Press Releases 2017
December 28, 2017
New Roots Public Hearing
The Ithaca City School District seeks public input on the proposed revision of charter by New Roots Charter School for the addition of a middle school program beginning in the 2018-2019 school year with approximately 60 students in grades 6-8. The revision is sought by New Roots from its authorizing agency, SUNY Charter Schools Institute (CSI).
The ICSD will conduct a public hearing on this matter on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 6:00 PM in the Board Room at 400 Lake Street. The ICSD seeks oral and written comments. Written comments can be submitted to the ICSD District Clerk by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail: District Clerk, ICSD, 400 Lake Street, Ithaca, NY 14850. Please put “New Roots Charter Revision-Middle School” in the subject line. Please provide any written comments by noon (12:00 PM) on January 19, 2018.
Comments will be sent to SUNY CSI as part of the community feedback on this revision request.
Documents related to the revision application can be found and reviewed in the BoardDocs library (https://goo.gl/hfEtsj), which is accessible via the Board of Education webpage (http://www.ithacacityschools.org/districtpage.cfm?pageid=212).
December 21, 2017
ICSD selected to participate in the Computer Science Education Visions Research-Practice Partnership
The Ithaca City School District is one of four New York State school districts selected to participate in the Computer Science Education (CS-EDU) Visions Research-Practice Partnership. In this project, the CSforAll Consortium, launched as a nation-wide initiative in 2016, is partnering with New York University (NYU) to support districts in planning computer science education. This partnership will help the ICSD coordinate vision, implementation, and curriculum decisions around computer science for all.
The ICSD will participate in planning and reflection workshops in January 2018, Summer 2018, and Winter 2019. These workshops will use continuous improvement data processes to support implementation. The ICSD will receive assistance from the CSforAll and NYU team, and interact with districts across the state.
“Our team is excited by the new opportunity to collaborate with the CSforAll Consortium and New York University to have students develop new approaches to problem-solving through being active producers and creators in computer science,” said Dan Breiman, Principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School.
December 20, 2017
ICSD Superintendent Listed as One of Nation’s Top Educators and Thought Leaders
Ithaca City School District Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown has been named to the 2017 TrustED 20. The list is compiled of the 20 “top education thought leaders to consider following,” and is divided into four categories: veterans, advocates, educators, and voices.
Dr. Brown, listed as a top educator, was recognized for his work in fostering communication and developing trust between students, staff, families, and the community. Other notable thought leaders appearing on the list include Federal policy influencer Linda Darling-Hammond, former Secretary of Education John B. King, and authors Sir Ken Robinson and Diane Ravitch.
“I am humbled and honored to be listed as one of the nation’s leading thinkers and influencers,” said Dr. Brown. “It means much to have the work and successes of the ICSD students, staff, and community mentioned with the best educators and stories in the nation.”
Learn about all of the 2017 TrustED 20 here: http://trustedk12.com/2017-trusted-20.
September 19, 2017
Ithaca High School Athletics Hall of Fame Seeks Nominations
The Ithaca City School District Director of Athletics and Wellness Samantha Little has announced that the Ithaca High School Hall of Fame Committee is seeking nominations for the next induction class.
Candidates—male and female—must have graduated from IHS 10 or more years ago and have had an outstanding athletic career while in high school. In addition to student-athletes, candidates can be coaches or friends of IHS Athletics.
Nomination forms can be found online here or in the IHS Athletics Office. Nominations are due no later than November 1, 2017.
If you have any questions, please contact Hall of Fame Committee Chair Jeff True at email@example.com.
September 1, 2017
ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick to Lead Two Events Next Week in the Spirit of Love, Community, and Moving Forward
With the beginning of a new school year, Ithaca City School District Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will host two events next week in the spirit of love, community, and moving forward.
On Tuesday, September 5, Dr. Brown and Mayor Myrick will host a conversation at Ithaca College on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. and discuss how we, as a community, may work together to move forward and respond productively to complex issues in these difficult times. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell, Director of Programs and Outreach for Ithaca College and an ICSD Board member.
The following day, Dr. Brown and Mayor Myrick will join area clergy and Cornell University for the Ithaca NY: Leading with Love community walk. The simple, non-political event is a celebration of education, young people, and the power and potential of unified, loving communities, from every background. The walk from Stewart Park to Ithaca High School will conclude with brief remarks from Dr. Brown, Mayor Myrick, and an Ithaca High School student.
