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ICSD's Music Ed. Program Receives National Recognition
Board of Education Statement on Spring Musical

April 23, 2018
ICSD's Music Education Program Receives National Recognition
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

February 9, 2018
Board of Education Statement on Spring Musical
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