Sunday, December 16, 2018

Enough Already...

Two of education's predominant phrases for why students should be doing what they are doing in schools are: "It worked for me" and "because I said so". Obviously, if you read this regularly, you know that I am not a fan of either phrase as I encourage our staff and students to challenge the status quo every day. More importantly, in the wake of our regions second high school tragedy within the past month; I am really concerned about when we are going to become an institution of acceptance rather than an institution of compliance? A current topic that is all the rage is bullying. Over the past several years, our society as a whole has made an attempt to diminish and rid itself of bullying. 40, 50, 60 years ago; bullying was an accepted part of society and no one questioned it. It was a normal "rite of passage" in most communities throughout the world. The civil rights movement is another example. It should not require the murder of great civic leaders or teen suicide rates on the rise for the rest of the community to recognize that it's time to live in an age of acceptance, rather than compliance. Public education was developed over 100 years ago in a very compliance rich society and in an extremely compliance rich way. I would also argue that public education is the one profession that most closely resembles what it looked like 100 years ago, despite our standards being completely different, knowledge base being expanded, technology flourishing, and society shifting drastically. Have you ever thought to ask yourself if the way we used to do things was really the right way? Certainly, the way things were done in the past were not the best; hence the concept of evolution. Being better does not mean that the past was bad; it simply means it can be improved, evolved. The problem is not the kids. The problem is all of us adults that refuse to see that the world has changed around us and that the world our children ARE living in and WILL grow up in, is not the world that we knew. It most likely is not the world that we would prefer for our children either. However, attempting to make the world and society into something that once was 30 years ago is not the answer. The answer is acceptance. Accepting that society has evolved and we need work within that society is crucial. Even when adults use social media in an attempt to connect with our youth, the large majority of it has become sharing negative thoughts and feelings about topics and others (in essence, bullying). If we as adults can't learn to be the role models our kids need; we are dooming them to a lifetime of solitude. Our children need us to accept them for who they are and what THEY want out of life. So, if you can give only one gift this holiday season; I would ask that you give the gift of effort. Give the effort to try and understand someone, a lifestyle, a group, an activity; anything that you normally wouldn't agree with it. Accepting is not agreeing. Accepting is understanding that those that are different than ourselves have the right to live their life the way that they want to live it. Acceptance is understanding differences are normal and respecting differences without prejudice, hate, or violence. Our children need us more than ever as our whole society has evolved into a world where people are encouraged to question the norm, ask 'why' something is the way that it is, and told to change the world. We need to accept that our kids are going to someday, run our society. It's time we listen to their needs and attempt to understand what they are telling us. It may not make sense at first, but forced compliance only hurts our children. It's enough already. Time for compliance to become extinct, and the age of acceptance to be born!

RTA/RAE Holiday Drive

Through the Community Schools Initiative, the Rome Teacher's Association and the Rome Alliance for Education have partnered together to assist in making the holidays a bit brighter for our families in need. RAE has joined Operation Sunshine, the majority of families that are in need of assistance are assisted by the Salvation Army, as well as, Catholic Charities in the Rome area. However, every year families may miss the registration dates or are at the "last minute" finding themselves not prepared.  The RAE has agreed to come into the mix as a safety net, providing any families that are not being assisted by those two agencies (or other sources) to be assisted by our school community. Items of need include:
  • Gifts for ANY ages - toys - games - arts and crafts - big or small
  • Food - no perishable food - think breakfast cereals - can goods - snack items
  • Hygiene products - this may be shampoos - soap - toothbrushes - tooth paste - deodorants - feminine hygiene products - diapers
  • OR a financial donation - if this is just simple for you - it also works for RAE! They can purchase at a much lower rate with our partners for these goods, if you would like to write a check, make it out to Rome Alliance for Education, if you need a tax deductible receipt, RAE can provide that as well. 
If you have any questions, concerns or would like to help with distribution/organization of items; please feel free to email RAE Director Melissa Roys at: MelissaRoys@RomeCommunitySchools.com

Thank You Rotary

This week, the Rome Rotary and the RFA Rotary Interact Club sponsored their annual Christmas celebration for elementary students. Complete with lunch, stories, caroling, crafts, and a gift bag; the Rotary truly demonstrates the spirit of the holiday season for our children. The experience is truly a wonderful one for both our elementary students and RFA students who participate. Thank you to the Rotary of Rome, as well as, to the students in the Rotary Interact Club for your time and generosity this week!



