Many parents dream of giving their children a high-quality Catholic education, but families in some neighborhoods do not have a Catholic school nearby or find it impossible to pay tuition. Independence Mission Schools in Philadelphia is working to alleviate this problem by providing a sustainable and affordable education to children of all backgrounds.
Formed in 2012 by local business leaders who feared losing several inner-city parish schools, Independence Mission Schools consists of 15 Catholic schools located across the Philadelphia area. In September, it will re-open a 150-year-old school, St. Malachy, offering more educational opportunities to more students in a new space. When schools become a part of IMS, they retain their own unique traditions, history, culture and connection to the surrounding neighborhood. IMS collectively serves more than 4,800 pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students of all faiths. The strong curriculum and safe, values-based educational environment is especially beneficial for “at-risk students.” More than 65 percent of students continue their education at high-performing high schools, increasing their chances of graduating and success beyond the classroom.
As a Philadelphian and product of Catholic education, President Anne McGoldrick said Independent Mission Schools offers a “unique opportunity” to use Catholic education to solve a problem.
“I had a sense of urgency on what the state of our educational system would mean for thousands of children without economic advantage,” she said.
The vision for IMS is to continue exhibiting excellence on all grounds — Catholic, academic and overall character. McGoldrick and the IMS staff see this new model as a way to re-energize learning in Philadelphia schools.
“With a unique ability to impact a young person’s life and the magnified effect that can have across our 5,000 students and their futures, the work in our schools will be transformational for generations to come,” she said.