Sunday, September 11, 2016

Welcome Back...

Not much more needs to be said besides "Welcome Back!!" It was so great to hear the voices of the kids and staff in our hallways this week. Seeing the smiling faces, the high fives, the hugs from friends that haven't seen each other much in the past 2 months, and much much more about opening day!! Throughout all of our buildings, the staff was eager to get back to work and it was evident. There was an overwhelming sense of team work as everyone worked together to help kids find their classes, open lockers, meet new friends, and get back in the swing of things. All in all, it was a great opening week. The challenge lies ahead as everyone knows that it's easy to get excited and energized for the start of something and the end of something; however getting from point 'A' to point 'B' is never as easy as desired. I encouraged our staff on Friday to keep the teamwork momentum going and I encourage the community to do the same.  There's no reason not to work together, we all want the same thing. Keep the train rolling in the coming weeks everyone and welcome back!!

Thank You Betsy Ross Nursing Home!!

On Thursday, September 8th, representatives from the Betsy Ross Nursing Home in Rome stopped by our District Office to drop off school supplies for students in the Rome City School District. Judy Pawlikowski, Activity Leader and Kelsey Flint, Director of Activities represented the nursing home staff that collected items, along with some residents who also helped out. Supplies included binders, composition notebooks, paper, book backs, pouches, crayons, and pencils. On behalf of all of the students and staff of the Rome City School District,  I want to thank the Betsy Ross Nursing Home and all of their residents for thinking about our children and lending a hand for those that need it. Thank you!!

What's This Twitter Thing?!

I have been asked a lot recently about Twitter. What is it? Why do people use it? Who cares? Twitter is an easy way for schools, teachers, leaders, and others to simply share with the community at large what is going on. It is very similar to Facebook, however Twitter has evolved more into a professional social network, where Facebook is more of a personal social network. For teachers and other professionals, there are all kinds of resources, articles, ideas, group conversations, professional development opportunities, networking, and just general information about the world. For parents, it is an opportunity to see what is happening in our schools on a daily basis, get updates about sports and activities, as well as to network with other groups. It's an easy way to get information and share information. Beyond that, our kids are using Twitter and other social media markets and as adults we need to make sure that we are learning these tools so that we can understand what potential dangers are out there for our kids. I encourage you to try social media, Twitter specifically, because I will be doing a lot of communicating there. We do plan to provide professional development for parents this year to help get acclimated so don't fear. Get on there and start by following me @pblake_RomeCSD. Let's build our own social network right here in Rome!!

Cuomo Signs Lead Testing Bill

You may have heard or read about a new bill that was signed this past week by Governor Andrew Cuomo that requires schools to provide testing results of lead tests on their water supplies. Rome was planning on conducting these tests last Spring, but the tests never happened for one reason or another. The bill provides requirements that are more stringent than the State health department requires and carries a very tight time frame to complete the sampling. We are currently working with our regional BOCES to make sure that we have a full understanding of the requirements as well as to find a vendor to complete the water sampling. Samples must be collected prior to September 30th and results reported to the State Education Department before October 31st. There are also some layers to the bill that require different things for K-5 buildings than for 6-12 buildings. Either way, we will get this done and I will be reporting out through the Board meetings, Twitter, and here once we have all of the information in place. Stay tuned...