When I was hired last May, I knew one of my top priorities as your new superintendent was to listen. Immediately following my appointment by the Board of Education, I started having conversations with members of our district community – students, staff and families, representatives from local government, health care, law enforcement, business and much more.
I was eager to discover what distinguishes Ichabod Crane as an outstanding district and sought collective input on how we can continue to thrive and succeed long into the future. Now, seven months into my superintendency, I remain committed to listening and learning.
While this priority may seem simple, it truly serves as one of the foundational pillars of this district, used not just by me, but by staff and students across Ichabod Crane. Our classroom staff remain tuned in to the diverse needs of our students, dedicating the required time to actively listen, ensuring that every student feels heard and supported — crucial for their academic success and overall well-being.
This approach is equally crucial as our team of administrators, teachers, directors, staff and elected board members plan for the future – both in the short and long term. We’re currently engaged in the process of crafting a budget for the next school year, seeking input from a wide range of perspectives. Keep reading this edition of the Rider Report to get an overview of the budget process and key important dates.
At the same time, our administrative team is updating the district's strategic priorities, known as Rider Goals 2027. Seeking your valuable feedback, we've launched a community survey featuring four questions as we work toward formalizing our priorities for the future. The #ICYMI section of this newsletter will include a QR code to the survey in case you missed it, as well as details about how to mail your responses to us.
Thank you all for coming here, to the Rider Report, month after month to “listen” to all the incredible happenings in our district, which wouldn’t be possible without our shared commitment to pause and genuinely listen to one another.
Articles in this edition:
- First-Ever Rider Pride Day
- Reading is Snow Much Fun
- "We Go Together"
- ICC Raises Over $4K for RMHC
- Budget Season
- What's Next
First-Ever Rider Pride Day
During our first-ever Rider Pride Day, the recently renovated Middle School Gymnasium was transformed into a sea of blue and white, radiating a strong sense of Rider Pride.
The festivities started at 9 a.m. with the first of eight basketball and volleyball competitions, followed by a recognition ceremony honoring the remarkable achievements of all our winter senior-athletes. The much-anticipated Dodgeball Tournament marked the grand finale of this exhilarating day.
Senior Wyatt Dolge, a multi-sport athlete in soccer, volleyball and baseball, emphasized the significance of showcasing Rider Pride: “It is important to show your Rider Pride because it shows that you support not only the school but the entire community around it. I also think it is important to have an entire day dedicated to Rider Pride because it allows the teachers, students and their families to show their support for Ichabod Crane."
"My favorite part of Rider Pride Day was definitely the amount of games that were played. I think it is really cool to have an entire day dedicated to having games where people can come and cheer for their team," Wyatt added.
The Ichabod Crane Athletics Department and Varsity Club handed out ICC t-shirts, with some fortunate students having the chance to win extra Rider apparel through half-court basketball shots. Our Booster Club decorated the gym and managed concessions and the 50/50 raffle.
The inaugural Rider Pride Day concluded with the Dodgeball Tournament hosted by the Varsity Club. Eight teams competed – three from the MS division and five from the HS division, which included a team from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
School Resource Deputy Kolby Clegg, newly assigned to Ichabod Crane, expressed his sincere appreciation for being part of the district’s newest event.
“On behalf of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, it was an honor to be a part of Rider Pride Day. It was amazing to play in the packed gymnasium with great students. I left the night with a sore arm and my own feeling of Rider Pride,” Clegg said.
Athletic Director Dave Ames echoed Deputy Clegg’s sentiments: “Our first Rider Pride Day was a tremendous success! We had gyms packed with Rider fans constantly throughout the day. Our goal with this all day event was to bring our Rider community together. It gave the fans and student-athletes an opportunity to watch other sports that they may not always have the chance to see and support. We have an outstanding fan base here at Ichabod Crane, it was great to see the stands filled all day long with fans wearing blue and white!”
Reading is SNOW Much Fun
It really is SNOW much fun to read and our Lil Riders couldn’t agree more! The students and staff once again participated in the “Pick a Reading Partner!” Program – also known as PARP.
Implemented by the National Parent Teacher Association, this initiative aims to cultivate a love for reading by encouraging children to engage in daily reading sessions of at least 20 minutes with an older family member, relative, friend or volunteer.
Kicking off on January 8 and concluding on February 2, Ichabod's PARP program has been filled with so much fun! Our Lil Riders enjoyed visits from the reading snowman, a lively school-wide assembly and several nightly virtual reading sessions with “Mystery Readers,” with an average of 100 students joining each session.
"Every chance to inspire children to read is valuable! The aim of the PARP program is to instill excitement for reading and to showcase how they are developing into more proficient readers each day,” Principal Andrea Williams said.
Here’s what a few of our Lil Riders said when asked what they loved about PARP:
“It is fun to read and listen to the mystery reader!” – Marcus, 2nd Grade
“I love reading every night with my mama!” – Bryce, Kindergarten
“I'm reading with my sister and sometimes she reads to me. I get to learn to read more!” – Madeline, 3rd Grade
"It is good to read with PARP because it makes us smarter!" – Jackson, 1st Grade
As the program concludes, our dedication to literacy and cultivating a love for reading persists. Every day, our Primary School staff creatively and actively instruct our Lil Riders in reading, using Core Knowledge Language Arts and LETRS, which are both firmly rooted in the Science of Reading – an approach to teaching reading based on decades of university and practitioner research.
