Monday, January 21, 2019

Tribute to a King...

This week marks the annual anniversary of honoring and remembering one of our nation's greatest leaders and role models, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of the most impressive things about Dr. King's leadership is that he was not an individual appointed to a leadership position, or elected, or managing a company like a CEO. He was an ordinary man who firmly believed that good could triumph over evil. He believed those words in our Declaration of Independence when our nation's creators wrote that, "All men are created equal." He believed that no matter what walk of life you came from, you were worthy of greatness, liberties, freedoms, and happiness. It was Dr. King's ideals, passion for advocating for others, and his positivity that built his legion of followers. That's what made him a leader. It was his vision and undying desire to make the world around him a better place. Fast forward all these years and our nation is still clouded in the veil of racism and inequality. Despite all of the growth that our society has experienced, largely as a result of Dr. King's vision, we are still working to provide equity for all men... and women. The civil rights movement may not be as strong and visible as it once was, but it still exists. Every day people from all walks of life are struggling and fighting for equal rights. Beyond just the ability to have equal rights, the ability to be treated the same in our communities is still ongoing. So, on this day of remembrance for Dr. King, let us work to improve our actions and views of others. Being positive toward each other is not a difficult thing to do. Sure, it's tougher to be positive than it is to vent or complain. And generally, others like to listen to people vent and complain than be positive. But, what good is ill will? What society has ever advanced due to ill will and suppression of others? There have been some golden eras that held these ideals, but ultimately those civilizations have fallen due to the citizens understanding that there was a better way. While our lives are certainly better than those times, we all have room for improvement with how we treat each other and the attitude we carry each and every day. On this day of honoring a King, I ask you to find more positivity, optimism, and hope in your daily life and in the society that we live in. Our children walk around with uncorrupted smiles and pure joy on their faces. If you don't believe me, simply find a child in a moment of fun and you will see the pure happiness in their eyes. We owe it to our children to strive to be a more positive, accepting, and helpful community. There is no better tribute that we all can give to the reverend Dr. King, than to attempt to embody the ideals that he promoted all those decades ago.

RFA Exam Week


Rome Free Academy will be having Regents Exams this week, Tuesday, January 22 - Friday, January 25. If students are not scheduled to take exams, they do not have to attend school those days as regular classes will not be in session at RFA. RFA BOCES students will have morning and afternoon transportation to attend their respective programs throughout the week, as their classes are still in session. Morning exams begin at 8:00 a.m. and afternoon exams begin at 12:00 p.m. For more information, including the exam schedule and transportation information, please check HERE or contact the high school.




National Compliment Day

The power of a compliment is pretty remarkable: Either giving or receiving one can boost your happiness and confidence — making it a win-win. So on January 24, celebrate National Compliment Day by going all out with your complimenting. Created in 1998 by two women from New Hampshire — Kathy Chamberlin and Debby Hoffman — National Compliment Day is a fun day (filled with great vibes) that can include everyone.


Winter Gear Giveaway 

The Rome Rescue mission will be holding a winter weather gear giveaway on Monday, January 21 at four different locations. They anticipate to be providing coats, gloves, and mittens during their Mobile Mission Winter Gear Giveaway. There will be sizes that vary and they can't guarantee having the exact size that may be needed. This event will be held at Liberty Gardens (200 N. Levitt St.) between 12:00 p.m. and 12:45 p.m.; Park Drive Manor (430 Park Dr. Manor) between 1:00 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.; South Rome Senior Center (112 Ridge St.) between 3:00 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.; and Valentine Apartments (152 Turin St.) between 4:00 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the Rome Rescue Mission. Thank you to the mission for everything that they do for our community and our schools!!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Time to Opt In...

