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The ICSD Receives $420,000 Annual Grant to Fund Project Innovation: Cultivating Connections

The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) has been awarded a five-year grant at $420,000 a year to provide summer learning experiences for students. Project Innovation: Cultivating Connections serves over 325 elementary and middle school students. The program is open to all students with integrated support for those who receive special education and English as a New Language (ENL) services. Transportation, breakfast, and lunch are provided.

Project Innovation: Cultivating Connections aims to create an unparalleled learning experience for students and empowers them to be leaders in creating the programming and curriculum they need to succeed: "...the summer program centers students as partners in designing project-based units of studies where students grow their identities as scientists, readers, writers, artists, and much more. Multi-age classrooms with a focus on outdoor learning experiences in collaboration with The Learning Farm, Circus Culture, and Ithaca Children’s Garden allow for students to have literacy experiences that reflect our commitment to a historically responsive literacy program,” shares Assistant Superintendent of Inclusion Mary Grover. 

The program adds valuable hands-on experiences with gardening, food, and service learning that complements students’ academics and connects them to their community. The efforts fall in alignment with the district’s Learning Forward initiative: a three-year approach to academic and social-emotional learning, as well as its commitment to reverse the legacy of racism and establish communities built on love and joy.