"We Go Together"
The High School auditorium was buzzing with energy and Rider Pride as more than 150 people gathered for this year's district-wide talent show, "We Go Together."
The night was filled with the incredible talents of our students, featuring 22 performers that spanned various forms of expression, including dance, singing and instrumental performances.
Melanie Diaz, a music teacher at the Middle School who organized this year’s show, reflected on the experience, saying, "It was truly amazing to see students of all ages actively participating in the show. Backstage, there was a wonderful atmosphere of encouragement, with students supporting each other, helping to calm nerves and celebrating with high-fives after each performance. Being part of such a positive community was a beautiful experience and we're excited to showcase even more acts next year!"
Ichabod Crane's annual talent show, established in the 2010-11 school year, is a cherished tradition. It experienced a hiatus amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic but successfully made a comeback last year, rekindling the enthusiasm and joy eagerly anticipated by the Ichabod Crane community each year.
This year’s talent show was hosted by Ichabod Crane TEMPO, a parent/community organization that fosters enthusiasm for music and the performing arts in our school district and community.
“Every year the acts are different and we hope this well-loved event continues for years to come,” said Kathleen Dady, TEMPO president.
ICC Raises Over $4K for Ronald McDonald House
Each year, our Rider students from the Primary and Middle Schools (K-6) participate in the Read for Ronald McDonald House Charities initiative, a campaign that raises funds for families in our region dealing with serious childhood illnesses and injuries.
This school year, dozens of our dedicated students committed to tracking their reading time for a month and reached out to family and friends to sponsor their efforts. At the end of the month, they collected their donations, resulting in an impressive grand total of $4,672.
"I am so proud of the students who participated in the RHMC reading fundraiser!" Middle School Co-Principal Tim Farley said. "Not only did they read everyday, but they got sponsors to generously support their efforts with donations. The thousands they raised will go to such a wonderful charity that directly benefits our families by providing lodging, warm meals and a sanctuary while their children are cared for in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Albany Med."
Our Lil Riders at the Primary School raised $3,572, while at the Middle School, our 4-6 students contributed a generous $1,100.
Budget Season: Important Dates & Overview
Budget season is underway!
Collaboratively, our team of administrators and board members has started the district's open and transparent budgeting process for the upcoming 2024-25 school year. This involves a series of informative presentations during monthly Board of Education meetings, leading up to the Budget Vote on May 21, 2024.
"Connecting with our Ichabod Crane community is crucial in shaping a budget that effectively supports our 1,700 students and 350 employees,” District Business Manager Michael Brennan said. “The comprehensive proposed spending plan, presented to voters on May 21, is the result of input from various community members, including administration, teacher leaders, student liaisons and the board's budget committee. This collaborative effort ensures a well-informed and community-driven budgeting process."
Since December, Mr. Brennan has been delivering comprehensive presentations to the Board of Education and its Budget and Finance Committee, addressing the budget timeline, process and rollover budget. Upcoming sessions will delve into non-instructional and instructional budgets, state aid projections and the tax cap, with the presentations continuing through April and culminating in the Budget Hearing on May 7, 2024.
At the Budget Hearing, the Board of Education will present the finalized proposed budget, which is divided into three components – a program component, a capital component and an administrative component. District residents will also receive a newsletter in the mail detailing the budget and different aspects of the district’s instructional and non-instructional programming and offerings.
District residents will cast their votes on the proposed budget on May 21, 2024. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the High School Gymnasium.
For additional information, visit our Budget Page on our website.
What’s Next in February
February 6: Facilities Committee Meeting, 5:45 p.m., Central Office
February 6: Board of Education Regular Meeting, 7 p.m., High School library
February 14: Early Dismissal – all grades K-12
February 19-23: Mid-Winter Recess, No School
Dates, times and locations are subject to change.
📢 Your feedback matters!
We recently mailed a postcard to every district resident (see below) as an invitation to complete our short Community Survey. You can click here or scan the QR code below to access the survey online📋
Can't do it online? ✉️ Feel free to write your responses on the back of the postcard and mail it back to us. We appreciate your input! 📬
🌟 Primary School Good Character Award Recipients, and Middle School and High School Riders of the Month 👏
🎉👏 Our entire Primary School celebrated the achievements of our Kindergarten Lil Riders! They recently completed "ABC Bootcamp," learning all the letters and their sounds.🚀📚
🍎✨ Kindergarten registration for the 24-25 school year is still OPEN! 📚🎉
📍 Drop off completed packets at the Primary School, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. OR 2:45 to 3:30 p.m.
📧 Or simply email it to email@example.com.
📥 If you haven't received your packet yet, no worries! Download it online.
🤔 Questions about registration? Reach out to Kelly Hodges at 518-758-7575 ext. 6002.