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Press Releases 2019-2020

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ICSD to Open Outdoor Facilities for Public Use Beginning July 6
ICSD Announces Administrative Transitions
ICSD Annual Budget Vote And Election Preliminary Results
Extension of Deadline to Receive Absentee Ballots by Mail
ICSD Board Approves New End Dates for 2019-2020 School Year
ICSD Announces Administrative Transitions
ICSD Moving to Only Home Delivery for School Meals
Ithaca City School District Announces School Closure
Ithaca City School District in Session May 22, 2020
Superintendent Brown Selected to Receive Appreciation Award
ICSD Announces Administrative Appointments
ICSD Superintendent Announces First Cohort of Aspiring Educators
Third Annual Leading With Love Community Event
ICSD Board of Education to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Utility Tax
ICSD Appoints New Principal for Caroline Elementary

ICSD to Open Outdoor Facilities for Public Use Beginning July 6

June 29, 2020: Beginning July 6, 2020, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) will reopen its outdoor facilities for public use, including low-risk youth sports in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order. The district will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the health and safety of children, families and the community. 

Group outdoor facility use requests will be managed through ML Schedules, which can be accessed on the ICSD website at ithacacityschools.org/facilities. Those who wish to submit an outdoor facility use request will need to review and confirm their understanding of and commitment to health and safety requirements on behalf of their group or organization. These include, but are not limited to groups of no more than 50 people. Any outdoor facility use request made prior to July 6 will be considered by the district on an individual basis.

The use of playgrounds, play structures and green spaces by individuals or members of the same household does not require district review and approval. The ICSD asks anyone using outdoor district facilities to practice recommended social distancing and hygiene practices, including maintaining six feet of distance from others, staying home when sick, and wearing cloth face coverings as feasible.

At this time, our indoor facilities remain closed. All questions regarding district facility use should be directed to Daniel Breiman, Administration Officer, daniel.breiman@icsd.k12.ny.us.


ICSD Announces Administrative Transitions

June 23, 2020: On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved two administrative appointments for the 2020-2021 school year.

Jennifer Gondek, who currently serves as a Master Educator for Inclusion (MEI) at Enfield and Northeast elementary schools, has been appointed as the district’s new Director of Special Education. Prior to joining the ICSD in 2019, Gondek worked for eight years as an Instructional Specialist for Inclusion at TST BOCES, supporting component districts in the areas of inclusive education, literacy, behavioral support, special education regulation, and more. Gondek also has over a decade of diverse teaching experience, having worked in various states as a special education teacher, elementary teacher, student support teacher, and literacy specialist. 

On Tuesday night, the ICSD Board of Education also appointed Lisa Sahasrabudhe as the new principal of Cayuga Heights Elementary School. Sahasrabudhe first joined the ICSD in 1988 and served for 30 years as a classroom teacher at Fall Creek, Belle Sherman, and Beverly J. Martin elementary schools. In 2018, Sahasrabudhe became the district’s first Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Culturally Responsive Practices. She was then appointed to her current position, Instructional Coach for Equity, Inclusion, and Innovation at Fall Creek Elementary School, in 2019. Sahasrabudhe also serves as an Equity Mentor for the district and has been a member of the ICSD Equity and Inclusion Leadership Council (EILC) since 2014.


ICSD Annual Budget Vote And Election Preliminary Results

June 17, 2020: The preliminary results from the 2020 Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Budget Vote and School Board Election, as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, are listed below. These results are subject to verification. The ICSD Board of Education will meet to certify the results on Thursday, June 18 at 5:30 p.m.

Proposition No. 1    Proposed 2020-2021 Annual District Budget
YES Votes: 5,526 NO Votes: 1,682

Proposition No. 2    Appropriation and Expenditure of Capital Reserve Funds
YES Votes: 5,606 NO Votes: 1,563

School Board Election
Candidate Votes For
Sabrina Draffen 1,820
Sean Eversley Bradwell 5,042
Sophia Lux 2,869
Christopher Malcolm 4,275
Patricia Wasyliw 3,709

Extension of Deadline to Receive Absentee Ballots by Mail

June 8, 2020: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an Executive Order extending the deadline for school districts to receive absentee ballots returned by mail to June 16, 2020.

Ballots may be delivered by hand to the District Office at 400 Lake Street until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9. Ballots may continue to be mailed and will be received by mail until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16.  

