Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Memorial Day...

On Memorial Day, we stop each year to remember and honor the military men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live the life that we are all so accustomed to. Memorial Day is filled with parades, bands, military memorabilia and honorees, picnics, barbecues, ice cream, fire works, and more. Across our country it is a day of remembrance and honor for people that most of us never knew, and never knew what the true fight was. Yet part of what makes the American people so great is their ability to band together in times of need and do the small things that make the world a better place; small things like say thank you to complete strangers. The women and men of our military are sacrificing their lives on a daily basis for a country that we all belong to. Without the amazing members of our military (past and present), we would not be able to live the life that we have come accustomed to enjoy over the decades. Beyond what they are doing to keep our country safe, our military friends bring with them a whole host of ideals, actions, and methods about life that we should be learning from. You don't have to be in the military to exemplify the ideals with which their foundation lies. Hard work, effort, help your brother or sister, support your colleagues regardless of all else, and respect for those around you are not hard concepts to understand. On any given day, we can learn from each other about to make our environments a better place, so that we can help make the world a better place. If we as civilians can find a way to make the world a better place, we are also helping make the world a safer place for our military. That is the least we can do to help support all of our friends and strangers that risk their lives each day to protect our freedoms. So, please take time this Memorial Day to thank all of those that you know and don't know in uniform. Thank our veterans who have given their time to help protect our country and way of life. Without all of these fine women and men of the military, we would not be having our parades, picnics, and fireworks. Thank you to all of our military (past and present) for everything you have done to provide our country with a way of life, and for passing on your lessons of respect, support, and camaraderie for all of us who serve the world in a different way. Happy Memorial Day all!!

Community Schools Carnival

On Saturday, June 2, 2018, the Rome Alliance for Education Community Schools Organization is hosting a community carnival and literacy fair at Bellamy School. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is free for the public. There will be several different activities for students to participate in and food will also be available. Finally, join us in the ribbon cutting of completing our first full year of partnership with community schools in Rome. To volunteer to participate or for more information on the event, please contact

2018-2019 Student Transfers

Each year, students and families at the elementary level request transfers to a different school due to childcare needs and family requirements. In the past, we have always asked everyone to complete a new transfer request form for the following year. In essence, we hit the reset button each summer with student enrollment and registration; essentially requiring everyone to jump through hoops again to get their students enrolled in a different school due to childcare reasons. The amount of time and resources that are expunged on the District end is also tremendous. That's why for 2018-2019, we will NOT be requiring families to submit a new request. For the first time, whatever school your student is attending in June 2018 is the school that we are going to enroll them in for the 2018-2019 school year. The only reason that any family would need to submit a transfer request for 2018-2019, would be if their child needed to attend a different school than where they currently attend.  

Voter Registration Event

On Tuesday, June 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Liberty Gardens, there will be a voter registration event to encourage more members of our community to become registered voters. During the event, you can register to vote, learn about where to vote, and review the voting process in general. Voter registration is open to any United States citizen who is 18 or turning 18, with no felony convictions. If you plan to attend to register, please know that you must provide a driver's license, social security card, or a New York State issued DMV number. For more questions about the event, please contact 315-798-5765.

Rising Stars Summer/Fall Registration

Rising Stars is a fun learning experience that teaches stage and life skills through games and 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. If you are interested in learning basic through advanced stage techniques, as well as life skills, Rising Stars may be for you!! For more information about the program and how to register, please visit their website at

Sunday, May 20, 2018

On Behalf Of...

On behalf of all of the students and staff at the Rome City School District, I want to thank you the Rome community for the successful passage of the 2018-2019 budget, including the energy proficiency contract. The support shown for the continued efforts of our staff is appreciated. We are very appreciative to have a community that values education and wants the best for their children. The district is dedicated to ensuring that our students are receiving the very best instruction possible with the most appropriate resources available for learning. With the middle school renovation coming to a close and the infusion of technology through the SMART Schools investment program, our schools are quickly becoming some of the most advanced in the region relative to technology. The EPC at RFA and Staley will help alleviate some of the issues that continue to arise in those buildings as we prepare for our next wave of renovation projects. The elementary programs continue to progress with our students doing more 1:1 technology integration at the k-6 level than many of our surrounding partners. Also, the emphasis on literacy, math, and soon to be 'play' at the elementary schools is making a noticeable impact on our children's growth. All of these efforts are made possible because of the support of our community. When you work in a community and environment that is support of children and growth, it makes the entire system better. We appreciate our community and once again, on behalf of our children and staff, THANK YOU for your support!!

