Sunday, November 26, 2017

Feel vs. Real

The other week, a colleague sent me an amazing article from a current researcher, Tim Elmore, who specializes in raising our next generation of children. The article is about parenting and being adults relative to today's society and what is real vs. what we feel. In a complete sense of irony, the research he has conducted demonstrates that the world is safer than ever for our children, yet our parenting style has become increasingly protective. The research show that child mortality is down nearly 50% and missing children are down 40% since the 1980's, however adults worry more than ever about their children. This concept of feel vs. real is the reason. Negative news spreads much faster today than positive news, and often times we are so flooded with all the bad that is happening, it makes us feel like our environment is unsafe. As parents, we spend more time than ever doing things for our children, making decisions for them, that the research is starting to show that we may be the problem relative to childhood anxiety and other issues. We spend so much time worried about what WE feel that we are ignoring what our children want and need (reality). In the article, Mr. Elmore recommends some of the same things that we have heard before, but many do not heed the notice. He recommends making more connections with our kids by giving them choices about what they want to do, get the viewpoint of the child or the involve them in the decision making process. This advice is not earth shattering as we've heard it before, but it seems more important than ever in today's society. Our over-exaggerated need for safety is leading to a generation of people who don't know how to communicate in person with each other, want to lead sheltered lives in their homes, less attention span, and many other negatives. We need stop saying the phrase, "back in the day, ..." and start living the phrase, "back in the day, ...". If we truly want what's best for our children, we need to be more cognizant of what is real rather than what we feel. To read the entire article and to learn more about Tim Elmore's research, please follow this link: https://growingleaders.com/blog

Dialogue Event


On Monday, November 27, we will be hosting our first Dialogue with the Superintendent event at RFA from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Library. Following last year's tour through the District to provide families an opportunity to chat informally and get questions answered, we will be continuing the practice this year, however in fewer locations. The event is intended to provide families an opportunity to ask questions through the submission of a question card and elicit an on the spot response. All questions are anonymous. For more information or if you have questions, please contact the District office.



Breakfast with Santa


On Sunday, December 3, the RFA Travel Club will be hosting a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser from 8:00 am to 11:00 am at the RFA cafeteria. Tickets for the event are $6.00 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. Children ages 5 and under eat free and all proceeds benefit the Travel Club and their upcoming trip this Spring. We look forward to seeing you for a great pancake breakfast on December 3!


Closing/Delay Reminders


Poor weather and/or other conditions occasionally necessitate the closing of schools. In the event of an emergency closing, parent/guardians and students are notified by means of announcements on local radio, television stations, automated phone calling system, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and the District website. The decision to close is based upon several criteria – wind speed in combination with temperature, present and predicted precipitation, and overall road conditions. Also keep in mind that Rome is a city of 72 square miles and overall road conditions might not be the same in one part of the city as in other areas. Announcement of school/closings are made through the news media and automated phone calling system, generally beginning at 5:45 a.m. In some instances, it may be necessary to make announcements as late as 6:30 a.m. Since decisions on closing have to be made very early in the morning and weather conditions sometimes change drastically before students actually begin traveling to school, the ultimate decision on safety of travel conditions for students rests with the parents/guardian. For more information, please visit our website  at http://romecsd.org

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Time For Thanks...

It's becoming cliche to say, "I can't believe how fast the year is going" or "I can't believe it's ...."; but, it is hard to believe that we are approaching the end of November already. With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it is time to reflect and say thank you for everything that we are afforded in life. Regardless of your situation, there is plenty to be thankful for and each different individual has their unique perspective on the world based on the lens that they live through. Whether it be family, friends, your job, your opportunities, talents, possessions, or your character; be thankful. These characteristics are what allow us to be thankful for other elements of our lives and certainly to be thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy life. Beyond the soft stuff, I am thankful for the Rome family. The entire community, and specifically the educational community, is the most giving and caring community for children that I have had the honor to be a part of. I have said it frequently and will continue to say it because it is special. Our children are fortunate to attend schools where the adults in the buildings care just as much about their personal growth and opportunities, as they do about their academics. As all of us are, I am fortunate to work for a group of people who want to be the best community in the State, and are willing to roll up their sleeves to achieve the honor. So at this time to give thanks, I am thankful for each of you. Staff, students, and families alike; thank you for the outstanding opportunity to work with you each and every day. Regardless of the issues, headaches, or stresses; there isn't another job or another community that I would prefer to be on this journey with as we climb to the top! Enjoy the holiday everyone!! 

