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.
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.
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.
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 the generosity of our families, Independence has been able to continue to enhance and enrich our students’ outdoor learning experiences. This week, we were honored to host the Langenegger family for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the Langenegger Aquatic Biology Dock.
In honor of the 53rd Earth Day (April 22) and in support of our school-wide goal to develop strong environmental stewards, this week we experienced Indy Earth-a-Palooza, a week of earth-centered activities at school. We discovered that conserving energy and being waste-free at school can be hard, but if we all try just a little bit, our school community can make a difference!
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.
Recently, a group of students in Mrs. Sarah Ferrell's 7th grade ornithology class took a morning bird walk on campus with Delaware Nature Society birder Mr. Joe Sebastiani. According to the stats recorded by Mr. Sebastiani on the eBird.org website, the group observed 37 different species of birds during a 40-minute, half-mile walk on our property.
Bleary-eyed and sleepy, your middle schooler awakens at 6:30 AM. After stumbling through their morning routine, they arrive at school about an hour later. The rest of the day is a cacophony of activity that includes classes, tests, projects, socializing with friends, in-school sports, and often extracurricular activities. With any luck, they are back in bed around 9:30 that night. So how can a busy middle schooler fit studying into this schedule?
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.
Our 5th graders are published authors! During their poetry writing unit, each student created 6 different types of poems. They then picked their favorite one (or two favorites) to add to the class book and included an illustration. Each class was also tasked with creating a cover for their book and a dedication page to anyone of their choosing. Mrs. Shockley and Ms. Nelson shipped the final books off to be published and they arrived!
The Modern Epidemic, Fast Fashion: The True Cost, AI-Generated Art: Controversy, and The Importance of Oyster Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay. These topics and more were explored by our Class of 2023 for their Capstone Projects, presented earlier this week.
Our middle school students are becoming quite practiced in debate skills, including conducting research and gaining presentation skills. Read more to learn about recent debates facilitated by our English department.
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.
As a teacher of mindfulness at The Independence School, I often wonder how I can enrich the minds of my students and introduce them to the researched benefits of cultivating a mindfulness practice. Simply put, mindfulness is the art of paying attention to what is happening right now, in the present moment. Think of it as a tool for one to use to calm down and focus on what they are doing. Read more about the benefits of mindfulness practice in school.
Members of the Center for Wellness, Innovation and Learning (CWIL) team, Vicky Yatzus, Bernadette Gilmore, and Dr. Dahra Williams, were selected to present at this year’s ERB Conference in New York City on April 24 and 25. Given the overall conference theme of “Connections,” the group from Independence presented the school's work and research in mindfulness, outdoor learning, and social/emotional learning (SEL), all ways of making connections and improving student wellness and interest. Read more to learn details about the presentation.
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?
The members of Girl Scout Troop 408 have completed their "Take Action" project. After identifying a need for additional outdoor seating at Indy and the problem of plastic waste, the scouts decided to use their troop money to purchase a picnic table made from recycled materials. They partnered with Eco Plastic Products, a nonprofit that recycles plastic into consumer products to eliminate waste.
Earlier this spring, 5th graders were asked to create a children's book that taught a lesson or moral. They wrote the story, created a main character, illustrated the pictures, and created two pop-ups in the book. When their books were complete, the older students took a trip down memory lane as they visited their Kindergarten teachers and read their stories to the younger students.
After an entire school effort, our goal of supporting the 1 in 7B Foundation with hygiene bags for those experiencing homelessness has been reached! Beginning with an introduction to the 1 in 7B Foundation in December, followed by the SGA's Super Bowl challenge to collect donations for the organization, our 6th - 8th grade students completed the project this week as they created hygiene bags during their in-school community service hour.
This week, instead of Mrs. Yatzus leading us through the school-wide monthly assembly, the 4th grade class was honored and very excited to take on this responsibility! Their creative slideshow presentation included music, photos, and pre-recorded news segments each introduced by hosts Kelsey, Emma, and Ryan. Well done, 4th grade! The bar has certainly been set very high for our March assembly.
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