Monday, January 16, 2017

Let's Get Tested...

 'Tis the time to start talking about one of the most fun topics in all of education in today's society... testing!! We often hear the phrase "21st century learning" and "21st century skills" as common language within public education today, however, we ironically continue to urge people to opt their children out of state testing that is used to measure a schools implementation of the common core learning standards. Whether we like it or not, standardized testing is in and of itself a 21st century skill. It's also a 20th century skill, 19th century skill, 18th century skill, and so on. Unpopular to many people is my support of standardized testing and I urge Rome as a community to get on board with increasing our participation rate. While I personally feel that families were given bad information at the onset of the common core and the "standardized testing era" leading to the massive opt-out movement, I also respect a parent's right to make this decision. But let's make sure we have the right information. Standardized testing amounts for 1% of the testing your child does throughout the school year. Standardized testing is NOT tied to Academic Intervention Services anymore. Standardized testing is NOT tied to teacher evaluation anymore. Standardized testing DOES provide the school with a measure to determine if our instructional methods and beliefs are working (if enough students are participating). Over the next few weeks I hope to help our community have a better understanding for the need to increase our participation rates in the NYS standardized assessments, including providing reasons why this program is beneficial to our kids and to our community. With that, I say, "Let's get tested Rome!"

Elementary Report Cards 

During the past week, we discovered an error in our student management system scheduling component as the end of marking period 2 approaches. Due to this error, we have decided to change the report card release date for elementary schools for marking period 2 to January 26, 2017. I realize that this date may be different than a previous communication that you may have received from the building level, however, as a district we are moving forward with the January 26 release date for all k-6 report cards. Thank you for your time and understanding with this adjustment.

Kindergarten Registration

The kindergarten registration period for the 2017-2018 school year has been set. Registration for students intending to enter kindergarten in September of 2017 will occur from Monday, February 27 through Friday, March 3. This registration period runs concurrently with the pre-k registrations. More information regarding times and locations will be available as the registration period approaches. Please stay tuned.

RFA Auditorium Update

During the past week, we have had multiple professionals and perspectives presented to us regarding the RFA auditorium. We have been able to replace the fan system that keeps the electrical unit cool while in operation for roughly $500. This is a temporary fix to the auditorium as the control panel that communicates with the fans and the units is still not operating correctly. In the current state, we can operate short performances/rehearsals in the auditorium as we pursue a permanent fix for the room. At this time, we will conduct rehearsals for the Strough and RFA musicals in the auditorium at RFA while we investigate the potential need to hold performances in other locations. As always, any official decisions being made will be made through the district and communicated through the district and myself. Until such notice, any rumor that you may hear should be treated just as that, rumor. This is a very challenging issue to work through and we appreciate your understanding with regard to planning a course of action.