA Assessment testing period. These Assessments are an important opportunity for our students to showcase their hard work and demonstrate their knowledge, skills and GREATNESS!

To all of our students, I want you to know that I have confidence in your abilities and your potential. You have worked hard throughout the school year, and this is your chance to show just how much you have learned and grown. Remember to take your time, read each question carefully, and do your very best. Trust in your abilities and know that you have the support of teachers, parents, and the entire Harambee school community behind you.

To our parents, I understand that this can be a stressful time for you and your child. However, I urge you to continue to remain positive and supportive. Encourage your child to get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and approach the PSSA Assessment with confidence. Remind them that this is just one measure of their academic progress and that their hard work and dedication throughout the year is what truly matters.

To our teachers and staff: Thank you for your unwavering dedication to our students' growth and development. Your hard work and commitment are the driving forces behind our school's success, and I am incredibly grateful for all that you do.

Together, let's embrace our core value of GREATNESS and this opportunity to showcase the knowledge, skills, and talents of our students. I wish all of our students the very best and look forward to celebrating their successes.

Asante Sana,
Baba Shannon

Education for Self-Reliance

Help us build something great. HISTCS teachers, staff, and advisory groups are working hard everyday to create a high-quality student experience. If you’re a parent, community leader, or part of a larger organization we urge you to sign up for one of our volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, or attend any of our upcoming events. Let’s pull together for our kids and our community!

Get Involved

Founded in 1972, HISTCS is Pennsylvania’s first African-centered charter school

Thank you to the Brothers of Omega Psi Phi, Beta Gamma Chapter for providing four of our students with college scholarships to Cheyney University.

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