Watch Me Soar
Independence provides students the foundation to develop the essential skills and confidence for future success and happiness in school, at work, and as members of a global community.
Ages 3 and 4
These young learners are naturally curious and attuned to the wonders of the world around them. They explore their surroundings, discover friendships, and are inspired through play.
Kindergarten - 4th Grade
Growing continues as students are transformed from little learners to full-fledged students. They are willing and able to apply themselves as they understand that they hold the keys to their accomplishing their dreams.
Grades 5 - 8
Students integrate foundational learning with an emphasis on critical thinking and internal motivation. They become prepared to achieve at the highest levels of their capabilities and are ready to excel in school and in life.
Through our partnership with Stroud Water Research Center this past summer, middle school science teacher Sarah Ferrell had an opportunity to participate in the WATERS project. The project is part of an overall initiative to develop, test, and implement an innovative water science curriculum for middle school students. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the WATERS project is a collaborative effort by Stroud, The Concord Consortium, and Millersville University. Indy 7th graders have been working with this curriculum this fall using our campus waterways as their laboratory.
The school’s interest in outdoor learning is not new. In fact, Independence committed to the idea of exploring outdoor opportunities in its 2011 Strategic Plan. “We realized we have all this land and began asking why we weren’t doing more with it,” explains Head of School Vicky Yatzus. “You can have a treasure at your doorstep and miss its potential.”
With a commitment to outdoor education in its many forms, Independence continues to focus on the creation of unique outdoor classrooms and spaces that give students valuable opportunities for growth, study and exploration.
With the completion of the Funk Outdoor Classroom and new opportunities for learning outdoors, Lower School Head Christy Koense developed a pilot program for full days of outdoor learning. During the spring, every grade in Lower School from Early Childhood through 4th grade experienced an entire school day held outside!
For anyone interested in ways that teachers can teach better, students can learn better, and
schools can better prepare young people for success, this is a fascinating point in time. That’s
because advances in our understanding of the way the human brain works and learns are beginning to influence educational practice as never before.
Current best practices in education include the execution of student-led conferences in the elementary grades and beyond. During the spring of 2022, our fifth grade students, as part of their Learning Applications class, were the first to be part of this experience.
What happens to the infinite array of questions that preschoolers have? They can be endless, tiresome, even embarrassing when asked in public. Interestingly, such questions are a perfect vehicle for cognitive development.
Independence 5th graders recently demonstrated their brain power when they presented lessons on neuroplasticity to a group of "students" (school faculty & staff members). The assignment was part of their Learning Applications (LeApps) curriculum.
Congratulations to Katie and Georgie (6th grade) on placing 1st and 3rd, respectively, in the VFW Post 3420 Patriots Pen essay competition. The theme of this year's competition was "My Pledge to Veterans." Indy 6th grade students submitted essays for the annual competition sponsored by our local VFW district. Winners received certificates and cash awards at a special luncheon and recognition ceremony on Sunday, January 22. Read more for Katie's essay.
Since its founding, The Independence School has demonstrated a commitment to curriculum and instruction that help students maximize their potential in all academic areas. Writing has always been and continues to be a strong focus for the school, even with a growing emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math.
Why should your child learn cursive in these days of keyboards and touchscreens? Is there really any educational value in learning loopy handwriting – or even how to hold a pencil properly anymore? We think so!
A hallmark program, the eighth-grade Capstone Project represents the culmination of every critical aspect of an Independence education. The Capstone is designed to encourage students to think critically and practice skills including written and oral communication, public speaking, researching, media literacy, planning, and organizing, which are needed in high school, college, and beyond.
The 7th and 8th Math League teams fondly known as Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma, finished their seasons just as strong as they started. Congratulations to all the mathletes! We are excited for the 8th grade Alpha team and 7th grade Gamma team to represent Indy in March at the state competition in Dover, DE!
Two young Indy robotics teams held presentations after school on Tuesday for their families, as well as Mrs. Gilmore and Mrs. Yatzus. Both teams are involved in the First Lego League at the Explore level, an entry-level program for school-aged children, ages 6 -10. This year's challenge was called Super Powered, focusing on the idea that energy plays an essential role in keeping our world running.
