News Releases - 2014


Meal Price Increase
School Climate Survey

ICSD Principals Tenured
Official Results - Budget Vote & Board Election
Unofficial Results - Budget Vote & Board Election
2014 School Board Candidates
Increased Graduation Rates - Third Year
Host E3 Summer Conference
Equity Report Card 2014
2014-2015 Academic Calendar Approved
Commitment to Music Education Recognized
ICSD Hosts Tele-town Hall
Update: 2013-2014 Academic Calendar
Vacancies: Board of Education
Site Level Climate Survey
Brown Among Nation's Educators to Watch
Education Expert Daggett Speaks at ICSD
Brown Among Nation's Tech Savvy Educators

Friday, July 18, 2014
ICSD meal prices to increase to accommodate new USDA Guidelines

Due to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, the price of breakfasts provided to students in the Ithaca City School District will increase for the 2014-2015 academic year. While students were previously offered fruit or vegetable options with breakfast, the changing guidelines now require the district’s Child Nutrition Program to mandate that students be given a fruit or vegetable with the morning meal. Additionally, the program is now required to provide all whole grain products.

“The guidelines are a good thing for our students’ nutrition, but the changes do incur a rising cost to the program,” said ICSD Child Nutrition Program Director Denise Agati.

Elementary and high school breakfasts in the district will increase by 15 cents, and the price of middle school breakfasts will increase by 10 cents. Despite these changes, lunch prices in the district will remain at the same rate for the third year in a row and the price of reduced meals will remain at 25 cents. The new meal prices are below.

  • Elementary school: $1.50 breakfast, $2.50 lunch
  • Middle school: $1.50 breakfast, $2.75 lunch
  • High school: $1.75 breakfast, $3.00 lunch

“Providing healthy, affordable meals to students is our priority, and we are committed to producing quality meals from fresh ingredients,” said Agati. The Ithaca City School District Child Nutrition Program incorporates farm to school practices by purchasing fresh produce from local farmers. Additionally, the program uses these fresh ingredients to prepare plant-based recipes from scratch. 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014
ICSD shares results of School Climate Survey
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The Ithaca City School District is sharing the results of its recent School Climate Survey that asked staff, students and parents for their views on critical topics such as academic preparation, student support, school leadership, and safety and behavior, among others. The survey results will allow district leadership to assess campus-level programs and services and make necessary year-to-year improvements.

Open from March 7–April 3, 2014, the survey had 1,363 participants. Considering this was the first district-wide climate study, parent participation was strong, while staff and student participation was lower than preferred.

“We are pleased that so many parents participated in our first education climate survey,” said ICSD Superintendent of Schools Luvelle Brown. “But we will work harder to increase staff and student involvement, as their engagement is a vital part of a thriving learning environment.”

The survey found many areas of success including faculty relations and support, academic preparation and student support. Specifically, results show:
  • Over 90% of staff enjoy working in their schools.
  • 86% of students agree that their teachers tell them what they need to know to do well in school.
  • 86% of parents feel there is a teacher, counselor or other staff member who can help their child with a school problem.
Other successes include school operations and the safety and timeliness of the district’s transportation system. Survey results show the district has room to improve its efforts to reduce bullying and to increase the effectiveness of guidance counselors at the secondary level.

More complete results of the survey may be found on the Your Voice page of the ICSD website. District leadership will continue to design opportunities to listen and respond to community feedback. These efforts include launching a Goals and Priorities Survey this fall.

“To be a healthy district, we must have honest conversations that foster transparency, trust and collaborative decision-making and empower us to solve our most pressing challenges,” Brown said. “Together, we will engage, educate and empower all of our students to become thoughtful and successful adults.”
To view complete results, please visit http://www.ithacacityschools.org/yourvoice. 
 
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Three ICSD Principals Granted Tenure
The following Ithaca City School District principals were granted tenure by a unanimous vote at the Board of Education meeting held on May 27, 2014: Daniel Breiman, Principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School; Lisa Rieger, Principal of Enfield Elementary School; and Jarett Powers, Principal of Ithaca High School. 

