Peace & Blessings from Dr. Mama!

Our honored ancestor Maya Angelou said:
“Do the best that you can until you know better, then when you know better do better”
Hotep Beloved:
I have to start this message by expressing my deep gratitude for Sankofa parents, students, and staff.  We have worked hard to put together a plan that puts the health of our children, staff, and all of our families at the center.  So many of you participated in helping us decide how to best begin this school year. Staff members, parents, and students gave up their time to be a part of our Re-opening Committee.  In addition, we sent out 650 surveys to families and received 368 surveys back.  To have a survey return rate of over 50% is nearly awesome!  Your feedback made all the difference in the world and helped us have the courage to decide to start this school year off 100% virtual and work toward attempting to reopen on or before January, providing the spread of the virus decreases in Philadelphia.  What really warmed our hearts, was seeing that 85% of our families said they would stick with us if we went into a hybrid model and 81% indicated they would stick with us if we became cyber.  Trust and believe we are going to reach out to that other 15 – 19 percent and see what we can do to help keep them in our communities.  Thank you so much!
We also want to thank so many of you for keeping your promise and returning our computers so that we have them for the upcoming school year.  While we are still waiting for 60 computers to come back, over 300 of you returned yours!  It is especially wonderful that over 250 of you came out to our town hall meetings to hear about the model for next year.  At the town hall meetings, you shared suggestions and affirmations that let us know we are on the right track.
You responded well to the protocols that we have established.  You seemed gratified to know that when we do return in January (or perhaps before), we will have daily temperature checks for our students, plastic face shields as well as masks, shields for their desks and small classes that will allow for social distancing.  You clearly appreciated all the hard work that we put into our plan and you let us know that you share our resolve to choose life and wellness over sickness and death!  What else could we do?  As an African Centered Freedom School, we must always put people over profit and politics.  We will model the African proverbs that celebrate our children as our wealth and our elders as our libraries and keepers of our history and culture.  We know that science tells us that our children can get sick and can transmit the virus. (Pray for the poor children being hospitalized in Florida).  We also know that children under 10 can transmit to their families and elders in the same ways that adults do.  At the end of the day, “we all we got” and it’s up to us to take care of one another.
Family, as we make plans for our virtual program, we want you to know that we have paid attention to your feedback.  You can expect that our virtual program will be totally different and much better than what we did in the spring.
We will have:
   1. 100% live teaching
   2. Opportunities for small group instruction
   3. Opportunities in high school for college courses
   4. Kits and manipulatives so that your child is not on a computer all day.
Please review the PowerPoint from our meeting.  Check out our new policies and all the ways that we plan to keep your child and each other safe once we do open our building in January.  Put the important dates from our mailing on your calendar: 
August 17-22  - Computer and Kit distribution
August 31 - First day of School – Cyber
January 4 - First day of Hybrid (unless things change, and we can go back earlier)
I know for some of you, news of our decision is causing anxiety.  Expect us to reach out to you and partner with you to try to solve concerns related to:
    a. Internet access
    b. Childcare
    c. Health concerns

We want to do all we can to keep the Sankofa family together.  We want you to know that you are not alone.
Finally, family this COVID thing is real!  Please social distance.  Stay home as much as you can!  Wear a mask whenever you go out or inside any space other than your home.  Avoid being inside with people for more than 15 minutes at a time even with your masks on.  Wash your hands. Wash your hands.  Wash your hands.  Let’s do what we can to get control of this virus so that by January or perhaps even before, we can get our children back in the school building!  Thank you for being a part of this extraordinary village.  May you and your family be safe and protected.
In Service and in love,
Dr. Ayesha Imani, CEO