Community Schools Carnival

On Saturday, June 2, 2018, the Rome Alliance for Education Community Schools Organization is hosting a community carnival and literacy fair at Bellamy School. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is free for the public. There will be several different activities for students to participate in and food will also be available. Finally, join us in the ribbon cutting of completing our first full year of partnership with community schools in Rome. To volunteer to participate or for more information on the event, please contact

YMCA Summer Camps

The Rome YMCA offers a summer day camp program for children ages Kindergarten through 12 years old (must be enrolled in Kindergarten for Fall 2018). Camp Crooked Arrow runs from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday, during 9 weeks of summer vacation. Throughout the day, our campers enjoy fun activities such as swimming, arts & crafts, team sports & games, nature activities, character development, songs and more all without television, video games or screen time! Whether at our camp for one week or an entire summer, a YMCA day camp experience will create hands-on memories that last a lifetime. For more information, please call the Rome YMCA.

ACES Summer Program

ACES is a positive and fun 6-week summer program specifically designed for children who struggle academically, socially and emotionally, or behaviorally. Research has shown that children perform much better academically when they are helped to improve their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical functioning. And children who perform well academically typically have much better long-term outcomes. That’s why at ACES, children participate in a variety of fun and challenging activities that target all of these areas of healthy development. If you have any questions in regards to our ACES Summer Program or our organization in general please do not hesitate to contact me or visit our website at!

2018-2019 School Health Changes

Each year, New York State reviews their health screening requirements and on occasion will make changes. For the 2018-2019 school year, there are changes to the immunization requirements and health screening requirements. For a copy of the updated immunization requirements from the Department of Health, please click the link below. Other changes to health screenings include:

Health Examinations required in grades pre K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
Vision and Hearing Screening required within 6 moths of entering school and in grades pre K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
Scoliosis Screenings are required for females in grades 5 and 7, and for males in grade 9.

Please speak to your school nurse or family physician if you have any questions regarding these new requirements.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day...

Each year, we deem the second Sunday of May, 'Mother's Day'. This day becomes a time to put the spotlight on our mothers and remember all of the wonderful things that they have done for us over the years, and appreciate the unconditional love that a mother provides. The reality is, and this phrase is used often, every day should be a version of Mother's Day. Our parents are more vital and instrumental in our lives than we could ever know. Unfortunately for some, by the time they are old enough to realize the value of their parents, it's too late. I could tell story after story of the things that I have personally witnessed mothers doing in the past 6 months and this blog would be an anthology. More than just the matriarch of a family structure, moms in today's society have become the most instrumental figure for the success of all of us. In many instances, going unnoticed or unrecognized for the sacrifices that they make for their families. Whether it be working 2-3 jobs to provide for their children or turning their vehicle into a charter bus for athletic weekends; we would not survive in this world without our mothers. One the greatest lessons that I learned from my mother, which was recently reinforced by my grandmother several years after her passing, is the importance of being happy in life. Life is tough and it rarely gets easier (at least until retirement and then hopefully it's easier). I have always tried to live life by the mantra that being happy is most important, because being happy leads to a healthier life. A few weeks ago during a conversation with my mother, we were remembering my grandmother and I inquired about how she always seemed so happy. My mother shared a tale with me about when my grandfather passed away, my grandmother had a choice to make, and not an easy one. She could be continuously depressed and sad, or she could find happiness. Her exact words were, "No one wants to be around someone who is miserable all the time, so if I want to keep spending time with my friends, then I need to be happy." Reflecting on my grandmother's message and thinking about how my mother now lives life, I can understand how both of these amazing women always laugh and smile. Life wasn't easy for my grandmother and certainly not easy for my mother having to raise me, but both have found a way to be happy and always smile; which has reflected on everyone around them. Regardless of the situation and stress, finding happiness is important my friends. Life is too short to dwell on negativity, and most don't want to be around it. Take some time to find happiness today, and most importantly, take time to celebrate your mother. Our moms are more instrumental in our lives than we know, the least we can do is make sure they know that we care before it's too late. Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there. I hope you have an amazing day!! 