Superintendent Brown spoke about the recruitment and success of these three principals during the Board meeting. “The most important thing I do as Superintendent is hire good principals,” he said. “Fortunately, we have recruited and retained very talented and effective school leaders.”

Principal Breiman has worked in education for 13 years, beginning as an Inclusion Teacher in New York City Public Schools. He went on to serve as Special Education Chair and Principal in Houston, Texas before becoming Principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School. Belle Sherman was recently named a New York State Rewards School for its high student achievement results across all student membership groups.

Principal Rieger began her career in Education as a Special Education Teacher in Binghamton. Prior to her appointment as Principal of Enfield Elementary School, she also served as an Elementary Teacher, Enrichment Specialist and Administrator in the Binghamton City School District. Enfield was one of the first schools in the district to successfully implement Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) system.

Under Principal Powers’ leadership, Ithaca High School has experienced a period of unprecedented success. Graduation rates are at their highest, SAT scores rank among the highest in the nation, attendance is improved, and traditional performance gaps have been significantly reduced. Mr. Powers has spent his entire career at Ithaca High School. He started as a student teacher and went on to become a tenured Social Studies Teacher, Department Chair, Administrative Intern and Associate Principal before stepping into his role as Principal.
  
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Official Results of the 2014 ICSD Budget Vote and School Board Election

The following results of the 2014 Budget Vote and School Board Election have been certified by the Board of Education.
  • Proposition #1: 2014-15 Budget ($113,774,956) PASSED WITH 62.19%
    • Yes Votes: 3,461
    • No Votes: 2,104
  • Proposition #2: Capital Reserve ($1,017,004.84) PASSED WITH 67.94%
    • Yes Votes: 3,710
    • No Votes: 1,751
  • School Board Members Elected
    • Christopher Malcolm (3-year term)
      • 3,428 Votes
    • Seth J. Peacock (3-year term)
      • 3,657 Votes
    • Patricia H. Wasyliw (3-year term)
      • 3,600 Votes
A total of 246 write in votes were cast, and the Board also reported that 19.66 percent of registered voters participated in yesterday’s election. 
Click here to view the complete final results. 
  
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Unofficial Results of the 2014 ICSD Budget Vote and School Board Election
Below are preliminary results of the 2014 Budget Vote and School Board Election, which are based on results delivered by election officials and are subject to verification. The Board of Education will meet to certify the results on Wednesday, May 21, at 8 p.m.
  • Proposition #1: 2014-15 Budget ($113,774,956) PASSED WITH 62.17%
  • Proposition #2: Capital Reserve ($1,017,004.84) PASSED WITH 67.93%
  • School Board Members Elected:
    • Patricia H. Wasyliw (3-year term)
    • Christopher Malcolm (3-year term)
    • Seth J. Peacock (3-year term)
  
Friday, May 02, 2014
2014 School Board Candidates
There will be three School Board candidates on the ballot at the 2014 Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election. Incumbent Board members Patricia H. Wasyliw, Christopher Malcolm and Seth J. Peacock will be running for re-election. There are three seats up for a vote this year, each for a three-year term on the Ithaca City School District Board of Education.

The 2014 Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election will be held on May 20, 2014. Polls will be open from 12:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. For more information regarding the election please visit the ICSD website, http://www.ithacacityschools.org/budget, or contact the School District Clerk at danielle.desilva@icsd.k12.ny.us or (607) 274-2102.
 
 
Thursday, May 01, 2014
ICSD Reports Increased Graduation Rate for Third Consecutive Year
For the third consecutive year, the Ithaca City School District is pleased to report increased graduation rates, which are based on internal calculations. While the district’s graduation rates have continued to increase, the 2012–13 school year marks the first time the four-year graduation rate has exceeded 90 percent. This holds true when looking at Ithaca High School on its own and at the two high schools combined.

