The spring months bring a renewed vibrancy here at ICC, as the days get longer, and the temperatures warmer. This vibrancy – just like the sun to the spring flowers – fosters new and continued growth throughout the district.
After months of practicing and growing their talents, our students will light up the stage for three nights during the annual spring production in March. This year, the Crane Acting Troupe's student cast and crew will come together to perform the “Addams Family: A New Musical School Edition.” Keep reading for a spotlight on the student performers and stage crew.
Our spring sports also begin in a few weeks, which means our Maintenance Department crew will spend countless hours preparing and maintaining our fields and grounds for our athletic teams, but also for programs like the K-4 Flying Deer, which returns to our campus this month.
District-wide, our administrators and staff continue to focus on ways we grow our relationships with our students and their families. One way we do this is through our focus on DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) in education, which includes analyzing data, implementing new academic intervention and support programs, and hosting in-person events, all with the common goal to help all of our students succeed at Ichabod Crane.
The Primary School DEI Committee is hosting another meet and greet this spring, so our administrators and staff can continue to foster a deep connection with all of our families. In this edition of the Rider Report, we will give you an overview of what we have accomplished so far this school year.
Additionally, we are always looking for ways to expand our safety net of programs, Ichab💙d Cares, and to give back to the community. We care deeply about helping those in need, including our local furry friends. Once again, the Primary School students and their families will be collecting items for our local humane society. Please read the article below to see how you can help!
There is so much to look forward to with spring’s arrival. I know our administrators and staff will continue to encourage growth, so our students K-12 are encouraged, motivated and confident to pursue their passions, dreams and aspirations.
Articles in this edition:
Spotlight on the cast and crew of Addams Family
Maintenance Department's spring season
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
Flying Deer returns
Lil Riders collecting items for local displaced pets
What's Next in March
Shining a light on the Addams Family cast & crew
ICC Junior Evan Schieren was overwhelmed with excitement and shock when he was asked to be a lead – Gomez – in the upcoming Crane Acting Troupe's production of the “Addams Family.”
“In the past, I’ve only played comedic relief-type characters, but now I get to be a lead,” he said. “I knew it’d be difficult to try something new, but I’m still very happy with my choice, and how much I’ve already progressed. I just can't wait to take the stage on opening night!”
Sitting alongside Morticia, sophomore Elena Pantoja, the duo explained why this “kooky” show, presented by the Crane Acting Troupe, is one you won’t want to miss.
“It is really different from anything we have done in the past,” Elena said, who started acting when she was in elementary school. “It is pleasantly weird and so funny to watch.”
The show premieres on March 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the ICC High School Auditorium, followed by two more performances on March 24 and 25, at the same time and location.
“It is the first normal, two-act performance since 2020 due to the pandemic,” said Gail Helfer, the acting troupe’s artistic director. “Come see what our students are capable of!”
The Box Office, which is located in the HS auditorium lobby, opens on March 6. It is open 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Reserved Seating tickets are $15 adults, and $10 for senior citizens/students. Cash and checks are accepted as payments.
For months, Elena and Evan have practiced their lines, songs and dance moves. But the production wouldn’t be possible without the stage crew, which is made up of students and adults. High School Seniors Bethany Brady and Julia Switzer joined the stage crew because they wanted to be part of the production.
"I am not really a performer but it is something I wanted to be involved in,” Bethany said. "It is just so fun!"
Leading up to opening night, the stage crew will practice how to move the scenery, as well as the rest of the set, during the different scenes in the two-act performance.
“The kids have been working very hard,” said Karolyn Eberhardt, the production’s music director and ICC Music Department staff member. "The show is surprisingly funny, really engaging, with wonderful dance and vocal numbers, and beautiful sets and costumes.”
“Come support the kids, we are so proud of them,” she added. “Support live theater – there is nothing like it!"
Maintenance Department's spring season
In a few short weeks, our spring student athletes will head outside to start practicing on their teams, including baseball, softball, and track and field.
But before they can do that, another one of our teams – our highly talented and hardworking Maintenance Crew – will spend countless hours preparing the fields for practice and competition.
“Due to the success of our spring sports teams, they draw a big crowd to all of their events. The pride our Maintenance Department staff put into the fields reflects all the comments I receive from coaches, parents, and players – past, present and future,” said Ross Cox, Maintenance’s Head Mechanic, who helps manage the grounds. “We really look forward to it every year."
The Maintenance Crew will begin their spring season by focusing on areas of the 64-acre grounds that were damaged during the winter months, including damage from the snow plows. The crew will also head out to all the athletic fields to restore them to their pristine conditions. This work will include knocking down all new plant growth and repairing the dugouts and fields. They will use an infield grooming machine, which turns over and levels out the soil on the fields.
Many of the fields need to be lined, a task that continues on a daily basis throughout the spring season. After the initial preparation period, the Maintenance Department has two to three of its staff maintaining the fields and grounds every day.
“The Maintenance Staff have done a great job for us over the years. We have some of the most beautiful softball and baseball fields in the area and that's because the guys take pride in what they do,” said Girls Varsity Softball Coach Tracy Nytransky McComb, who also teaches physical education at the High School. “It's not just about getting the fields done, they make sure that they look their absolute best. It is very much appreciated by all the coaches."
(See the drone photos below of our fields during a previous spring season.)
ICC's steadfast commitment to DEI
For years, our administrators and staff have committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at ICC in many ways, understanding that we must create and sustain safe, nurturing and engaging learning environments for all of our students.
