Sunday, August 28, 2016

Almost There...

'Tis that time of year where everyone in the world of education talks about getting in their last few events of the summer before school starts. Kids are preparing for the upcoming year by maybe doing some back to school shopping, visiting their school for an orientation, wrapping up that summer project. Teachers and staff alike are preparing their classrooms and their plans for the year as we eagerly await the students coming to school next week. In the meantime, during this last official week of summer vacation in New York, please make sure to take some time for you as well. As with any profession, the school year will come with many ups and downs, positives and negatives, and memories to be made. The next 10 months will move at a feverish pace and it's vital that we are all fresh and ready to go. This past weekend, I ventured to the New York State Fair for the first time this year and will probably make a few more trips this week to spend some time with family and friends as I cap off an amazing summer working for our community. Perhaps what made this trip special was that it was the first trip for my kids and I was able to drag my parents with us (my mother hasn't been to the fair in almost 60 years!!). It's great memories like that make the home stretch great. If I'm lucky, maybe some golf and a barbecue are in my future this last week of summer as well. And let's not forget, RFA's opening football game is this coming Friday at home against Proctor!! Seems like a great way to end the summer and kick off the school year. So whatever your fancy, take the time this week to enjoy it and spend some time with those that matter most to you!! 



RFA Football 'BLACK OUT'

During RFA's home opener this coming Friday, September 2; the students of RFA are asking the crowd to dress in all black in honor of RFA Coach Peter Mastracco who recently passed away. Game time this Friday is 7:00 p.m. at home against Utica Proctor. Come on out and support both Peter Mastracco and the RFA football team!!


Assemblyman Brindisi's Grant

This past week, the Rome City School District was honored to receive a grant through Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi's office in the amount of $150,000 to be used toward improving security throughout our district. The only condition on the grant is that it is to be used to improve infrastructure and equipment, which is an area that we can use some improvement. In Rome, we plan to utilize the funding to improve the lighting in our parking lots, add exterior cameras to our facilities to increase security measures during off hours, and update our cameras throughout the district that are older in age and not as equipped as the technology of today. As you know, grant funding like this doesn't happen all the time, so we are very grateful for the efforts of Assemblyman Brindisi and his team for bringing this opportunity to Rome. Thank you!!


RFA Summer Graduation

On Thursday, August 25, Rome Free Academy concluded their 2015-2016 school year by hosting their summer graduation. In all, another 25 students completed their requirements to earn a high school diploma this summer. While some may say that the high school diploma is not a big deal any more in today's society, I would have to strongly oppose that viewpoint. Each year there are an increasing number of professions that do not require post-secondary education, but require the high school diploma. More students are going directly into the work force from high school each year, and this group of students that graduated last week have reminded us all that perseverance is a trait that we all need to have. Having the ability to get up each time you are knocked down or seeing a project completed simply because you refuse to give up is an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations to the summer graduates of Rome Free Academy and to the entire class of 2015-2016; best wishes on a bright and fruitful future. Don't forget where you come from as you move through life's journeys. 


Transportation

One final thought for this week comes in regard to transportation of our students. Generally, at this time of year families and students are receiving a lot of information about the upcoming school year, including the information about their school transportation, or lack thereof. The purpose of my mentioning this here is because it is important for our families to remember that when the school district establishes routes, stops, and eligibility for transportation; there is no single person sitting in a dark back room plotting to make your lives difficult or being spiteful while making decisions. Our decisions with regard to transportation stem from a series of complex software programs that generate and forecast runs that minimize time on buses for kids as well as cost of fuel combined with both State Education regulations and local policies. I understand that we can't make everyone happy or meet the wants of every person, but please know that we wish we could and we try. If you have a concern or issue with your child's transportation (or any issue for that matter), that is fine, but please remember that venting is one thing and being down right disrespectful is another. Please consider that on the other side of your email or voicemail sits a person, whom you may have never met and/or have no idea what struggles they are working on in life too. You'll hear me say this often; we will get more and go farther together as a school community, than we will if we work against each other.