Gov. Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, a former elementary public school art teacher, visited two Irvington Community Schools’ campuses on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.

Mrs. Pence’s first stop was ICES, where she watched Mrs. Stuckey’s 5th grade artists work on their wood cuts and printmaking project. She had plenty of questions for the gregarious kids, who were delighted to be asked and didn’t hesitate to answer! Then Mrs. Pence traveled the short distance to IPA. There she received a tour of the former Children’s Guardian Home from ICS CEO David Nidiffer, who explained the building’s rich history. While at IPA, the First Lady was treated to a traditional African song by Ms. Shuck’s choral group, fresh from their “International Choral Experience” performance the evening before. Mrs. Pence also met with Mrs. Aldrich to talk shop about teaching art – kindred spirits! – and observed a lab experiment in one of Mrs. Halquist’s Chemistry classes. Mrs. Lannan and Mrs. Pryor had the distinct pleasure of speaking in person with the First Lady about the many attributes of their schools.

We were deeply honored to provide Mrs. Pence with a snapshot of a “day in the life” of Irvington Community Schools.

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First Lady Karen Pence -- a former elementary school art teacher -- "jumps in" with Mrs. Stuckey's art students during her visit to ICES on Thursday, March 21, 2013.


One of Mrs. Halquist's Chemistry students shows Mrs. Pence the ins and outs of a lab experiment during the First Lady's visit to IPA.


ICS, Inc. CEO David Nidiffer discusses the artistic merits of the T.C. Steele oil painting "Landscape with Figures" at IPA with Indiana's First Lady Karen Pence.


Back by popular demand, Indy Parks’ “Birds of Prey” visited ICES on Thursday, March 14, 2013. The predatory birds native to Indiana captivated the kids as the handlers brought the assortment of hawks and owls out of their cages one at a time to show the birds and explain some of their most interesting characteristics and behaviors. For example, did you know…

  • That owls can turn their heads 270 degrees?
  • That barred owls eat not only mice, snakes, and small birds but skunks, too?
  • That the red-shouldered hawk is a “species of special concern” in the United States (meaning that they are not quite endangered but close)?
  • That, like football and baseball players, kestrels have black stripes under their eyes to keep sunlight from reflecting in them?
  • That all predatory birds have built-in “goggles” – a clear membrane that enables them to fly quickly while protecting their eyes?

The Indy Parks handlers displayed a screech owl, barred owl, great horned owl, red-shouldered hawk, and a kestrel. All of the birds had been injured, and so they are living out their lives at the Eagle Creek Ornithology Center and go on the road to help educate young and old about the fascinating world of predatory birds and how they contribute to the natural world. Our thanks to Kevin Carlsen and Brittany Swinford of Indy Parks for the outstanding educational experience!


Brittany Swinford of Indy Parks displays an eastern screech owl during the "Birds of Prey" program at ICES on March 14, 2013.

Golfing on a Saturday morning in May, and for a great cause -- what could be better!

The first annual ICS Open Golf Outing will take place on Saturday, May 4th, 2013, at Pleasant Run Golf Course. It's an 8 a.m. shotgun scramble (registration begins at 7 a.m.) Proceeds will go toward Irvington Community Schools' safety program. ICS, Inc. is the first charter school operator in the state to feature a school resource officer. This event will assist ICS in raising our school safety program to the next level.

Cost of the outing is $300 per team (foursome) or $75 per individual golfer. Early bird registration saves $5 per golfer if payment is received by April 24th. Registration forms are available at all three Irvington Community Schools. Please send registration and payment to:

Irvington Community Elementary School
6705 E. Julian Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46219

Checks should be payable to Irvington PTSA. For your convenience, credit card or PayPal payment can be made at (please note "Golf Outing" when paying online). Sponsorships are being sought and sponsorship level information is available here. Lunch will be catered by Sahm's Catering. A prize raffle will be held.

The ICS Open is sponsored by the K-8 Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) chapter. If you have any questions about the outing, please contact PTSA officers Susan Britain at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jana Goebel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . So come out to Pleasant Run Golf Course on May 4th and have fun supporting your Irvington Community Schools -- everybody's a winner!


Think high school students don't comprehend the difficulties they face during their teenage years and what it takes to do the right thing? Well, think again.

Thanks to the generosity of the Peace Learning Center, the ACT Out Ensemble Social-Issue Theater troupe visited Irvington Prep on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, for a day of energetic and challenging performances that hit home the message of personal accountability in several thorny situations that are, unfortunately, no stranger to teens today. Three professional actors convincingly depicted scenes involving sexting, bullying, and inappropriately controlling relationships. Additional themes that surfaced during the three skits included diversity, tolerance, self-esteem, suicide prevention, and conflict resolution.

The actors drew the students in as participants during the improvisational parts, when the action was stopped by Director Sara Riemen to explore as a group what was going on in that particular staged moment. Students were asked to tell the actors what they observed and invited to comment on their poor behavior and/or decision making. In turn, the actors just kept acting, staying in character and challenging the students with their reactions to their comments and questions. As expected, IPA students didn’t “pull any punches” in their dialogue with the actors, playing right along. Because of the students’ willingness to get involved with the portrayals, the messages were conveyed loud and clear – as intended.

IPA staff who had the pleasure of watching the scenes unfold came away impressed by the collective insight of our student body. The event was a moving testimony to our students' remarkable power of perception. Yet another stellar example of how our Ravens truly embody The Irvington Way!

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The ACT Out ensemble interacts with IPA students during the February 19, 2013 convocation.

On Thursday, February 7th, 2013, at 10:15 a.m., citizens in nine Midwestern states will “drop, cover, and hold on” as participants in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill. This annual event is to help residents and organizations throughout the Midwest focus on the importance of planning for the possibility of a high magnitude earthquake.

Irvington Community Middle School has been invited by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS)  to take part in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. Each year, one Indiana school is picked to help highlight the lifesaving value of earthquake preparedness. Representatives of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and IDHS will be in attendance, as will canine search and rescue teams who will put on a demonstration in the ICMS Gym at 10:30 a.m. Local media are also expected to be on hand to cover the event. ICS parents are welcome to join us. Of note, all three ICS campuses will participate in the 10:15 a.m. earthquake drill.

Earthquakes are not uncommon in the Midwest. In fact, southwestern Indiana lies in the New Madrid Fault Seismic Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. The last significant earthquake to strike Indiana occurred within the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a series of four earthquakes in 1811 and 1812 estimated to have been between 7.0 and 8.0 in magnitude. The earthquakes were so strong they caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards.

According to ABC News, “A major quake along the New Madrid fault line could displace 7.2 million people and knock out 15 bridges. The response would require 42,000 first responders from local firefighters to the Pentagon.” Although Indianapolis lies just outside the New Madrid and Wabash Valley fault lines, in the event of a major earthquake, our area would not be immune. So if the ground ever moves beneath your feet, be prepared to “drop, cover, and hold on!”

For more information about The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut and area fault lines and earthquake history, go to:

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