Our mission is to provide each student with an academically challenging and equitable educational experience. This experience is based on safety, respect, and accountability through Core Knowledge Curriculum, team teaching, and dynamic interactive student, parental, and community involvement. These students will possess the eagerness, readiness, and skill for lifelong learning. Independence Charter Middle School is tuition free.
PHILOSOPHY OF ICMS
While developing our plan for our charter school, we as parents and founders agreed with the findings of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development that “Middle grade schools….are potentially society’s most powerful force to recapture millions of youth adrift and help every young person thrive during early adolescence.”
Our group did considerable research on charter schools and choice in public education. Synthesizing and collaborating our inquiries led us again and again to the Middle School Handbook by Dr. Harry Finks. Describing the qualities and activities to be found in the successful middle school, he focused on a student-centered academic approach in a secure environment where the individual can learn and grow using a broad range of intellectual, social, and physical experiences. Emphasizing the importance of the presence of a caring adult in the life of each student, Dr. Finks stated that successful middle schools are ones that provide a gradual transition from the lower school to the upper school. We as parents agree with this transition and philosophy and believe that for too long our educational system and society as a whole have viewed the middle school years as a “holding period.”
It appeared to us that all attention had been focused on fostering success in the four years of high school. The development of a curriculum and educational environment in the middle school years that help these students maintain excitement about learning, develop the tools necessary to continue learning, and promote the formulation of the personal skills necessary to assume a more independent role was at best lacking. We believe that it is critical to academic success of each student that he or she be properly and responsibly prepared for this challenging experience.
With the Carnegie Council philosophy in mind, we began the work of the formulation of our plan. It is one that will result in improvement in academic achievement and a stronger sense of responsibility and accountability for actions. Our children will grow as individuals, but just as important we want them to understand their position in the community as a whole. It is time to expect and accept nothing less than excellence for our children and ultimately all children in the Oklahoma City School District. It is our firm belief that the charter school program is one that will foster educational excellence, growth, and opportunity to every child in Oklahoma City.
HISTORY OF ICMS
In March 1997 a group of parents gathered together to begin discussions concerning the establishment of a new middle school in the Oklahoma City School District. The concerns that brought the group together centered on several points:
Testing scores from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills reflected the classroom and instructional difficulties that arise from the existence of the two main items above. We were concerned that these low test scores reflected problems with school curriculum and its implementation.
Our common interests were many. A few of these are as follows:
With all these concerns and interests in mind, we set about the task of forming a plan for our school. Our group interviewed teachers, other parents, and community and business leaders as we formed the education plan for our school. The proposal was submitted on August 26, 1997 and was approved on December 1, 1997.
This school is the first of its kind in the State of Oklahoma. Our state has now enacted a charter law. July 1, 2000 our school became the first charter school in the State of Oklahoma. The charter program provides autonomy and flexibility and fosters creativity in those who sponsor schools. It allows our parent group to forge a new and innovative partnership in the Oklahoma City school district. As this relationship develops, both parties are experiencing a level of understanding and cooperation that would not have been possible had this program not existed.
If our students are to develop the skills and abilities necessary to compete in the new world market, then we must all share in the effort to equip and educate them. Please join us in this effort and become a partner with us in realizing our vision of excellence in education. In 2002, Parents for a New Middle School officially changed its name to Families for Excellence in Education.
Independence Charter Middle School
3232 NW 65th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73116 Phone: 767-3000 Fax: 767-3007 Cafeteria: 607-3652 School Day: 7:45 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.