Our school community is more than just teachers and students. There are hundreds of staff working to make the ICSD community function every day. Hopefully you’ve stopped to say “Hi” to the people in the office, to the custodians, or to the bus drivers. Have you ever stayed long enough to learn more about them, though? Find out what you’re missing in “Meet the Staff.”
Thea Clarkberg ’18: What is your job description?
Marilyn Sgrecci: First of all, I started out working in the Attendance Office for four years before moving to the Guidance Office (now called Student Services). It’s hard to believe I’m in my twentieth year at Ithaca High School! My primary job is to schedule all appointments for the school counselors. Also, if anyone has a question about anything, I want to be the “go-to” person, whether it’s on the phone or somebody walking in. If I don’t know the answer, I can direct you to someone who does. I’m also responsible for sending out robo calls and robo emails. I send out homework requests to teachers for students that are out for an extended period of time. Again, a lot of it is point-of-information. If someone comes in who is distressed or needs assistance, I try to get somebody quickly, whether it’s a school counselor or a social worker.
TC: What is your favorite part of the job?
MS: I love the student contact. I love my office location because I have this nice big window and I can see the hallway. The disadvantage to students is I can see if they’re not in class. I can quickly go into School Tool, and look, “Where are they supposed to be?” I think that’s where my history of working in the Attendance Office comes in. It’s hard to stay away from keeping track of the students and where they’re supposed to be. I try to keep the door open, so there’s a nice flow… But the best part of it is the interaction with the students. It just keeps your mind active. Also, it’s great having teachers and other staff members coming into and out of my office.
TC: What is your biggest challenge in this job?
MS: The biggest challenge is trying to schedule 1,000 students for their annual reviews every year. I schedule in these blocks of time for the counselors to meet with their students for at least 20 minutes. This means figuring out times for about 1,000 students, but you have to do it. It’s crazy. I start working on the scheduling notebook as soon as the counselors say they want to start because it takes forever. The most frustrating part is when the kids don’t come, because then you reschedule, and you reschedule, and you reschedule. And the number of passes I write is huge.The scheduling season… it’s intense. It goes from January to April and it’s nonstop. You’re constantly writing passes and rewriting passes. It’s not frustrating, but it’s intense.
TC: What is one thing students could do to make your life easier?
MS: Come in to appointments. Be respectful. Be where you should be. Go to your classes and be on time. It’s frustrating every once in awhile to see the same students skipping classes.
TC: What are your hobbies outside of work?
MS: I do a lot of lawn mowing because we have a large property. I like being outdoors when I can. We have a family farm that’s been in our family for a long time (since the early 1950’s). My father is still alive and lives on the farm, which is a blessing for all of us. My son and daughter-in-law have chickens and a dog. When they’re away, we’re on “chicken and dog duty” which is always interesting. A small part of the land is rented out for crops, and keeping all the barns in good condition is a full-time job. There’s nothing better than growing up on a farm. Even though I was an only child, it was still fun. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Not to embarrass myself, but I was the Tompkins County Dairy Princess! I was an IHS graduate, actually, so this school is so familiar to me. Nothing much has changed except the addition of the new parts. The core of the school is still the same. And when I was here there were only three grades: 10, 11, and 12. I hope we can focus on keeping Ithaca High School a very safe place for our students and staff.