While much about education should and does change over time, one thing is certain: Deep learning comes not only from practice, but also from conceptualization, discussion, trial and error, collaboration, and review. Rather than rely on traditional teacher-led math instruction only, a math curriculum that incorporates all of these learning strategies can be much more effective and “sticky.”
In this Indy Insights blog, read how science - and specifically science education - has come to the forefront through our experiences of 2020 thus far.
The topic of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is not new, but over the past 5-10 years, it has been gaining strong traction in education due to increasing evidence that SEL is a critical aspect of learning and connection with others. The Independence School has adopted a PreK through 8th-grade SEL program called Second Step with lessons around empathy, managing emotions, problem solving, valuing friendships, managing relationships and social conflict, and more.
As educators, we often talk about the importance of intentionally developing our students to be independent learners and independent thinkers. Even with the youngest preschool children, we focus daily on working to help them grow their abilities to be independent. But, is this focus on independence in direct opposition with one of the most important 21st-century skills – collaboration?
Rosetta Lee, an educator and diversity speaker, was our guest for a virtual session with students in grades 4 through 8. Independence engaged Rosetta to conduct her session, titled "No Joke Zones," in response to data from the AIM Survey and various additional sources. Facilitated by Rosetta, the presentation and conversations focused on teasing, joking, and other behaviors that can be hurtful to others.
Besides the obvious family bonding experience and the noteworthy combat for fighting off boredom during those long summer days and nights, board games have a notable underlying superpower. Did you know that playing board games contributes to the development of literally all of the Executive Functioning Skills your child needs throughout their lifetime?
On Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day, three 6th grade students were given the honor of reading their recent essays about veterans from the podium. The "Patriot's Pen" essay assignment is related to a competition sponsored annually by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). This year, the topic for the national contest was "My Pledge to Our Veterans." Mia, Brian, and Ava were selected by their peers to read at the assembly. Read more for links to each essay.
Whether it is through the Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored philanthropic activities or middle school Character Development Program (CDP), Independence students learn the importance and value of giving to others who are less fortunate than themselves. Read more to learn about recent initiatives.
Middle School is difficult, and no adult I have ever known has admitted to wanting to repeat it. I don’t mean the academics. I mean that feeling of wanting to crawl out of your skin, hide under your bed, and wait for this awkward and terrifying stage of life to pass without anyone noticing you. How can we make school more comfortable during these difficult transition years?
Independence 7th and 8th graders recently had an opportunity to become certified in CPR. CWIL (Center for Wellness, Innovation and Learning) and Learn. Lead. Launch!, a leadership non-profit started by Indy alumni, teamed up to continue our tradition of CPR training and certification.
This week, ECII and Kindergarten students have been studying contemporary artist, Jim Dine. With Dine's work as their inspiration, they are exploring color mixing, lines, and positive negative space. At this age, there is also great focus on brushstroke and how to properly hold a paintbrush. Check out some of their creations in addition to one of their reference pieces, Dine's 1969 piece, "Four Hearts."
Nothing gets us into the holiday spirit more than the first winter concert of the season! Our audience enjoyed a variety of tunes including a grand finale performed by all members of the Stage Band, Elementary Choir, Treble Choir, and Mixed Choir. Congratulations to these very talented students and our music department on an excellent evening!
Finally, after two years, we experienced a festive spring concert in our auditorium with an outstanding grand finale! Bravo to all of the students for a wonderful performance. Thank you to Mr. Dan Kitching and Dr. Tae Sakamoto for their leadership of our music program.
Congratulations to the drama club on their exceptional production of "The Wizard of Oz, Young Performers' Edition." We are so proud of you all and thank everyone involved for their dedication to this performance.
Class of 2022
Laura has attended Independence since she was 4 years old and has taken advantage of every possible opportunity to be involved
Class of 2024
Darren has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember. At Independence he is a team player
Class of 2029
It's not every day that you get to paint on an easel outside. As a budding artist, Cynthia loves painting anywhere, especially in our Funk Outdoor Classroom
Class of 2026
A passion for writing emerged very early on in Stuart as his favorite area of writing is science fiction
Class of 2023
Science looks different at Independence because of our expansive campus with a creek and pond for students’ exploration and study. Marlise loves putting on waders to see what she might discover in the creek
Class of 2024
Both a saxophone and clarinet player, and a member of the choir, one of Sonia's favorite places on campus is the music wing