We are just about two weeks away from the 2023-24 Budget Vote and Board of Education Election. I want to take this opportunity to encourage our district voters to come out on May 16 to exercise their right to vote.
After a transparent and exhaustive process, the Board of Education recently adopted a proposed 2023-24 budget that supports our continued and consistent mission to support each of our approximately 1,700 students at Ichabod Crane — by taking a holistic approach that focuses on all our departments and how they interact with each other on a daily basis.
Next year’s budget supports maintaining staff and programs district-wide, as well as hiring new staff, increasing special education services, acquiring new technology and purchasing a new literacy program for grades 4-6. Please read the article below to learn more about what is in next year’s proposed budget and who is running for the school board.
Maintaining safety across our district remains a top responsibility at ICC. Recently, we launched a new School Safety Information page on our website to help inform our Rider community about our policies and procedures related to school safety. Next year’s proposed budget supports our ongoing partnership established this year with Needham Risk Management, our safety consultant with 20 years of experience. In this Rider Report, we also have an article highlighting our emergency communication practices in events such as a Lockout or Lockdown, so you know what to expect if an emergency occurs.
I hope you all will come out on May 16 to vote. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the High School Gymnasium. Please keep an eye out for the Budget Newsletter, which will be arriving in your mailboxes in early May.
I also hope you will continue to read this edition of the Rider Report, which features many amazing happenings across our district, including one of our talented IT Department employees volunteering her time to the Middle School STEM Club, and our fifth-graders using art to learn more about themselves and the world around them.
May is a busy month so make sure you check the “What’s Next” section at the end of the newsletter. We have several musical concerts, the ICTA Family Fun Night, High School Prom and several days where school is not session.
Articles in this edition:
IT Dept works with MS STEM Club
2023-24 Budget Vote and BOE Election
HS student wins 1st place in regional poster contest
Our Emergency Communication Practices explained
Arts in Education: Self and Global Awareness
What's Next in May
IT Dept teams up with the Middle School STEM Club
Sarah Harris, a Computer Services Specialist who works in our IT Department, started volunteering with the Middle School’s STEM Club in February to help our budding scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians learn more about the field of information technology.
“I absolutely love my job in IT, but what makes it even better is being able to see kids each day and show them something new about the technology they have in their hands,” said Sarah, who is also known as the “IT Lady” by many of the students.
So far, Sarah has taught the students how to use the tools necessary to fix Chromebooks, which includes different-sized screwdrivers, various spudgers (plastic pry tools), curved tweezers, pliers and more.
The students can now replace a broken Chromebook screen, remove the keys from the keyboard and completely deconstruct a Chromebook to its various parts. Recently, Sarah taught them how to take apart a computer tower. The students also disassembled speakers and headphones.
Since February, Sarah has consistently attended the club's meetings, which are held every two weeks.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said.
Budget Vote and School Board Election
On May 16, the polls open at 8 a.m. at ICC High School for district residents to cast their ballots for next year’s proposed budget and the school board election.
The Board of Education has adopted a 2023-24 budget for $48,587,624 -- which equates to a $1,894,549 increase from this year’s adopted budget, and an estimated tax levy increase of 2.94 percent.
Next year’s proposed budget includes funds for hiring a new occupational therapist, 7-12 technology teacher and IT technician, as well as replacing one third of our Chromebook inventory and adding a new special education classroom at the Middle School. Our Budget page on our website includes all of the budget presentations and related documents.
District residents will also vote on the election of three seats on the Board of Education. Board members with expiring terms are Elaine Berlin, John Chandler and Kelly Firmbach.
Five people have submitted petitions to run for the board. Their names will be listed on the ballot in the following order: Melissa Miller, John Chandler, Christopher Scoville, Megan Pelizza and Kelly Firmbach. Please visit our Board of Education page for more information and to read their candidate statements.
The annual budget hearing is May 2, 7 p.m., and the Meet the Candidates Night is May 8, 6 p.m. -- both at the High School.
Also, please keep an eye out for our annual Budget Newsletter, which will be arriving in your mailboxes in early May.
HS student won 1st place in regional poster contest
Freshman Emma McKay’s colorful and dynamic poster meant to promote diversity and inclusion recently won first place in a regional contest.
Emma was awarded first place in the 9-12th Digital Entry category in the contest sponsored by the Upstate New York Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. She received a certificate of recognition and a $50 Amazon card.
This year's theme was "New Horizons for Communication and Culture." Emma explained that she incorporated the theme’s phrase into her poster in two ways – once written in Spanish and the other in Portuguese. The woman spotlighted is split down the middle – featuring a Mexican woman on the left side and a Brazilian woman on the right.
“We are very proud of her hard work,” said Lorraine Warner, Emma's Spanish teacher. “She is a very talented student in both art and language!”
Her entry was forward to the national contest, and we anticipate to hear more about how she did later in May.
Our Emergency Communication Practices
The health, safety and well-being of our students and staff are always a top priority and of the utmost importance. In the event of an emergency, such as a Lockout or Lockdown, the exact nature of the crisis dictates how we respond, as we make decisions in real-time, always in consultation with law enforcement.
Communication is always a priority with our families, staff and students and we want to make sure all are aware of our communication practices should an emergency occur.