As we move through the winter months, our students and teachers begin to gear for the traditionally dreaded State assessments. However, these assessments were not always traditionally dreaded. It was a very unfortunate event when the State connected them to teacher evaluation, made them longer, and placed significant constraints on them all in exchange for federal dollars to help solve a fairly large financial problem for New York. Prior to that event (roughly 10 years ago now), the State assessments were common place and had been occurring for decades without any concern or complaint. The entire narrative changed in that single moment when the assessments were connected to teacher evaluation, and rightfully so. However, since that moment, many things have changed regarding the assessments, but the narrative remains the same. They are no longer counted toward evaluation, they are untimed, and they are two days long instead of three. Also, they are written by New York State teachers which means the assessments are in alignment with our standards and can be a better measure of our progress than before. What has also changed is the importance of a district's participation rate. Unfortunately, under ESSA, a district's participation rate can significantly cripple the operations. While on the surface, you won't see any data that directly says "participation rate" as a factor for improvement designations; you will learn through homework that participation rate is interwoven into almost all other factors. This can make a huge difference in a negative way for our kids and staff. In subsequent years from this years, schools could be required to develop plans to improve participation rates. This could divert important time and money away from our mission of educating our children, and push it to areas that have nothing to do with the classroom. Further, under ESSA, it is possible for the State to dictate to a district where their staff must be assigned, where resources must be allocated to, undergo reviews where "experts" tell our teachers what they "should" be doing in classrooms to improve our scores on State assessments, and require our buildings to develop plans that take significant time and energy away from a classroom. This can all occur simply due to a low participation rate. Regardless if whether or not the assessment data meets the benchmarks, this can and will occur in places. For that reason, it's time to opt in. The narrative has changed regarding these assessments and the negative impact on a community financially is not worth the game of chicken that we are all playing with these assessments. Being stubborn because of the past does not help our children or our schools anymore. Beyond the financial impact, students are losing the opportunity to learn and experience what a formal assessment is like. This will cause a wave of students who could struggle on Regents exams which are required to graduate high school. The State has listened to the teacher's unions and the parents. They have made necessary and demanded adjustments to the assessments to ensure that they are beneficial for schools and children. It's time that we hold up our end of the bargain and have our children participate in the assessment season. The benefits and the long range positive impact on our children and our school systems far out weighs the small, short-term gratification of playing hard ball. It's time to opt-in my friends. For our children, our schools, and our communities. The time is now to have our children taking the assessments and showing them through data that schools are working and that our teachers are amazing!!   

Winter Gear Giveaway

The Rome Rescue mission will be holding a winter weather gear giveaway on Monday, January 25 at four different locations. They anticipate to be providing coats, gloves, and mittens during their Mobile Mission Winter Gear Giveaway. There will be sizes that vary and they can't guarantee having the exact size that may be needed. This event will be held at Liberty Gardens (200 N. Levitt St.) between 12:00 p.m. and 12:45 p.m.; Park Drive Manor (430 Park Dr. Manor) between 1:00 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.; South Rome Senior Center (112 Ridge St.) between 3:00 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.; and Valentine Apartments (152 Turin St.) between 4:00 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the Rome Rescue Mission. Thank you to the mission for everything that they do for our community and our schools!!


Breakfast of Champions

The Rome Sports Hall of Fame is partnering with the Rome City School District to promote and create opportunities for all girls in grades 7-12! We want to celebrate athletic participation and provide some opportunities to learn a sport and encourage them to continue participation through their high school years and beyond! In recognition of this endeavor, the Rome Sports Hall of Fame is hosting the Breakfast of Champions for JV and Varsity female athletes in grades 7-12 on Saturday, March 16, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Lake Delta Inn. The Rome Sports Hall of Fame wants to promote participation in all athletics by celebrating with our High School and youth in honor of National Girls & Women in Sports Day! The organization recognizes the extraordinary progress sparked by Title IX and the ongoing effort to ensure access to sports for girls and women. Research demonstrates that girls who play sports have better health, higher self-esteem, stronger leadership skills, greater academic achievement, and economic opportunity. Let’s work together through NGWSD to get these girls in the game and expand their opportunities both in sports and in life. (http://ngwsd.org/) The Rome Sports Hall of Fame invites  YOU to come celebrate with us and to be treated to a full breakfast and have the opportunity to hear about what athletics has done for successful women. Come hear about how sports changed their lives!!