The ICSD encourages those who are unable to attend the walk to engage in their own conversations or symbolic events and, as Dr. Brown said, “to show people from near and far what Ithaca and Tompkins County value: Inclusive, empowering, and culturally responsive environments.”
Moving Forward: A Conversation with Dr. Luvelle Brown and Mayor Svante Myrick will be held on Tuesday, September 5 in the Emerson Suites at Ithaca College from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Ithaca NY: Leading with Love will take place on Wednesday, September 6. The walk will begin at Stewart Park’s main pavilion at 7:30 a.m. and end at Ithaca High School at 8:15 a.m.
August 28, 2017
ICSD Child Nutrition Program Meal Prices Will Increase to Accommodate New USDA Guidelines
Due to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, the price of lunches provided to students in the Ithaca City School District will increase for the 2017-2018 academic year. The changing guidelines now require the ICSD Child Nutrition Program to mandate that students be charged comparable cost to State and Federal Reimbursements. Additionally, the program is now required to incur increased cost because of the finalized “Reauthorization Act”.
“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.
All school lunches in the district will increase by 5 cents. Despite these changes, breakfast prices in the ICSD will remain at the same rate as last year and the price of reduced meals will remain at 25 cents. The new meal prices are below.
“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.
- Elementary school: $1.50 breakfast, $2.60 lunch
- Middle school: $1.75 breakfast, $2.85 lunch
- High school: $2.00 breakfast, $3.10 lunch
- All Schools: $.75 Milk
August 25, 2017
The Ithaca City School District (ICSD), in cooperation with the City of Ithaca, area clergy - led by Calvary Baptist Church and the First Congregational Church - and Cornell University’s Office of Community Relations, is marking the start of the school year with a community walk from Stewart Park to Ithaca High School.
This simple, nonpolitical event - “Ithaca NY: Leading with Love” - is a celebration of education, young people, and the power and potential of unified, loving communities, from every background.
The everyone-welcome walk will begin at the main pavilion at Stewart Park at 7:30 a.m. sharp, and will conclude by 8:15 a.m., after brief remarks by ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown, City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, and an Ithaca High School student.
Dr. Brown - the 2017 New York State School Superintendent of the Year - has long espoused the concepts of “Leading with Love” in the ICSD’s daily work, and in its mission to “Engage, Educate, Empower.”
"We will open our school year with conversations and symbolic examples of our loving culture. This is not a political event,” said Brown, a native of Charlottesville, Va., and a guest on WHCU’s All Things Equal after events in that city earlier this month (http://whcuradio.com/podcasts/categories/podcasts-equal/).
"This a chance to show people from near and far what Ithaca and Tompkins County value: Inclusive, empowering, and culturally responsive environments.”
Parking will be available at Stewart Park. There will be no parking at Ithaca High School or Boynton Middle School. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held at Kulp Auditorium.
For more information, contact Gary Stewart in Cornell University’s Office of Community Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org or 227-5531.
August 18, 2017
The Caroline Wilderness Performance Academy to Perform The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
In the beauty of nature, celebrate the creative work of children with performance, music, puppetry and dance!
This year, the Caroline Wilderness Performance Academy (CWPA) will present a staged adaptation with puppets of The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble. The performance will be on Thursday, August 24th at 2pm on the Caroline Wilderness Campus.
CWPA is a summer program that focuses on furthering the social/emotional well-being and literacy development of children through engaging activities that involve creativity, mastery and purpose. CWPA is made possible by a generous grant from the Park Foundation.
August 4, 2017
ICSD Announces Launch of Summer Farm to Table Program
The Ithaca City School District is excited to announce the launch of its Farm to Table Program (ICSD FTT), offered to second and third grade students from the Belle Sherman, Beverly J. Martin, Cayuga Heights, and Enfield elementary schools. The program runs from July 24 to August 18 and will pick back up in the fall as an afterschool program beginning September 6.
ICSD FTT is funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant awarded to the District by the New York State Education Department this past spring. The grant’s purpose is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program and offer families opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children’s education.
The ICSD FTT program will offer a contextualized interdisciplinary hands-on study of food, nutrition, gardening, and cooking. The students will be outside and using their hands as much as possible and have the opportunity to visit local farms and food facilities. Families of participating students are strongly encouraged to get involved with the program, whether by helping guide the curriculum and choosing which foods the students learn about, joining the students on field trips and for special events, or participating in the Program Advisory Committee (PAC).
