Annual NoticesThe New York State Department of Education (NYSED) requires that all school districts provide the following notices to parents and guardians on an annual basis. Some of the notices correspond to Board of Education policies, which can be found on BoardDocs.
Access to Student Records
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents and eligible students (those who have reached 18 years of age or are attending a postsecondary institution) have the right to: inspect and review the student’s education records; request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights; and consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, with some exceptions.
Annual Professional Performance Review of Teachers and Principals
Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) is the process by which teachers and principals are evaluated in New York State. The purpose of APPR is to empower educators to improve the quality of instruction in schools and, in turn, to improve student performance and college- and career-readiness.
Districts are required to develop APPR plans that meet strict state guidelines and are negotiated with local unions. To review Ithaca’s APPR plan, visit ithacacityschools.org/HR.
APPRs must consist of multiple measures in two statutorily prescribed categories: student performance and classroom observation/principal school visit. These measures are scored based on assigned weights, and the results are combined to produce an overall score and effectiveness rating in both categories.
Request for Teacher or Principal Overall Score and Effectiveness Rating: While APPRs are not considered public information, overall scores and ratings may be released, upon request, to parents and legal guardians for their child’s current teacher(s) and/or principal. To initiate this request, please contact:
Lily Talcott, Deputy Superintendent
As required by the federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), the Ithaca City School District maintains asbestos management plans for all school buildings. Each asbestos management plan is on file in the building principal’s office, and in the Facilities Office at 602 Hancock Street, and is available for review during normal business hours.AHERA also requires districts to perform periodic visual surveillance and triennial reinspections for asbestos-containing material in their school buildings. The ICSD’s most recent reinspection was performed in 2019.
For more information, contact:
Ellen Phillips, Clerical Support
ICSD Facilities Department
There is a direct link between attendance and a child’s success in school. Children have a greater sense of belonging and feel connected to their environment when they attend school regularly. Although there are occasions for which a student must miss school, excessive absences, late entrances, and early departures interrupt the instructional day and the student’s learning.
Every student is required to attend all scheduled classes, unless they have an excused absence. Ultimately, it shall be the responsibility of the school principal to make the final determination as to whether an absence, tardiness, and/or early departure is excused or unexcused.
Examples of excused absences include: personal illness; medical or mental health appointments; religious observance; illness or death in the family; military obligations; in-school or out-of-school suspension; and college visits.
Examples of unexcused absences include: truancy; shopping; vacation; oversleeping; Senior Skip Day; driver’s test; hunting/fishing; babysitting; and missing the bus.
The ICSD asks parents and guardians to inform the school if their child is going to be absent, and whether the absence is due to a communicable illness, such as the flu, chicken pox, strep throat, impetigo, head lice, pinworms, ringworm, or scabies. Please do not send a sick child to school. If you have questions about whether your child can be in school with a specific diagnosis, please contact the school nurse.
Upon returning to school, students must have a written excuse indicating the reason for their absence. Alternatively, schools will accept an email from a parent or guardian as a written excuse. All students who are absent from class are expected to consult with their teachers regarding missed work.
Unexcused absences, tardiness, and early departures will result in disciplinary action consistent with the district’s Code of Conduct (e.g., detention, in-school suspension, denial of privileges to participate in or attend extracurricular events).
In order to participate in after-school activities, students must be present for one half of that school day and attend all classes as required. Students who are absent from school with an excused absence, other than for illness or suspension, will be allowed to participate in after-school activities.
Each time a student is absent, tardy, or leaves early from school without a written notice, their parent(s)/guardian(s) will receive an automated phone call notifying them of the incident. For secondary students, the notification will occur for each period missed.
When a student is absent or tardy five times without an excuse, a letter will be sent home to their parent(s)/guardian(s) documenting the absences with a reminder of the district’s attendance policy. A second letter will follow after 10 incidents.
In cases of chronic absences, the school may commence the Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) process and/or the Department of Social Services Hotline process in accordance with New York State Education Law.
Child Nutrition Program
The Ithaca City School District participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program. Accordingly, ICSD families that cannot afford to pay the full price of school meals can apply for free and reduced price meals.
As of July 2019, students in New York State that are approved for reduced price meals receive breakfast and lunch and snacks served through the Afterschool Snack Program at no charge.
Applications and additional information are available on the ICSD Child Nutrition webpage. If you have any questions, please contact:
Beth Krause, Director of Child Nutrition
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that the Ithaca City School District, with certain exceptions, obtain parents’ written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from their children’s education records.
However, the district may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without prior written consent, unless a parent or guardian has advised the district to the contrary, in accordance with the district’s procedures.
The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the district to include information from children’s education records in certain school publications, such as annual yearbooks, honor roll or other recognition lists, graduation programs, and sports activity sheets.
Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without parents/guardians’ prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks and parent teacher associations (PTAs).
In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings to military recruiters upon request, unless a parent or guardian has advised the LEA that they do not want their child’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.
