Inspire. Dream. Achieve.

Age 3 through 8th grade


The Independence School, an independent, co-educational day school for age 3 through 8th Grade, provides an exceptionally strong academic foundation and so much more. We educate the whole student, preparing him or her emotionally and ethically for whatever lies ahead. At Independence, students learn to think for themselves. They learn independence.

Independence's setting offers children a nurturing, community school feel where all students and their families can be known and appreciated. Our common philosophy and academic leadership team guide us in our mission and ensure that our sequential curriculum spirals upward through the grades to allow for distinct academic unity while also guaranteeing individualization.

Independence is situated on 90 acres in the Pike Creek Valley, with easy access to Wilmington, Newark and Hockessin, as well as nearby Maryland and Pennsylvania communities.


Independence was founded in 1978 by parents seeking a challenging education that would be strong in the academic areas, arts, foreign languages and athletics. At that time, the school was located in a shopping center in Newark, Del.

The first school year was extremely successful, and standardized achievement test scores documented great improvements in student skills. The first graduating class consisted of 19 students.

Growth was significant, and the school purchased 16 acres of land on Paper Mill Road in January of 1980. During the early '80s, the school's programs in athletics and the arts expanded, and our graduates were demonstrating the success of our program by their superior academic performances in many private and public schools throughout the county. New facilities were constructed on the current Paper Mill Road location in 1983. The Early Childhood program and Extended Day were added in 1987, housed in a new building on campus. In the mid-1990s, additional facilities were added, including a full-size gymnasium and expanded middle school classrooms and gathering spaces.

Today, the school occupies a 90-acre campus in the Pike Creek Valley (near Hockessin, Newark, and Wilmington, Del.; Cecil County, Maryland; and Southeastern Chester County, Pennsylvania) and features a 900-seat auditorium, a library/media center, a range of classroom technology, acoustically designed music rooms, science laboratories, a full-size gymnasium, multi-purpose rooms, meeting spaces, art rooms and a gallery.

Independence today at its Paper Mill Road location


Fast Facts

Mission Statement: The Independence School inspires students to become independent, intellectually curious individuals who possess an exceptional spirit for learning, leadership and citizenship.

Core Values: Independence’s foundation stands on the values of Respect, Responsibility and Integrity.

Enrollment and Class Size: Our diverse population of approximately 450 students comes from Newark, Pike Creek, Hockessin, Wilmington, North Wilmington and neighboring areas of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Class sizes range from 12-18 per class in Early Childhood to 18-22 per class in Kindergarten through Grade 8.

Curriculum: Sequential academic curriculum includes an emphasis on the communication arts (spelling, reading, writing, grammar, public speaking), science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), history, geography, world language, economics and study skills (LeApps™). Sixth- through eighth-grade students participate in a unique Character Development Program with an emphasis on citizenship and leadership. Achievement grouping provides the appropriate pacing for varying skill levels. Through varied instruction and an increasingly learner-centered approach, including project-based learning, blended learning and collaborative work, students learn to think critically, approach problems creatively and work with others.

Co-curricular: Instrumental and vocal music lessons, art, physical education, health, technology & media literacy and athletics (all included in tuition).

Clubs and Activities: Student Government Association, INDY Student Ambassadors, Science Olympiad, Academic Quiz Bowl, Math League, MATHCOUNTS, Drama Club, chorus, band, orchestra, Art Club, FIRST LEGO League, Chess Club, and others. Click here for more information.

Athletics: Interscholastic sports for 7th and 8th grade -- Co-ed Cross Country, Field Hockey, Boys' Soccer and Girls' Volleyball in the fall. Boys' & Girls' Basketball, Wrestling and Co-ed Indoor Track in the winter. Baseball, Boys' & Girls' Lacrosse, Girls' Soccer and Tennis in the spring. Intramural sports for fifth- and sixth-grade students.

Campus, Facilities, Technology: 130,000-square-foot building on 90 acres, including wetlands and an outdoor conservancy area for science and nature exploration. Five athletic fields, six tennis courts, a track, baseball diamond and age-appropriate playgrounds. Facilities include a 900-seat auditorium, performing arts center, full-size gymnasium, library, science labs, technology classroom, Innovation Station STEM lab, art rooms and gallery. Interactive classroom white boards (Smartboards and Activboards) can be found in each division. Chromebooks and iPads are used in certain grades/subjects. A "Bring Your Own Device" program exists for students in fifth through eighth grade.

Faculty: 40 full-time and 10 part-time faculty, with an average of 19 years of teaching experience. 45% of teachers have advanced degrees. Our experienced and dedicated faculty members deliver the curriculum in creative and impactful ways. Teachers and staff are fully engaged with the students as club facilitators, coaches and advisors, and they communicate frequently with parents.

The Center for Wellness, Innovation & Learning (CWIL™): Made up of Independence educators and physical and mental health professionals, CWIL’s mission is to ensure that Independence students truly develop into independent, intellectually curious individuals. Parent education, research and best practices form the foundation of the center’s work.

School Hours, Extended Day and Summer Program: The school day runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with clubs, enrichment activities and athletics meeting after school. Flexible before and after-school Extended Day is available on campus 12 months a year from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Summer at Independence is open to students age 3 through rising grade 8 and features a wide array of offerings.

Accreditation: Middle States Association. In 1996, Independence first received accreditation by the MSA Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, the gold standard for measuring and evaluating school performance, before being re-accredited in 2014.

Memberships: National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Delaware Association of Independent Schools (DAIS), Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS), Independent School Teachers' Association of Greater Philadelphia, Associate Member of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA), Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Educational Research Bureau (ERB), Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP), National Business Officers Association (NBOA).

International Students: Independence is recognized by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) as a SEVIS-approved school with the ability to issue I-20 Forms. A Form I-20 from Independence will allow students to obtain a U.S. F-1 Student Visa. We are able to accept international students who are proficient in English, meet the academic requirements for admission and provide the school with a bank-verified financial statement.

Strategic Plan

Framing the Future: Seven Years of Progress

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