Show Choir Festival 

Looking for a night of outstanding music and entertainment? This coming Friday, January 18, the RFA Show Choir will host their annual Show Choir Festival at RFA beginning at 7:30 p.m. Each year, show choirs from all around the region come together to perform an evening filled with top notch vocal entertainment, combined with visual artistry that is second to none. Stop on by RFA this Friday for an evening of music you won't soon forget!




Sunday, January 6, 2019

Heroes Needed...

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2019!! January marks National Mentoring Month in our country. As you may know, Rome City Schools has one of New York State's strongest organized mentoring programs through the State government. Over the past 4 years of developing the program, we have evolved into a model program for the State and are mentioned consistently as a community that others should model. Why is this? It is due to the massive amount of individuals that give their time each week for our little ones. Beyond just the individuals that work with our kids through this program, our community is filled with individuals that give their time, money, and care for others within the community. More than ever, our children need mentors, idols, or heroes. Let's face it, when we are all growing up, the person we looked up to the most was considered a hero to us. The unfortunate part is that most of us have never met our hero because we chose someone famous from another part of the world. Even more unfortunate is that there was most likely a more suitable hero for us all right within our own communities, and we just didn't notice. Most people think that role models or heroes need to have fame or fortune or do something amazing to get large recognition. The reality is that a hero/role model needs to be no more than a mentor. Someone who is willing to sacrifice their own needs and wants to help someone else. Fact is, heroes don't have money. Heroes don't have fame. Heroes have compassion. Heroes have a positive attitude and outlook on everything. You don't recognize a hero because they don't want recognition. They simply want to help others enjoy life in a way in which they may not otherwise know. It's not hard to be a mentor and it's not hard to be hero. A lot of society however has lost their way with regard to the concept of setting the example for our children. As adults, we are all free to live our lives however we want, do the things we want, say the things we like. However, that doesn't mean that all of those things are always appropriate for our children. Things as simple as speaking respectfully to each other, holding a door for someone, ladies first, and many more common place etiquette actions are disappearing. So, this month of January, I challenge you to be a mentor. Be a mentor without even having a mentee. Simply demonstrating a positive attitude and being kind to others is all it takes. Our children will notice, and although you won't know it, you will be hero to them!

Face Off Against Colon Cancer

The Rome Free Academy hockey team will be hosting the 7th annual Face Off Against Colon Cancer benefit game (played in memory of Coach Peter Mastracco) on Friday, January 11th at Kennedy Arena, where RFA will face off against Cazenovia at 7:00 p.m.. The RFA Ice Hockey Booster Club set up a fund in honor of the late Mastracco, who passed away from his battle with colon cancer in 2015. Please support your RFA Black Nights as they continue their messaging of “Get Checked From Behind”. Cancer is a disease that has greatly impacted our district and community in recent years. Supporting our students in their quest to support us all is the least we can do. RFA will Face Off against Cazenovia on Friday, January 11th at 7:00 p.m.


Mentors Needed

As luck would have it, we are in need of 3 mentors ourselves for our elementary school mentoring program. Three of the 66 mentors who are volunteering this year have had to withdraw from the program due to re-location or medical reasons. Mentoring sessions are held once a week from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. One mentor is needed for Bellamy School on Tuesdays; one is needed for Stokes School on Wednesdays; and one for Ridge Mills School on Thursdays. The program will run once a week from now until mid-May. If you are interested or need more information, please contact Amanda Jones (Director of Counseling: amjones@romecsd.org) or myself.