“As we continue our dual focus of both improving preK–12 systems and instituting targeted/personalized supports at the high school level for students at risk of not graduating, I strongly believe that we will continue to see our graduation rates increase,” says Evaluation Officer Lynn VanDeWeert.

The table below reflects the four-year graduation rates in the Ithaca City School District. These rates include students who received a Regents, Local or IEP diploma within four years of entering ninth grade.

Four-Year Graduation Rate
  2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
ICSD (includes Ithaca High School, Lehman Alternative Community School, BOCES, and other placements) 79.7% 80.4% 85.2%
Ithaca High School 85.1% 87.1% 90.7%
Lehman Alternative Community School 78.9% 82.1% 87.0%
IHS & LACS Combined 84.5% 86.6% 90.2%
 
“The staff of Ithaca High School has been working diligently to ensure that all of our students are college and career ready,” said Ithaca High School Principal Jarret Powers. “Last year’s outstanding graduation rate was the result of having the necessary supports in place and a strong effort on the part of students and staff. We look forward to continuing our progress toward closing the achievement gap with the ongoing support of our school community.”
  
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
ICSD to Host E3 Summer Conference
In partnership with multiple organizations, including Cornell University, Imagine Learning, ParentLink, Tompkins Cortland Community College and TST BOCES, the Ithaca City School District will host the E3 (Engage, Educate, Empower) Summer Conference on July 30, 2014. The conference will take place in the Ithaca High School’s Fine and Performing Arts Center at 1401 North Cayuga Street in Ithaca, N.Y. The event is open to anyone interested in invigorating their team, engaging in conversations about creativity and learning about innovation in education. This will be the third consecutive summer conference hosted by the Ithaca City School District.

“I am excited to host some of the brightest minds in the world who will share their experiences, stories and passions as they relate to the mission of our innovative school district. This will be a wonderful learning opportunity for our community and state,” said Superintendent Luvelle Brown.

Sir Ken Robinson, an international advisor on education in the arts, will deliver the keynote address at the July event. Along with Sir Ken Robinson, other outstanding speakers will share their talents, experiences and stories. Additional renowned educators at the Ithaca event include systems thinking leader Derek Cabrera, educational leader Cheryl Dobbertin and many other thought leaders.

Attendees will be introduced to creative and innovative ideas to help enhance educational experiences. Additional details about the event and registration information may be found online at www.ithacacityschools.org/e3.
  
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
ICSD Releases Most Recent Equity Report Card
For the last eight years, the Ithaca City School District has released an Equity Report Card annually to transparently show how the district is performing on a variety of achievement measures. The most recent Equity Report Card may be viewed online at www.ithacacityschools.org/equityreportcard. The Equity Report Card is evidence of the district’s commitment to eliminate race, class, disability and gender as predictors of academic performance, co-curricular participation and discipline in the Ithaca City School District.

This year’s Equity Report Card shows increased graduation rates, with the strongest growth among students with disabilities. These rates represent students who entered ninth grade in 2008 and graduated within five years or by August 2013. This group of students experienced a 65 percent increase over the previous year’s graduation rate. The district is also proud to report unprecedented increases in the percentage of secondary students participating in music and drama across all subgroups as well as a continued increase in the district’s staff-to-student diversity ratio.

“What excites me most about the data in the eighth annual Equity Report Card is that in those areas where we are closing achievement gaps (e.g. graduation rates, attendance, participation in music and drama) we are also seeing outcomes increase for almost all students,” said Evaluation Officer Lynn VanDeWeert. “In my role as Evaluation Officer, I look forward to working with district and building leadership to use this data, as well as the quarterly metrics we track as part of the Board of Education Balanced Scorecard, to continually evaluate what's working, for which students and why.  We’ll also continue to encourage leaders to experiment with innovative practices and programs in their buildings to improve outcomes in the areas where we are not currently seeing success.”