“We will be growing, harvesting, eating and learning about food in so many ways,” says program director Laurie Pattington. Currently a first-grade teacher at Cayuga Heights Elementary School, Pattington has been working with children and food systems as a farmer and educator for 20 years.
If you would like more information, there will be a presentation on the ICSD FTT program at next week’s Board of Education meeting, Tuesday, August 8 at 6:00pm. To view the presentation, please visit the BoE page on ithacacityschools.org or search for ICSD Communications on YouTube.
July 3, 2017
Ithaca Students Place in Top 10 at National Technology Conference
Ithaca teams earned 13 top-ten finishes at the 39th annual national Technology Student Association (TSA) conference in Orlando, Florida. The competition involved nearly 8,000 participants from 49 states and several countries during June 21–25.
The conference offered 65 competitive events ranging from computer animation to extemporaneous speech to CO2-propelled dragster design.
DeWitt Middle School’s Jacob Yoon brought home Ithaca’s biggest prize, taking first place in the Computer Aided Design (CAD) Foundations competitive event. Yoon and more than 80 other competitors were given the task of creating a two-dimensional graphic representation of an engineering part or object using Autodesk Inventor CAD software.
In addition to CAD Foundations, DeWitt Middle School finished in the top ten in the competitive events of STEM Animation, Dragster Design, Technology Bowl Oral, Challenging Technology Issues, and Video Game Design.
The Ithaca High School team took home the second-place trophy in the Music Production competitive event for the second straight year. Team members Matthew Guo, Eli Zhang, Francesca Chu, and Jenny Yoon wrote a song titled “Vision” that represented the conference theme of “defining your future.”
The high school team also won a third-place trophy in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing competitive event. Jacob Silcoff and Tilden Chao designed a smartphone projector using computer manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and computer-controlled mills, keeping the cost at under five dollars to manufacture.
Ithaca High School boasted an impressive seven total top-ten finishes, rounded out by Structural Design and Engineering, Prepared Presentation, Future Technology Teacher, Technology Bowl Written, and Technology Bowl Oral.
The end of the conference also marked the retirement of DeWitt Middle School advisor Bob Walters and New York State advisor Evie Weinstein from advisor roles in Ithaca TSA. Both advisors had an immeasurable impact on technology students around the community and will always be a part of the Ithaca TSA family.
The teams’ participation in the national competition was made possible by support from the Ithaca City School District, as well as fundraising campaigns organized by the teams and IthacaSTEM Advocates, an affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative. The teams are already planning and raising funds for next year’s 40th annual national TSA conference in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more or to donate, visit www.ithacastem.org, www.ipei.org, and www.ihstsa.cf.
June 23, 2017
The Joe Moresco Stadium Will Be Closed from July 5 to August 14, 2017
The Joe Moresco Stadium will be closed to all use from July 5, 2017 until August 14, 2017 due to the replacement of stadium lighting, through the District’s Energy Performance Contract with TRANE. The closure includes both the Harold Porter Track and Bredbenner Field.
At times, there may be a closure of Rosemary Lane and a small section of Sweet Field.
The lighting replacement will enhance not only our athletic programs but the safety of our facility.
No other athletic field will be closed due to construction work.
June 22, 2017
ICSD Announces Participation in Summer Food Service Program
The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) announces its participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Meals will be provided, without charge, to all eligible children 18 years and under.
Children in the following programs and locations are eligible to participate in the SFSP: Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, Cayuga Heights Elementary School, Ithaca High School, Lehman Alternative Community School, Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) – Preteen, the Mental Health Association of Tompkins County, BOCES Special Classes, the Enfield Community Council, and Groton Junior/Senior High.
The SFSP has two downtown Ithaca locations: the Northside Community Center (625 Hancock Street) and the Southside Community Center (305 S. Plain Street). The Northside Community Center will provide summer meals from June 26 to August 31. Breakfast will be served from 8:00-10:30am and lunch will be served from 11:00am-1:30pm. The Southside Community Center will provide summer meals from July 5 to August 11. Breakfast will be served from 8:30-9:30am and lunch will be served from 12:00-2:00pm. The Groton Public Library will also be serving meals as part of the SFSP.
