Letter to families

Dear ICE Families:

At this time of year I spend time thinking about the positive moments of the fall and early winter, and planning for more to come in 2016. This fall we have heard from students and seen student activism and organization at unprecedented levels at I.C.E. Students are working to develop school-wide lessons and discussions topics to address improving how we speak to, and about each other in and out of school. This came out of a desire to speak out against verbal harassment in all of its forms, and to discuss and develop parameters that all can live by in our society. A group of 11thand 12th graders has been developing lessons on a variety of topics connected to mental and physical well being. This spring the staff will study these student-driven lessons and implement them in the entire school. This is student-centered education at its purest.

While student voice is becoming more integrated into our community life, I’m proud to say that our project-based approach to instruction is gaining recognition. If you did not already know this, ICE and the NY Performance Standards Consortium are featured in a new book and documentary film both entitled “Beyond Measure”. On January 13th we will be screening the film in which 2 of our students are seen presenting the oral component of their science graduation requirements. In the book, now on the NY Times Bestseller list, Michael Hills’ classroom and the content of our assessments are discussed and praised over several pages.

While students have achieved so many wonderful things this fall, I want to highlight recent news that makes us all proud. Congratulations to the 12thgraders who have received recent acceptances to their early applications to college. Thus far students have been admitted to New York University, Tulane University, University of Vermont, Earlham College, Clark University and the Berklee College of Music, among many others. Of note: 2 of our students earned the prestigious Posse Foundation award, earning them full scholarships to Trinity College and Smith College. This is part of what we want our students to accomplish, and the combined hard work of students, staff and parents has led to great results.

This spring, with luck, we will send kids to Mexico and Nepal and the New Mexico to continue our tradition of service learning trips. I have just signed off on 23 applications to the New York Science and Engineering Fair, a selective science competition linked to the INTEL talent search. ICE typically participates in numbers disproportionate to our size when compared with larger specialized high schools. We look forward to the incredible work that will be on display. As an added bonus for me – I will be performing at the next fundraiser for the ICE music program on January 3rd alongside our incredibly talented 11th and 12th grade song writing students. It is always an amazing day, and this year Roy’s friend Marc Ribot will help lend the event some celebrity flair.

As always, I am grateful to serve this community, and to be part of so many wonderful things that kids teachers and parents do. With each community event and more time spent working with you all I realize how lucky I am to have bright, wonderful, talented and generous families working to keep ICE strong. ICE is a truly unique and wonderful community and I look forward to collaborating with you to provide your kids with the best education possible. 
Happy Holidays to you all.