In the event of an emergency, an initial message notifying families is sent via email and text once we have gathered all the facts, consulted with law enforcement and have clearance from them on what can be released at that time. We continue to update the community, even if no new information is available, until the situation is resolved. Once it is resolved, we send out a final update, indicating that this is our final communication about the situation. The message includes the status of the emergency and any other relevant information that we can release.
We encourage all members of the district community to ensure that their contact information is up-to-date in our records. If you are not currently receiving communications, please contact the main office of your child’s school building.
We know how stressful and frightening it can be to receive information during an emergency. We strive to provide clear, concise and timely updates with all the information we have available. It is important to note that these situations are fluid and information evolves from minute to minute.
As it is our top goal to keep our staff and students safe while addressing the situation, we ask you to refrain from calling the school offices or entering the school grounds. Contacting or coming to our schools can detract from that goal. We must keep our phone lines open and our parking lots and roads clear so first responders and emergency personnel can easily access our campus if required.
We also want to take this opportunity to share information about the different emergency responses that every school district in New York follows:
Lockdown: Used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence in or around the school.
Lockout: - Used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose a concern outside of the school.
Hold-in-Place: Used to limit the movement of students and staff while dealing with short-term emergencies.
Evacuate: Used to evacuate students and staff from a building.
Shelter-in-Place: Used to shelter students and staff inside the building.
In the event of any of the above, we will follow the communication practices outlined in this article. We also have recently launched a School Safety Info page on our website, which has a wealth of information and a dedicated Q&A section that provides detailed responses to various questions. We encourage you to visit that section of our website if you have not already.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our “Who Do I Contact” Guide is a useful resource that details who to contact depending on the topic or concern.
Arts in Education: Self & Global Awareness
All of our fifth graders recently completed a series of arts-based workshops that offered them a unique set of opportunities to explore self and global awareness.
Artist and educator Sasha Sicurella returned to the Middle School to offer the workshops, “THROUGH MY EYES: BOLIVIA – Identity and Global Awareness.” Sasha’s workshops featured individual and collaborative art-making activities that included drawing, painting, collage, found poetry and self-portrait photography.
Paralleling each lesson, students learned about similarly-aged students in Bolivia, making a direct connection with classroom study of the Western Hemisphere, particularly South America. Students gained a sense of diversity and cultural awareness as they looked ‘through the eyes’ of these students.
One of Susan Jermain’s students, Gabe, said his major takeaway from the series was “we are all just kids.”
“We may learn different things and speak different languages, but we’re still all kids and we’re all part of humankind.”
The workshops were funded through Questar III’s Arts in Education program, which helps the district find new and different ways of continuing to integrate the arts across K-12. Through Arts in Education, the district has access to a comprehensive online directory that lists 600+ performers, institutions and programs that are aligned with state standards.
Sasha has been a visiting artist at ICC for several years. She is also the founding director of I AM: Projects, which is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that works worldwide to provide opportunities for children to explore identity through art and self-portrait photography.
Since 2010, the foundation has served more than 3,000 individuals across 25 countries. Sasha’s work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally at museums and art centers. An arts education specialist, Sasha is also the Education Director at Art Omi in Ghent.
Coming Next in May:
- 2023-24 Budget Hearing – May 2, 7 p.m., HS library
- NYSSMA Festival in Red Hook – May 5 and 6
- Meet the Candidates Night – May 8, 6 p.m., High School
- 5th Grade Concert (chorus & band) – May 9, 6:30 p.m., HS auditorium
- 6th Grade Concert (chorus, band, 5/6 Pops) – May 9, 7:30 p.m. HS auditorium
- 7th and 8th Grade Concert (chorus, band, jazz band) – May 10, 6:30 p.m., HS auditorium
- ICTA Family Night – May 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Middle School
- High School Prom – May 12, 6 p.m. at Crystal Cove
- Give-Back Snow Days, No School – May 15 and May 26
- Budget Vote and School Board Election – May 16, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., HS gymnasium
- High School Concert (band, chorus, jazz band and Spectrum) – May 23, 6:30 p.m., HS auditorium
- Memorial Day, District Closed – May 29
Our 2023 Valedictorian and Salutatorian!! Elizabeth Holliday and Abigail Trinkle!
(Click the image below to read more about these amazing students.)
March MS Riders of the Month!
2023 Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony
We celebrated the six new Wall of Fame inductees at an April 24 ceremony that brought together more than 100 people at the High School. The inductees’ family members and friends shared stories about the honorees. There were smiles, laughter and tears.
We are so proud to add V. Ron Gabriel, Daralene Jewell, Ron Near, Thomas Rowley, Thomas Saccone and Robert Warrington to our Wall of Fame!
“Each is well-deserving of this honor and their plaques will hang permanently and prominently outside of this auditorium as a testament to their accomplishments and contributions to the Ichabod community – allowing them to inspire future generations of ICC students," Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow said.
Please follow and check out our Facebook and Instagram (username: iccriders) accounts for more pictures!
Kindergarten screening registration still open!
Registration packets are available online: https://www.ichabodcrane.org/district/registration/ Please bring your completed packet and supporting documents to the Primary School.
We can’t wait to welcome our new class of Lil Riders!💙
If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-758-7575 ext. 6002.