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!
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.
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.
My daughter has attended this school since Kindergarten in the enhanced program and is now starting the second grade. As any organization has its growing pains, there have been a few minor issues (miscommunication on a few occasions for after school pick up, etc) but nothing that would prevent me from giving this school 5 stars. The focus on world citizenship and international exposure is exceptional. The languages and cultures that the children are exposed to will be invaluable in helping to create young people that are prepared for our expanding golablization of just about everything. The curriculum for basics is above standard and our daughter as well as her friends that attend have excelled in the past 2 years. The school has already won a National Charter School of the Year award as well as other awards. I would recommend this school to anyone looking to broaden their childs horizons.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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).
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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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