A PHL charter school has an international focus

Source: The Notebook, Summer 2010

… nine-year-old Independence Charter School (ICS). The school’s mission is to “provide an intellectually stimulating curriculum with an international focus for Philadelphia youth.” 

In addition to providing challenging curriculum, ICS’s “international focus” is also apparent throughout the school. Half the students are enrolled by parental choice in a Spanish immersion program, while 50 percent receive Spanish “enhanced” instruction in which they are taught in Spanish for about 10 percent of the day. 

In the middle grades, students are also introduced to Swahili, Arabic, and Mandarin through weekly classes. Beyond studying languages, each grade focuses in depth on two countries a year, with curriculum designed to support the study of these countries. 

The school has experienced so much success with its internationally focused model that it recently sponsored a global studies conference. Held on May 7 at University of the Arts, the event brought together educators and international education advocates to discuss the potential for expanding global studies programs.


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