Our DEI mission is codified in one of our Board of Education-approved policies, which details the district’s overarching goal of providing equitable, inclusive and diverse opportunities for all students to reach their highest potential.
We have done this in a multitude of ways. We have provided professional development programs for staff, analyzed data to identify and address areas of concern, held community gatherings, expanded mental health support for students, provided meals to our Riders in need on a weekly basis and supported families on special occasions, such as the holidays, and much, much more. This school year has been no different.
At each school, the principal/s chair their build-level DEI Committee, which meet to discuss, plan and implement their DEI priorities and initiatives. Below are a few examples of the DEI work done in 2022-23 across the district.
At the Primary School, the DEI Committee members planned two “meet and greets” to gather feedback from our parents and families to identify what support they need for their child/ren to thrive and succeed while at school.
The first event happened last fall, with the second scheduled in May. Additionally, new kindergarten families were given a survey during orientation that asked how we can strengthen our relationships and provide their children with necessary resources.
All of the information gathered will inform the committee’s work around hosting a “Parent University” this fall. As it is envisioned, this event will provide information and resources for our families in order to build stronger connections and to enable their children to have everything they need to be successful and supported while at school.
"The implementation of a Parent University at the Primary School is one of the most important initiatives this year," said Principal Andrea Williams. "Our hope is to listen to our community and form a resource that encompasses all areas of support for our students and families. The outcome will be a platform for families to use to seek any resource, from strengthening communication, literacy, mental health, and more."
At the first “meet and greet,” the Committee became aware that some of our ELL families needed more information about our new reading program, CKLA. As a result of that feedback, the committee has planned a supportive literacy event at the beginning of March to shed more light on CKLA and the science of reading. This event was funded through a grant from Clarkson University.
At the Middle School, using data analysis, administrators looked closely at the individual progress of our most at-risk students to ensure all intervention services and supports were being provided.
In December, students in grades 6-8 took a social-emotional learning survey created by the DEI Committee. The survey measured the students’ levels of feeling accepted, general happiness, feelings of connectedness to others, etc. The support of our social worker and/or school counselors was then targeted to students who identified as feeling alone or unaccepted.
“Making sure that our students are receiving the best education possible and curricula that resonate with all of our children and families is critical in making sure they are successful,” said Middle School Co-Principal Tim Farley.
At the High School, implementing "Circles" is the DEI Committee's main focus. The approach – used across the country – aims to bring together staff and students in a circular configuration to talk, which fosters better connections throughout the school community. This approach promotes creating spaces in our classrooms where our students and staff can discuss tough topics that need to be addressed in real time. This program also aims to enhance students' listening skills, their ability to learn from what is being discussed, which doesn't mean they have to agree. Disagreement in a respectful manner and discourse are encouraged.
“Teachers may already have great relationship building strategies. Students, often, do not,” said High School Assistant Principal Marcella Sanchez. “By helping students connect with their peers that they don’t usually talk to, we create a safer, more connected, more resilient classroom that benefits the entire school community.”
Our staff began training in Circles in August and have continued to attend in-house workshops since then. Asst. Principal Sanchez said teachers have utilized Circles more and more in their classrooms since the beginning of the school year. The High School has set a goal – to have all teachers try a Circle before their March faculty meeting. At their monthly meeting, they are slated to discuss the new approach, especially to get input from staff who have used Circles in their classes.
Flying Deer returns in March
The Flying Deer staff will return to the ICC on March 10 for their first Treecess since last fall.
All of our students in K-4 will have Treecess every Friday until June 2. This provides them with so many different opportunities to engage in nature-based lessons and activities that are aligned with the district’s science curriculum.
“We are very excited to have Flying Deer back on campus,” said Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow. “We know how much our students enjoy Treecess, and our administrators and staff are thrilled to have another way to teach them about our environment and the natural world in so many hands-on ways.”
This includes working in the school gardens, creating nature-based crafts, and teaching students fun nature-themed games that they can easily replicate on their own. These games blend naturalist knowledge, backyard wildlife facts, sensory awareness, animal behavior and ecology, and teamwork. Treecess provides students with tools to foster positive relationships between themselves and the land, and between themselves and peers.
We cannot wait to see what the next spring session has in store for our students and staff.
Stay tuned for updates and new photos!
Lil Riders collecting items for humane society
We don’t just care about people here at ICC. We care just as much for our furry friends, too! Many of us have pets at home, who are deeply loved and considered members of our families.
But not all pets have homes, so for the month of March, our Primary School staff and students will once again be collecting items to donate to our local humane society.
“The community and the children love to help the animals,” said Amy Stephenson, the Primary School’s school counselor. “For the last few years, we have tied the collection into one of our monthly character traits. This year, we chose March since our character trait is helpfulness.”
You can send in an item with your child/ren or drop it off in the designated box in the Primary School vestibule.
The Wish List:
Cat and dog toys
Cat and dog food
Cat and dog treats
Photo paper (8.5x11)
Coming Next in March:
BOE: regular meeting – March 7, 7 p.m., High School Library
No School – March 17, Superintendent’s Conference Day
Third quarter marking period ends – March 31
Congratulations to our Girls and Boys Varsity Basketball Teams for amazing seasons
full of Rider Pride, milestones, incredible team work and unity!
We are SO proud of all you accomplished this past season, and this includes the student athletes, coaches, parents and families, and all those who supported our Riders!
Click the Ichabod Cares graphic below for more info!