Closing/Delay Information


Poor weather and/or other conditions occasionally necessitate the closing of schools. In the event of an emergency closing, parent/guardians and students are notified by means of announcements on local radio, television stations, automated phone calling system, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and the District website. The decision to close is based upon several criteria – wind speed in combination with temperature, present and predicted precipitation, and overall road conditions. Also keep in mind that Rome is a city of 72 square miles and overall road conditions might not be the same in one part of the city as in other areas. Announcement of school/closings are made through the news media and automated phone calling system, generally beginning at 5:45 a.m. In some instances, it may be necessary to make announcements as late as 6:30 a.m. Since decisions on closing have to be made very early in the morning and weather conditions sometimes change drastically before students actually begin traveling to school, the ultimate decision on safety of travel conditions for students rests with the parents/guardian. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.romecsd.org


LEGO Robotics


On Thursday, November 2, 2017, Front of the Class, the Rome Community Foundation and the Air Force Research Lab presented 18 LEGO Boost Robotics kits to the Rome City School District at the district offices on Bell Road. The kits were presented to the district by Jeff DeMatteis from the Air Force Research Lab and Bill McCormick, the President of Front of the Class. LEGO Boost robotics kits are designed for kids from 7 to 12 years of age and allow kids to build five different robots. The kits are designed so that kids can write code through smart phones or tablets to program the various robots to perform actions. The effort was coordinated through Front of the Class and was funded by grants from the Rome Community Foundation, the Griffiss Institute and Front of the Class’ Matching Fund. Front of the Class is a Rome based educational charity that has a number of programs that help students, teachers and schools. On behalf of all of the children and staff of the Rome City School District, thank you to both Front of the Class and to Griffiss Institute for your continued support of enhancing our educational learning experiences in our community.


Concert Season


Now through the end of January marks the winter concert season for the Rome City School District. Each of our schools will have the opportunity to showcase their musical talents to our communities through various performances, both vocal and instrumental. Our children have been working very hard over the past 3 months to prepare for these performances and they are sure to be a highlight of the winter season! For more information, please visit our website at http://www.romecsd.org/



Dialogue Event


On Monday, November 27, we will be hosting our first Dialogue with the Superintendent event at RFA from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Library. Following last year's tour through the District to provide families an opportunity to chat informally and get questions answered, we will be continuing the practice this year, however in fewer locations. The event is intended to provide families an opportunity to ask questions through the submission of a question card and elicit an on the spot response. All questions are anonymous. For more information or if you have questions, please contact the District office.







Sunday, November 12, 2017

Teach Not Tech...

In the fast-paced world of technology innovation, it is becoming more and more prevalent to find an abundance of technology in schools everywhere. As the cost of devices decreases, technology is becoming more and more accessible to school systems. On top of that, it won't be much longer before almost every elementary aged student owns their own device of some kind and is more fluent with technology than their adult acquaintances. The tech generation is upon us, so now what? I have been spending a lot of time researching and watching school districts that have implemented technology into their mainstream to get a better understanding of where we need to go. Almost every school that struggles is struggling for one reason: they dropped the 'A'. The word 'tech' is essentially the most important word in our world, minus the 'A'. Due to the technology influx, people are forgetting to teach. Technology itself is a tool, it's not a program. It can't replace the value of teaching. In it's very essence, technology to learning is no different than the pencil, encyclopedia, or the field trip. Technology is merely a tool with which we use to teach our children the topics and concepts they need to know. The problem is that it is the most powerful and all encompassing tool that we have ever seen. I say frequently that this is not something that we can ignore and hope goes away, it's only going to become more prevalent in the mainstream public. It's our responsibility in education to get in front of things and learn how to harness the power of technology to support our learners. We all know that each individual is unique and we all have different learning mechanisms. Technology can help us truly deliver a differentiated learning model, but we need to embrace it, explore, and utilize it as a tool. As long as our schools can remember that TEACHING while using tech is the way of the future, our children are in great hands.

Thank You School Psychologists


This week, November 13-17, is School Psychology Awareness Week (SPAW). Promoted by the National Association of School Psychologists, the 2017 theme is Power Up! Be a Positive Charge. Their goal is to highlight how taking a small positive action creates connections that lead to positive change, builds greater successes and develops the academic and social–emotional skills students need to promote personal achievement, growth, and resilience, as well as a sense of belonging and well-being. Without the wonderful school psychologists we have in working in Rome, this concept would not be possible. Every day, our psychologists are helping students, staff, and families to power up and grow. Thank you to school psychologists everywhere for everything that you do, but most importantly to the psychologists of the Rome City School District for making our community a better place!