This year’s report also includes the lowest rate of absenteeism since the inception of the Equity Report Card for students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students and African American, Latino/a and Native American students at both the elementary and secondary level.

“I have observed the process and content of the Equity Report Card since its inception. It serves as a model for school districts wishing to transparently hold themselves accountable for achievement for all students,” said Superintendent Luvelle Brown. “I am encouraged by the recent significant achievement gains in many areas and look forward to leading the improvement in areas needing fresh thinking.”
 
 Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Board of Education approves 2014-2015 Academic Calendar
At the April 8, 2014 Board meeting, the Board of Education approved the 2014-2015 Academic Calendar. The calendar can be found on the district website at www.ithacacityschools.org/academiccalendar.

A proposed calendar was posted to the district website prior to the meeting, and staff, families and community members were invited to submit feedback and suggestions through the district’s YourVoice portal. Before the vote, both the Board of Education and members of the district’s leadership team reviewed these submissions and comments.
  
Monday, March 31, 2014
ICSD receives national recognition for commitment to music education
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The Ithaca City School District has been recognized by the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) designation for the second year in a row. The ICSD joins 376 districts across the country to receive the prestigious distinction in 2014.

In its 15th year, Best Communities for Music Education affirms school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum.

The BCME survey requires districts to answer detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

“In the last two years we have refocused, reorganized and created a program in which all children are accepted and invited to participate in the Arts,” said David Brown, ICSD director of fine and performing arts. “We could not be one of the best communities without the continued support from the Ithaca community and the knowledge of the importance of an Arts Education. I have to say thank you to the incredible staff of music educators, the Board of Education and Dr. Luvelle Brown for their vision and understanding of what an Arts Education does for our children. And lastly, thank you, the community and caregivers for your support and love of the Arts. Ithaca truly is a special place to work and live.”

The Best Communities for Music Education program plays an important part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to make music education part of the core curriculum assuring that the benefits of music making are available to every child. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, lower disciplinary action and keep kids in schools.

“Research has shown that music positively impacts students in school and in life. Our community understands this, and truly values music education,” said Superintendent Luvelle Brown. “This honor recognizes the outstanding efforts from our Board of Education, staff, students and community to support what we value.”
  
Friday, March 28, 2014
ICSD to host tele-town hall in advance of 2014-2015 Budget Vote
In an effort to engage the Ithaca community in the 2014-2015 Ithaca City School District budget process, Superintendent Luvelle Brown will host a tele-town hall on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.

Every ICSD household will receive a phone call invitation to participate in a live conference call. Members of the community are also invited to join the tele-town hall by dialing: (855)-756-7520 extension 24406#.

Participants may simply listen to the discussion or be put into a queue to have their questions about the budget answered by Dr. Brown, district leadership and members of the Board of Education. Comments, questions, concerns and suggestions about the budget may be submitted ahead of time to the Listening Forum on the YourVoice portal on the district website at www.ithacacityschools.org/yourvoice.

Information about the 2014-2015 budget development is available on the Budget Vote and Election page of the district’s website atwww.ithacacityschools.org/budget.
  
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Update to 2013-2014 Academic Calendar
At the March 25, 2014 Board meeting, the Board of Education approved the following revision to the 2013-2014 Academic Calendar:

School will now be in session for all students on April 25, 2014, the ELA Scoring day.

ELA scoring is going to be outsourced this year. Since the district will be utilizing aideable services through OCM BOCES, this is a budget-neutral solution that increases instructional time. The updated calendar may be accessed on the district website atwww.ithacacityschools.org/academiccalendar
  
Friday, March 21, 2014
Upcoming Vacancies on ICSD Board of Education
There will be three vacancies on the Ithaca City School District Board of Education for the 2014 Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election. Each of the three seats up for a vote will be for a three-year term on the Board. 

The 2014 Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election will be held on May 20, 2014. In order to run for one of the upcoming vacancies, nominating petitions must be filed in the Office of the District Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on April 30, 2014. 

