Lottery applications for the 2019-2020 school year will be available beginning January 1, 2019.

The submission deadline will be Friday, March 1 at 2pm. 

The lottery drawing will be held on Tuesday, March 19 at 5pm. It is open to the public.

Our waiting list does not carry over from year to year. You must submit a new application each year to be entered into that year’s lottery.


Independence Charter School-Center City is located at 16th & Lombard Streets in Center City Philadelphia. Yellow school bus transportation is provided for 1st-6th grade students who live more than 1.5 miles from the school. SEPTA Transpasses are provided to 7th-8th grade students who live more than 1.5 miles from the school. There is no transportation for kindergarten students. The school day begins at 8:15 and ends at 3:30 (3:15 for kindergarten students). We dismiss early every Wednesday at 1:45pm (1:30 for kindergarten students). We do not provide aftercare service, but many private local aftercare organizations pick up at our school.

Independence Charter School–Center City is a state-authorized public charter school that opened in 2001. The ICS-Center City charter was renewed by the School District of Philadelphia in 2005 and by the School Reform Commission in 2010 and 2015.

Mission: Independence Charter School (ICS) is a community-based K-8 public charter school of academic excellence, centrally located in Philadelphia and serving a diverse community of learners. ICS provides an intellectually-stimulating curriculum with a global focus designed to develop independent, thoughtful global citizens. We emphasize second language acquisition and integrate arts, ideas, and histories from around the world.


Application Guidelines:

  • For an application to be valid, all information must be complete and accurate.
  • You must submit a separate application for each child.
  • Only one application per child will be valid.
  • To be qualified to enter the kindergarten lottery, your child must turn 5 years old by September 1, 2019. No exceptions.
  • It is your responsibility to notify us if your contact information changes.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you have received an email receipt and save it for your records.
  • The waiting list does not carry over from year to year.
  • If you live outside of Philadelphia, you are not eligible to enter the lottery drawing. You will be added to the end of the waiting list after the lottery drawing.

Spanish Immersion & Spanish Enhanced Programs*

ICS-Center City currently offers two programs, Spanish Immersion and Spanish Enhanced.

  • Students in the Spanish Immersion program are taught in Spanish for the majority of the school day, with the goal of creating students who are bilingual and biliterate. In the Immersion program, major subject areas such as math, reading, social studies, and science are taught entirely in Spanish.
  • Students in the Spanish Enhanced program are taught in English for the majority of the school day and receive separate Spanish language instruction 4-5 times per week for 30-45 minutes per day.

We strongly recommend that you understand the difference between our two language programs before applying for our lottery.

You can register for a tour, read more on our website, email us, or call us at 215-238-8000, x2500.

*Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, we plan to offer just one language program, a Spanish Immersion model, for all entering kindergartners.

You can view a summary of the proposal here. You can also read the Frequently Asked Questions for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the process.


Sibling Preference

ICS gives lottery preference to new students who already have a sibling enrolled in the school. Siblings must live in the same household and have the same parent/guardian as indicated on birth certificate or custody paperwork. Families must submit a valid lottery application by the deadline to be eligible for sibling preference.


If you would like to learn more about our school services, policies, and procedures before applying, please refer to our Policies page.