Rising Stars 

Rising Stars is a fun learning experience that teaches stage and life skills through games, activities, individual coaching, and actual performances on the Capitol Stage. The program focuses on developing the students' own creativity, building self-confidence, improving reading comprehension and speaking ability, accepting responsibility, and teamwork. Students will learn stage movement, character development, how to audition, and a whole lot more! Skills developed will better prepare students to compete for roles in school plays and other local stage productions, as well as interacting with confidence during pageants, interviews for college or jobs, and in everyday dealings with teachers and peers. For the first time this winter, there are two options: the regular sessions and the advanced classes. For more information on either class, please see their flier on our peachjar: ADVANCED CLASSES or REGULAR CLASSES






Sunday, December 9, 2018

More Than a Facelift...

By now, you may know that the District has recently released some information about an upcoming Capital Project referendum. You may also recall that for the past few years, we have been working on determining the best way to correct some of the structural issues at Rome Free Academy. During the two years of developing some ideas (as well as making sure needed work such as the roof at RFA, flashings that were omitted from the original build, electrical issues in the auditorium, and underutilized spaces due to changes in education over the years gets addressed); we have successfully hired a new architect, hired a construction management firm to help manage the project, and begun to work collaboratively to develop an educational and project plan that is both innovative and cost effective. Staley is our last elementary school to be renovated, and unfortunately, it needs more than a renovation. The building rests in a federal flood plain and as you know from the fall, it is completely saturated with water from years of flooding. The interior walls of the building do not meet current building codes (which could be why the District hasn't given the building a full renovation in 60 years). In order to do any work inside the building, the entire building would have to taken down and rebuilt. To rebuild on the current site, it could require the District to raise the entire property by 5 feet (so it is no longer in a flood plain) and then build the school. Other Districts in New York that have had to do this recently have spent roughly $75 million on a similar project. Since that amount is not even reasonable for us, our proposal: Build a new elementary school on the site of the former Rome Free Academy (Turin Road). A new building on this location could incorporate the existing structure which already has the most un-aidable spaces in any school (gymnasiums and cafeteria). This would all be contingent on the aid-ability that would be approved by the State Education Department and with their agreement that Staley is not worth the investment, in it's current location. 

Moving the elementary school would also require a new approach for our athletic facilities. Currently, the stadium complex where it is located is not an aid-able facility because it is not connected to a school and utilized for instruction. Therefor, any improvements made to the Turin Road site could require 100% funding by taxpayers or the general fund; if the State Education Department is not willing to provide any support. We know that the turf and track need to be replaced, and the stadium itself is reaching the end of it's useful life. During our last building condition survey two years ago, our former architect noted that the physical structure itself was failing and was in need of either demolition and rebuilding, our jacking up and reinforcement. Our proposal: Build a brand new, state of the art, athletic facility/FABLAB at Rome Free Academy. This facility would include a new stadium (football, soccer, field hockey), new baseball stadium, new softball complex, refurbished tennis courts with lights, an athletic office facility with new RFA Hall of Fame, and an indoor field house for athletics and drone engineering. The project would also include increased parking at RFA. Again, the entire proposal is contingent upon SED approval and aid-ability. There is a lot to determine before knowing for certain what can happen.

While we don't know if the State Education Department will approve our thoughts, or if it is something that will fit within our allowances; we have begun the work to improve our two facilities in most need. To date, we have had preliminary meetings with SED and hope to meet face to face in the next two weeks so that we can work our the financial elements on our end. We will have a completed scope of work for the public before the end of January (which may be very different than these proposals depending on SED and affordability). Once we have that information, we will also begin the public hearing phase and provide continued updates so that we are all aware of what the project entails and will cost. 

To view renderings of our ideas, and to see the slides from this week's Board of Education meeting, please click the link below:


Scholar Athletes/Teams

Congratulations to all of our Fall sport scholar athletes and teams! The NYSPHSAA has released the list of scholar athletes and teams for the Fall 2018 season. Our Scholar Teams for the Fall 2018 season include: Girls Varsity Field Hockey coached by Mackenzie Welker, Girls Varsity Cross Country coached by Ty Knamm, Boys Varsity Cross Country coached by Nicholas Jeror, Girls Varsity Soccer coached by Bill Tagliaferri, Boys Varsity Soccer coached by Chad Reese, Girls Gymnastics coached by Kevin Perrone, Girls Swimming coached by Michelle Browne, and Girls Varsity Tennis coached by Peter Smith. In total, across all sports, we had 120 students achieve the Scholar Athlete distinction. Individual awards are given to any student who has a cumulative GPA of 90 or higher; while team awards are given to teams that have 75% of the roster achieving a GPA of 90 or better. 