Peachjar Update 

Thank you to all of our community members and staff for embracing the Peachjar concept. To date, we have saved almost 300,000 sheets of paper (32 trees) in just 4 months of operation!! Our community and district has become a flagship area for Peachjar due to our diligence on this initiative. If you consider what a benefit this program is to our environment, and then compound that over the years that schools have sent home paper flyers to families; it truly is amazing at the work we have done together in a short time to help our environment. If you are not receiving your school fliers or district fliers by email from Peachjar, you can view the fliers HERE and can sign up to receive the updates by email. Thank you once again for embracing this initiative this year!

Best Tech Practices

Our information technology department continues to help educate folks on things related to technology and the cyber world that could be common occurrences or mistakes that people make online. This month, their tidbits are related to password issues that we all encounter when utilizing technology.. In an effort to help you stay informed, please see this brief information page on what to be looking for as it relates to passwords.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Enough Already...

Two of education's predominant phrases for why students should be doing what they are doing in schools are: "It worked for me" and "because I said so". Obviously, if you read this regularly, you know that I am not a fan of either phrase as I encourage our staff and students to challenge the status quo every day. More importantly, in the wake of our regions second high school tragedy within the past month; I am really concerned about when we are going to become an institution of acceptance rather than an institution of compliance? A current topic that is all the rage is bullying. Over the past several years, our society as a whole has made an attempt to diminish and rid itself of bullying. 40, 50, 60 years ago; bullying was an accepted part of society and no one questioned it. It was a normal "rite of passage" in most communities throughout the world. The civil rights movement is another example. It should not require the murder of great civic leaders or teen suicide rates on the rise for the rest of the community to recognize that it's time to live in an age of acceptance, rather than compliance. Public education was developed over 100 years ago in a very compliance rich society and in an extremely compliance rich way. I would also argue that public education is the one profession that most closely resembles what it looked like 100 years ago, despite our standards being completely different, knowledge base being expanded, technology flourishing, and society shifting drastically. Have you ever thought to ask yourself if the way we used to do things was really the right way? Certainly, the way things were done in the past were not the best; hence the concept of evolution. Being better does not mean that the past was bad; it simply means it can be improved, evolved. The problem is not the kids. The problem is all of us adults that refuse to see that the world has changed around us and that the world our children ARE living in and WILL grow up in, is not the world that we knew. It most likely is not the world that we would prefer for our children either. However, attempting to make the world and society into something that once was 30 years ago is not the answer. The answer is acceptance. Accepting that society has evolved and we need work within that society is crucial. Even when adults use social media in an attempt to connect with our youth, the large majority of it has become sharing negative thoughts and feelings about topics and others (in essence, bullying). If we as adults can't learn to be the role models our kids need; we are dooming them to a lifetime of solitude. Our children need us to accept them for who they are and what THEY want out of life. So, if you can give only one gift this holiday season; I would ask that you give the gift of effort. Give the effort to try and understand someone, a lifestyle, a group, an activity; anything that you normally wouldn't agree with it. Accepting is not agreeing. Accepting is understanding that those that are different than ourselves have the right to live their life the way that they want to live it. Acceptance is understanding differences are normal and respecting differences without prejudice, hate, or violence. Our children need us more than ever as our whole society has evolved into a world where people are encouraged to question the norm, ask 'why' something is the way that it is, and told to change the world. We need to accept that our kids are going to someday, run our society. It's time we listen to their needs and attempt to understand what they are telling us. It may not make sense at first, but forced compliance only hurts our children. It's enough already. Time for compliance to become extinct, and the age of acceptance to be born!

