Welcome to the Counselors’ Corner!
The mission of the Independence Charter School counseling team, in partnership with parents, teachers, community groups and local high schools, is to educate, engage, and empower all students to be lifelong learners and global citizens. Our Counselor’s staff is committed to supporting students and families throughout their years at ICS. This website provides families with important information regarding academic planning, high school selection, and community resources.


The elementary school years set the foundation for developing the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for children to become healthy, competent, and confident learners. ICS school counselors have an impact on these years by collaborating with school staff, parents, and the community to create a safe and respectful learning environment. By providing education, prevention, early identification and intervention, school counselors at ICS help their students achieve academic success, develop an understanding of career opportunities, and develop social/emotional skills in response to their world.

Childhood is a time of foundational social/emotional development, which is why school counselors at ICS are committed to supporting students’ social/emotional needs. As advocates for students, school counselors promote a positive environment that enhances students’ ability to identify and regulate their emotions. School counselors use strategies to promote a school environment designed to propel students toward positive mindsets and behaviors supporting social/emotional development through collaboration and direct and indirect services.


High School Selection

In Philadelphia, the public high school selection process allows students currently in 8th grade to apply to attend criteria-based and citywide schools with available space other than their catchment school. This application process begins in the fall of your student’s 8th grade year. Counselor Anne assists families as they navigate through the process.

The District’s school selection process:

  • uses a centralized lottery and waitlist system,
  • applies school-specific grades and attendance criteria
  • makes the online application available in 10 different languages.

This application process does not include other charter or tuition-based schools.

For more information, please visit the School District of Philadelphia’s school selection website.


Under the McKinney-Vento Act, the term “homeless children and youth” means individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes children and youth:

You may qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act if you live in any of the following situations:

  • A shelter.
  • A motel or campground due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
  • A car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station.
  • Doubled up with other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship.

 As an eligible student you have the right to:

  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in the local school or continue attending your
  • school of origin (the school attended when you were permanently housed or the
  • school in which you were last enrolled), if that is your preference and it is feasible.
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin at no cost to the parent or student.
  • Receive free school meals.



Starting at the age of 14, students in Philadelphia are eligible to to work once they’ve obtained their working permit. To obtain working papers, you will need to complete the application (signed by a parent or guardian) and schedule an appointment. Appointments can be scheduled in person or virtually. Please see the school district’s website for further information on obtaining a working permit. Guidelines for work are based on age can be found here.

Guidance Curriculum

ICS’s Counseling Team oversees and facilitates the delivery of a comprehensive social-emotional curriculum. We draw on three sources for curriculum and lessons. Second Step helps students build social-emotional skills—like nurturing positive relationships, managing emotions, and setting goals—so they can thrive in school and in life. Career Zone delivers lessons on career development with interactive lessons customized for each student. 3Rs is a sex education curriculum that meets the National Sexuality Education Standards and addresses both the functional knowledge related to sexuality and the specific skills necessary to adopt healthy behaviors.

The ICS Curriculum Action Plan details the scope and sequence of these lessons from kindergarten to 8th grade.


504 plans are formal plans that schools develop to give kids with disabilities the support they need. That covers any condition that limits daily activities in a major way. These plans prevent discrimination and protect the rights of kids with disabilities in school. 

IEPs and 504 Service Agreements

K-8 Comprehensive Plan

The purpose of the ICS Counseling Plan is to ensure that students make a successful and intentional transition following our k-8 school to high school and beyond. The plan documents a comprehensive process of curriculum delivery, instructional strategies and systematic steps to effectively carry out a career and future ready plan for all students. 

ICS K-8 Comprehensive Guidance Plan

Contact Us

If you need to contact Counselor Lauren, Counselor Whitney or Counselor Anne, please feel free to e-mail us and leave your phone number and best time to reach you! We check our e-mail regularly during school hours: 8:00 am-3:30 pm

Counselor Lauren Pratt

K-2 School Counselor

Counselor Whitney Walker

3-5 School Counselor


6-8 School Counselor

Opening Worlds of Opportunity




      215-238-8000, ext. 2222

      215-238-8000, ext. 2228 (Para español)

      Contact us


1600 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146

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