Sunday, October 2, 2016

Raise the Bar...

One of the most common phrases that I hear both in education and in society is, "Back when I was a kid..." and then fill in the blank. If everyone seems to think that things were better during a past era and many of us claim to have answers to making things better, why are so many people complaining about the current state of affairs in society? While I can't say I agree that everything was better in an era of the past, I can say that people of older generations and society in general had higher expectations for their children, their community, and the human race in general. In short, our younger generations are getting soft. People seem to want to work less but obtain more. The majority of society is looking for the shortcut. Instead of asking ourselves, "What can I do to make my community/organization better?"; we tend to ask ourselves (and others publicly at times), "What is my organization/community going to do for me?" The concept of 'selfishness' seems to be waining with every passing generation. So, I pose the question... Why don't simply raise the bar? If our expectations for our youth AND for each other are higher, won't things naturally improve? After all, no one came along and said, "Hey, let's all be lazy and see what happens." This digression started with a few individuals cutting corners and others jumping on the bandwagon. Eventually, we landed here. Low expectations, excuses for everything, and mediocre being good enough. Well, I'm driving a new bandwagon. It's not an easy wagon to move because it has square wheels. But, I learned from a generation where education, success, and community mattered. We worked to achieve these things and were not simply given them. It won't be easy, but if our entire community decided it was time to raise the bar... the bar moves and people will reach it. Research has proven time and time again that children will always rise to the occasion, it's the human way. Just as humans will slack off if they are allowed to. I'm raising the bar... I hope you will join me!!  

RFA Marching Band

The RFA marching band has been on fire this season so far. To date, they are undefeated and compiling one of the best competitive seasons that the school has had. You can catch them in action in the coming weeks on 10/15 at New Hartford, on 10/22 at Norwich, on 10/25 at the RFA Stadium for a community showing, and finally on 10/30 at the New York State Field Band Conference Championships at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Make sure you take an opportunity to see this group, the kids have been very hard at work. It will be an experience you won't forget!! Keep up the great work RFA!! 

Transportation

I want to take a minute to inform everyone of some changes in past practice that have recently come to my attention. In the past, I have found that we have been transporting kids throughout the day on individual bus runs if they have missed the bus, been suspended from school and need to go home early, or become ill while in school. Please know that these privileges are going to be significantly reduced this year. It costs the district roughly $52 for every individual transportation trip we make and on average we have done 12 a day. This adds up to $100,000 a year, at the least. If your child wakes up in the morning and you feel that they are sick, please do not gamble and send them to school to see what happens. 9 times out of 10 they are not well enough to make it through the day which leaves the school in a bind to find transportation home and brings the potential to get more kids sick within the building. If your child is suspended while attending school, please know it will be the families responsibility to transport the child home. I cannot reward students who are violating the code of conduct to a degree that warrants a suspension. Finally, if your student misses the bus in the morning, it will be the responsibility of the family to get the student to school. I know that in the past the district has made numerous extra trips throughout the day and it is something that we need to reduce. We aren't teaching our students anything about responsibility if we are constantly dropping everything to cater to their needs. Everyone needs to try to see the big picture that it's about an organization and a community, not about themselves. 


Must Be Present To Win It

In previous years, the Rome Teacher's Association and the Rome Administrator's Association have worked in conjunction with the district to promote an attendance initiative to acknowledge students throughout the district with exemplary attendance. This year, they are currently working to rekindle this initiative and the district will be working with the 2 organizations to help promote the initiative. Please stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks and months and as always, continue to encourage attendance at school. More than just being in school, being on time is becoming more of an epidemic than missing school. The RCSD, RTA, and RAA are committed to continuing to improve our attendance rates and this initiative is one way that we can support those that are excelling in this area.