Sunday, August 14, 2016

One For the Ages...

The past 6 months have not been necessarily easy for the Rome City School District family as we have seen tragic loss of life on an all too frequent basis. This past weekend, longtime Rome teacher and current RFA teacher, Peter Mastracco lost his most recent battle with cancer. For those that knew Mr. Mastracco, he was one of a kind. He spent time at both RFA and Strough and has family connections all throughout the RCSD. Beyond the classroom, Peter was a staple of the RFA hockey coaching staff who constantly worked with our young men on how to become better athletes on the ice, but more importantly better men off of it. In the classroom, Mr. Mastracco worked tirelessly to improve the lives of each and every student who entered through his door. He was constantly seen throughout RFA with a smile on his face and a skip in his step. Our entire school community was a better place because of Peter Mastracco. As would be said for any legend of any profession, he was One For the Ages!! When it comes to education, Mr. Mastracco was truly the penultimate of our profession and his legacy will live on.

Grade 3-8 Assessment Results

As many of you may have seen in the media recently, the State has released the grade 3-8 assessment results for 2016. In general, across the State scores rose slightly which many will tout as a victory for education. I can't say it's a victory, but it certainly looks good on paper. In Rome, one of the few positive take aways that exist is the improvement in grade 3 math results. Many people want to hate the Common Core Standards, but they are improving our educational system and ironically, research has shown that teachers feel positively about them. The standards are less of the problem, but they have taken the fall of the distrust created by APPR. While many might say I'm crazy, I will always give people my honest opinions and speak what's on my mind. That's the least that our community deserves from their leader. I personally can't tout the slight improvement in assessment scores as a victory for education because of the large percentage of opt-outs that exist throughout the State. Any decent statistician would say that the sample has been skewed because of this. A true improvement in public education would be a decrease in the number of students opting out. When the opt-out movement swept through our State, there was good reason. Many of those reasons have passed and it's time to move past this trend. After all, if we aren't changing with the time, then we are going backwards in education. I look forward to continuing to work with our community, teachers, and students to make the 3-8 assessment process an actual benefit to all parties, rather than a source of angst.

John Joy Grand Re-Opening

On Wednesday, August 24 at 6:30 p.m. there will be a grand opening ceremony at John E. Joy School to celebrate the re-opening of the facility. After a year at an alternate site, the students and staff of Joy are eager to get back to their turf. As with any renovation project, the completion phase is always exciting. The ability to overhaul an entire school is not an opportunity that comes along often for many school districts and in Rome, we've been extremely fortunate to have this happen multiple times. I look forward to the re-opening and more importantly to the first day of classes when all of the students enter their school for the first time. At that point, we will see true joy and excitement!!

Board of Education Retreat

One of the most important elements of a positive and growing system is a collaborative relationship between the Board of Education and the district office. Also vital is the relationship(s) within the Board of Education. During the past month, I have had the opportunity to closely with the Board of Education to build a solid foundation of respect, understanding, direction, and vision. During a recent retreat, the Board began to rework their goals, discuss possible ways to improve community communication and understanding, and laid the groundwork for our future growth and success!!