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Press Releases 2020-2021

Please email ICSD Communications if you would like to be added to our press release listserv. To view press releases from previous years, visit our press release archives page.

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ICSD Board of Education Accepts Resignation of Superintendent Brown
ICSD Developing Plan for COVID-19 Vaccination of Personnel
ICSD Completes First Week of Voluntary COVID-19 Testing
Ithaca City School District Closed Thursday, December 17, 2020

January 12, 2021
ICSD Board of Education Accepts Resignation of Superintendent Brown

On January 12, 2021, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education accepted the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown, effective February 1, 2021. After a significant decade of service, Brown will leave the ICSD to become the head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for Discovery Education, a global education company providing resources and support for millions of students and teachers.  
Brown joined the ICSD in January 2011. With his leadership, the ICSD has earned state and national recognition achievements, including:

  • Being named one of New York State’s first and largest 1:1 technology initiatives
  • Improving graduation rates from 78% to as high as 94%
  • Increasing enrollment and diversity in higher-level courses and earning College Board AP Honor Roll for this effort
  • Having Ithaca High School be named one of the best high schools for STEM (#48 nationally)
  • Having US News rank Ithaca High School in the top 2.5% of high schools in the nation (Gold Medal Distinction)
  • Receiving the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Best Communities for Music Education Award for the last six consecutive years 
  • Receiving the New York State School Boards Association Champions of Change for Kids Award-Aspiring Educators Award and Program

Brown also has a long list of individual accolades. In 2017, he was named the New York State Superintendent of the Year and one of TrustEd’s national thought-leaders. In 2019, he was honored with the Tompkins County Distinguished Citizen Award. Additionally, Brown has been recognized as one of the nation’s top tech-savvy educational leaders, as well as a “difference maker” by the National School Boards Association. Most recently, Brown founded and currently co-chairs the New York State Council of Superintendents Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity, and was recently appointed to the Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education.

“I am blessed to live and work in this wonderful community,” Brown said. “We have accomplished much together over the past decade and I am excited for the future of our school district. The decision to transition has been very difficult. While I will miss serving as Superintendent in Ithaca, I am looking forward to scaling my influence and directly impacting teaching and learning for millions of students and educators all over the world.”

“It will be nearly impossible to replace Dr. Brown,” ICSD Board of Education President Rob Ainslie said. “He has been an amazing leader and community member. We wish him great success in his new role.”

At its next meeting, the Board of Education expects to appoint ICSD Deputy Superintendent Lily Talcott as Interim Superintendent. Brown will provide consultation throughout the remainder of the academic year.

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January 10, 2021
ICSD Developing Plan for COVID-19 Vaccination of Personnel

On January 8, Governor Cuomo announced the expansion of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility in New York State to Phase 1B, which includes education workers. In light of this announcement, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) is working to formulate a plan for the vaccination of district personnel in close collaboration with the Tompkins County Health Department, Cayuga Health System and district unions.

Under the phased distribution of the vaccine, appointments will be made available for group 1B as early as this week, based on vaccine availability, in parallel with the ongoing vaccination of direct and ancillary health care professionals in group 1A. The largest group, 1B includes 3.2 million New Yorkers who will be eligible to receive the vaccine, as outlined below.

Phase 1A (eligible as of 1/04)
Phase 1B (eligible as of 1/11)
  • school nurses
  • school psychologists
  • speech pathologists
  • audiologists
  • occupational therapists
  • physical therapists
  • social workers
  • 870,000 education workers
  • 207,000 first responders
  • 100,000 public safety workers
  • 100,000 public transit workers
  • 1.4 million people 75 and older

The governor’s office and the New York State Department of Health are asking unions to organize vaccine administrations for their constituents, including but not limited to police, firefighters and educators, to enable other providers to focus on the 75+ age group. According to the governor's office, if viable plans are established, these groups will receive weekly allocations from their local health departments, rather than pharmacies, primary care offices, hospitals or health care centers.

Based on the current distribution of vaccines to New York State by the federal government, it is estimated that it will take 14 weeks to administer vaccines to all eligible persons in groups 1A and 1B (through April 16). The ICSD is working to establish a vaccination plan in alignment with the state’s 10 Guiding Principles, which reflect the district’s commitment to equity. Communication regarding the ICSD’s vaccination plan will be forthcoming.

For more information, visit Tompkins County Health Department Vaccine Information and New York State Phased Distribution of the Vaccine.

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January 9, 2021
ICSD Completes First Week of Voluntary COVID-19 Testing

On Monday, January 4, 2021, the Ithaca City School District began testing in-person students and staff for COVID-19 using Abbott BinaxNOW antigen tests provided by the New York State Department of Health. The district’s school-based testing program is voluntary and caregivers can opt their children in at any time by completing a testing consent form.

The ICSD aims to test 20% of in-person students and staff over the course of each two-week period, similar to the structure required under a “Yellow Zone” designation (the ICSD is not currently in a “Yellow Zone”). Throughout the first week of testing, nurses and trained observers ultimately tested 12% of in-person students and staff across our 12 schools. There were no positive cases identified in the process. 

All positive antigen results must be confirmed through PCR testing. The ICSD reports any health department-confirmed positive PCR result to the New York State COVID-19 School Dashboard and directly notifies school communities of positive cases with in-school contacts. Those who wish to stay informed about positive cases that have not had any in-school contacts are encouraged to regularly check the NYS dashboard, which is updated each school day, as the ICSD will no longer be notifying communities directly unless there are school-based contacts. 

In addition to launching the school-based testing program, ICSD nurses began receiving the COVID-19 vaccine this week. Governor Cuomo has also announced that Phase 1B of the state-wide vaccination rollout will include teachers and education workers.

For more information on the ICSD’s surveillance testing program, visit ithacacityschools.org/testing.

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December 16, 2020
Ithaca City School District Closed Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) will be closed tomorrow, December 17, 2020, due to inclement weather. All remote instructional programming and school-sponsored activities are canceled. School meals will not be available for pickup or delivery.

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