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.
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 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!
With the return to school following pandemic closures, we’ve seen articles and photos touting taking classes outdoors as one strategy to keep students and teachers healthy. But learning in a natural environment has many benefits beyond access to fresh air!
Students enjoy taking learning outdoors as they read, write, and discover the natural areas of the 90-acre Independence campus, including a giant sideways tree.
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.
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.
Kennedy Marie Crowder, Indy Class of 2014, has been awarded a Marshall Scholarship. Kennedy, a graduate of Padua Academy, is currently a candidate for a BA at the University of Pennsylvania where she is pursuing a major in English and a minor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Japanese Concentration and Certificate in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture.
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.
There is a difference between learning and learning with understanding, especially when it comes to math. If math understanding is limited in scope to a certain circumstance and cannot be applied or utilized outside of that, then it has little merit.
Data matters! Eighth grade physical science students presented their research and findings about a wide variety of consumer products at the Consumer Product Showcase on Dec. 16.
In this Indy Insights blog, read how science - and specifically science education - has come to the forefront through our experiences of 2020 thus far.
In an era of unusual circumstances and lots of uncertainty, two Independence Indy Robotics Teams were able to compete this year in the First Lego League Challenge Tournament at Lums Pond this past weekend. Led by coaches Mr. Jaisi, Mrs. Cohen, Dr. Xie, and Dr. Singh-Patel, the teams created solutions to the growing problems of transportation. Both of these teams received awards for their work! Read more for details.
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?
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.
At our recent Middle School Awards Assembly, Athletic Directors, Mrs. Horsey and Mr. Motta, presented awards to the 2022 Athletes of the Year, Claudia and Tiernan. Also presented were the William Braune Athletic Scholarship Awards to Sophie and George, honoring a boy and a girl in seventh grade who demonstrate a love of sports and the encouragement of others while not seeking “star status.”
The ability to communicate effectively and clearly sits high on the list of important skills for any successful adult. Therefore, public speaking is considered a fundamental skill. Beginning in kindergarten, students will experience speaking and listening opportunities daily and will be successful with both.
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