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Public charter
Philadelphia, PA
Students enrolled: 800

Contact this school

1600 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146

School website
(215) 238-8000
(215) 238-1998
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Independence CS address.

June 10, 2014
Dedicated teachers, great staff, amazing parents and kids. Since my son won the lottery for a spot in ICS I feel like I never need to win another thing. This school looks and feels like the city of Philadelphia, with a diverse student body made of kids from every neighborhood. We're very lucky to be part of it.

- submitted by a parent

June 06, 2014
I am the parent of a 4th grader and 2nd grader at this school. My girls could not be more different when it comes to learning and I could not be happier with how both have thrived at ICS!! Not only are the academic standards high, the community of teachers, parents and support staff are beyond anything we could have hoped for. When my youngest daughter was struggling with reading, I did not have to request help, a reading specialist started taking her out of the classroom to work with her before I knew she needed it and still works with her today, she is now reading at grade level and is confident enough to raise her hand and read aloud in class!! This is a very special place and we are so lucky to be able to send our girls here!

- submitted by a parent

June 02, 2014
Highly overrated. It's a glorified public school at best. Faculty and staff are out of touch w/ inner city kids of Philadelphia.

- submitted by a community member

April 28, 2014
ICS continues to be a winner for our 6th grade daughter. The dedicated teachers and staff encourage the students to be intelligent, informed, and contributing citizens of our world. It's my hope they add high school grades before she moves into 9th grade.

- submitted by a parent

April 03, 2014
Independence Charter School (ICS) is a welcoming place where student learning is valued and supported through strong community connections, dynamic educators, committed families and parents. The 800 students in grades K-8 come from all parts of the city Philadelphia and participate in a school of academic excellence. The school is located in Center City Philadelphia and serves a diverse community of learners. ICS provides an intellectually stimulating curriculum with a global focus. Students participate in classes in Spanish language programs as well as classes in art, music, drumming.

- submitted by a teacher

February 13, 2014
I graduated last year from the immersion program fluent in Spanish. I also got into the best public school in Philadelphia. I grew bonds with my classmates and my wonderful teachers. This school deserves better than a 5 on their rating because the relationships with friends and staff plus all the knowledge you get is a 10. A simply amazing school.

- submitted by a community member

January 29, 2014
Tremendous! The experiences the kids have at ICS are so valuable. They have a 3-day camping trip, an opportunity to travel to 2 South American countries, and an overnight at Heifer International. They are yearly winners at National History Day! They grow well-rounded independent global thinkers!

- submitted by a parent

August 05, 2013
I really enjoy the feeling of unity that is present when you enter the building. It feels as though we are all part of a team because, "We are. "Students are bright, polite, attentive, caring & thoughtful. We are a part of something wonderful! My son is just about fluent after 2 years of spanish immersion, I am proud of how hard he has worked, and of his teachers for challenging him.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
April 27, 2010
I love ICS, the staff, the teachers, they have a great curriculm and really care about the children, they also have alot of opportunities for the children to grow, they do the National Spelling Bee, the Geographic Bee, Odyssey of the Mind and tons of cultural activities and don't forget about Spanish Immersion, my daughter has already taken Chinese, Japanese, Latin and is bilinigul from Spanish Immersion since Kindergarten and I can barely say Olah!

- submitted by a parent
no rating
April 19, 2010
If you want your child to learn Spanish, this is the place to go. Spanish immersion from Kindergarten through 5th grade, plus great teachers for whom Spanish is their native language--- really wonderful people. Plus a great commitment to learning and excellence. Independence Charter is certainly one of the top charter schools in Pennsylvania, and my personal favorite.

- submitted by a parent

October 24, 2009
i think this school is an oasis for parents raising kids in the city who can't afford private school and want something beyond the average public school in their nieghborhood. the faculty and sudent body are diverse. the emphasis on the language, tolerance and understanding of people around the world is invaluable. i have found the teachers to be dedicated. lack of extracurricular activies doesn't bother me too much, they seem to be working on that now anyway by offering more clubs and after school activies. the biggest downfall of the school is the lack of athletics or space for physical activity. you just have to accept this going in and keep in mind all the positive things this school offers. they operate on a charter school budget and fundraising. there is no reason why every public school in the city isn't like this one.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
July 30, 2009
My daughter has attended this school for three years. I like the diversity of the school as far as what the children learn. The homework curriculum they use I don't really care for and it can be frustrating for the kids to catch on to. I also don't like the fact that there are no books for the kids to bring home and study from. They could also use some extra-curriculum activities. I also find the staff to be rude and unpleasant at times. They don't seem to care about the needs of the parents and children. They seem to place the blame on us and don't take responsibility for their part in certain situations. Overall, its a good school but it just needs to work on a few of the above issues.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
June 16, 2009
My son attended ICS from Kindergarten until 3rd grade. I must say that ICS has a rigorous academic schedule, and a diverse environment, but it is not for everyone. The school lacks teaher parent communication and support. Unfortunately I learned that the lack of support and communication stems all the way to the Dean and Principal. The staff is quick to judge and point fingers instead of taking responsibility and finding a solution. I ultimately took my son out of ICS because I felt he wasn't getting the academic and behavioral support the school claims to have available. He was blacklisted and misdiagnosed by the staff as having ADHD eventhough he was doing well academically but had trouble focusing on a specific thing. I would be very careful if your child is not like the majority before sending him/her to ICS.