RTA/RAE Holiday Drive

Through the Community Schools Initiative, the Rome Teacher's Association and the Rome Alliance for Education have partnered together to assist in making the holidays a bit brighter for our families in need. RAE has joined Operation Sunshine, the majority of families that are in need of assistance are assisted by the Salvation Army, as well as, Catholic Charities in the Rome area. However, every year families may miss the registration dates or are at the "last minute" finding themselves not prepared.  The RAE has agreed to come into the mix as a safety net, providing any families that are not being assisted by those two agencies (or other sources) to be assisted by our school community. Items of need include:
  • Gifts for ANY ages - toys - games - arts and crafts - big or small
  • Food - no perishable food - think breakfast cereals - can goods - snack items
  • Hygiene products - this may be shampoos - soap - toothbrushes - tooth paste - deodorants - feminine hygiene products - diapers
  • OR a financial donation - if this is just simple for you - it also works for RAE! They can purchase at a much lower rate with our partners for these goods, if you would like to write a check, make it out to Rome Alliance for Education, if you need a tax deductible receipt, RAE can provide that as well. 
If you have any questions, concerns or would like to help with distribution/organization of items; please feel free to email RAE Director Melissa Roys at: MelissaRoys@RomeCommunitySchools.com

Thank You Rotary

This week, the Rome Rotary and the RFA Rotary Interact Club sponsored their annual Christmas celebration for elementary students. Complete with lunch, stories, caroling, crafts, and a gift bag; the Rotary truly demonstrates the spirit of the holiday season for our children. The experience is truly a wonderful one for both our elementary students and RFA students who participate. Thank you to the Rotary of Rome, as well as, to the students in the Rotary Interact Club for your time and generosity this week!



Rising Stars 

Rising Stars is a fun learning experience that teaches stage and life skills through games, activities, individual coaching, and actual performances on the Capitol Stage. The program focuses on developing the students' own creativity, building self-confidence, improving reading comprehension and speaking ability, accepting responsibility, and teamwork. Students will learn stage movement, character development, how to audition, and a whole lot more! Skills developed will better prepare students to compete for roles in school plays and other local stage productions, as well as interacting with confidence during pageants, interviews for college or jobs, and in everyday dealings with teachers and peers. For the first time this winter, there are two options: the regular sessions and the advanced classes. For more information on either class, please see their flier on our peachjar: ADVANCED CLASSES or REGULAR CLASSES






Sunday, December 9, 2018

More Than a Facelift...

By now, you may know that the District has recently released some information about an upcoming Capital Project referendum. You may also recall that for the past few years, we have been working on determining the best way to correct some of the structural issues at Rome Free Academy. During the two years of developing some ideas (as well as making sure needed work such as the roof at RFA, flashings that were omitted from the original build, electrical issues in the auditorium, and underutilized spaces due to changes in education over the years gets addressed); we have successfully hired a new architect, hired a construction management firm to help manage the project, and begun to work collaboratively to develop an educational and project plan that is both innovative and cost effective. Staley is our last elementary school to be renovated, and unfortunately, it needs more than a renovation. The building rests in a federal flood plain and as you know from the fall, it is completely saturated with water from years of flooding. The interior walls of the building do not meet current building codes (which could be why the District hasn't given the building a full renovation in 60 years). In order to do any work inside the building, the entire building would have to taken down and rebuilt. To rebuild on the current site, it could require the District to raise the entire property by 5 feet (so it is no longer in a flood plain) and then build the school. Other Districts in New York that have had to do this recently have spent roughly $75 million on a similar project. Since that amount is not even reasonable for us, our proposal: Build a new elementary school on the site of the former Rome Free Academy (Turin Road). A new building on this location could incorporate the existing structure which already has the most un-aidable spaces in any school (gymnasiums and cafeteria). This would all be contingent on the aid-ability that would be approved by the State Education Department and with their agreement that Staley is not worth the investment, in it's current location. 

Moving the elementary school would also require a new approach for our athletic facilities. Currently, the stadium complex where it is located is not an aid-able facility because it is not connected to a school and utilized for instruction. Therefor, any improvements made to the Turin Road site could require 100% funding by taxpayers or the general fund; if the State Education Department is not willing to provide any support. We know that the turf and track need to be replaced, and the stadium itself is reaching the end of it's useful life. During our last building condition survey two years ago, our former architect noted that the physical structure itself was failing and was in need of either demolition and rebuilding, our jacking up and reinforcement. Our proposal: Build a brand new, state of the art, athletic facility/FABLAB at Rome Free Academy. This facility would include a new stadium (football, soccer, field hockey), new baseball stadium, new softball complex, refurbished tennis courts with lights, an athletic office facility with new RFA Hall of Fame, and an indoor field house for athletics and drone engineering. The project would also include increased parking at RFA. Again, the entire proposal is contingent upon SED approval and aid-ability. There is a lot to determine before knowing for certain what can happen.

