Peace Family,

I have served as a proud member and President of the Imhotep Board of Trustees for the past 3 years.  I am honored to serve the Imhotep family and deeply appreciate the journey I have traveled with the rest of our board members and Dr. Imani and her team as they guided our hard-working staff.

Congratulations to our class of 2658 (2018).   The graduation ceremony was a classic Imhotep send off. We are proud of our young people and their accomplishments with all of your support for the past 4 years. They are moving into a future that only they can imagine for themselves, and we the community can hold the light for them to see their way.

It is with immense pride that we honor all of Imhotep’s young people who have showed up and showed out in many athletic arenas in the State.  Many have excelled academically and artistically and compared to other Charter Schools and District Schools have had some of the highest graduation rates and college matriculation rates in the city.

We are all in great appreciation for our founder, Mama Christine Wiggins and all the women who sat at her kitchen table to organize and implement a vision for educating our children, serving their families and the greater Philadelphia community. May she continue to be a warrior for our community.

This year represents our 20th year serving young people in the city of Philadelphia and we are proud of the tremendous shared work and commitment poured into creating and sustaining this extraordinary Institution. We are committed to continuing this journey for the next 7 generations.  This vision requires that all of our families, extended family and friends find value in our collective commitment to the future of our young people and the Imhotep institution.

This communication is to invite you to a conversation about where we are at this moment in our history at Imhotep. If you are not aware Imhotep is in a charter renewal year. This Board and Management Team inherited our positions as the school was experiencing growing pains and the charter being threatened with non-renewal in the 2015-16 school year.  An amazing group of committed people (funders, friends at the district, parents, and past board and staff support) came together to work through the turbulence, turmoil and trauma experienced by the Imhotep family during the transition to our current position.

We have done an amazing job bringing complicated financial and charter compliance obligations into alignment with the State and Charter School Office (CSO) demands.  What we are working to strengthen is our academic rigor and growth. This aspect of our contract with the State and the District is the challenge we are facing. There are some very specific demands based on the Charter School Office formula that indicate we will have to improve in this area significantly, within the next school year (2018-19) in order for our Charter to be fully renewed.

We are committed to the learning and growth of all our young people. Academic growth is measured by the State testing system as a way to determine if learning and growth is happening, based on a particular set of standards. These tests are a complicated mix of measures and set of standards that are not always in agreement with what is or should be measured. Our concern is that the CSO has offered us a 1-year extension of our charter to bring academic scores as measured by Keystones, and other state mandated assessments (test) to a level compared to similar charter schools and the district schools.

Our young people are brilliant and express that brilliance in many different ways.  We recognize that a high-quality education is what prepares students for the future and in some cases, we need to understand how and if we are delivering on our promise.  However, the test is not a measure of ability, only a measure of an arbitrary standard.

We are aware that though our children are learning, many do not test well for a number of reasons.  There are many who do test well, also for a number of reasons. Because we are measured by these test, we would like for you to take a look at your child’s previous testing history and say to yourself, what is the case with your child.  There is a difference in what your child has actually learned (a measure of growth) and what they are expected to know based on the standards.

The gap between what they are expected to know and what they can know is extremely wide.  We are working with considerable numbers of young people within that gap. Therefore, what is expected on the standardized text cannot assess the progression and spiraled aspects of learning.  It can only measure one moment in time.

What we can measure effectively is the academic growth of each child. Our goal is to ensure that ALL young people who come through Imhotep, experience academic growth and learning.  This brings me to the question that many parents are asking, regarding the choice to opt out of the state mandated testing. Yes, this is a choice and there are benefits, considerations, and consequences. This is an option and we would like to fully inform and engage you in a conversation about this option.

Please contact Mr. Greg Rivers at …….for information regarding dates and times for us to have this important conversation.

Again, thank you for allowing us to serve in the interest of your children.

Hotep,

Dr. Fatima Hafiz