Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School

  • 640 N. 66th Street
  • Overbrook 
  • Enrollment: 568  (authorized 525)   
  • Opened in 1997
  • Grades: K to 8
  • Projected Cost for 5-year renewal:  $32,193,084

The CSO recommends a 5-Year Renewal with Conditions despite the fact that Harambee has met standards in none of the major categories.  Harambee met no standards in its 2015 evaluation but was renewed with conditions.

Harambee did not meet standards for proficiency in ELA or Math in any of the years tested. The schools scored below both District and similar schools for ELA and Math for all years in evaluation. SPR Achievement for 13% in SY 2016/17, 21% in SY 2017/18, and 13% in   SY 18/19 puts Harambee in Intervene for all three years.

Harambee did not meet Organizational standards for a number of reasons. Harambee had 48% of students attending 95% of days Attendance in SY 2019/20 compared to the District’s 56%. Chronic absenteeism exceeded both District and similar schools with 31% in 2018-19 and 26% in 2019-20.

The Code of Conduct did not fully identify informal hearing due process rights in 3 of the 4 years cited. Three of ten employee files reviewed did not contain evidence of FBI Federal Background Checks for he duration of this charter term. Two of ten employee files reviewed did not contain evidence of PA Criminal Background checks for the duration of the charter term.

Harambee failed to comply with all Mandated Health Services. During the CSO’s review of documents, 20 student files were reviewed: 7 of 9 student health files did not contain medical examinations for the 18-19 school year; 7 of 12 student health files did not contain dental examinations for the 18-19 school year. 1 of 16 student health files did not contain hearing screenings for the 18-19 school year.

Statements of financial interest were not provided for school leaders and board members in several years of the term.

Average teacher tenure at Harambee is 4.4 years compared to the District’s 13.2 years.

The CSO cited Harambee for Sunshine Act violations and Board improprieties. The evaluation addendum states that Harambee failed to meet agreed upon conditions in the 2015 agreement to come into compliance in these areas. Under Organizational compliance for the last three years,  the CSO reported that Harambee’s Board “Minutes indicated noncompliant use of executive session.”  It is concerning that the school does not feel the need to correct this deficiency but continues the incorrect process every year.  Also, for the last three years a number of Board members and the School Leader failed to file statements of financial interest.  Again, no evidence the school felt the need to correct this deficiency.  For the last four years, Harambee has consistently exceeded the maximum number of Board members with no evidence of addressing this CSO concern.  Harambee has had three different School Leaders in 5 years.

Former Chester Upland Superintendent Gregory Shannon is listed as Harambee CEO for the last two years. The 2019 IRS 990 lists Kimberly Harris as Harambee’s CEO but for only one hour per week  at  a salary of $53,596.  No other positions are listed on the 990, including the school’s three Assistant Principals or the CFO.