I love Ithaca High School, as a student with learning disabilities i find that there is support (even though me and my family had to fight a bit to get some of them) i still find this school to be amazing, if you can survive IHS You can survive anywhere. the new administration is doing a great job and the enviroment encourages learning, creativity, and indivualism. IHS takes as much pride in every aspect, from Photo Class/Club to the Drama Dept. to our Atheltic teams. i recommend this school to anyone and is definitly the best in the area.
The faculty and staff are well-educated, passionate, and they care. The kids are from diverse backgrounds, from all over the world, as well as rural and urban homes. Is it perfect? No, it's a public school - but an excellent one.
I have two kids who graduated from IHS and are now both in college. IHS falls short by not offering vocational education exploration, and vocational internships in conjunction with local businesses - for those students not interested in going to college. For those students, many leave IHS with little or no idea about what to do next. IHS does not prepare all students for the future by offering education about career opportunities and by providing hands-on applicable training programs. IHS does a fine job preparing highly motivated students for college -- that's not the most difficult task.
As the parent of two Ithaca HS graduates it saddens me to realize that with the retirement of a much loved teacher this June, there will be no African-American teachers at IHS next school year. How is it that a school/district that says it cares about diversity has failed to hire/retain black, asian or any teachers of color. This is a high school of 1500+ students from many different backgrounds. It doesn't seem possible that Ithaca High School has come to this. I hope that the district administration will work on what is a very serious problem.
I move a lot and I've experienced many different schools. My experience with IHS wasn't as pleasant as my other schools. It seems that this area in particular is focused only on passing the Regents and getting accepted to Cornell. Those without high aspirations for college or any extra curriculars to keep them occupied, go in a detrimental direction in their lives. Something I've witnessed, experienced, and survived. Before my family moved here, I was completely unaware that smoking weed was a popular activity among teenagers. And it was surprising to discover that this was common practice among the average students; not just the few future drop-outs. The students are unmotivated by the school to succeed in education. Even good students who have had a positive upbringing can easily fall victim to the increasing indifference to succeeding among students at IHS.
IHS is a great school for students who fit into the high achievement category and are self-motivated learners. It is not a great school for anyone else. There is weak support from the principal for programs that support the average to below average learner. Our experience at IHS was very negative. Some teachers really did try, but that did not make-up for the undefined curriculum, impersonal staff, and chaotic atmosphere. The drop-out rate is alarmingly high for a school that seems to pride itself on academic achievement. We finally transferred our children to another school and have been astounded at the difference between schools.
The present principal is breaking the cycle of quick administrative turnover. He is supported by most of the stakeholders. If he receives tenure, there will be the vision and accountability to make this good school a great school. The professional development offerings are outstanding.