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Community Conversations on 2019 Capital Project and ICSD Equity Report Card 2018 Budget Vote and Election Results
Ithaca High School Teacher Awarded Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Fellowship Two ICSD Educators Receive Governor’s Excellence in Teaching Award
Local Education Leaders to Hold "Leading with Love" Community Walk, Sept. 5 School Will be Held on Friday, May 25
ICSD Announces Administrative Appointments ICSD's Music Ed. Program Receives National Recognition
ICSD Appoints New Principal at Lehman Alternative Community School Board of Education Statement on Spring Musical

Ithaca City School District to Hold Community Conversations on 2019 Capital Project and ICSD Equity Report Card
November 19, 2018

The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) will be engaging the public over the next couple of months in community conversations focused on the upcoming capital project and the ICSD Equity Report Card. Community conversations offer students, families, staff, and community members opportunities to share visions of success for the school district and propose thoughtful improvement strategies.
2019 Capital Project Community Conversations
On May 21, 2019, ICSD voters will have the opportunity to approve an approximately $100 million, ten-year-long capital project that will enhance safety and security, upgrade teaching and learning spaces, and improve infrastructure across the district. As it moves through the capital project planning process, the ICSD seeks to engage and receive input from all community members. In addition to meeting with PTAs and other community stakeholder groups, the ICSD will host three community conversations about the capital project that are open to everyone.
2019 Capital Project Community Conversations:
  • November 28, 2018 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
    Tompkins County Public Library Borg Warner Room
  • December 13, 2018 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
    Southside Community Center
  • January 17, 2019 from 5:30 -7:00 p.m.
    Boynton Middle School 
Equity Report Card Community Conversations
The Equity Report Card is a tool the ICSD has created to monitor its progress in achieving equity throughout the district. Specifically, the Equity Report Card helps the ICSD and broader Ithaca community think collectively about: students’ experiences in ICSD schools; the impact of the ICSD’s efforts to eliminate race, class, disability, and gender as predictors of academic performance, co-curricular participation, and discipline; and how everyone can contribute to the goal of increasing equity in the ICSD and throughout the community.
The ICSD, Village at Ithaca, Equity Inclusion Leadership Council (EILC), and PTA Council will host a total of five community conversations about the Equity Report Card, four for parents, guardians, and community members and one for students.
Equity Report Card Community Conversations for parents, guardians, and community members (these sessions are not school specific -- all are welcome to attend any/all locations):
  • December 3, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
    Enfield Elementary School
  • December 5, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
    Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC)
  • December 12, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
    Lehman Alternative Community School
  • January 28, 2019 at 5:45 p.m.
    Caroline Elementary School
Equity Report Card Community Conversation for students:
  • Thursday, December 6, 2018 from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.
    Ithaca High School

Ithaca High School Teacher Awarded Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Fellowship
September 25, 2018

Ithaca High School social studies teacher Keith Thompson is one of 38 highly accomplished U.S. teachers awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching fellowship for the 2018-2019 academic year.
The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). It is an intensive international exchange and professional development program designed to build teachers’ and students’ global competence and to share educational best practices internationally. A highly competitive award, Mr. Thompson was selected based on his teaching experience, academic training, inquiry project proposal, and professional experience.
Mr. Thompson will be in Belfast, Northern Ireland from January to June 2019 investigating how students develop and navigate their own political identities. Specifically, he will concentrate on the ways by which schools in the United Kingdom help young people have challenging and meaningful conversations across race, socio-economic, and ideological divides.
As part of the program Mr. Thompson will take courses at Queen’s University Belfast, as well as work with local schools, governments, and organizations to explore how different communities and institutions work to support democracy and dialogue.
“I am really fortunate to be able to work with the Centre for Shared Education at Queen’s University Belfast,” Thompson said. “They have been working for decades to build bridges between communities after religious, social, and economic divisions highlighted in ‘The Troubles’ of the 1970s-90s. While the conflicts we have in our communities may not be as dramatic, they in many ways run just as deep. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to learn first-hand how educators can help build communities and have the difficult conversations so necessary in our democracy today.”
Once he returns to Ithaca, Mr. Thompson will complete an inquiry project summarizing some of the lessons from Belfast, as well as develop academic curriculum and share insights with the school and community. 
“The supportive environment of Ithaca and the ICSD has been crucial to my development as an educator,” Thompson shared. “I’m very excited to be able to bring back new insights to share with such an amazing community of learners.”
Local Education Leaders to Hold "Leading with Love" Community Walk, Sept. 5
August 27, 2018