The “closing of the polls” will occur at 5:00 p.m. on June 16, at which time, election inspectors will begin counting the ballots. Ballots that are postmarked on or prior to June 16 but not received by 5:00 p.m. on June 16 cannot be counted.


ICSD Board Approves New End Dates for 2019-2020 School Year

May 22, 2020: On Thursday, May 21, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved a modification for an early end to the 2019-2020 academic calendar.

Along with other districts in the region, and in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s executive order requiring remote instruction through the April spring break, the ICSD is positioned to end the school year approximately one week early.

The last day of instruction for all ICSD students will now be Tuesday, June 16. The last day for 10-month employees will be Friday, June 19. The district will continue offering free school meal deliveries to all children through June 25. 

In an effort to ensure a sense of closure for students, families and staff, the ICSD will transition away from new instruction as of June 8 and will begin culminating projects/review and offering closure conversations/conferences for all students. 

Newly Modified 2019-2020 End-of-Year Dates for the Ithaca City School District
  • Monday, May 25: Memorial Day Recess
  • Monday, June 8: Begin Closure Conversations/Conferences and Culminating Experiences
  • Tuesday, June 16: Last Day for Students
  • Friday, June 19: Last Day for 10-Month Employees
  • Thursday, June 25: Last Day for School Year Meal Delivery

ICSD Announces Administrative Transitions

May 12, 2020: Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Superintendent Luvelle Brown is pleased to announce that two district administrators will transition into new roles for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Carlan Gray, who currently serves as an associate principal at Ithaca High School, will transition to the role of principal of DeWitt Middle School on July 1, 2020. Gray first joined the ICSD in 2005. Prior to her appointment as associate principal in 2018, she served as a high school biology teacher, science department chair, and master educator for science, math, engineering and technology (STEM). In addition to several district-wide professional development projects, Gray has also supported the ICSD by serving as a coach for the cross-country team.

Lauren Wright will transition to the role of principal of Boynton Middle School on July 1, 2020, as well. Wright began her career in the district in 2013 as a social studies teacher at Ithaca High School. She then served as a district-wide technology integration specialist before being appointed associate principal at Boynton in 2018.

The ICSD Board of Education approved the appointments of Gray and Wright to their new roles on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. 

“The role of principal is very important for our school community,” said ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown. “Our district is fortunate to have these two internal trailblazers with the talent, experiences and passion needed to lead our buildings.”


ICSD Moving to Only Home Delivery for School Meals

March 20, 2020: In order to help support travel and social distancing restrictions, beginning Tuesday, March 24, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) will move to only home delivery for school meals. Meal pickup locations will not be operational. 

ICSD staff will be at the sites on Monday to provide food and assist those who have not received notice of this change; the sites will not be staffed after Monday. 

The school meals will continue to be free for all students, and any ICSD family can arrange for meal delivery by completing our online delivery request form: http://bit.ly/2U55Q5p. The form can also be found on our district website, www.ithacacityschools.org. Families should complete one form per week for all children in the household and submit the form at least 24 hours in advance.

Those who do not have access to the internet, or who otherwise need assistance completing the meal delivery request form, should call 2-1-1. The call center is available 24/7 and is also locally staffed Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All meals will be delivered to homes only and will be left outside. Families should not meet the delivery person at the door. The ICSD is grateful to our staff and community for making this happen for our children.


Ithaca City School District Announces School Closure

March 13, 2020: On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Ithaca City School District announced that all schools will close effective immediately through April 12, 2020. 

Attached, please find a letter from Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown, Board of Education President Robert Ainslie, and Board of Education Vice President Sean Eversley Bradwell announcing the closure.

Attachment: ICSD School Closure


Ithaca City School District in Session May 22, 2020

February 24, 2020: Due to the number of emergency closings this school year, Friday, May 22, 2020 will not be a school recess day for the Ithaca City School District. All schools will be in session.


Superintendent Brown Selected to Receive Appreciation Award

February 3, 2020: Ithaca City School District Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown has been selected by the New York State Council of School Superintendents (“The Council”) to receive the 2020 Appreciation Award. This annual award is given in recognition of the extraordinary efforts by members of The Council to improve public education and serve the children in New York State.

This year, the Appreciation Award will be presented to two individuals, Brown and Superintendent Dr. L. Oliver Robinson of the Shenendehowa Central School District, who together established The Council’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity. As co-chairs, Brown and Robinson continue to lead the commission in its efforts to promote equity, cultural responsiveness, and inclusion in public school.