The district has designated the following student information as directory information: name; age; address; telephone number; date and place of birth; dates of attendance; grade level; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.
Parents and guardians who do not want the district to disclose any or all of the types of information designated above as directory information from their children’s education records without their prior written consent must notify the district in writing by September 30, 2020. Such notice should specify the precise types of information from the list above they do not consent to disclose.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Lynn VanDeWeert, Evaluation Officer
Homeless Students Policy
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act (“McKinney-Vento Act”) covers children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and/or adequate nighttime residence, or whose primary nighttime location is in a public or private shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, or a place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
A child lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence if they—
Homeless children have a right to enroll in the school district of their current location, their school district of origin, or a school district participating in a regional placement plan. Homeless children cannot be denied enrollment due to lack of immunization records. Homeless students are entitled to transportation to their designated school district of attendance. Homeless students are entitled to all of the educational services and extracurricular opportunities that would be available to any other student living in the district.
Daniel Breiman, Homeless Liaison
Non-Discrimination/Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment Complaints
The Ithaca City School District hereby advises its employees, students, parents, and the general public that it is committed to providing equal access to all categories of employment, programs, and educational opportunities, including career and technical education opportunities, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, carrier status, national origin, Native American ancestry/ethnicity, creed or religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or expression, disability, or any other legally protected category under federal, state, or local law.
Inquiries regarding the district’s non-discrimination policies should be directed to:
Lily Talcott, Title IX Coordinator
Under Section 1116(a)(2) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving Title I, Part A funds must jointly develop with, agree on with, and distribute to parents and family members of participating children a written parent and family engagement policy. This policy establishes the LEA’s expectations and objectives for meaningful parent and family engagement and describes how the LEA will implement a number of specific parent and family engagement activities.
In accordance with the law, the ICSD Board of Education established Policy 1900: Parental Involvement. If you would like to request a hard copy of the policy, contact:
Lily Talcott, Deputy Superintendent
Parents' Bill of Rights Regarding Student Data Privacy and Security
All educational agencies in New York State are required to develop a Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security (“Parents’ Bill of Rights”). The purpose of the Parents’ Bill of Rights is to inform parents and guardians of the legal requirements regarding privacy, security, and use of student data. The ICSD Parents’ Bill of Rights can be found on the district’s website at ithacacityschools.org/DASA.
For more information, contact:
Lynn VanDeWeert, Evaluation officer
New York State Education Law requires schools to notify the school community that pesticide products may be used during the academic year.
Parents/guardians and staff members may request to receive 48-hour advance written notifications of certain pesticide applications. A new request must be submitted each year. If an emergency pesticide application is necessary in order to protect against an imminent threat to human health, a good faith effort will be made to supply written notification to those on the notification list.
To receive 48-hour notifications of pesticide applications, please contact:
Ellen Phillips, Clerical Support
ICSD Facilities Department
Promotion and Placement
The ICSD Board of Education will determine the graduation requirements of the district, in accordance with the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. In turn, the Superintendent shall develop regulations that set forth the graduation requirements. Such regulations shall be approved by the Board and shall be provided to all students and their parents/guardians each year, beginning in the eighth grade.Graduation requirements specific to Ithaca High School students are addressed in Board Policy 4770-R (IHS). Graduation requirements specific to Lehman Alternative Community School students are addressed in Board Policy 4770-R (LACS).
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) affords parents and guardians certain rights regarding the district’s conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:
These rights transfer from the parent(s)/guardian(s) to a student who is 18-years-old or an emancipated minor under state law.
The Ithaca City School District will develop and adopt, in consultation with parents and guardians, policies regarding these rights, as well as arrangements to protect student privacy in the administration of protected information surveys and the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes. The ICSD will directly notify parents and guardians of these policies at least annually at the start of each school year and after any substantive changes.
The ICSD will also directly notify, such as through U.S. Mail or email, parents and guardians of students who are scheduled to participate in the specific activities or surveys noted below and will provide an opportunity for parents and guardians to opt their children out of participation in the specific activity or survey. The ICSD will make this notification to parents and guardians at the beginning of the school year if it has identified the specific or approximate dates of the activities or surveys at that time.
For surveys and activities scheduled after the school year starts, parents and guardians will be provided reasonable notification of the planned activities and surveys listed below and an opportunity to opt their children out of such activities and surveys. Parents and guardians will also be provided an opportunity to review any pertinent surveys.
The specific activities and surveys covered under this direct notification requirement include:
Parents and guardians who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
Teacher Qualification Requests
Any parent or guardian of an Ithaca City School District student has the right to know the professional qualifications of the classroom teacher(s) who instruct(s) their child. Federal law allows parents and guardians to ask for certain information about their children’s teachers, and requires the ICSD to provide this information in a timely manner, should they request it.
Specifically, parents and caregivers have the right to ask for the following information about each of their children’s classroom teachers:
If you would like to receive this information about your child’s teacher(s), please contact:
Robert Van Keuren, Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations