iPride e-Updates to Community

iPride e-Updates to Community

"Superintendent iPride e-Updates" to the City of Independence are archived on this page.  Would you like to receive these monthly updates direct to your email?  CLICK HERE to email us your name and email address and we will add you to our list. 
January 2020
Dear Community,

Happy New Year and welcome to the first of my monthly “Superintendent iPride e-Updates!”  I hope this new communication will help all of our Independence residents have a deeper understanding of what is happening with our district–both inside and outside of our classrooms and schools.  I encourage you to forward this email to your friends and neighbors. Anyone who is not on our distribution list can email us at news@independence.k12.oh.us and we will add them to our list.

Update on Facilities Project
Since Election Day on November 5, I have had the opportunity to begin collaborative sessions with newly-elected city leaders and board members as well as listen to the concerns and suggestions of many community members.  While these discussions have just begun, I anticipate more community collaboration in moving forward to address our district's facility needs, including construction of new schools.

We know Independence Primary School and Independence Middle School have significant needs that must be addressed.  As 2020 begins, we will begin working with our architect, GPD Group, and conducting planning sessions to focus on details such as new building designs, classroom plans, and traffic patterns. Our community and staff will have opportunities to be involved in these steps.  Please let me know if you have a desire to participate.

In January and February, City Council and the Board of Education will be holding respective planning workshops where more details about our roadmap will be established.  My intent is to develop the best plan possible and prepare for a 2020 election.  The district has determined that a March election does not give us enough time to effectively collaborate and begin the design work we believe is important–and that our residents want to see–which leaves the August or November election to place a bond issue on the ballot.

I anticipate having a more in-depth update on our district’s future, specifically regarding our facilities, in early February and will keep you updated.

News from our Buildings...


IHS Biology Society Members Attend Environmental Film Festival and EnviroFair

The Independence High School Biology Society enjoyed an evening at the Cleveland Museum of History on Sunday, January 4 at the Environmental Film Festival and EnviroFair. Considered one of the nation's premier environmental and adventure film festivals, this annual collection of award-winning films inspire people to work towards the creation of a positive future for the next generation.   CLICK HERE to read more.

Students and Staff Benefiting from Newly Renovated Media Center
Collaboration and flexibility are the themes that stand out in our newly renovated high school media center!  What started as a dream has turned into our reality as students, teachers and district leaders conducted site visits and planning sessions to transform our outdated library to a hub of connections.  We still feature high-interest and important books, however we’ve added rich digital and collaborative areas along with a cafe where students can comfortably grab a favorite beverage or snack while they engage in their work.  Small group conference rooms have given that work environment feel for formal presentations and discussions.  Many community groups have also taken advantage of our new facility.  Be sure to check it out next time you are at Independence High School!    We have also created new learning spaces at the middle and primary school and will highlight those in the months ahead.

Surprise Pop-Up Assembly Day before Winter Break
On Friday, December 20, the day before winter break, school administration planned a surprise holiday “pop-up” assembly for the students.  While students participated in several activities, the staff was treated to a delicious holiday breakfast.  CLICK HERE to read more.

IHS Ranked as one of Top STEM Schools in U.S.
Independence High School was ranked as one of the top 5,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) high schools in the United States for 2019 by Newsweek.  

Congratulations Dale Carnegie Student Graduates!
Congratulations to the 26 students who graduated on November 18 from The Dale Carnegie Course.  The course was held on Monday evenings for eight weeks in the fall.  This is the sixth year for the program and has had 144 participants. CLICK HERE to read more.

IHS Students Attend "Dare to Dream" Retreat
On November 18, more than 20 students attended the second annual “Dare to Dream” Retreat, sponsored by John Carroll University and the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum. Held at the Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square, this one-day event encourages high school girls in Northeast Ohio to live a big life and to dream even bigger.  CLICK HERE to read more:


IMS Students Brighten Children's Holiday
Builders Club held a two-week collection drive for Operation Christmas Child. They filled 56 boxes packed with toys, games, gloves, hygiene materials and books. The City of Independence's Campus Life partnered with the school to cover the cost of the shipping for each box.   CLICK HERE to read more.  Builders Club also baked and decorated 200 cookies that were sent to The City Mission to help make the holidays brighter for all three shelters within the organization.

IMS Students Win Contest with Idea for Sports Camp
Students Casey Adams and Lauren Vitantonio won the “Game Growers Plan” contest with their plan for a beginner’s sports camp that encourages girls to participate in a new sport.  They have been selected to represent the city of Cleveland, the state of Ohio, and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the chosen Nike GameGrowers ambassadors.  The announcement was made by the Cavs during a surprise iPride assembly at the school on December 13. Congratulations, Casey and Lauren!  CLICK HERE to read more.

IMS Lunch & Learns Introducing Students to Careers
A career-based series of “Lunch and Learns” in the Media Innovation Center is now in full swing.  Thank you to Michelle Brown, Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter; Jeremy Peppeard, Cleveland Metroparks; Stacey Panteck, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; and Charlene Paparizos (District Communications Director) for speaking to our students about their careers  In January, students will hear from Lee McGovern (freelance writer/editor) and Dave Synek (entertainment). 

Power of the Pen Team Takes Fourth Place at this Weekend’s Tournament
On January 11, Casey Adams, Kendall Krsak, Alana Nowak, Maggie Panichi, Callia Shumay and Lauren Vitantonio and Alternates: Bryanna LeRoy, Dani Buyansky, and Jack Robson represented IMS at the Northeast District 2 St. Vincent St. Mary High School tournament.  The team took fourth place out of the 22 teams from Ohio that participated! Alana Nowak took sixth place overall.  Congratulations!

IMS Student Lounge
If you have any board games, video game consoles or games, Indy gear, or Cleveland sports paraphernalia that you would like to donate to our IMS Student Lounge, please send a pic and description to Mrs. Koussa: mkoussa@independence.k12.oh.us We are also working on a gaming room if you have any Minecraft posters or decorations for the walls. We greatly appreciate all of the families that have donated so far to help create new spaces for our kids!


IPS Raises More than $1,800 for NICU Families at Cleveland Clinic
A special shout out to our families and staff for raising more than $1,800 for the NICU families at the Cleveland Clinic.  Gift cards were purchased for groceries, food, and parking passes and were delivered to the families at the hospital during the holidays.  In addition, IPS Student Council collected and donated 383 gifts for a local elementary school.

JT and Sprinkles the Elves Visited Students Each Day During Holidays
Students loved seeing JT (aka Principal Mr. Ebert! and Sprinkles (aka Counselor Mrs. Gradert) the Elves on the snowy roof of IPS to welcome them on December 16.  Each day they appeared in surprise locations like the cafeteria, classrooms, hallways and even the school bus.

IPS iPride Service Project To Help Cleveland Food Bank
IPS families are partnering with the Cleveland Food Bank for their winter iPride service project.  On Thursday, February 13, the IPS PTO is hosting a family service night to demonstrate to our students that giving back to the community is an important part of everyday life.  CLICK HERE to read more.

And Thank You Independence Local Schools’ Musicians For Your Incredible Holiday Performances . . .
Congratulations to all the musicians who worked so hard to perform at so many concerts, holiday events, Grandparents Day and the City of Independence’s HolidayFest!

Did you miss the Independence Primary School choir concert?  CLICK HERE to watch!

Thank you for your support of public education in the City of Independence. Let’s make 2020 a year filled with many iPride moments.   

Go Blue Devils!

Ben Hegedish
Independence Local Schools

View text-based website