Development priorities

  • Entry and exterior signage. New visitors now have trouble finding the entrance to ICS. What seems to be the obvious front door doesn't lead to us. The school's body language says, "Confusing." We want to improve the visitor experience by giving ICS a well-marked front entrance, and by posting directions around the school to guide visitors in. Many eyes will be upon these signs. Well-designed signage will help establish a strong visual identity for ICS, matching the new website and graphic materials under development.
  • Interior, multilingual, child-friendly signage. This signage will help students, especially the little ones, navigate the school successfully and build their confidence.
  • Storage for important special programs. These programs include after-school activities and adult education classes and require special materials. But our existing storage capacity is full to the brim.
  • Staff room. Call it a sanctuary, a think tank, an escape. It's a room of their own, where staff can unwind and talk in private, away from the demands of the classroom.
  • "Quiet-proofing" the professional library. Now, the student library and the professional library cohabit a space, with a temporary half wall between. That wall needs to be extended to the ceiling and made permanent, to create a professional study space without distractions.
  • Community garden/outdoor science classroom. We're growing our own vegetables and flowers, and in the process teaching ICS students a lot about science and how nature works. The garden, with more than two dozen [?] thriving plants on display during the growing season (it's a bit weedy over the summer break and dormant during the winter), presents a bright, sunny face to the community and enhances ICS school-year "curb appeal."

  • Textbooks and other teaching materials in three languages. Where most schools teach in just one language, ICS teaches its entire curriculum in three: English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Teaching materials for a multilingual school are vastly more expensive than for monolingual schools. Consider: the new math curriculum alone, required to stay compliant with regulations [?], cost ICS $28,000 for both English and Spanish editions, with another $53,000 added for the Portuguese translation. Multilingual teaching materials will always be one of ICS's heavier mission-related costs, a cost that your philanthropy helps defray.
  • The Mary-Kim Arnold library fund. This fund has a special purpose: to flood the shelves at ICS with "culturally responsive" texts in all three of our languages. Culturally responsive texts examine cultural biases and assumptions. They build on a student's own knowledge, culture and language. They reflect positively the cultural, ethnic, and gender diversity of society and the world. ICS named the fund in honor of former Board President Mary-Kim Arnold whose life work is dedicated to diversity and whose board leadership helped ICS become what it is today.
  • Textbooks and other teaching materials in three languages. Were most schools purchase textbooks in just one language, ICS buys everything in three. It's expensive to teach multilingual classes. The new math curriculum alone cost ICS $28,000 for both English and Spanish editions, with another $53,000 added for the Portuguese translation. Multilingual teaching materials will always be one of ICS's heavier mission-related costs.
  • Beyond reading, writing, and math. Faced with budget shortfalls, school districts typically trim art and music first. Not at ICS: here, arts programming is essential. Creative expression makes better students. Your gifts help sustain strong programs in art, music, physical education. Gifts help ICS pay for eye- and mind-opening field trips and experiential learning. And gifts help us keep our technology infrastructure up to date.

  • Key for growth: building endowment, retiring debt. Keeping a specialty school like ICS alive and thriving is a challenge. We have costs other public schools do not. ICS had to pay for our own building, for instance; and the debt payments are burdensome. And as yet we have no endowment. Endowment is essential for ICS's long-term sustainability. Endowment helps us keep pace with the unpredictable and rising costs of health care and utilities. It helps fund important enhancements such as professional development for teachers. And it's a "rainy day" fund: when the unexpected happens, it helps us weather the storm.