For more information about the program please contact the SFSP office at (607) 274-2234 or visit http://www.ithacacityschools.org/.
April 4, 2017
The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) has been awarded a three year grant at $212,000 a year to provide summer learning experiences for students. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant supports the Ithaca City School District’s Summer Farm to Table (ICSD FTT) Program that targets 135 low-income second and third grade students attending four elementary schools in the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), and their families.
The New York State Education Department Title IV Part B 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant’s purpose is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities in community learning centers. The grant is intended for students in activities that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program and offers families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children’s education.
The summer program at Beverly J. Martin, Cayuga Heights, Enfield, and Belle Sherman elementary schools will address the need for academic enrichment, adult education, and youth development through a contextualized interdisciplinary hands-on study of food and farming. The teaching and learning practices will weave skills in reading, writing, and math with content in health, science and social studies.
The summer program in the ICSD partners Ithaca students with community organizations such as Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Food Studies Institute. Additionally, there will be family involvement incorporated into the summer sessions. ICSD students will continue their farm-to-table studies into the fall with afterschool programming funded by this grant.
April 3, 2017
ICSD WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE TRANSGENDER STUDENTS WITH A SAFE AND WELCOMING PLACE TO LEARN
The Ithaca City School District and Tompkins County Office of Human Rights strongly object to the recent decision by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to withdraw crucial guidance that helped clarify federal legal protections for transgender students in school settings. We would like to address parents, students, teachers, and others who are rightfully concerned about what this means for them, their transgender loved ones, and our entire educational community.
Dr. Luvelle Brown
In May 2016, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released historic guidance for the nation’s schools on the needs and rights of hundreds of thousands of students who are transgender. The guidance summarized over a decade of case law and best practices from across the country, advising schools that under the federal Title IX law, schools should treat transgender students according to their gender identity. Title IX is the federal law that makes it unlawful for schools receiving federal funding to discriminate based on sex.
In response to the withdrawal of federal guidance, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia issued a joint reminder that—whether federal guidance exists or not—transgender students in New York State are protected by the State’s Human Rights Law, its Dignity for All Students Act, and the New York State Education Department “Guidance to School Districts for Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment For Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.” The guidance recommends that school districts take proactive steps to ensure compliance with DASA, and provides specific recommendations with respect to many of the same topics that were addressed in the federal guidance that has now been withdrawn, including names and pronouns; sex-segregated programming and school facilities; and student privacy and confidentiality.
Attorney General Schneiderman has given assurances he will vigorously enforce New York law which requires all school districts in New York State to prohibit discrimination and harassment, on school property or at a school function, on the basis of a student’s gender identity or expression.
State Education Commissioner Elia says, “Transgender youth are valued members of our schools and communities across New York State, yet statistics show that more than half of them will attempt suicide at least once by their 20th birthday. We must do everything in our power to create learning environments that are safe and welcoming for all.”
At the County level, the Office of Human Rights proposed a local law in June 2015 in order to re-establish local enforcement powers for discrimination based on gender identity and expression in Tompkins County school districts. This local law, in its entirety, is under review by the Tompkins County Legislature.
Please know that we remain committed to the vigorous support for a student’s right to be respectfully treated according to their gender identity and to be free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying. We encourage all school districts in Tompkins County to join the effort to ensure transgender kids are safe in our schools and are provided equal access to all programming and facilities consistent with their gender identity.
Karen W. Baer, J.D.
Director of Human Rights
Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell
ICSD Board Vice President
March 29, 2017
The Ithaca City School District and the Ithaca Teachers Association are fully committed to our 6000+ thinkers having equal access to school and affirming our district’s values of diversity, equality and inclusion. Our schools are welcoming places for students for learning and growing no matter their immigration status. All students who meet age and residency per district criteria have a right to a free education in our school district. All students are welcome in a safe learning environment where they can grow, thrive, and receive any support and assistance they may need. Together we will continue to stand by all of our students and families.
March 20, 2017
State ED Awards $150,000 to ICSD In My Brother's Keeper Grants For Family and Community Engagement Programs
The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) has been awarded $150,000 to improve educational outcomes for boys and young men of color. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) awarded more than $6 million in grants to 42 school districts for the Family and Community Engagement Program of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. These grants will support programs to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color while fostering the development of effective relationships with families to promote the success of all students.