Wreaths Across America

The Rome City School District and Rome Free Academy have received the honor of being asked to host a Wreaths Across America transfer event at RFA on Monday, December 10th beginning at 3:30 p.m. Wreaths Across America is a national event where donations of wreaths are made and laid at Arlington National Cemetery (as well as many other cemeteries nationwide) for our fallen soldiers of conflicts dating back to the Revolutionary War. This particular exchange event is sponsored by Walmart as they have four truckloads of wreaths traveling the country on their way to Arlington, Virginia. The event at RFA will honor local veterans and involve our own RFA JROTC unit. We are grateful that Walmart has requested RFA as a location to perform the truck exchange so that our students and community can be a part of an amazing event. Please feel free to stop by! For more information, please see the flier HERE.


Painting Class Fundraiser 

On Friday, December 14th, the RFA Junior Class is hosting a painting class fundraising event in conjunction with Kts Art and Design of Rome, NY. From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. you will have the experience of creating a masterpiece that you didn't know you were capable of creating. Reservations are required and the donation is $45 per painter. For more information, including information on how to register, please see the image below. 


Best Tech Practices

In advance of Education Law 2-d, the Rome City School District has been one of the first Districts in the state to appoint an information security analyst to help in protecting our networks and data. As part of this process, our information technology department has begun to help educate folks on things related to technology and the cyber world that could be common occurrences or mistakes that people make online. This month, their first tidbits are related to malicious email issues that are some of the most common methods that hackers use to gain access to your information. During the holiday season, malicious email activity spikes. In an effort to help you stay informed, please see this brief information page on what to be looking for as it relates to malicious emails.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

It Can Be Done...

This week, I read one of the more inspiring stories involving a child that I have read in recent months. The story involves basketball icon Steph Curry and a 9 year old California girl who used the power of social media in a positive manner. For those that haven't seen/heard of this yet, the story can be found here, but the lowdown is that the young girl wrote a letter to Steph Curry; simply asking why his new shoes weren't available on the Under Armour website for girls. What happened from there, you can most likely figure it out. The amazing thing is that a 9 year old was able to take to Twitter in a positive way to simply advocate for young girls everywhere and make a simple request to a powerful person that she had never met or spoken to. The outcome was positive for everyone, including those just using social media to stay in touch. In a society where most adults use social media to bash others, criticize, and put people down without maybe knowing them or without having details; a 9 year old was able to understand social media and use it correctly to benefit many. The old concept of getting more with honey than vinegar, is alive and well in California. Social media, as evidenced by this simple story (and there are many more occurrences of positive social media than just this one), can be an amazing tool for children and adults alike to work together for positive change and support of each other. Many feel that social media has simply become an arena for bullying and negativity, which causes many not to use it. However, it can be utilized in a positive manner and we simply have to want it to be used that way. Rather than taking to social media to complain, criticize, and bash Steph Curry and Under Armour; this young lady chose to ask why the shoes weren't available and asked for the basketball star to talk to the company about making them available on the girls' section of the website. The result was a multi-BILLION dollar company making an adjustment to their sales pages within minutes. Beyond just that, the collaboration and learning that took place far outweighs the simple fact that a young girl made a difference. It can be done people... we just need to choose to want social media to be a positive tool rather than a cesspool of hate and intolerance. Follow her lead, and it can be done.

Strough Holiday Craft Bazaar

On Saturday, December 8th, Strough Middle School will be hosting the Strough Holiday Craft Bazaar from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the school. It's a great opportunity to get some homemade holiday trinkets for either yourself, or as gifts for family and friends. For more information, please see their flier HERE. We hope to see you there!!


Breakfast with Santa

On Sunday, December 9th, the RFA Travel Club will be hosting a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the RFA cafeteria. Tickets for the event are $6.00 and can be purchased at the door. Children ages 5 and under eat free and all proceeds benefit the Travel Club and their upcoming trip this Spring. For more information, click HERE and we look forward to seeing you for a great pancake breakfast on December 9th!


Painting Class Fundraiser 

On Friday, December 14th, the RFA Junior Class is hosting a painting class fundraising event in conjunction with Kts Art and Design of Rome, NY. From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. you will have the experience of creating a masterpiece that you didn't know you were capable of creating. Reservations are required and the donation is $45 per painter. For more information, including information on how to register, please see the image below. 


