Sunday, March 13, 2016

Is Learning Worth the Risk...

One of the things that frustrates me most about human nature is the ability to get "stuck in a rut". By nature we are creatures of routine, comfort, and path of least resistance. However, as I reflect on my life (and I'm the sure this is the same for many), I have learned the most through moments of failure. Taking a chance on myself to attempt something that I never thought possible, or having a trusted adult encouraging me to take a leap into a world that was scary and foreign. The risk at leaving your comfort zone is tremendous. What if you fail? What if it exposes you to emotional lows? What if people laugh? What if ....? What if you SUCCEED!!

In every experience there is success. Failure is always a sign of success because failure means you tried. Without trying, you can not fail. Without failure you can not grow. Without growing you can not LEARN!! Some will argue that learning can occur without failure. Perhaps this is true, but more often than not we never get concepts right the first time we attempt to understand them, especially through childhood and adolescence. Learning without failure would imply the perfect human being, which to my knowledge science hasn't created yet. Students in today's schools are afraid of failure and afraid of attempting rigorous tasks for the fear of the teacher making them FEEL insignificant or unintelligent. The truth is, all teachers care; it's just time to show it in a different way. Academic risk taking leads to student inquiry, knowledge acquisition, and positive relationships between adults and children. After all, the first time your own child falls off their bicycle or doesn't want to try riding the bicycle you don't throw away the bicycle and tell your child to give up do you? Take the risk, the rewards are beyond your imagination!!

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to Nicholas Wilson, Spencer Parrish, Andrea Cady, Sarah Chien, Quinton Cosentino, Mackenzie D'Auito, David Jeselson, Kalei Krzemien, Devante Saenger, and Jennifer Tasco, the RFA Top Ten for the class of 2016!! What a great accomplishment!!

Congratulations to all students who participated in this past weekend's Science Fair!! It was a wonderful display of talent from our students!!

Congratulations to Kayla Barber on the Girls Indoor Track Team who placed 7th at the NYS Championships last weekend!!

Congratulations to Isabella Carpenter who finished 48th out of 200 and to David Francis who finished 49th out of 150 at the NASP State Archery Tournament!!

Congratulations to Sydnei Ward who will be participating in a local version of "Shark Tank" this week as part of the Young Entrepreneurship Program!!

Congratulations to Shawna House, Amanda Keane, Rockia Ricketts, Ian Pisaneschi, and Ashley Blanchard for being accepted into the National Technical Honor Society!!

Congratulations to Daniel Paquette for placing 3rd in the regional contest for SKILLS USA in the area of Community Service!!

"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

Recently, some information has come to my attention that parents have had difficulty communicating with school officials (being told administrators are not available for them, not free for a phone call, or that other things are more important). I ask that if you ever experience this, please contact me directly at 334-7202 or via email at Our partnership (family to school) is the most vital connection needed for our students' success. Parents not having the ability to speak to an administrator is simply not acceptable in the RFA that we want to create together. That being said, I want to thank you all for continuing to take a vested interest in your child's education. Communication is the key to success and I urge you to please contact your child's teacher, counselor, administrator, or myself if you have any questions or concerns during these last 15 weeks of the school year.

This Week at RFA...

3/14 - Area 51 Meeting
3/15 - SPAC Meeting
3/15 - Key Club Meeting
3/15 - POPS Concert #1
3/16 - Mock Trial Field Trip to Utica Court House
3/16 - Winter Guard Dance Competition
3/16 - Board of Education Meeting at RFA
3/17 - POPS Concert #2
3/18 - Superintendent's Conference Day (No School for Students)
3/18 - Fermata Nowhere and Show Choir singing with Barry Manilow

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

Historically in education we measure success by a number. 100% means we are perfect!! 60 means we failed. We start with a 100 point scale and take points away for errors or actions not in compliance. What would happen if we started at 0 on the scale and added points for successes and growth. Starting with 100 assumes that everyone has background knowledge of the content, starting at 0 assumes that all of our kids need to learn. Assess your grading practices and search for a strategy that you can use that rewards knowledge acquisition as opposed to completion non-compliance.