Since 2018, the ICSD has hosted the commission’s annual Diversity Symposium of Thought Leaders, a two-day national conference for educators. The commission has also conducted regional workshops in Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Long Island, Albany, New York City, and other locations throughout New York State. 

Brown and Robinson will be presented with the 2020 Appreciation Award on March 1, during The Council’s annual Winter Institute in Albany, N.Y. Brown, who has served as the Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District since 2011, is the recipient of various other awards and recognitions, including:
  • 2017 New York Superintendent of the Year
  • National School Board Association’s “20-to-Watch”
  • 2019 Tompkins County Distinguished Citizen Award

ICSD Announces Administrative Appointments

January 28, 2020 - On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved two administrative appointments for the 2020-2021 school year. Beginning July 1, 2020, Daniel Breiman will assume the role of Administration Officer and Jeffrey Tomasik will replace Breiman as the principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School.

Breiman, an Ithaca native and ICSD alum, began his career in education in 2001 as a classroom inclusion teacher in New York City and then as an inclusion specialist in Cambridge, M.A. In 2003, he moved to Houston, T.X., where he worked as an educator and school administrator for eight years, including four years as an elementary principal. Breiman returned to Ithaca in 2011, after being appointed principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School, where he currently still serves.

“For the past nine years it has been my great honor and privilege to be the principal of Belle Sherman Elementary,” said Breiman. “Seeing the growth of our students has brought me the most pride and joy. Our students are problem solvers, collaborators, and are ready to lead. I am privileged and excited to now join our Superintendent, Luvelle Brown, and other central office leaders to further support Belle Sherman, and all students in the Ithaca City School District.”

In addition to holding degrees from Boston University and New York University, Breiman earned an Ed.D. in Education Leadership, Management and Policy from Seton Hall University in 2019. His two sons currently attend Northeast Elementary School.

Replacing Breiman as the principal of Belle Sherman Elementary will be Jeffrey Tomasik, who is now in his 20th year in the district. Tomasik joined the ICSD in 2000, serving first as an English as a New Language (ENL) teacher and then as an associate principal at DeWitt Middle School. In 2003, Tomasik was appointed principal of Northeast Elementary School. He remained at Northeast for the next 12 years, during which time the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2015, Tomasik took on his current role as principal of Boynton Middle School.

“I am extremely grateful for my five years at Boynton and have learned so much working with a talented staff and incredible student body,” said Tomasik. “I am also excited to be heading back to elementary school and very much look forward to joining the Belle Sherman community in June.”

Tomasik holds degrees from Rutgers University and the University of Virginia. His wife, Jennifer Wilkie, also works for the district, serving as an instructional coach at Cayuga Heights Elementary School. Their two children both attended ICSD schools and are graduates of Ithaca High School.


ICSD Superintendent Announces First Cohort of Aspiring Educators

September 5, 2019 - Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown announced the first cohort of students selected to be part of the Aspiring Educators Award and Program during the district’s annual Convocation on Sept. 3.

The Aspiring Educators Award and Program recognizes high school students from the ICSD who show promise as future educators and educational leaders. The program is open to rising juniors and seniors from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing teaching as a profession.

The first three students selected to participate in the Aspiring Educators Program are Ithaca High School senior Travion Brooks, and juniors Karije Henderson and Kenya Westfield.

First cohort of Aspiring Educators - Travion Brooks, Karije Henderson, and Kenya Westfield
Dr. Brown announces first cohort of Aspiring Educators at Convocation: 
Travion Brooks, Karije Henderson and Kenya Westfield.

Through the program, Brooks, Henderson and Westfield will receive mentorship opportunities with ICSD teachers and administrators, and will be included in professional development activities that expose them to the education profession.
 
“Increasing the number and diversity of talented individuals in the professional educator pipeline should be at the top of the list for all school districts,” said Brown. “We can do much to provide young men and women from underrepresented backgrounds the chance to experience the joys of being an educator through direct mentorship and learning opportunities.”
 
Following Brown’s announcement, New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) president William Miller presented the ICSD with the “Champions of Change for Kids” award, in recognition of the work being done through the Aspiring Educators Award and Program.

President of NYSSBA awards the ICSD the "Champions of Change for Kids" award at the 2019 Convocation
William Miller presents the "Champions of Change for Kids" award to 
Dr. Brown.

The Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) supports the Aspiring Educators Award and Program through a special ICSD Superintendent Fund. This fund is open to tax deductible donations from community members who share Dr. Brown’s interest in encouraging local youth to consider careers in education through the Aspiring Educators Award and Program. To learn more, or to donate to the fund, visit www.ipei.org/icsd-superintendent-fund.


Third Annual Leading With Love Community Event

August 21, 2019 - The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) and Cornell University’s Office of Community Relations will once again mark the start of the 2019-2020 school year with a community gathering on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
 
The third annual “Ithaca NY: Leading with Love” event will be held at Enfield Elementary School. This is a simple, non-political event that celebrates education, young people, and the power and potential of unified, loving communities. Everyone is welcome.
 
The event will begin at 7:15 a.m. with the community gathering and welcoming Enfield students for their first day of the 2019-2020 school year. Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown and Enfield principal Keith Harrington will then offer brief remarks on the importance of compassion and inclusivity. The event will conclude by 8 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.”
 
Parking will be available at Enfield Elementary School, 20 Enfield Main Road. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held inside the school.
 
For more information, contact ICSD Communications at icsdcommunications@icsd.k12.ny.us or (607) 274-2101, ext. 71102.


ICSD Board of Education to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Utility Tax

August 6, 2019 - The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, August 13 to solicit feedback on the proposed imposition of a sales tax on certain utility services. The hearing will be held in the ICSD Board Room at 400 Lake Street, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Those who wish to give testimony but who are unable to appear personally on August 13 may send their written testimony and comments to the District Clerk, either by mail (Tricia Beresford, District Clerk, 400 Lake St., Ithaca, NY 14850) or by email (tricia.beresford@icsd.k12.ny.us).

About the Proposed Utility Tax

Section 1212 of the New York State Tax Law authorizes counties, cities, and small city school districts like the ICSD to impose a sales tax on certain utilities and utility services. Almost half of the 57 small city school districts in New York currently impose such a tax, as do Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca (for a list of jurisdictions that impose these taxes, view Publication 718-R, Local Sales and Use Tax Rates on Residential Energy).

Pursuant to Section 1212 of the Tax Law, small city school districts may impose a sales tax on gas, electricity, refrigeration, and steam, and related services; telephony and telegraphy and related services (except interstate and international telephony and telegraphy and related services); telephone answering and facsimile transmission (fax) services; and mobile telecommunication services provided by a home service provider. The maximum rate at which a district may impose such a tax is three percent.

The ICSD Board of Education is considering the imposition of a sales tax on utilities and utility services as an alternative option for generating revenue. The district’s ability to assess property taxes is limited each year by the New York State tax cap. Additionally, shortfalls in foundation aid paid to the district, combined with wage increases included in negotiated contracts, have necessitated that the ICSD seek out alternative revenue sources in order to sustain quality instructional programs.

Unlike property taxes that disproportionately impact the district’s property owners, the utility tax would be a tax of general applicability, the burden of which would be shared by all users of utilities on an equitable basis.

Should a majority of the ICSD Board of Education vote to impose a tax on utility services after the August 13 public hearing takes place, the earliest the tax could go into effect is December 1, 2019.

Additional information on the proposed utility tax can be found on the ICSD website. If you have any questions, please contact ICSD Chief Operations Officer Amanda Verba at (607) 274-2121.
ICSD Appoints New Principal for Caroline Elementary

July 2, 2019 - On Tuesday, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved the appointment of Kristin Herman as the new principal of Caroline Elementary School.

Herman has nearly 20 years of experience as an educator, including six with the ICSD. Since joining the district in 2013, Herman has served in multiple capacities, including middle school teacher, department leader, equity data team member and founding principal of Project Innovation, the ICSD’s fully inclusive, project-based summer school program. Most recently, Herman served as associate principal of Enfield Elementary School.

In each of her various positions, Herman has demonstrated her commitment to creating safe learning environments for students and staff, and to building meaningful relationships with families and the broader Ithaca community.   

“We are thrilled to welcome Kristin Herman as the instructional leader of Caroline,” said ICSD Inclusion Officer Mary Grover. “She is a talented educator, who’s bringing a palpable passion and a great deal of expertise to the position. We’re grateful to the families and staff who partnered with us throughout the selection process to ensure that we found the best leader for the Caroline community. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead for this great school.”

“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the Caroline Elementary School community as principal,” said Herman. “I have admired the work the Caroline staff has done and couldn’t be happier to join this team of dedicated educators as we support students and families. I will continue to dream big for the mighty Enfield Elementary School and the wonderful community it serves.”