About IDCS » Why IDCS?


Why Integrated Day Charter School?
  • You want to be a partner in your child's education.
  • You value your child's natural instinct to explore and research topics of their own interest. 
  • You believe in the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching.
  • You want your children to learn to be active participants in their environment and communities.
  • Integrating Critical Curriculum into your child's education is important to you.
  • You want your children to be empowered to have a voice in their school community.
In February of 2021 members of the IDCS community testified at the Education and Appropriations meeting in front of Connecticut State legislators, here is some of what they had to say:
Allison Martin, IDCS Parent and Governing Board Member
"Our children attended a local public school before being selected by lottery to join the Integrated
Day Charter School. This was a great opportunity for us all. At IDCS, when you attend the
Integrated Day Charter School you are joining a family. When someone is in need, another
IDCS family member is lending out a hand to help. While the support from other families is
outstanding. The leadership from the administration and team is top notch. It feels like “Cheers,
everyone knows your name!” With the onset of this pandemic, something as small as knowing a
name is huge. Folks are stuck in homes and online. Having minimal personal interaction. Those
little personal touches are big.
To take it a step further, one of the members of the kitchen staff noticed my son wasn’t eating
much of his lunch. They reached out and asked if they can make him something different or how
they can help. This is a level of observation that is above and beyond. This is only one of many
stories I could share about the attention to detail that the IDCS staff exhibits."
Samuel Pierre, IDCS Parent
"My oldest daughter attended the Integrated Charter School from Pre-K to 8th
grade where she learned how to play violin, and piano and then went to NFA to
be an honor student all the way up and was elected the president of the NAACP.
My twelve year old son and my 4 year old daughter are both attending IDCS
where discipline, human and community values are taught to them making them
already like my oldest daughter, successful children living in this community.
Coming from Haiti, I feel blessed to call myself an American citizen and to be able
to raise these children in a school like IDCS, because in a great and generous
America, you don’t have to speak a perfect English to be accepted and to be
treated equally whether it is for work or for school."
"My daughter that is majoring in Finance, and currently attending Three Rivers
College and still an “A” Student with English as second language, is a perfect
example of what Charter School is offering to the community."

Gregory Perry, IDCS Parent and Teacher
"There are many things that I could tell you about why this school is so special. Unfortunately,
three minutes is not enough to explain all of the ways that this school is amazing. I encourage
you to come and visit and see for yourself when you are able. I will focus on two things unique
to IDCS that I think are relevant to the topic at hand. Social Justice and Critical Pedagogy are
two big parts of this school’s guiding philosophy. We teach our students to look at issues, both
historical and present day, from multiple perspectives, with a critical lens. We also care deeply
about fairness and justice."
"The Integrated Day Charter School may be a charter school, but it is not a for profit school. It is
not a private school. The students who come to our school are public school students. With the
exception of children of teachers, and siblings of current students, no one can use their privilege
to have their child accepted into our school, or be denied entry because of any lack of privilege.
We are following the same educational mandates, and working with the same students as any
other local public school."
Ellen Retelle, Ph.D., IDCS Executive Director
"In 1997 teachers, parents, and community members founded the Integrated Day Charter School.
This group purchased an old Thermos factory, cleaned it up, purchased furniture, had a lottery and
6 weeks later, opened the school for students in Prek-6. Two years later, the school included 7th
and 8th graders. Our core tenets and unique activities that are just as strong now as they were then.
To name a few...every student researches three topics a year and presents to their classmates and
parents, service learning, social justice, learning buddies, all school, bread feast, and student empowerment.
We are a diverse school in many ways: racially, ethnically, socioeconomically, family type,
languages, and home of origin. IDCS has more than 500 students on the waiting list."