While we don't know if the State Education Department will approve our thoughts, or if it is something that will fit within our allowances; we have begun the work to improve our two facilities in most need. To date, we have had preliminary meetings with SED and hope to meet face to face in the next two weeks so that we can work our the financial elements on our end. We will have a completed scope of work for the public before the end of January (which may be very different than these proposals depending on SED and affordability). Once we have that information, we will also begin the public hearing phase and provide continued updates so that we are all aware of what the project entails and will cost. 

To view renderings of our ideas, and to see the slides from this week's Board of Education meeting, please click the link below:


Scholar Athletes/Teams

Congratulations to all of our Fall sport scholar athletes and teams! The NYSPHSAA has released the list of scholar athletes and teams for the Fall 2018 season. Our Scholar Teams for the Fall 2018 season include: Girls Varsity Field Hockey coached by Mackenzie Welker, Girls Varsity Cross Country coached by Ty Knamm, Boys Varsity Cross Country coached by Nicholas Jeror, Girls Varsity Soccer coached by Bill Tagliaferri, Boys Varsity Soccer coached by Chad Reese, Girls Gymnastics coached by Kevin Perrone, Girls Swimming coached by Michelle Browne, and Girls Varsity Tennis coached by Peter Smith. In total, across all sports, we had 120 students achieve the Scholar Athlete distinction. Individual awards are given to any student who has a cumulative GPA of 90 or higher; while team awards are given to teams that have 75% of the roster achieving a GPA of 90 or better. 

Wreaths Across America

The Rome City School District and Rome Free Academy have received the honor of being asked to host a Wreaths Across America transfer event at RFA on Monday, December 10th beginning at 3:30 p.m. Wreaths Across America is a national event where donations of wreaths are made and laid at Arlington National Cemetery (as well as many other cemeteries nationwide) for our fallen soldiers of conflicts dating back to the Revolutionary War. This particular exchange event is sponsored by Walmart as they have four truckloads of wreaths traveling the country on their way to Arlington, Virginia. The event at RFA will honor local veterans and involve our own RFA JROTC unit. We are grateful that Walmart has requested RFA as a location to perform the truck exchange so that our students and community can be a part of an amazing event. Please feel free to stop by! For more information, please see the flier HERE.


Painting Class Fundraiser 

On Friday, December 14th, the RFA Junior Class is hosting a painting class fundraising event in conjunction with Kts Art and Design of Rome, NY. From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. you will have the experience of creating a masterpiece that you didn't know you were capable of creating. Reservations are required and the donation is $45 per painter. For more information, including information on how to register, please see the image below. 


Best Tech Practices

In advance of Education Law 2-d, the Rome City School District has been one of the first Districts in the state to appoint an information security analyst to help in protecting our networks and data. As part of this process, our information technology department has begun to help educate folks on things related to technology and the cyber world that could be common occurrences or mistakes that people make online. This month, their first tidbits are related to malicious email issues that are some of the most common methods that hackers use to gain access to your information. During the holiday season, malicious email activity spikes. In an effort to help you stay informed, please see this brief information page on what to be looking for as it relates to malicious emails.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

It Can Be Done...

