Our 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.

Our Beliefs

  • We believe that all children can be successful in a safe, nurturing, and respectful environment.
  • We believe that all members of our school community bring unique and valuable perspectives.
  • We believe that students must be provided with a diverse set of learning tools to reach their fullest potential.
  • We believe that by learning languages and studying cultures, children gain the skills needed to be active global citizens.
  • We believe that we are responsible to a larger community and to one another. We strive to be active stewards of the local and global community.
  • We believe that to reach excellence we must continue to nurture a reflective school community whose members contribute their talents, insights, and hard work in service to our students and to the larger community.

Language Programs

ICS offers two language programs: Spanish Enhanced and Spanish Immersion. You can learn more about both programs by visiting our Language Programs page.

Additional Programming

All students receive art, music, and dance/movement instruction in lower school (grades K-5), and our middle school students take fitness, a global arts course that includes Middle Eastern drumming instruction, and a wide range of rotating electives. For students in grade 3 and up, a number of after school activities are available, such as Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics, Students Run Philly Style, Basketball, Model UN, Musical Theater, etc.

In middle school (grades 5-8) students take signature trips to enhance their curriculum and support team-building. 5th graders go on a two-night camping trip to Camp Onas, 6th graders take a canoe trip and visit a number of state parks, 7th graders travel to Massachusetts to stay two nights at the Heifer International Village, and 8th graders participate in Outward Bound, visit Island Beach State Park, and take college tours.

7th graders who qualify also have the opportunity to travel to Colombia or Ecuador for a full week of service-learning through our unique Take Flight travel program.

Special Education

A team of special education teachers works closely with grade-level teachers and specialists to provide identified students with specialized instruction in the classroom (push-in) or in a resource room setting (pull-out). ICS practices full inclusion and provides support within that model to benefit the individual student. Independence Charter special education students participate in all classes and competitions. Learn more on our Special Education page.

Board of Trustees

ICS is governed by a Board of Trustees, with two board positions reserved for elected parent representatives. Board meetings are open to the public. Board meeting minutes and financial information are posted on our website. Visit our Board of Trustees page for complete information.


ICS enrolls students through an annual blind lottery process, open to all residents of Philadelphia. Learn more on our Admissions page.

Fast Facts

Total students: 813

Average class size, grades K-4: 24
Average class size, grades 5-8: 22
All K-3 classrooms have classroom assistants for part of each day.


  • Black (Not Hispanic): 38.7%
  • Hispanic: 24.4%
  • White (Not Hispanic): 26.7%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 4.5%
  • Multi-Racial: 5.7%
  • Special education students: 14.8%
  • English language learners: 6.3%
  • Receiving free/reduced lunch: 51.8%