PHILADELPHIA – The Alliance of Charter School Employees, Local 6056, representing the faculty and staff at Khepera Charter School, and the Khepera Charter School Board of Directors have ratified their first union contract. Khepera is an African-centered academy that hosts grades K-8 in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy neighborhood.“We’re excited to have achieved a contract that will allow us to continue to work collaboratively with our administration to strengthen our school community and realize Khepera’s mission,” said eighth-grade teacher Mama Omatayo Johnson. “We initially organized in order to bring more of the teachers’ voices into decision-making at the school, so that we can most effectively advocate for both our students’ needs, and our professional needs.”
Third-grade teacher and Building Representative Mari Rivers added, “We began this journey not for any one of us, but for all of us, and we are eager to continue working together in the spirit of umoja,” a Swahili word meaning “unity.” The new contract features a defined salary scale, the creation of a labor-management committee for ongoing communications and collaboration, and clarifications to the teacher evaluation and support system. Khepera CEO Charles A. Highsmith commented, “I look forward to working together with the ACSE as a stakeholder and partner in the continued growth and development of Khepera Charter School.”
The Alliance of Charter School Employees is a local affiliated with AFT Pennsylvania to represent teachers and staff at charter schools throughout Philadelphia. Khepera houses 450 K-8 students and 50 teachers and staff between its two Mount Airy campuses.“We are proud of these teachers for standing together to win their full rights as professionals,” said AFTPA President Ted Kirsch. “For charter schools to achieve their mission of innovation and excellence, they must treat their teachers and staff members as full partners.”The Alliance of Charter School Employees supports charter school teachers and staff who want a professional voice in their schools. In addition to Khepera, other chapters of the Alliance include: West Oak Lane Charter School; Delaware Valley Charter High School; Wakisha Charter School; and Multicultural Academy Charter School. To learn more, visit their fan page on Facebook and their web site www.phillyacts.org.
Contact: Valerie Braman, AFT Pennsylvania Staff Representative, at 215-587-6784