This week, I read one of the more inspiring stories involving a child that I have read in recent months. The story involves basketball icon Steph Curry and a 9 year old California girl who used the power of social media in a positive manner. For those that haven't seen/heard of this yet, the story can be found here, but the lowdown is that the young girl wrote a letter to Steph Curry; simply asking why his new shoes weren't available on the Under Armour website for girls. What happened from there, you can most likely figure it out. The amazing thing is that a 9 year old was able to take to Twitter in a positive way to simply advocate for young girls everywhere and make a simple request to a powerful person that she had never met or spoken to. The outcome was positive for everyone, including those just using social media to stay in touch. In a society where most adults use social media to bash others, criticize, and put people down without maybe knowing them or without having details; a 9 year old was able to understand social media and use it correctly to benefit many. The old concept of getting more with honey than vinegar, is alive and well in California. Social media, as evidenced by this simple story (and there are many more occurrences of positive social media than just this one), can be an amazing tool for children and adults alike to work together for positive change and support of each other. Many feel that social media has simply become an arena for bullying and negativity, which causes many not to use it. However, it can be utilized in a positive manner and we simply have to want it to be used that way. Rather than taking to social media to complain, criticize, and bash Steph Curry and Under Armour; this young lady chose to ask why the shoes weren't available and asked for the basketball star to talk to the company about making them available on the girls' section of the website. The result was a multi-BILLION dollar company making an adjustment to their sales pages within minutes. Beyond just that, the collaboration and learning that took place far outweighs the simple fact that a young girl made a difference. It can be done people... we just need to choose to want social media to be a positive tool rather than a cesspool of hate and intolerance. Follow her lead, and it can be done.

Strough Holiday Craft Bazaar

On Saturday, December 8th, Strough Middle School will be hosting the Strough Holiday Craft Bazaar from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the school. It's a great opportunity to get some homemade holiday trinkets for either yourself, or as gifts for family and friends. For more information, please see their flier HERE. We hope to see you there!!


Breakfast with Santa

On Sunday, December 9th, the RFA Travel Club will be hosting a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the RFA cafeteria. Tickets for the event are $6.00 and can be purchased at the door. Children ages 5 and under eat free and all proceeds benefit the Travel Club and their upcoming trip this Spring. For more information, click HERE and we look forward to seeing you for a great pancake breakfast on December 9th!


Painting Class Fundraiser 

On Friday, December 14th, the RFA Junior Class is hosting a painting class fundraising event in conjunction with Kts Art and Design of Rome, NY. From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. you will have the experience of creating a masterpiece that you didn't know you were capable of creating. Reservations are required and the donation is $45 per painter. For more information, including information on how to register, please see the image below. 


Christmas in the City Event

Life Church of Rome, NY will be hosting their second annual Christmas in the City event this coming Friday and Saturday, December 7 and 8, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. each evening. The event will be held at the former NYS Armory, located at 1110 Black River Blvd. During the event there will be an interactive Christmas village, live caroling, local artisans, food trucks, treats, and live animals. Christmas in the City is a FREE event and for more information, please visit their website at www.lifechurchny.com/christmas


Wreaths Across America

The Rome City School District and Rome Free Academy have received the honor of being asked to host a Wreaths Across America transfer event at RFA on Monday, December 10th beginning at 3:30 p.m. Wreaths Across America is a national event where donations of wreaths are made and laid at Arlington National Cemetery (as well as many other cemeteries nationwide) for our fallen soldiers of conflicts dating back to the Revolutionary War. This particular exchange event is sponsored by Walmart as they have four truckloads of wreaths traveling the country on their way to Arlington, Virginia. The event at RFA will honor local veterans and involve our own RFA JROTC unit. We are grateful that Walmart has requested RFA as a location to perform the truck exchange so that our students and community can be a part of an amazing event. Please feel free to stop by! For more information, please see the flier HERE.


RFA Class Holiday Window Competition

In conjunction with our local JCP, who is a tremendous supporter of our local education, families, and students; each of the individual RFA cohorts has decorated a holiday window display at the local JCP as a fundraising event. The window paintings will be on display throughout the holiday season and you can vote for your favorite window in the store. The winning class will receive a $200 donation from JCP. Thank you to JCP for sponsoring such a fun event which brings the school and community together during the holiday season.  Students from each class volunteered their time and creative ability to design the best windows for Rome, so make sure to get out and vote for your favorite!