- submitted by a parent

June 15, 2009
This school is not for everyone, especially if you are considering placing your child in the immersion program. The school lacks support for the parents and the students who don't have a natural knack for learning everything in spanish. Immersion population consists of parents who are bilingual(spanish/english households), which if your child does not come from that background and does not catch on as quick, the school is quick to hold your child back without following through with any type of support. Teacher, parent communication is lacking also. If your child adapts well to being taught in spanish then it is for you. But the curriculum and after school programs are mediocre.The school is good enough until you can transfer your child to a magnet school with a more challenging curriculum, or move to the suburbs.

- submitted by a parent

March 05, 2009
Excellent school. Lots of trips, interesting, knowledgable, and caring staff from Teachers to aides. The schools is deciated to international education and languge learning (Spanish, Italian, Japanese offered). The art teacher is AMAZING as well as the other specialty teachers. The PTA is big and active and the new building is GORGEOUS! The population is pulled from all over the city which allows the kids to have very rich experiences with kids from all different backgrounds. Get your applications in BEFORE October of the preceeding year!!

- submitted by a parent
no rating
January 12, 2009
the school is great i have 3 childern that attend and 1 graduated and went to one of the top schools in the city i think that the teachers really cares and will go the extra mile for your children they just need basketball for the boys

- submitted by a parent

October 11, 2008
My child just started kindergarten and is having a wonderful time. Great teachers, great administrators...we really hit the lottery by getting into this great public school.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
September 08, 2007
ICS provides a comfortable, child-friendly environment with college preparatory curriculum. Both my children are receiving an excellent education. The staff is wonderful and they cater to each child's personal needs. It is a pleasure to be an ICS parent!

- submitted by a parent

May 09, 2007
What a great school for anyone in Philadelphia, the central location enables families from all over the city to attend. Please plan to tour during their annual Open House. Our child has been enrolled since year one, we wouldn't dream of transferring her to another school, with just a few years left we are already sad, so many parents hope they'll consider growing thru into a High School. Administration, Teachers and Parents all join to make this one very sought after school community. Congratulations to the first graduating Class of ICS this June also, we are so proud of you!

- submitted by a parent

April 16, 2007
Where are the extra-curricular activities? I know there is an issue with space, but there should still be a choir, a dance program, arts and crafts, and others that can take place inside the classrooms they already have. With all the theatres that surround them, I know that at least one will allow them to have a school play or something. I think they can do a better job with using their surrounding community.

- submitted by a parent

March 27, 2007
Overall my wife and I are very pleased with the school and would recommend it to anyone in the city looking for an alternative to their neighborhood school and especially if second language acquisition is important. My daughter's teachers have been good to excellent and we have no major complaints and with many, many praises. There is a strong parental involvement especially in the immersion program. The immersion program is also very diverse racially, though not as much economically. The parents of immersion students tend to be better educated, middle class families no matter what race/ethnicity they are. It also may explain the lack of push for extra-curricular activities. As these parents are the most active in the school, they also are parents that take advantage of what the city offers. We already struggle with curtailing my daughter's activities because there are so many opportunities available.

- submitted by a parent

March 17, 2007
Has a great program idea, great location - needs to spend more time on developing it and less time listening to elitist parents who want to move the school closer to their homes.

- submitted by a parent

February 21, 2007
My son is in the 1st grade Spanish immersion program. We are very happy with the program and his ability to speak, read and write in Spanish is amazing. There are not many extra curricular activities but they seem to be adding more slowly. The teachers my son has had are excellent. They are dedicated, creative and full of energy and enthusiasm.

- submitted by a parent

July 24, 2006
I am a student at I.C.S. and I have been in the spanish [immersion] program since kindergarden and I'm going into the 5th grade. i love the projects I do with the parent that are willing to help, like embroidery. The principal and techers are awsome. I love my school !

- submitted by a student

July 06, 2006
Independence Charter is like 2 schools in one and,unfortunately,they are not equal. The Spanish Immersion program is very diverse and the teachers are very committed. The English-language curriculum has attracted a much less diverse student population and is not as challenging as I would have liked. We chose this school because we wanted diversity in both language, culture and student-body. ICS does a great job of teaching students that the USA is only one country of many in the world, but work is needed to improve the cultural diversity within the general student body.

- submitted by a parent

April 18, 2006
ICS is an excellent school with the best PTA ever! I'm not sure what some of the other reviewers mean by 'no diversity'. Students and teachers are very diverse in ethnicity and come from all over the city. We can still use some improvement in extra-curricular areas such as sports and clubs, but teachers are now offering some of those things for free, on thier own after school time.

- submitted by a teacher

January 10, 2006
As a parent at ICS, I'm delighted with the academic program (including the Spanish immersion program, which is what originally attracted us to the school), and especially the outstanding music and art instruction. I also really like the emphasis on world studies/multiculturalism. The teachers are really excellent, and both teachers and administration in general are very responsive to parents' input. Most of the ICS school board members are parents of children at the school, so there's a high level of commitment. There is a really high level of parent involvment, with the PTA and with board committees (for example, Diversity, Development, Facilities, Curriculum, and others).

- submitted by a parent

August 27, 2004
My daughter went here and I found the school to be really lacking in leadership and organization. I found that they put everything on to the parents and did very little. I pulled my daughter out and put her in a private K after she was constantly abused by other students. There is no diversity in this school.

- submitted by a parent

June 03, 2004
I would like to see more diversity. The school is a great place for your children to learn. The teacher are great. Child started in kindergarden when school first open. Hopefully she will still be there at least to eight grade. Great job ICS

- submitted by a parent

September 09, 2003
The school has a great spanish program. My child started at kindergarden and is now in first grade. We love the school!

- submitted by a parent

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Last modified: December 15, 2014

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Independence CS
1600 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA  19146
(215) 238-8000
Last modified Independence CS is a Charter school that serves grades K-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 5 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Independence CS Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 39 reviews. Top