Independence Charter School (ICS) is a community-oriented public K-8 charter school located in Center City Philadelphia.
At Independence Charter we provide our students with an intellectually stimulating and internationally focused curriculum emphasizing the arts, languages, and world cultures. Recognized nationally for our innovative global studies program, we are the only Philadelphia school to deliver an integrated curriculum that uses world cultures and second language acquisition to introduce and connect content disciplines. We strive to develop a bilingual, interculturally competent, high-achieving student body.
All students at ICS study Spanish within two distinct programs: the Spanish Enhanced program, which includes 30-40 minutes of Spanish language instruction daily; or the Spanish Immersion program, in which students begin Kindergarten with 90% of their day taught in Spanish and 10% in English. By fifth grade that balance is 50/50. Middle school students are also introduced to Arabic in sixth grade, when they begin receiving one hour of weekly instruction (which increases to two hours in the seventh grade) while continuing their Spanish studies. By the time they graduate, ICS students are bilingual and biliterate in Spanish and have introductory knowledge and skills in Arabic.
Independence Charter serves over 800 students from almost every zip code in Philadelphia. Students are randomly chosen through an annual blind lottery. Independence Charter was founded in 2001 by a group of parents and community members devoted to raising their families in Philadelphia. These founding members developed ICS’s mission and program, and many remain instrumental today as parents of current students and in founder seats on our Board of Trustees.
ICS could not achieve its results without our energetic, talented, and caring teachers. They bring to life our approach to cross-thematic teaching and they embody our international focus. Our teachers come from Venezuela, Colombia, Spain, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, and the United States, to name just a few represented countries.
As a community-based school, ICS relies on parents and other family members to enrich our students’ experience. Parents and other family members can get involved and give to the school in many ways—as volunteers, Board of Trustees members or Board of Trustees committee members, and through financial and in-kind gifts.
- Number of classrooms per grade: 4
- Number of students: 809
- Average class size: 23
- Founded: 2001
- First graduating class: 2007
- 1 classroom teacher for every 23 students
- Grades K-5 have an assistant for 10-20 hours/week
- Art: 1
- Music & Drumming: 2
- Science: 4
- Fitness, Dance & Movement: 2
- Special Education: 5
- Counselors: 2
- Deans: 2
- Nurse: 1
- ESL (English as a Second Language): 2
- Reading Specialists: 2
- Family Liaison: 1
- African-American: 48.8%
- Asian: 4.8%
- Caucasian: 24%
- Latino/Hispanic: 15.3%
- Other: 7.1%
- 53% of students qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch.
- 13% of students receive Special Education services.
- 49 Philadelphia zip codes are represented.
- Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Achieved every year since the measure's inception
- Attendance: 97% daily average
- High school acceptance: 95% of graduating 8th graders accepted to special admissions high schools