The Ithaca City School District (ICSD), Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3), Ithaca College, the City of Ithaca, and local leaders and residents from throughout Tompkins County will mark the start of the 2018-2019 school year with a community walk from Stewart Park to Ithaca High School on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
The second annual “Ithaca NY: Leading with Love” community walk is a simple, non-political event that celebrates education, young people, and the power and potential of unified, loving communities. Everyone is welcome to join.
The event will begin at the main pavilion at Stewart Park at 7:30 a.m. sharp. From there, the community will walk to Kulp Auditorium at Ithaca High School, where ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown, Cornell President Martha Pollack, Ithaca College President Shirley Collado, TC3 President Orinthia Montague, and others will offer remarks. The event will conclude by 8:30 a.m.
“We will open our school year with conversations and emblematic examples of our loving culture,” said Brown. “This is not a political event. This is a chance to show people from near and far what Ithaca and Tompkins County value: inclusive, empowering, and culturally responsive environments.”
Brown recently spoke about this year’s walk on WHCU’s “All Things Equal.”
The “Leading with Love” walk will occur rain or shine. Parking will be available at Stewart Park. There will be no parking at Ithaca High School or Boynton Middle School.
For more information, contact Gary Stewart in Cornell University’s Office of Community Relations: or (607) 227-5531.
Ithaca City School District Announces Administrative Appointments
June 26, 2018

On June 26, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved administrative appointments for the 2018-2019 school year.
Lily Talcott has been appointed as deputy superintendent of the ICSD. The position of deputy has been vacant since the departure of Dr. Matt Landahl who currently serves as superintendent of the Beacon City School District. Ms. Talcott has served as principal of Northeast Elementary School since 2015. Prior to this, she worked at the district level, first as a teacher on special assignment with a focus on pre-K-5 mathematics and then as a master educator supporting pre-K-12 professional development, curriculum, and assessments. Ms. Talcott began her teaching career in 2004 in the Bronx, New York before coming to the ICSD in 2006. Here, she served as a long-term substitute teacher and teacher aide before teaching first grade at Enfield Elementary School for five years.* 
Replacing Ms. Talcott at Northeast will be Liddy Coyle. Ms. Coyle currently serves as the district’s chief academic officer, a role that will be dissolved. Prior to becoming chief academic officer, Ms. Coyle worked in various other roles in the ICSD, including teacher, academic intervention specialist, literacy staff developer, and master educator handling staff and curriculum development. She began her career as an elementary teacher in Virginia. Both Ms. Coyle and Ms. Talcott are Ithaca natives and attended schools in the ICSD.
David Brown, director of fine and performing arts, will be leaving the ICSD to assume the superintendent position at DeRuyter Central School District and will be replaced by Daphne Shululu. Ms. Shululu has worked in the ICSD since 2012, first as a kindergarten teacher and most recently as a master educator in early childhood. In addition to her teaching experience, Ms. Shululu also has an extensive background in theatre arts. From 1997 to 2007, Ms. Shululu served as theatre program director at Boys & Girls Harbor in Manhattan and, from 2007 to 2009, as coordinator for the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film at Purchase College.
Taking over Ms. Shululu’s responsibilities for early childhood education will be Laura Evans who has been appointed as pre-K-12 literacy officer. Ms. Evans began her teaching career at Enfield Elementary School before working for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland for 25 years, most recently as supervisor of elementary integrated curriculum. Last year, Ms. Evans returned to the ICSD to assume the role of inclusion officer, helping to develop and implement practices aimed at creating more equitable access to education for all ICSD students. 
Replacing Ms. Evans as inclusion officer will be Mary Grover, who has served as the principal of Caroline Elementary School since 2013. Ms. Grover began her career teaching English in Japanese public high schools. From there, she worked in Portland, Oregon for eight years as a student advocate and teacher. In 2010, Ms. Grover assumed a position as lecturer and teaching support specialist at Cornell University’s Center for Teaching Excellence before becoming a graduation coach at Ithaca High School in 2012.
Karen Rachetta will replace Ms. Grover as the principal of Caroline Elementary School. Ms. Rachetta began her career in the ICSD in 1997 at Ithaca High School, where she served as a reading and English teacher, support teacher, and assistant principal. From 2007 to 2010, Ms. Rachetta was the associate principal of DeWitt Middle School. She then served as principal of Dryden High School for two years before returning to DeWitt as a chairperson in the special education department. In 2016, Ms. Rachetta reassumed the role of associate principal at DeWitt.
Replacing Ms. Rachetta will be Donna Lucy. Ms. Lucy is coming to the ICSD from the Cooperstown Central School District, where she has served as high school principal for the last two years. Ms. Lucy was also a founding principal and school design leader of Evolutions High School in Providence, Rhode Island, an innovative school that exemplifies personalized student learning experiences. Prior to this, Ms. Lucy worked for the New York City Department of Education for 12 years in various roles, including science teacher, site supervisor, and assistant principal.
These appointments come in the wake of several other administrative changes announced earlier this month. Keith Harrington, currently an associate principal at Ithaca High School, has been appointed as principal of Enfield Elementary School. Kristin Herman will be joining Mr. Harrington at Enfield as associate principal. Ms. Herman has taught in the ICSD since 2013. Carlan Gray and Corey Mitchell have been appointed as associate principals at Ithaca High School. Ms. Gray has served as a teacher, master educator, and department chair at Ithaca High School since 2005. Mr. Mitchell is coming to the ICSD from the North Syracuse Central School District, where he has been teaching for nearly 20 years. Lastly, Lauren Wright has been appointed as associate principal at Boynton Middle School. Ms. Wright joined the ICSD in 2013 as a high school social studies teacher and currently serves as a district-wide technology integration specialist.
ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown stated, “Our school district is able to realign the administrative team as the organization’s needs evolve. With the recent appointments, we’ve tapped into internal and external talent to address vacancies and needs in the ICSD. Additionally, our team’s thinking is now influencing the rest of New York State as multiple leaders have transitioned into superintendent roles in other communities.”