Christmas in the City Event

Life Church of Rome, NY will be hosting their second annual Christmas in the City event this coming Friday and Saturday, December 7 and 8, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. each evening. The event will be held at the former NYS Armory, located at 1110 Black River Blvd. During the event there will be an interactive Christmas village, live caroling, local artisans, food trucks, treats, and live animals. Christmas in the City is a FREE event and for more information, please visit their website at www.lifechurchny.com/christmas


Wreaths Across America

The Rome City School District and Rome Free Academy have received the honor of being asked to host a Wreaths Across America transfer event at RFA on Monday, December 10th beginning at 3:30 p.m. Wreaths Across America is a national event where donations of wreaths are made and laid at Arlington National Cemetery (as well as many other cemeteries nationwide) for our fallen soldiers of conflicts dating back to the Revolutionary War. This particular exchange event is sponsored by Walmart as they have four truckloads of wreaths traveling the country on their way to Arlington, Virginia. The event at RFA will honor local veterans and involve our own RFA JROTC unit. We are grateful that Walmart has requested RFA as a location to perform the truck exchange so that our students and community can be a part of an amazing event. Please feel free to stop by! For more information, please see the flier HERE.


RFA Class Holiday Window Competition

In conjunction with our local JCP, who is a tremendous supporter of our local education, families, and students; each of the individual RFA cohorts has decorated a holiday window display at the local JCP as a fundraising event. The window paintings will be on display throughout the holiday season and you can vote for your favorite window in the store. The winning class will receive a $200 donation from JCP. Thank you to JCP for sponsoring such a fun event which brings the school and community together during the holiday season.  Students from each class volunteered their time and creative ability to design the best windows for Rome, so make sure to get out and vote for your favorite!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

What About...

Has anyone else out in the cyber universe noticed how increasingly violent and combative 'Black Friday' has become? I generally enjoy visiting various stores following the Thanksgiving holiday in search of various bargains, but each and ever year we are hearing reports of violence in stores as shoppers attempt to race against time to get an item before another. In some cases, the violence has nothing to do with sales or shopping at all. It isn't exactly the perfect picture of the unofficial start of the holiday season. The holiday season is supposed to be about kindness, sharing, giving, family, friends, etc. Certainly shopping for others is a part of giving, but the concept of kindness is lost on Black Friday as people are literally willing to push and shove their way through crowds to get what they want. What at one point in time was a very enjoyable, seasonable thing to do (shop for others for the holidays), is turning into something dangerous and selfish. The commercialization of all of our holidays has caused many in society to be blind to our fellow citizens that are truly in need. Each and every year, we hear more and more stories of our charitable organizations experiencing a shortfall in products/funds to support those that are in need. People all throughout our country need our help in some way, shape, or form. It can be minimal in nature. It can be as simple as carrying some bags for someone or cleaning off a car for someone else in a snow storm. What would happen if everyone that was shopping on Black Friday donated just 10% of their savings from the sales that they found to a local charity that supports families in need? What if instead of Black Friday or a week of shopping, our society had a week of supporting others as a tradition? What if our children attended field trips to food pantries and community service organizations rather than amusement parks, movies, and arts events? The problem is that so many of us are not exposed to the concept of giving and supporting others, that we don't even realize that there is a problem. The American way is to believe that someone else is always the problem and someone else will fix it. It's time that we as a community turn back the clock to a time where people cared about each other more than they cared about stuff. What about a national day of kindness and giving? I wonder what that would look like? Someday, we will get there, because if not, our entire way of life and society is in jeopardy.

LGBTQ Youth Opportunities 

One of our local organizations, OOAK Showcase, has recently opened up a new art exhibit entitled AWAKEN to benefit a local advocacy center, the Q Center. In light of the recent tragedy in Waterville, it's more important than ever that our children, all of our children, have an outlet and the ability to be heard. Combined with the art exhibit, OOAK will also be hosting an event on Thursday, November 29 entitled Book Talk, and another one entitled Spoken Word on Friday, November 30. For more information about these events, please visit the following links:
Thank you to the OOAK Showcase for the constant and continued support of our students and families. 

RFA Class Holiday Window Competition

In conjunction with our local JCP, who is a tremendous supporter of our local education, families, and students; each of the individual RFA cohorts has decorated a holiday window display at the local JCP as a fundraising event. The window paintings will be on display throughout the holiday season and you can vote for your favorite window in the store. The winning class will receive a $200 donation from JCP. Thank you to JCP for sponsoring such a fun event which brings the school and community together during the holiday season.  Students from each class volunteered their time and creative ability to design the best windows for Rome, so make sure to get out and vote for your favorite!


