After having my children enrolled at Independence for 3 years, I am not convinced I have selected the best school for my children. The school does its best to weed out average children through IQ testing at age 4/5, which I think gives them jaded impression about the real world. I totally agree with the previous comment about a 'cookie cutter' prototype. Sadly, this school wants to mold children uniformly--it is stifling at times. The classroom teachers are wonderful. If you have pre-K children, be prepared to have them bring home a lot of coloring pages, which constitutes much of their 'creativity' projects. The afterhours teachers could be more friendly--an ongoing issue that is continually addressed. I am looking at other options for my children, but for now, they are relatively happy. The school could use some major tweaking, but all in all, it is a good school.
With two sons at Independence, I believe its strengths are a strong Judeo-Christian foundation with superior academics, a fantastic music program, exceptional teachers, top notch facilities, reasonable tuition (for a private school in this area), and strong parental involvement (90+% parent volunteerism). Weaknesses include administrative changes; over-emphasis on homework; too much structure; some classes with 21+ kids; and poor administration-to-parent communication (although improvements were implemented this spring - ie improved website, promotion of former Asst Head). I would recommend Independence to parents looking for an academically well-rounded school with a rigorous sequential learning program. Kids will enjoy sports, music, art, academics, extracurricular groups and school-wide activities. We have had success working with the school to address our son's learning differences, but we do know of other parents who felt the school was too inflexible in dealing with their children's challenges. Independence is best suited for the high-average and gifted student.
After my son had been at Independence for four years, I pulled him out of the school. There are some strong points about Independence. It is very academically based. The tuition is less than the other area private schools. The parents are very involved in the school, and encouraged to stay on top of their child's homework. Now, for the negative. Creativity and individualism are not valued. If you look at the pictures that line the walls, you can see that they are all very similar. Many children just don't fit the mold of the school. Many times, boys will not fit in, unless they are very quiet and do not question authority. My child was extremely stressed out here, and hated to go to school every day. If you are thinking of going here, take a look at Northstar Elementary, too
My daughter was just switched to the Independence School in the seventh grade and absolutely loved it. Every student in the school was welcoming and friendly. Although the amount of work is enormous and the work very rigorous, my daughter told me that she finally felt like she was working to her full potential. The teachers to me seemed like the greatest quality, and the former head master was not my favorite. The extracurricular activities were excellent for my daughter because there were low key, and finally decided to try a new sport after never wanting to before. The drama program is great and the music is absolutely outstanding. Almost every child is involved in band and the band teacher is teriffic. The level of parental involvment is almost too high. I'm sure many children get some 'extra' help on homework. But it is a truly wonderful school.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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