Nominating petitions and information regarding candidate qualifications and other requirements are available on the ICSD website or in the Office of the District Clerk at 400 Lake Street in Ithaca. For more information please contact the District Clerk at danielle.desilva@icsd.k12.ny.us or (607) 274-2102.  
  
Monday, March 10, 2014

ICSD announces Site Level Climate Survey
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The Ithaca City School District is seeking critical feedback in a Site Level Climate Survey launching today, Monday, March 10, 2014. The survey seeks staff, student and parent feedback on topics such as academic preparation, student support, school leadership, safety and parent involvement. The results will help guide district improvement efforts.

“We need to hear every voice as we take this district from good to great,” said ICSD Superintendent of Schools Luvelle Brown. “It’s critical that our goals match the community’s needs.”

Parents and staff with email addresses on file will receive invitations to participate. The survey will also be accessible via a public link on the district’s YourVoice page, www.ithacacityschools.org/yourvoice. Students in grades 6-12 will also be invited to participate by email. To encourage candid answers and widespread participation, all feedback is confidential, with responses anonymous to ICSD staff. Survey reports will be delivered at the aggregate level only, with no individual data or identifying information in any report. Once the survey closes after March 28, the district will share the results.

“ICSD is an outstanding community with the highest standards,” said Brown. “Through ongoing collaboration, we will continue to provide the world-class education every student deserves.”
  
Friday, March 07, 2014
NSBA names Superintendent Brown one of nation's 20 educators to watch
https://www.ithacacityschools.org/images/etc/ICSD/Administration/Dr.-Brown-tech.jpgIthaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown has been selected as one of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) “20 to Watch” educators for the 2013-2014 school year. The award recognizes educators across the country for their ability to inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality learning environments and more efficient school district operations. Dr. Brown is the only educator in New York State to receive this year’s award. He was recently recognized by eSchool news as one of the nation’s top tech-savvy superintendents and this is the second national award Dr. Brown has received this year.

“Our Superintendent has been clear that technology is an important tool that all of our children need to experience in order to be successful in today's world,” said Ithaca City School District Board of Education member Jay True. “The Superintendent can take credit for encouraging the board to allocate money for the increase in bandwidth and Internet accessibility at every one of our schools.  He recognized what needed to be done first before any more time or money was spent on technology.”

This year, Dr. Brown is one of two superintendents to receive the award and he joins a group of 140 educators previously named to the “20 to Watch” list. The nomination is for educators who are passionate about using technology to transform teaching and learning, curious by nature and always looking for how the next innovation can be applied to education. 

“I am overjoyed to be recognized by one of the most respected organizations in public education,” said Dr. Brown. “I will continue to work tirelessly to meet their high expectations while serving my community's young people. “

Dr. Brown and this year’s other recipients will be honored in Washington D.C. during the annual Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 19, 2014. NSBA established the “20 to Watch” program in 2006 as part of the 20th anniversary celebration for NSBA’s technology and learning conference. The “20 to Watch” program identifies emerging leaders within the education technology community who have the potential to impact the field for the next 20 years. While primarily focused on K-12 teachers, administrators and board members, nominations are also invited from higher education, policy, association and industry organizations. 
  
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Education Expert Bill Daggett to Address Audience in Ithaca

Dr. Daggett will speak about college and career readiness and the successes and challenges of Common Core implementation
 
Distinguished lecturer William (Bill) Daggett will speak about the “why” of educational reform at Kulp Auditorium in Ithaca on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Dr. Daggett’s presentation, “The Facts about College and Career Readiness: Successes and Challenges of Common Core Implementation,” will focus on how our schools are preparing students for post-secondary education and employment. The event will be hosted by TST BOCES and is open to community members throughout the region.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Daggett come and address caregivers, educators and community partners about the opportunities and challenges our students face after they leave our schools,” said Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown. “Anyone looking for a better understanding of the Common Core and whether our schools are on the right track will find Dr. Daggett’s presentation immensely useful.”