Concert Season

The winter concert season is upon us! Over the next 3 weeks, you can catch a wonderful musical performance by one of our musical groups on almost any given day. With each school having at least one performance and the secondary schools having multiple performances, it truly is a great 3 week stretch of enjoying some music. For a complete list of our concert schedule, please visit our WEBSITE

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Two Little Words...


As we enter the beginning of the traditional American holiday season, many people lose sight of the many individuals in our country that do not celebrate our traditional holidays. Along with this, and maybe more concerning, is that many people lose sight of the meaning behind our traditional holidays. There are many negative connotations that are connected with Thanksgiving due to the manner in which early settlers imposed their way of life and ideals on Native Americans; but, what can not be debated is the meaning of the word Thanksgiving. It's one of few words that when broken down into simpler terms completely makes sense. "Thanks" and "Giving". In our society today, our youth are increasingly losing sight of these words. Beyond just our youth, many adults have also become entitled and feel empowered to be disrespectful and selfish. The concept of working hard to earn a living, or to say "thank you" when someone does something nice for you is diminished significantly over time. Think about it, how often do you see a random stranger doing something nice for someone in need just because? It may happen more at this time of year, but it should happen year round. Our country, and way of life, developed out of people from many cultures helping each other and giving of their own so that the society can thrive. Suddenly, we are thrust into a society where helping others is not mainstream and people from other cultures are considered outsiders. We have evolved into a society of entitlement where it is rare to hear the words, "thank you." Thinking of a recent heart warming story, one of our new (and younger) custodians was struggling to figure out why the principal would say "thank you" every day as she was leaving work. The young gentleman said, "I'm doing my job, you don't have to thank me," and was puzzled by the consistent kind gesture. The point is, sometimes the simple and kind gesture of saying "thank you" can let someone else know you appreciate the work they are doing. Saying "thank you" can be both a compliment and an action of giving, as the words make people feel good about what they are doing. In the end, we all need to work at "giving" more than receiving, and saying "thank you" more often. That being said, I would like to thank our entire school community for what they do for our youth each and every day. I hope that those of you that are celebrating Thanksgiving, have a wonderful holiday. Thank you... two little words that can mean more than you possibly know.

RFA Open Mic Night 

On Tuesday, November 20, the RFA junior class will be holding the annual Open Mic Night at the RFA auditorium. This annual fundraiser has become a November tradition at RFA and an evening to enjoy some of our best talent throughout the school. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the fee for entrance is $8.00 or $7.00 with a canned good donation. Start the holiday season right with some enjoyment at the Open Mic Night!!

RFA Class Holiday Window Competition

In conjunction with our local JCP, who is a tremendous supporter of our local education, families, and students; each of the individual RFA cohorts has decorated a holiday window display at the local JCP as a fundraising event. The window paintings will be on display throughout the holiday season and you can vote for your favorite window in the store. The winning class will receive a $200 donation from JCP. Thank you to JCP for sponsoring such a fun event which brings the school and community together during the holiday season.  Students from each class volunteered their time and creative ability to design the best windows for Rome, so make sure to get out and vote for your favorite!


Concert Season

The winter concert season is upon us! Over the next 3 weeks, you can catch a wonderful musical performance by one of our musical groups on almost any given day. With each school having at least one performance and the secondary schools having multiple performances, it truly is a great 3 week stretch of enjoying some music. For a complete list of our concert schedule, please visit our WEBSITE




Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thank You Vets...

As we honor our military veterans today, this time of year has become a symbol to our country of the many women and men that we need to remember, recognize, and embody on a daily basis. Each year, the number of Veteran's Day celebrations throughout our country/region grow; as does the length of time that the recognitions occur for. Without a doubt, organizations throughout our nation are recognizing our veterans beyond the designated day; and the reality is that we should all be honoring veterans each and every day. Beyond the sacrifice that they have made to serve our country throughout their lives, our military veterans and members bring with them an approach to society and life that we should try to emulate. Being in the military is not something that is for everyone. That generally is because the military requires sacrifice, discipline, service above self, teamwork, and trust in others. Ironically, these very qualities are many of the same issues we see with society today. If our entire community simply found a veteran that they could emulate, the world would be a different place. Having many veterans in my own family and many friends that have served in our military, I see first hand every day the type of person that our military veterans bring to our society. They are giving, caring, supporting, and kind. At any moment, a veteran would give something of their own so that a perfect stranger could benefit. Beyond the call of duty, our veterans are displaying personal traits that can improve all of our qualities of life as civilians, right in front of our eyes. The problem is, not enough of us are noticing. While serving our nation, they put their lives on the line to protect our way of life; and when they come home, they work to lead by example to improve our way of life. Emulating the lifestyle of service before self, caring, teamwork, trust, and the many other attributes that our military members possess will no doubt improve everyone's life. So, while we take a moment in time to say, "Thank You", to our veterans this week; let's also take a moment to be more like them each and every day. There is no better way to say thank you to an individual than to express gratitude through modeling. We know the answers. We have the leaders in our community. It's time to follow our veterans to a better life. Thank you all for all you have done and will continue to do in the future. Your approach to the world is an inspiration to us all. 


