Sunday, February 26, 2017

Time for the Grind...

It's hard to believe that the past week has felt more like mid-spring than mid-winter with the weather around Central New York, but it has! The only unfortunate part about it is that it was mid-winter recess which comes to end not only with the winter temperatures returning, but the school year entering what I refer to as The Grind. The next several weeks equate to the longest stretch of consecutive school weeks for the year and is historically when the most progress is made by students. Adults throughout education feel the pressure to take advantage of these consecutive weeks as we all know that after Spring break, the summer fever hits (and it doesn't just hit students sometimes). Following Spring break comes the AP exams, homestretch for scheduling, final exams, graduation stress, and honing the skills at the lower levels to make sure students are ready in the Fall. Also during these next weeks are the State assessments which are always at the center of controversy. I have made no secret that I encourage all parents to have their students participate in these assessments. The State has done a lot to adjust the tests and make them much more student centered and information rich. Our students are prepared to be successful, let's be the State leader in increased participation rate so our children can show everyone just what they are capable of!! The most important part of The Grind though is attendance. We all need to be here, as much as possible (staff and students). As I mentioned, the most growth in students can occur during the next several weeks, simply because of consistency, frequency, and perseverance. Encourage your children/students to be present so that they can reap the benefits of our talented staff. Together, we can survive The Grind. 

Kindergarten Registration 

Kindergarten registration for the 2017-2018 school year will be held this week, Monday, February 27th through Friday, March 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. All Kindergarten registrations (except the evening event) will take place at your child’s home school, which is determined by your address. For questions about which school your child will attend, please call Central Registrar Office at 338-6569. All Pre-Kindergarten registrations (both for 3 and 4 year olds) will take place at Clough Early Childhood Programs, 409 Bell Rd. (other side of district office bldg.) On Wednesday, March 1st, the district will be holding a late afternoon/evening registration event for all locations from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Clough School Early Childhood entrance, 409 Bell Road, Rome, NY. The following must be provided at the time of registration: Original Birth Certificate (Your child must be 5 on or before December 1, 2017 for Kindergarten, turning 4 on or before 12/1/17 for UPK-4 and turning 3 on or before 12/1/17 for UPK-3), record of current immunizations, and proof of residency (rent receipt or lease, recent National Grid or phone bill, etc.)

School Messenger Text Messages

For anyone that is interested in receiving text message updates from the school district, similar to receiving a phone call delays/closings, simply text the message 'Y' or "Yes" to 67587. The district continues to look for ways to minimize mailings and utilize digital technologies. We are hopeful that with the roll out of the new website later this year, we can be more interactive to provide information to the community in a timely fashion. More information about texting service is available on our website at  

SMART Schools Bond Act

In the coming weeks, we will be re-holding a public hearing for the SMART Schools Bond application of the district. You may recall, last year the district developed a plan to utilize the grant money from the state ($6.2 million) to upgrade technology systems and implement a 1:1 computing program from grades 5-12. One concern with the previously approved Board plan was that the district was responsible for putting the money down to complete the project, then be reimbursed. This would've meant a $6.2 million purchase from this year's budget, which was not sustainable. Our new plan is to upgrade our technology infrastructure for roughly $1.5 million and then utilize the reimbursement to sustain the remaining upgrades over subsequent years. The goal is still the same, a 1:1 computing program for students in grades 5-12, just a different pathway to obtaining that goal. In order to move forward though, we will need to have a public hearing, comment period, and Board of Education approval. This process will begin in the next few weeks, please stay tuned.