Sunday, November 20, 2016

Time for Thanks...

This is the week of the year where most Americans enjoy a short week of school/work, some food with their family and friends, maybe some shopping, and hopefully remembering what it's all about. This is the week where we are thankful for everything that we have as individuals and as a community. I'm sure that we have all had our struggles this past year, but through it all, there is much to be thankful for. On a weekly basis I find myself involved in putting out fires between someone on the school staff and someone in the community. Often times, when playing referee, I realize that both sides of the equation are actually right and justified for the feelings and thoughts. The problems arise when people overreact and make a situation worse because they didn't want to listen to the other side. Far too often, people become defensive immediately when trying to solve a problem together instead of truly taking the time to hear each other out. I believe that we would find far more often that we are seeing eye to eye. So, during this week of thanks; I am thankful that I work in a community that cares about education. I am thankful that the teachers, staff, students, parents, and community care about education enough that they aren't afraid to try and make the system better. I truly believe that through listening to each other and working together, we can achieve great things. I wish you all well during this Thanksgiving week and I hope this finds you and your's safe, healthy, and happy to begin this holiday season!! 

Redistricting Presentation 

On Tuesday, November 29th at 6:00 p.m., the Board of Education will be provided with a public presentation by Castallo & Silky Educational Consultants discussing possibilities for redistricting. After discussing the topic internally and with colleagues throughout the state, we feel it is best to look at long range solutions that can prevent us from having to re-draw residence boundaries every year. The flexible zoning method does provide temporary relief, however over the course of time can lead to compounded problems. We are hoping that by doing a true study that is geared toward sustainability that we can develop a redistricting plan that works for everyone and for the long term. The presentation will be occurring at RFA in the library on the evening of November 29th.

Boys & Girls Choir of Harlem

The YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley is presenting the Boys & Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble on Friday, December 16th at 7:00 p.m. at RFA. The choir will also be performing for some of our students during the day. If you are interested in attending to enjoy some holiday cheer, tickets are on sale at and cost $20 each.

Genesis Awards

The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley honors various educators and programs each year through their Annual Celebration of Education. This year, 2 Rome educators were honored by the Genesis group for their contributions and commitment to the field of education and Rome City Schools. Both Mr. Leonard Gratch and Colonel Ken Field have been recognized this year by the Genesis Group as distinguished educators. Congratulations to both individuals and thank you for all of your service to the students and community in Rome!!

RFA PBIS Spirit-wear

The RFA Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team is currently running a spirit-wear to help raise funds to offer rewards to students who are creating a positive atmosphere at RFA. Gear, included decals, drink containers, bags, and more; can be purchased through PBIS is a program that requires a teacher a vote prior to implementing the system in a school and RFA is one of few high schools around the region to have a successful program. The staff and students work very hard to improve their school climate and every little show of support is always welcomed.

3-8 State Testing

This past week, Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Commissioner MaryEllen Elia have announced that the state will maintain current grade 3-8 testing protocols for the spring 2017 exams. They left the door open to changes in 2018. The announcement means three-day testing periods will remain in place for each of the math and English language arts exams and the exams will continue to reflect changes introduced for the 2016 tests, which were untimed and included fewer questions. Initially, a different plan was presented. On Monday, the first of two days of November Regents meetings, state officials announced that the exams would remain the same through spring 2018. On Tuesday, Rosa read a statement saying the six-day testing period would remain in place for 2017 but the commissioner and the board would be "absolutely open" to changes in 2018.