* Please note the correction from our original press release, which stated that Ms. Talcott started her teaching career in the ICSD in 2007. 
Ithaca City School District Announces Administrative Appointments
June 13, 2018

At their meeting on June 12, 2018, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved the appointment of various administrators for the 2018-2019 school year.
Keith Harrington has been appointed principal of Enfield Elementary School. Mr. Harrington has served in the ICSD since 2007 as a science and social studies teacher at Boynton Middle School, a district-wide instructional coach, a dean of students at Ithaca High School, and an associate principal at Ithaca High School. Prior to coming to the ICSD, Mr. Harrington was a science and technology teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kristin Herman will be joining Mr. Harrington at Enfield Elementary as associate principal. Ms. Herman has been a middle school teacher in the ICSD since 2013. Prior to this, Ms. Herman was a founding elementary head teacher at Namaste Montessori School in Trumansburg, New York and has also worked as an elementary teacher, instructional specialist, and private reading tutor in Arizona.   
Lauren Wright has been appointed associate principal at Boynton Middle School. Ms. Wright first joined the ICSD in 2013 as a social studies teacher at Ithaca High School. Most recently, Ms. Wright has worked as a district-wide technology integration specialist and also serves on the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Council.
Finally, the ICSD has appointed Carlan Gray and Corey Mitchell as associate principals at Ithaca High School. Carlan Gray has been teaching at Ithaca High School since 2005 and has also served as a master educator, science department chair, and cross country coach. Corey Mitchell is coming to the ICSD from Roxboro Road Middle School in the North Syracuse Central School District, where he has been teaching since 1999. Mr. Mitchell is also a former member of the Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees.
ICSD Appoints New Principal at Lehman Alternative Community School
May 18, 2018

The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) announces Deborah Ptak as the new principal at Lehman Alternative Community School. Ms. Ptak replaces Diane Carruthers, who has served as principal since 2013 and will be retiring at the end of this school year.
Ms. Ptak has been an educator for more than 25 years, serving as a school social worker, assistant principal, and principal. In her most recent role, Ms. Ptak was recruited to act as interim principal of an experimental professional development school in Baltimore, Maryland called Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins University Partnership School.
Prior to this, Ms. Ptak worked in the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wisconsin. Ms. Ptak served as assistant principal at Sennett Middle School from 2003 to 2008 and as principal at Whitehorse Middle School from 2008 to 2016. During her eight years at Whitehorse Middle School, Ms. Ptak helped turn around the underperforming school, successfully increasing student achievement, engagement, and agency, as well as stakeholder involvement.
In each of her various positions, Ms. Ptak approached the work with a commitment to collaboration - involving all stakeholders, giving voice to all perspectives, and stressing the importance of shared leadership. Ms. Ptak also has experience in professional development facilitation and systems improvement.
2018 Budget Vote and Election Results
May 16, 2018

The results of the 2018 budget vote and school board election listed below have been adopted by the Board of Education.
Proposition #1, the proposed school budget of $128,466,376 for 2018-2019
1,820 yes votes and 414 no votes
Passed with 81.47%
Proposition #2, the appropriation and expenditure of funds from the School District's 2018 Capital Reserve Fund
1,968 yes votes and 284 no votes
 Passed with 87.39%
Proposition #3, to eliminate registration by the Board of Registration and replace it with continuous registration in the office of the district clerk
1,811 yes votes and 342 no votes
Passed with 84.12%
Further, the results of the election to the Board of Education are:
Candidates Votes For
Lori LaBonte 452
Nicole LaFave 1,443
Moira Lang 1,509
David Shapiro 917
Ann Reichlin 1,146
Gregory S. Goodrich 668
Moira Lang, Nicole LaFave, and Ann Reichlin having received the highest number of votes, respectively, are confirmed as elected to the Board of Education, each for a three-year term commencing July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2021.
Two ICSD Educators Receive Governor’s Excellence in Teaching Award
May 11, 2018

Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts visited the Ithaca City School District yesterday to award two teachers with Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award.
The honorees, DeWitt Middle School technology teacher David Buchner and Ithaca High School math teacher Steve Weissburg, were recognized as teachers who:
  • Exemplify the dedication, mission, skill, expertise, and talent of outstanding teachers;
  • Inspire and motivate all children and make learning exciting;
  • Make a difference in children’s lives;
  • Level the playing field and create a climate for learning where every child can succeed;
  • Hold high expectations for every student and provide access to higher levels of learning for all learners; and
  • Prepare children for a changing economic workforce and a lifelong journey of learning.
Ceremonies were held at DeWitt Middle School and Ithaca High School for Mr. Buchner and Mr. Weissburg, who each received a $5,000 stipend to be used for their continued learning and professional development.
“Governor Cuomo and his team have recognized the outstanding teaching and learning that is happening in the Ithaca City School District,” said ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown. “Mr. Buchner and Mr. Weissburg are wonderful examples of teachers who engineer exceptional experiences for students in our learning spaces everyday.”
For photos of the ceremonies, please visit:
School Will be Held on Friday, May 25
May 4, 2018

Due to emergency closing days this winter, school will be held on Friday, May 25, 2018.
ICSD's Music Education Program Receives National Recognition
April 23, 2018

The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. This is the sixth consecutive year that the ICSD has received this designation.
The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities for Music Education designation, the ICSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs.
This award recognizes that the ICSD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA recommends music and arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. Studies have found that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well as learning how to give and receive constructive criticism.

“Every child deserves a well-rounded education inclusive of music,” said David Brown, Director of Fine and Performing Arts. “Ithaca City Schools prides itself as being an excelsior district looking for ways to educate the whole child. We are dedicated to creating programs that enrich the lives of all of our children. While we have seen incredible increases in participation. we never stop looking for better ways to attract more students. We are always investigating new paths for success. None of this would be possible without the incredible talents of our staff. To all who made this possible - teachers, administration, Fine Arts Booster Group and The Board of Education, we humbly say, ‘thank you’.”
About the NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit
Board of Education Statement on Spring Musical
February 9, 2018

The Board of Education of the Ithaca City School District remains firmly committed to the education, health and, well-being of ALL of our students. It is in this light that our administration made the difficult decision to cancel the scheduled spring musical, the Hunchback of Notre Dame. While much has been said about the casting of the musical, this was not the reason for cancellation. Our administration’s decision was based solely upon the significant stress and divisiveness developing in our school community. 

Unfortunately, the divisiveness has increased as this story has gained national media attention. More distressingly, members of our community, including our students, have been the recipients of hate-filled attacks and vitriolic threats. These attacks, an unintended consequence of the cancellation, also require us to act to ensure the safety of our students. 

First, we condemn the cruel and threatening attacks on our students, staff, families, and community. Our children deserve civility and love.

Second, we support our students and their right to protest. Our district leaders have encouraged just this type of analytic thinking and bold approaches to dialogue around inclusion. We may not always agree, but we greatly appreciate the important and complex conversation our students have started regarding issues of identity and inclusion in the arts. We also note these same issues are playing out from Broadway to Hollywood to colleges and high schools across the nation.

Third, we would like to remind all involved that although we may engage in conversations with the same passion displayed by our youth, we as adults owe them a higher standard of behavior and expression. Our youth are looking to us to help them hone their perspective and show them their voices are valuable. However you may feel about any of the issues involved here, we are confident our children are not the problem, but an integral part of the solution.

Lastly, it is our expectation that Ithaca High School will produce a musical this spring. Students are engaged in collaborative discussions with one another and school leaders regarding next steps. We unequivocally support this effort as our students, teachers, and staff work to create productive and meaningful conversations about inclusion in the theater arts.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this situation, please contact us directly.

Ithaca City School District, Board of Education

Rob Ainslie, President
Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell, Vice President
Brad Grainger
Eldred Harris
Nicole LaFave
Moira Lang
Chris Malcolm
Ann Reichlin
Dr. Patricia Wasyliw

Belle Sherman
Beverly J Martin
Cayuga Heights
Fall Creek
South Hill
Boynton Middle
DeWitt Middle
Ithaca HS
Lehman Alternative


Ithaca City School District
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent
400 Lake Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-2101