JROTC Basket Raffle

The Rome Free Academy Air Force JROTC will be holding their annual Basket Raffle on Sunday, November 18, in the RFA cafeteria. The JROTC Basket Raffle is one of their largest fundraisers for the year. The doors will open at 12:00 p.m. with bidding occurring from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. There are many door prizes and special drawings that also occur at the event. Complimentary appetizers and beverages will be served throughout the afternoon. Admission to the event is $5.

Coffee and Carols

On Wednesday, November 14, the RFA Chamber Orchestra and Select Choir will be presenting the first Coffee and Carols event in conjunction with Spressos. The event will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Spressos Coffeehouse and proceeds benefit both groups.Tickets are $8.00 (pre-sale) or $10.00 at the door. The menu for the event will be your choice of two homemade desserts, coffee or tea. What a great way to kick start the holiday season with some great music from our RFA musicians!!

RFA Open Mic Night 

On Tuesday, November 20, the RFA junior class will be holding the annual Open Mic Night at the RFA auditorium. This annual fundraiser has become a November tradition at RFA and an evening to enjoy some of our best talent throughout the school. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the fee for entrance is $8.00 or $7.00 with a canned good donation. Start the holiday season right with some enjoyment at the Open Mic Night!!

RFA Class Holiday Window Competition

In conjunction with our local JCP, who is a tremendous supporter of our local education, families, and students; each of the individual RFA cohorts has decorated a holiday window display at the local JCP as a fundraising event. The window paintings will be on display throughout the holiday season and you can vote for your favorite window in the store. The winning class will receive a $200 donation from JCP. Thank you to JCP for sponsoring such a fun event which brings the school and community together during the holiday season.  Students from each class volunteered their time and creative ability to design the best windows for Rome, so make sure to get out and vote for your favorite!


Parent Portal Information

As we come to the end of the first marking period and get ready to release the first report cards for the year, this is a reminder that we will be using Parent Portal to deliver the report cards for 2018-2019. In order to obtain your child's progress reports and report cards this year, you will need an account for parent portal. Once you log in, and a report has been published, you will easily be able to view these reports in your portal. If you do not already have an account, and would like to sign up for an account, please contact your child's school. For more information/assistance on using Parent Portal or the Rome City School District app, please visit the following website for video guides on both: Parent Portal / RCSD App Video Guides


STEM Career Exploration Events

This is a special opportunity to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)careers in CNY. Did you know that New York companies have more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) jobs than we can fill? And, the demand for new STEM graduates is twice the amount of non-STEM fields! Come join this exciting new program that will offer students the opportunity to explore various careers in STEM. Students, aged 12 and older, from any CNY School District, are invited to register. There is no cost for program – we want as many students as possible to be able to explore all that CNY has to offer in STEM careers! The format will consist of presentations, activities and discussions with STEM professionals. Event information is as follows:

November 1: SRC Inc. @ East Syracuse-Minoa H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

November 7: Aerospace Alliance @ Solvay H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

November 15: Marquardt Switches @ Stockbridge Valley H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


If you have any questions, please contact Joe Vargo at 448-1012 or joev@macny.org. To register for any of the events, please visit http://www.cnystem.com/careers/  

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Our Words Matter...

The phrase, "choose your worlds wisely," has been around for most likely since the beginning of time. While the phrase has historically been used in situations where someone's words may get them hurt, I am referring to the phrase while we are in the comfort or confines of our own homes and in public places. People may wonder why I care? The answer is simple: on an increasing basis, our youngest children are coming to school using language (in context) that is hurtful and inappropriate. The spike in use of foul language by students as young as 5 needs to be addressed by all of us. As you know, students spend minimal time each week in school, which is why it is important that our homes and community areas are free of language that young children shouldn't be using. Children learn more through the actions and behaviors in their lives than they do at school. While schools work to instruct students on standards and information that is mostly based in academia, many behaviors/actions are learned behaviors that come from places outside of the school and sometimes outside the home. While we all know that adults have the right to use inappropriate language when they are in adult situations, we have to work on getting back to a society where certain types of language are not acceptable in the main stream. Our children are growing up thinking that very hurtful and foul language is norm for our society. It is literally as easy as working to make sure that we as adults are not using language (or allowing our children to view shows/internet sites) that is littered with foul language. Our children can grow up in a society that is much more supportive and positive if we as adults simply work to help them understand that foul language is not a part of appropriate societal language. Our words do matter as our children are always learning and constantly trying to make their parents proud. It's inherent in the human species, so I ask you to please, choose your words wisely.

