Year End Thanks

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At the end of our fourth year, I want to acknowledge and thank the ICS families and our many friends who have helped to create a thriving, diverse, and academically demanding school from scratch. If you'd like your child to become part of this community, click here
 
Securing a permanent home for ICS was a focus of our work this year. I am pleased that the end of 2018 also marks the end of our search.

Real Estate
 
This week we signed a lease for a five-story building, in our school district, that will house ICS for at least 31 years. The building, which will be custom designed for us, will include a regulation gym, cafeteria, playground, roof garden and dedicated classrooms for art, music and science. We are now in the process of clearing the typical  bureaucratic hurdles. I will be sharing more news of this exciting development in the first quarter of next year.

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The support and guidance of the ICS trustees was critical to this progress. Led by Mark Carhart, they attended countless meetings, reviewed lease language, checked Excel models, and walked through many buildings to get to this point
 
I was ably assisted with sage legal counsel from Cliff Schneider, our longtime attorney, and a team from CBRE, led by Michael Movshovich and Chris Corrinet. If you're interested in starting your own school, you’d do well to have them on your sid

Charter Renewal
 
Another area of focus is the renewal of our charter, which is granted for five years. In August of 2019 we will ask the Charter School Institute to reauthorize us as we expand from 6th to 8th grade in our next five years. We appreciate the CSI staff, led by Andrew Kile, visiting in May to identify areas where we could strengthen our practices. With their guidance and our staff’s hard work we are optimistic our renewal application will be successful.   

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I am indebted to our founding Principal Ellen Borenstein and her team, including Director of Learning Supports Lizzie Shander and Director of Data and Accountability, Joey Valdes, for their dedication to building, flying, and improving this airship, every day. They identify, train and support great teachers who, by their efforts, inspire us all to try harder. Like our teachers, Ellen, Lizzie and Joey are caring and focused; but for their work none of us would be here.  

Finances 
 
ICS is fiscally well-managed, which helps us in negotiating for our permanent home. We are mindful of the resources New York taxpayers provide us. We direct as many of those dollars as possible to rewarding and retaining the teachers and administrators who help turn the vision of a coherent, content rich curriculum into a reality for children. Every day.
 
ICS does not accept money from our families for supplies, nor do we charge for field trips. Each year we provide close to $80,000 in financial assistance to families who use our after-school programs. We fund a teaching residency with Mark Morris Dance Group as well as an annual 1st grade trip to The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.
 
In 2014 it was different. Foundations, friends and some of our first families gave money that was critical to our initial success. We no longer bang the tin cup very loudly, but we welcome donor support. I want to call out two individuals in particular at this time of year.

I came to know Andrew Benkard in the late 1980s when we moved to Washington for our first jobs after college. We later reunited in New York as we started our families. In addition to volunteering his vast digital marketing expertise to take ICS through our initial and recently revised website, Andrew has directed nearly $30,000 in contributions to the school since 2014.
 
Without the support of my family, both emotionally and financially, I could never have started on this quixotic, yet rewarding venture. One regret is that my mother, who passed away from cancer some years ago, was unable to see we have created together. Every December Alice Robbins sends a check every for $1,000 in memory of her sister Sue. Thank you, Aunt Alice.

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I hope the coming days provide a welcome respite from your routine. That you enjoy time with friends and family and return recharged and ready for the challenges of the year ahead.