Dr. Daggett is the CEO of the International Center for Leadership in Education and has been recognized worldwide for his ability to move preK–12 education systems toward more rigorous and relevant skills and knowledge for all students. He has experience as a teacher and administrator at the secondary and post-secondary levels and as a director with the New York State Education Department, where he spearheaded restructuring initiatives to focus the state’s education system on the skills and knowledge students need in a technological, information-based society. He also serves on several advisory boards, including the NASA Education Advisory Board and the USA Today Education Advisory Board.

“Dr. Daggett is an enlightening and entertaining speaker who not only highlights the value of our education system, but also inspires audiences to think differently about 21st-century education and how schools must adapt to meet the needs of a new generation of students,” said TST BOCES District Superintendent Jeffrey Matteson.

“The Facts about College and Career Readiness: Successes and Challenges of Common Core Implementation” will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Kulp Auditorium, which is located on the Ithaca High School campus at 1401 North Cayuga Street. Click here to view a flier for the event. 
  
ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown named among nation’s top “tech savvy” educators
January 29, 2014
Contact: Kate Patterson, 607.882.9530, kate.patterson@icsd.k12.ny.us
 
Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown has been named one of the nation’s most “tech savvy” school superintendents by eSchool News, a leading publication for educators.

One of eight winners, Dr. Brown was selected for his outstanding leadership and vision in using technology to advance the educational goals of the Ithaca City School District.

“Dr. Brown has taken this district to a much different place than it was just a few short years ago,” said ICSD Board of Education President Rob Ainslie. “Beyond the use of any particular device or system, Dr. Brown changed the culture of our district to embrace the use of technology in the classroom, in the operations of the board of education and very importantly in communications with the community.”

The February issue of the magazine recognizes Dr. Brown for envisioning a district of “6,000+ Thinkers,” and his work to reduce the ratio of students to computers and add wireless coverage throughout all buildings in the district.

“As Dr. Brown says, ‘It's not about the device,’” said Seth Peacock, vice president of the ICSD Board of Education. “Any superintendent can order computers. What distinguishes Dr. Brown is his ability to not only lead by setting the technology vision for the district, but, equally as important, to also support that vision with the behind-the-scenes work of implementing a strong professional development plan and seamless curriculum integration.”

The recent article states, “One key to Brown’s success is that he seeks to learn from others,” and references Dr. Brown’s collaboration with a student advisory council on acceptable technology use and other policies. Dr. Brown was also recognized for his work with Edustat, the national conference he hosts in Ithaca each summer that features innovative thought leaders who discuss contemporary trends in education.

“I am humbled by this honor as it is an indication of the support and thinking that my wonderful community has contributed to my personal and professional growth,” said Dr. Brown. “As we continue to learn together, I am hopeful that our efforts and successes serve as a model for other communities seeking to provide exceptional educational opportunities for young people.”

Dr. Brown has served as the superintendent of the Ithaca City School District since January 2011. Prior to coming to Ithaca, Dr. Brown served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and central office administrator in other school districts.

As superintendent, Dr. Brown is focused on building a world-class organization. His strategy includes building partnerships with a wide range of organizations, embracing 21st-century learning skills, utilizing technology tools and fostering meaningful interactions within the ICSD team and the greater community.

As a recipient of the magazine’s 14th annual awards, Dr. Brown will participate and be honored in a series of webinars in March.

eSchool News is based in Bethesda, Md., and is published and distributed 10 times per year to about 93,500 subscribers. The eSchool News may be viewed online at http://www.eschoolnews.com/.
 
About the Ithaca City School District
The Ithaca City School District mission is to engage, educate, and empower. We will strive to engage all students in the importance and relevance of thinking; to educate every learner to communicate, comprehend, and collaborate for understanding; and to empower all in the ICSD to achieve academic excellence.

We envision a bold community of 6,000+ Thinkers. Thinking is foundational to the development of self, society, and democracy. It is the cornerstone of all creative ideas; problem solving; scientific discoveries, innovations and social good.