Sunday, December 18, 2016

Happy Holidays...

It's hard to believe that we are already 4 months through the 2016-2017 school year!! It seems like just yesterday that we were sitting in a full auditorium at RFA and welcoming the staff back to school for the year. I can remember all of our munchkins coming to school on opening day as well, as if it were yesterday. During these 4 months, we have had many ups and downs, but through it all we have continued to remain focused on our goal. Thanks to the support of our community, we have begun the work of developing collaborative relationships to move the ship in a new direction. At times, patience has worn thin and stress has overcome the process... but we move forward. I hope that everyone in our community has an opportunity over the coming 2 weeks to enjoy some family time, reflect on the past in hopes to create a better future, relax and recharge, and most importantly have some fun and create memories that will last a lifetime!! I am very thankful for the large family that I have inherited and I wish all of you the most wonderful holiday season and the hap hap happiest New Year since Bing Crosby danced with Danny Kaye (this is a PG blog gang)!!! Be well everyone and I will see you in 2017!!

Thank You Staff and Students 

I would like to take a brief minute to thank all of the students of the Rome City School District, as well as our amazing staff!! This year to date has brought with it many changes to some basic operations and expectations; but our students and staff are handling them well and truly working to understand a new vision and direction, despite differences of opinion at times. Our high school students have managed increased expectations exceptionally well and the time for rewarding that behavior is coming. Teachers, administrators, and staff all throughout the district have been adjusting to new expectations since August and continue to perform their duties beyond expectation. I truly appreciate all of the effort put forth by our staff and especially our students to date. After all, they are the fuel that makes the Rome City School District what it is. Thank you all and have a wonderful holiday season!!

School Messenger - Texting

We have noticed in recent weeks that many of our families are not utilizing the text message feature of our automated school messenger system. Unlike the email and phone call portion of the system, the texting feature is something that you need to actual subscribe to through a text message to the system. Since texting has become one of the quickest and most widely used methods of communication in our society today, we are going to work on increasing our participation with this tool. In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for information related how to subscribe to this service as it can be one of the most valuable tools we have.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A 900% Increase...

My blog this week is not a philosophical thought, rather an attempt to inform our community about a reality and a concern for our youth. What has increased by 900% recently you ask? E-cigarette use among high schoolers has increased 900% in the past 4 years. This past week, the Wall Street Journal and many other major media outlets of reputation have released articles in relation to the surgeon general's most recent comments. One of the most alarming things about these devices is that people still do not realize that they contain nicotine. Our children are become more and more addicted to nicotine through the electronic cigarette than our older generations ever were to the traditional cigarette. I strongly urge our parents to do some more homework on the e-cigarette prior to thinking that it is a safe alternative for anything. The e-cig has become the gateway drug to more serious things, has shown to stunt brain growth in teenagers, and falsely advertises their product on most occasions. Research is showing that 4-times more teenagers are using e-cigarettes than other forms of tobacco products and on average 40% of high schoolers have at least tried smoking them. Of greater concern that isn't discussed as much about e-cigs is that sellers are constantly finding ways to 'lace' the syrups with other products that are much more addictive, altering, and dangerous than nicotine. The Wall Street Journal article can be found here: I urge you to take a moment to do some reading to learn more about the most significant health concern facing our youngsters in our society today.

2016 Fall Scholar Athletic Teams 

The NYSPHSAA has released the list of scholar athletes and teams for the Fall 2016 season. Our Scholar Teams for the Fall 2016 season include: Girls Varsity Field Hockey coached by Mackenzie Williams, Girls Varsity Cross Country coached by Matt Downs, Boys Varsity Cross Country coached by Ty Knamm, Girls Varsity Soccer coached by Bill Tagliaferri, and Girls Varsity Tennis coached by Karen Gaesser. In total, across all sports, we had 107 students achieve the Scholar Athlete distinction. Team awards are given to teams that have 75% of the roster achieving a GPA of 90 or better. 

Rome Rescue Mission

'Tis the season for giving and the Rome Rescue Mission is currently conducting their holiday collection drive. As with every community, ours is no different in terms of wanting to help those in need. Below is their flier and I encourage you to join with our schools to help those in need this season. Every school, as in years past, continues to develop service projects geared toward helping others and building a sense of community. On behalf of the schools, our students, and our staff; thank you for your support of our community!!

Safe Schools Positions

Safe Schools Mohawk Valley (formerly Utica Safe Schools) is looking for After-School Program staff to work with school- aged students (grades K-8) at Bellamy Elementary in Rome and Strough Middle School in Rome. The positions are 15 hours a week during the afternoons from 3:00-6:00PM or 2:00-5:00PM, depending on location. You MUST be available to work those hours; reliable transportation a must. Posting will remain open until all positions are filled (14 positions available). Rate of pay $10/hr. Must be fingerprinted and pass a background check per New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

Job responsibilities include:
- Responsible for safety and supervision of a group of 10-15 youth.
- Work with supervisor in planning and implementation of programming.
- Assist students in homework, escort students to clubs and groups.
- Facilitate group activities.
- Complete required paperwork and training.

Skills / Requirements:
- Must be 18 years of age or older.
- High school diploma or equivalent required.
- Previous experience with diverse populations a plus.
- Experience working with and supervising children (does not need to be formal).

- Skills that can be brought to the program a plus (dance, art, music, etc)

If you are interested, please email cover letter and resume to
Employment application can be downloaded at

RFA Travel Club Breakfast With Santa

It's official!! The RFA Travel Club will be hosting their 2nd annual Pancake Breakfast With Santa. The event will be on Saturday, December 17th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in RFA's cafeteria. The cost is $6 per person with kids 5 years old or younger being free. Tickets can be bought from travel club members before the event or at the door. For more information, please contact the RFA travel club at 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Knowing The Role...

One of the most challenging elements of any organization is getting everyone involved to understand their role, understand how their role relates to the organizational structure/mission, and how to work within their role to affect positive change. The other week, I had the privilege to visit the BNY Mellon facility in Oriskany and was immediately impressed by the organization and their employees. It was an environment where all parties were working together and people were able to work within their comfort zone, making the entire organization much more effective. Schools historically have struggled with this concept because quite frankly, every individual in our society has spent time in a school in some way shape or form. We all think that we are the experts because we've been there. Think about other walks of life for a moment. We may get a second opinion from a doctor or an attorney, but generally we don't challenge their opinions and professional diagnosis. When we are at the store and don't get the sale we wanted or they are out of something we wanted to buy, we don't immediately threaten to sue them because we think we are entitled to something, in an attempt to invoke fear. Those are not common place responses/actions in our general society, however they happen more times in one day with schools than they do in other factions of society in an entire year. What's the point of my message? It's time to start trusting our PROFESSIONALS when it comes to schools as well. We all need to remember our role and start working together, instead of constantly assuming hidden agendas and the worst. I admit that sometimes our hunches are correct and questioning is good. However, it's the manner in which things are conducted. We can work together as a school organization and as a community at large to make things better, instead of constantly pointing fingers. By knowing our role and more importantly, understanding how we can affect positive change within our organization, we can accomplish anything. I urge you to please reflect on how you fit within our school structure and what you can do to work toward improving things for CHILDREN; not to improve for us our ourselves.

Winter Concert Season 

'Tis the season for concert after concert!! Our Winter Concert schedule can be found at the following website: ROME WINTER CONCERTS . You can also contact any of our schools to learn more about their concerts, including which groups are performing when and where. As always, we appreciate all of the support that our students in the music program receive from the community throughout the year!!

RFA Travel Club Breakfast With Santa

It's official!! The RFA Travel Club will be hosting their 2nd annual Pancake Breakfast With Santa. The event will be on Saturday, December 17th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in RFA's cafeteria. The cost is $6 per person with kids 5 years old or younger being free. Tickets can be bought from travel club members before the event or at the door. For more information, please contact the RFA travel club at 

Dialogue Events Continue

Over the past few weeks, I have been hosting dialogue events in our schools to help provide the community with information that they may seek. This coming week, we will be at Denti on Monday and Joy on Wednesday. While these are the schools that I will be speaking at, any event is open to the entire community and the dialogue is not meant to be school specific. So, if you've missed a chance at your home school and really have some questions you would like to ask, please come by another location. For a full listing of dialogue events, please visit