RFA Marching Band

CONGRATULATIONS to the RFA Marching Band! If you haven't heard by now, the RFA Marching Band won their first ever State Championship last weekend while competing at the Carrier Dome in the New York State Field Band Championships. The band has consistently been placing in the top 3 in recent years and was finally able to break through with a victory by 2 points over seven other schools. Congratulations to all of our students, staff, and volunteers that work with the band on this great achievement. RFA Pride!!

Parent Portal - Video Guide

As we come to the end of the first marking period and get ready to release the first report cards for the year, this is a reminder that we will be using Parent Portal to deliver the report cards for 2018-2019. In order to obtain your child's progress reports and report cards this year, you will need an account for parent portal. Once you log in, and a report has been published, you will easily be able to view these reports in your portal. If you do not already have an account, and would like to sign up for an account, please contact your child's school. For more information/assistance on using Parent Portal or the Rome City School District app, please visit the following website for video guides on both: Parent Portal / RCSD App Video Guides

Ridge Mills Craft Fair

On Saturday, November 10th, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., the Ridge Mills PTG will be hosting their annual craft fair at Ridge Mills Elementary School. 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.

STEM Career Exploration Events

This is a special opportunity to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)careers in CNY. Did you know that New York companies have more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) jobs than we can fill? And, the demand for new STEM graduates is twice the amount of non-STEM fields! Come join this exciting new program that will offer students the opportunity to explore various careers in STEM. Students, aged 12 and older, from any CNY School District, are invited to register. There is no cost for program – we want as many students as possible to be able to explore all that CNY has to offer in STEM careers! The format will consist of presentations, activities and discussions with STEM professionals. Event information is as follows:




November 1: SRC Inc. @ East Syracuse-Minoa H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

November 7: Aerospace Alliance @ Solvay H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

November 15: Marquardt Switches @ Stockbridge Valley H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


If you have any questions, please contact Joe Vargo at 448-1012 or joev@macny.org. To register for any of the events, please visit http://www.cnystem.com/careers/  

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Maybe They Can...

As the conference season winds down this weekend (for some reason the major organizations in NY like to do their conferences within weeks of each other in September and October every year), I find myself wondering every year why the most used excuse for stalling something new is, "the kids can't do that" or "the kids can't handle that." And it's not teachers that carry the burden of this excuse. It is administrators, parents, vendors, KIDS, and teachers; all together. Through many workshops and discussions at these events, you hear the excuse repeatedly from people questioning presenters on their progressive ideas. But what if we started everything new with "maybe they can." I could argue that most any progressive classroom that I have walked into during my entire educational career, the teacher often says, "I took a chance." I bring this up because how we know education and deliver education is on the cusp of a major overall. Not having enough desks for all of the students in a classroom? WHAT? How can that be?! Well, research shows that some kids prefer to sit on the floor while they read, learn, work. If that's what is best for that child, why are we not providing it. Education in the next 10 years should look very different than it has for the previous 100. But that can't happen if the adults in the world continuously use the phrase, "they can't." Children pick up on that language as well and it becomes something that holds them back and diminishes their self esteem. It's no secret that not every good idea in the history of time has flushed out to be an amazing new invention. Many ideas flop, and there are struggles. However, in life, we have to fail to learn to grow. Struggle leads to perseverance and grit. These are also words that researchers claim our new students do not enough of. Our children are growing up in a world that is so protective of making sure they don't struggle, that we are forgetting to teach them flexibility and adaptation. It is true that you don't have to struggle or fail to learn perseverance and grit. It can be done other ways in life. It could be learned simply if all of us adults would shift our mindset's to think more like a kid. To think like we did when we were 7 and jumping off the roof of the garage just because you wanted to be superman seemed like a good idea. Children think that they can do anything and that world of wonder is what we need to harness. We hold them back by thinking that kids can't do something. It's time to change the mindset and think, "maybe they can!"

