ICSD Convocation 2017


On September 5, over 1,100 staff members kicked off the new school year at the ICSD Convocation. Teachers, administrators, and support staff funneled into Ithaca High School’s Kulp Auditorium to enjoy music, award presentations, and special remarks.
 
To kick off the event, Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS) teacher Dara Anissi performed a beautiful original composition on his oud, a Middle Eastern stringed instrument. Awards were then presented to staff who have reached 20, 25, 30, 35, and even 45 years of service. Anna Chapman of Caroline Elementary received the Innovative Science Teaching Award for forming and leading the Caroline STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) club.
 
ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown followed with his annual State of the District address. During the speech, Dr. Brown reflected on a question his father had asked him after the violence in their hometown Charlottesville, Virginia: why school? The conversation forced Dr. Brown to rethink how we measure and guide success.
 
“Graduation rates, attendance, discipline referrals—all this stuff means very little if you don’t help create new knowledge and good people,” Dr. Brown said. By focusing on including every student and leading with love, he added, academic success will follow.
 
“We’re going to be known for this. When folks step off that plane and folks drive through, they’re going to feel this is a trusting place. They’ll know the people here aren’t selfish and are forgiving,” he said. “If we do this well, we nail this, and this is part of the culture, all those quantitative measures take care of themselves.”
 
Oliver (Oli) Chatterjee, a Northeast Elementary fifth-grader, closed the morning’s events with an inspirational speech about his life and how he feels included in school. Oli has cerebral palsy (CP), which requires him to use a wheelchair, be fed through a gastronomy tube, and speak with the help of an iPad.
 
“CP is an itty bit of my personality,” said Oli, who likes math, swimming, movies, jokes, languages, and blogging about his life.
 
“I am appreciative of kindness at school. Now, more than ever, we need more kindness in the world,” Oli concluded. “Thank you everyone for welcoming all of us in the Ithaca schools. Everyone belongs here.”