Mission & History

Our Mission 

The mission of Independence Mission Schools is to provide a transformative Catholic education that develops students intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually and that provides children of all faiths with the opportunity to learn in an academically rigorous environment and to grow in a culture of love, setting them on the path to a promising future.

Our Vision

The IMS vision is that students will leave our school community emotionally and spiritually formed by our Catholic example, performing at or above grade level, and enrolled in an academically rigorous high school program ready to achieve their dreams. We strive to become a top-tier academic destination for all children in Philadelphia.

How St. Barnabas Catholic School is living out the IMS mission:

Our scholars shine as a positive light illuminating their community, acting as beacons of God’s faith. In an environment filled with joy and love, our students will experience rigorous, standards-based, student-centered education that prepares them for high school and beyond. Together, staff and families encourage students to become resilient, peaceful, and empathetic individuals who give service to the world around them.

Our Beliefs


The cornerstone of a Catholic education is a culture of love that values and embraces the unique gifts of every child and that treats all people with dignity.

High Expectations for All

We assume the best of our students; holding them to high expectations for academic achievement, behavior, and personal growth and guiding their development into respectful, confident adults.

Diversity & Inclusion

It is possible to build unity in diversity, for differences neither restrain nor divide us, but allow us to look more deeply at  ourselves and at our world.

God-given Potential

Our students come to us full of promise and we are charged with
helping them achieve their potential, so that they leave IMS having choices in the pursuit of college and career, based on confidence in their own intellectual, emotional, and spiritual

Strength in Community

Community is at the heart of our work. Our existence makes our
communities stronger, the community makes our schools stronger, and we are preparing students to be contributing members of their communities.

Our History

  • Established in 1927, St. Barnabas was staffed by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and lay teachers.

  • In 2004, St. Barnabas merged with St. Clement; the new school was called Mary, Mother of Peace.

  • St. Barnabas reclaimed its name in 2014 when it became part of IMS, a nonprofit, independent network of Catholic schools.