Parent Portal - Video Guide

As we come to the end of the first marking period and get ready to release the first report cards for the year, this is a reminder that we will be using Parent Portal to deliver the report cards for 2018-2019. In order to obtain your child's progress reports and report cards this year, you will need an account for parent portal. Once you log in, and a report has been published, you will easily be able to view these reports in your portal. If you do not already have an account, and would like to sign up for an account, please contact your child's school. For more information/assistance on using Parent Portal or the Rome City School District app, please visit the following website for video guides on both: Parent Portal / RCSD App Video Guides

Genesis Award Winners

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 2018, the Rome City School District is fortunate to have two staff recipients of the Genesis Award for Education out of the many nominations throughout our region. Amanda Pacicca, from Bellamy and Thomas Gates, from Ridge Mills, have all been named recipients of the 2018 Excellence in EducationGenesis Award. Along with our fine individual recipients, the Rome Alliance for Education and the Rome Community Schools initiative were awarded in the Genesis Award in the group category. Congratulations to all and thank you for working every day to make the lives of our children better!


Ridge Mills Craft Fair

On Saturday, November 10th, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., the Ridge Mills PTG will be hosting their annual craft fair at Ridge Mills Elementary School. 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.

STEM Career Exploration Events

This is a special opportunity to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)careers in CNY. Did you know that New York companies have more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) jobs than we can fill? And, the demand for new STEM graduates is twice the amount of non-STEM fields! Come join this exciting new program that will offer students the opportunity to explore various careers in STEM. Students, aged 12 and older, from any CNY School District, are invited to register. There is no cost for program – we want as many students as possible to be able to explore all that CNY has to offer in STEM careers! The format will consist of presentations, activities and discussions with STEM professionals. Event information is as follows:




November 1: SRC Inc. @ East Syracuse-Minoa H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

November 7: Aerospace Alliance @ Solvay H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
November 15: Marquardt Switches @ Stockbridge Valley H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


If you have any questions, please contact Joe Vargo at 448-1012 or joev@macny.org. To register for any of the events, please visit http://www.cnystem.com/careers/  

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Champions Galore...

Congratulations to the Rome Free Academy Girl's Cross Country, Girl's Swimming, and Boy's Cross Country teams for bringing home their League Championships this weekend!! With the fall sports season winding down, RFA athletics are bringing a strong presence into the playoffs. Each of the three teams brought home their Championship in dramatic fashion this weekend and are poised to continue their run into Section 3 competition in the coming weeks. All three of these sports bring impressive championships because they require both a team concept, but also have the element of individual talents and successes that are needed from many for the team to succeed. Congrats to all of our athletes for making the Rome community proud. Beyond these three teams, our boy's soccer team fought valiantly in a 1-0 overtime loss to top seed Baldwinsville in the second round of sectional play while the girl's soccer team was defeated by CNS in the first round of their competition. The girl's field hockey team begins sectional competition this Tuesday. As our athletes move through sectional competition, thank you for representing Rome Free Academy and the Rome community in such a positive way. All of our student athletes are to be commended for the work they do on and off the field to continue to elevate not only the performance of our sports programs, but the reputation of RFA athletics. Good luck in the final weeks of competition everyone and then we are on to winter sports!


Halloween on the Green

Looking for a great way to celebrate Halloween with family and friends? Be sure to check out 'Halloween on the Green' on Friday, October 26th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event is being held right at City Hall. Admission is free and visitors can enjoy on outdoor movie on the green, trick or treat street, costume contests for children and adults, cider and donuts, face painting, and more. Stop by the green for some Halloween fun!!

Harvest Festival - First Annual

Life Church on Black River Blvd (across from Franklin Field) will be hosting their 1st Annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 27th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the Rome community and surrounding areas.  Free admission, horse rides, chili contest, pie contest, crafts for the young ones, vendors, food trucks, candy and much more.  A great event for the entire family! If you're looking for something fun to enjoy during the Halloween weekend, check out this great opportunity!!

STEM Career Exploration Events

This is a special opportunity to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)careers in CNY. Did you know that New York companies have more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) jobs than we can fill? And, the demand for new STEM graduates is twice the amount of non-STEM fields! Come join this exciting new program that will offer students the opportunity to explore various careers in STEM. Students, aged 12 and older, from any CNY School District, are invited to register. There is no cost for program – we want as many students as possible to be able to explore all that CNY has to offer in STEM careers! The format will consist of presentations, activities and discussions with STEM professionals. Event information is as follows:


November 1: SRC Inc. @ East Syracuse-Minoa H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
November 7: Aerospace Alliance @ Solvay H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
November 15: Marquardt Switches @ Stockbridge Valley H.S., 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


If you have any questions, please contact Joe Vargo at 448-1012 or joev@macny.org. To register for any of the events, please visit http://www.cnystem.com/careers/