“Our school community is committed to inclusive and equitable opportunities for all young people,” said ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown. “This grant award is an indication of our school district’s commitment to continuously improving our approach to engaging, educating, and empowering all learners.”
The ICSD will be collaborating with the City of Ithaca and various community agencies to deliver direct services as part of the local MBK initiative. The City of Ithaca will contribute an additional $35,000 to the amount awarded by NYSED. A portion of the grant funds will be allocated to community organizations and professional development programs focused on family outreach and cultural responsiveness.
In 2014, President Obama established the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Task Force at the federal level. The Task Force was an interagency effort focused on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential.
With the adoption of the 2016–2017 New York State Budget, New York became the first state to accept the President’s challenge and enacted the My Brother’s Keeper initiative into law. The budget included a $20 million investment in support of the initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color.
In addition to supporting the six milestones set at the national level, New York’s MBK initiative is also committed to: Ensuring equitable access to high quality schools and programs; Expanding prevention, early warning, and intervention services; Using differentiated approaches based on need and culture; Responding to structural and institutional racism; Making comprehensive and coordinated support services widely available; and Engaging families and communities in a trusted and respectful way.
For more information, please see the New York State Education Department’s official press release here: http://www.nysed.gov/news/2017/state-education-department-awards-6-million-my-broth ers-keeper-grants-family-and-community.
January 26, 2017
Matthew Landahl Will Be the Next Superintendent of Beacon City School District
The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matt Landahl, has accepted a Superintendent position at the Beacon City School District. Beacon, New York is located 65 miles north of New York City, and the school district is composed of 2900 students in four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.
Dr. Landahl will take over in Beacon for the 2017-18 school year, which starts July 1, 2017. Dr. Landahl began his employment in Ithaca City School District, as Chief Elementary Schools Officer in 2013. He has also served as Chief Academic Officer in Ithaca.
“I thank the Board of Education and Dr. Brown for the opportunity to serve in multiple roles in the Ithaca City School District. I am excited to begin the next phase of my professional life as my family and I transition to the role of Superintendent in Beacon” said Dr. Landahl.
Dr. Landahl received his undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa and began his teaching profession in Baltimore City Public Schools through the Teach For America organization. After teaching in Baltimore for 5 years, Dr. Landahl became an administrator in Charlottesville, Virginia while he pursued his graduate studies at the University of Virginia in Education Administration and Supervision. After serving as an Assistant Principal for three years at the elementary and middle levels, Landahl served as an elementary principal at two different schools for a total of eleven years. As Principal, Landahl received many awards and recognitions including the University of Virginia Curry School of Education Distinguished Alumni award for “Outstanding Principal” in 2011. Landahl earned his Doctorate in Education from the University of Virginia in 2012.
ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown stated, “I’ve been fortunate to learn with Dr. Landahl for nearly two decades. He is an exceptional public educator who has been successful in multiple administrative positions. The Beacon City School community is very fortunate to have recruited him to be their learning leader.”
ICSD Board of Education Vice President, Sean Eversley Bradwell said, “This is truly a case where Ithaca’s loss is Beacon’s gain. Simply put, Dr. Landahl is an outstanding educational leader and active learner. Congratulations to both the Landahl family and the Beacon community.”
January 11, 2017
ICSD Placed on College Board's 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll
Jan. 11, 2017: The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) is one of 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 7th Annual AP® District Honor Roll. To be included on the 7th Annual Honor Roll, ICSD had to, since 2014, increase the number and diversity of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. Reaching these goals shows that ICSD is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for AP.
“Our school community is committed to inclusive and equitable opportunities for all young people,” said ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown. “The recent recognition from the College Board is an indication of our school district’s success with engaging, educating, and empowering all learners.”
National data from 2016 shows that among black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half are participating. The first step to getting more of these students to participate is to give them access. Courses must be made available, gatekeeping must stop, and doors must be equitably opened. ICSD is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.
“Congratulations to all the teachers and administrators in this district who have worked so tirelessly to both expand access to AP and also to help students succeed on the AP Exams,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s head of AP and Instruction. “These teachers and administrators are delivering real opportunity in their schools and classrooms, and students are rising to the challenge.” Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with initiatives and strategies to see how they can expand access and improve student performance at the same time.
Inclusion on the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2014 to 2016, looking across 37 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used.
The complete 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found here.
- Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;
- Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and
- Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2016 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2014 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.