“Renew the Dream”!
Amani Upendo na nguvu: (Peace Love and Power)
Nineteen years ago, Imhotep Institute Charter School was born from the heart and determination of its founder, Christine Thomas Wiggins, who loved African children and believed that an education that was rooted in their culture, history, and experience could produce the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and innovators. She shared this dream with four “sistah scholars” and it became known as the “kitchen table dream”. Throughout these nineteen years of service to our families and communities, we have been known as of the Miracle on 21st street. That miracle has touched the lives of so many thousands of young people, setting many of them on a trajectory that has resulted in their success and inspired them to give back to others. As Head of School of Sankofa Freedom Academy, I can testify to the amazing work of Imhotep as an institution. At Sankofa, our Director of Technology, our Behavior Specialist, and our Lower School Special Education teacher are all graduates of “The Tep”.
This year, Imhotep Institute Charter High School will prepare its request to have its charter renewed so that we can continue the dream of its founder. As we seek renewal of our charter, it is the perfect time for us to renew our kitchen table dream. This dream of our founder is captured in Asa Hilliard’s treatise on indigenous African pedagogy, SBA: Reawakening the African Mind. In SBA, Wade Nobles declares that the purpose of education is described by the Twi phrase, Nsaka sumsun, which is translated “ Touching the Spirit”. Mama Chris believed that we must touch the spirits of our children so as to incite and excite in them a desire for excellence in character, community, and capacity for “deep thought”.
We must renew our faith that we can make a difference in our children’s intellectual development and in their academic outcomes. We must train our hearts and minds to remember why we wanted to be educators. It was not only because we wanted to make a difference, but because we were convinced that we could. We believe our children can learn. We believe when we apply heart, head, and hand to our children’s innate desire to succeed that we and they can defy all odds. We must have confidence that we can inspire our children to act with greater resolve and resilience, as they experience the resuscitation of their ancestral memory—as mathematicians, scientists, artists, healers, builders, scholars, as justice-makers, problem solvers, defenders of the weak, and intellectual warriors.
We move forward in this year with renewed resources, both human, technological, and spiritual to support our children on their journey toward success. We have added to our team a Managing Director, John Polk, who is a seasoned school administrator and will be on site at Imhotep daily to guarantee even more extraordinary miracles in our next decade. Baba Polk is brilliant, dedicated, and amazingly optimistic about our children and our future. We have renewed our focus on our children’s needs as we have added new instructional programs to support them academically. We have renewed our determination to center our education in the African experience through providing additional African Centered curricular infusions materials for our faculty.
Look for us to renew our joy in being able to work with one another, with our young people and with their families. We know that it is indeed a privilege and honor do so and are grateful for the renewed blessings of being able to work toward another decade of service to this community. Upya ndoto! Let’s renew the dream!
Dr. Mama Ayesha
Dr. Ayesha Imani, Executive Manager
6201 N. 21st Street Philadelphia PA 19138 215.438.4140 (P) 215.438.4160 (F) firstname.lastname@example.org
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