Genesis Awards


Each year, the Genesis Group awards local educators and educational programs that are making a difference in the lives of others in the Mohawk Valley. Over the past several years, many educators have been recognized for their contributions to their students. In 2017, the Rome City School District is fortunate to have four recipients of the Genesis Award for Education out of the many nominations throughout our region. Samantha Sabia, from Bellamy, Christine Scharf, from RFA, Hillside Youth Work Scholarship, educational partner at RFA, and the New York State Mentoring Program, have all been named recipients of the 2017 Genesis Award. Congratulations to all and thank you for working every day to make the lives of our children better!


Dialogue Event


On Monday, November 27, we will be hosting our first Dialogue with the Superintendent event at RFA from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Library. Following last year's tour through the District to provide families an opportunity to chat informally and get questions answered, we will be continuing the practice this year, however in fewer locations. The event is intended to provide families an opportunity to ask questions through the submission of a question card and elicit an on the spot response. All questions are anonymous. For more information or if you have questions, please contact the District office.


Lions Club Craft Fair


On Saturday, November 18, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. the Rome Lions Club will be hosting a craft fair at the New York State School for the Deaf, located at 401 Turin Street, Rome, NY 13440. Along with plenty of vendors and crafters, the event will include a chicken barbecue and a chili cook-off. Stop on by to kick off the holiday season! For more information, please contact the Rome Lions Club.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thank You Veterans...

This upcoming weekend is one of the most under appreciated days of recognition in our country. Next Saturday our nation recognizes Veteran's Day for all of our women and men who have dedicated their service to our country in one way, shape, or form. As we all know, not ever individual is cut out to do everything; and there are certain things that individuals simply cannot do that others can. That is a fact of life. Having the fortitude, mental stamina, and courage to serve in our nation's military is one of life's paths that not everyone can follow. The women and men of our military forces are constantly in harms way to provide security for the rest of us. They perform their duties courageously knowing that the ultimate sacrifice is always a possibility. One of the most inspiring features that I have grown to admire of the veterans that I know is the humbleness with which they live their lives. Walking down the street every day are thousands of veterans who bring the qualities of dedication, perseverance, grit, pride, and service to the rest of us. All of our veterans deserve much more than one day of recognition as the lessons that they bring to the table are significant, if we are willing to listen. While we approach this Veteran's Day, please take time to reflect on the lessons that our military veterans have taught us and make sure you thank our veterans as you see them. Your service has provided the rest of us with freedom, and for that we are eternally grateful. Thank you veterans!! 

United Way Campaign


The United Way of Rome and Western Oneida County is currently running their annual pledge drive. The United Way serves many of our children and families through resources and supports that they otherwise would not have access to. Individuals who chose to support the United Way can designate their gift to be allocated directly to any one of the agencies that the United Way supports, or can make a general donation. Payroll deduction is also a simple option to providing support to our community partners. Last year, Rome employees donated just over $4,000. Let's help make this year's campaign the largest ever for the Rome City School District. If you are interested in supporting the United Way, please contact your union representative or myself. 


Ridge Mills Craft Fair



On Saturday, November 11, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., the Ridge Mills PTG will be hosting a craft fair at Ridge Mills Elementary. Catch some holiday spirit and do some holiday shopping at the one and only Ridge Mills Craft Fair! There will be over seventy crafters and vendors, plenty of parking and refreshments for sale in the cafeteria! For more information, please contact the school.


Kiwanis Craft Fair


On Saturday, November 11, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday, November 12, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., the Lake Delta Kiwanis club will be hosting their annual craft fair at Rome Free Academy. There will be over 85 crafters and vendors present with raffles and a bake sale as well. The Rome Police Department will also be doing child ID's for any family that desires this service. For more information, please contact the Lake Delta Kiwanis club.


Lions Club Craft Fair


On Saturday, November 18, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. the Rome Lions Club will be hosting a craft fair at the New York State School for the Deaf, located at 401 Turin Street, Rome, NY 13440. Along with plenty of vendors and crafters, the event will include a chicken barbecue and a chili cook-off. Stop on by to kick off the holiday season! For more information, please contact the Rome Lions Club.