Annual Budget Vote

The school district 2018-2019 budget and Board of Education member elections will be held this week on Tuesday, May 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. More information regarding the proposed budget can be found here: SCHOOL BUDGET DETAILS
Voting locations are as follows:
First Ward: Staley Upper Elementary School – 620 E. Bloomfield St.
Second Ward: Staley Upper Elementary School – 620 E. Bloomfield St.
Third Ward: Lobby at City Hall – 198 N. Washington St.
Fourth Ward: Gansevoort School–  758 W. Liberty St.
Fifth Ward: Denti Elementary School - 1001 Ruby Street
Sixth Ward: St. Paul’s Catholic Church - 1807 Bedford St.
Seventh Ward: The Ava Dorfman Senior Center - 305 E. Locust St.
Eighth Ward: Stokes School – 9095 Turin Rd.
Ninth Ward: Stokes School – 9095 Turin Rd.
Tenth Ward: Westernville Library – 9172 Main St, Westernville.

Energy Performance Contract

On the May 15, 2018 budget vote ticket, you will find a proposition to approve an Energy Performance Contract for RFA and Staley Elementary. Unlike a referendum project, the community is not voting on whether or not to conduct the project; rather the community is voting to require additional funding from the State Education Department. The project does not need approval from the community because it is meant to increase energy efficiency and reduce utility cost through improved infrastructure. During the summer of 2019, we are planning to replace the lighting fixtures to LED lighting and improve the mechanical systems at both schools. This would mean replacing boilers at both schools and at RFA fixing the chiller system that has functioned poorly for about a decade. The important part is the vote. If the community supports the project, the State pays for 93% of the project. If the community does not support it, the State pays for 83%. For more information about the Energy Project, please visit the website at

Retirement of Flags

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Office of General Services will collect worn and tattered flags at locations statewide so that they can be properly retired. The collected flags will be disposed of as part of the Memorial Watchfire hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 103, on Sunday, May 27th, 2018 at the New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY. Information on the Watchfire can be found here.  "American flags should be retired with respect and honor and this collection program provides New Yorkers with a simple way to accomplish this," Governor Cuomo said. "The Watchfire offers a valuable community service and brings people together to observe the Memorial Day holiday." The Office of General Services has set up drop-off locations across the state for businesses and individuals to bring their flags. All flags collected will be properly folded prior to disposal. The drop-off locations will be collecting donations from Tuesday, May 8 through Wednesday, May 23.

The drop-off locations are as follows:
  • Alfred E. Smith Building, 80 South Swan St., Albany
  • New York State Capitol, Washington Avenue, Albany
  • Empire State Plaza Main Concourse, Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Agency Buildings 1,2,3,4 - Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Legislative Office Building Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Swan Street Building, Core 2 and Core 3, Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Harriman Campus Buildings 5, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 12 Harriman Campus, 1220 Washington Ave., Albany
  • Ten Eyck Building, 40 North Pearl St., Albany
  • 50 Wolf Road, Albany
  • 625 Broadway, Albany
  • Hampton Plaza, 38-40 State St., Albany
  • 44 Holland Ave., Albany
  • 328 State St., Schenectady
  • Senator John J. Hughes State Office Building, 333 E. Washington St., Syracuse
  • New York State Fairgrounds (Gate 2 Security Station), 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse
  • Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown
  • Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica
  • Homer Folks Facility, 28 Hill Street, Suite 327, Oneonta
  • Eleanor Roosevelt State Office Building, 4 Burnett Blvd., Poughkeepsie
  • Henderson-Smith State Office Building, 107 Broadway, Hornell
  • Binghamton State Office Building, 44 Hawley St., Binghamton
  • NYSP Troop E Zone 1 Station, 1155 Scottsville Road, Rochester
  • Senator Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court St., Buffalo
  • Perry B. Duryea State Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge
  • Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, 163 West 125th St., New York City
  • Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building, 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn