PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Black History Month is an everyday event for students at West Philadelphia’s Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School.
Their day starts like many other students around the country with a pledge — their pledge which reads in part : “We are the future leaders, teachers of the African world.”
The entire statement, or Umoja Circle, is read at the beginning and end of each class day at Harambee.
The school, chartered in 1997, was Pennsylvania’s first African-centered charter school.
“So much of the other messages they get really are inaccurate reflections of who they are, misconceptions about what they’ve done,” said school Chief Executive Officer Sandra Dungee Glenn.
In addition to studying black history all year, students are also taught ideals like confidence, justice and independence and teachers are called mama and baba as opposed to Mr. and Mrs. School leaders say the community is family-oriented.
“I am mama Karen, so these are my students, but they are my children,” said kindergarten teacher Karen Davis.
While students of all backgrounds are welcome, school officials say the overwhelming majority of students are African-American and say even in 2016, there is still great need for such a school.
“There are still many things to be conquered in terms of how they are viewed in this world,” said Glenn. “They need to be well prepared and well armed.”