Sunday, September 30, 2018

Modern Trading Cards...

It seems that every generation has some unique thing that may distinguish them from generations prior or that follow. Also, we all know that technology, social media, and the video have become standard definitions of current generations. Lastly, an unfortunate reality of the human species is that we have resorted to physical violence at times of disagreement. Although modern generations and civilizations have decreased the frequency at which disagreements are solved by fighting, the age old "problem solver" is making an unfortunate comeback. In fact, teens of today are combing technology and fighting to later trade fights that they have video taped as a modern form of the traditional baseball trading card. There are many influences that children are exposed to today via the internet that in the past, were not as readily available. While many things can be fake or staged, young children that stumble upon them online may not realize that. In turn, they attempt to re-enact different things that they find online, sometimes causing significant injury. Worse than this, however, is when teenagers are staging altercations so that their friends can make a video to be shared around with whoever throughout their social network. Most times these staged fights begin with some kind of a disagreement between two people, no different than the way a fight may have started 100 years ago. The conflicts that tend to lead to discourse among people also has not changed much over the years. What has changed is technology. Technology and the ability to "save" a fight has created a culture where fighting between people is increasing again, but this time for show. It's no longer about settling a score, it's about making a good video to get as many "likes" as possible online. The whole movement is leading to situations that are dangerous in many regards. As adults in this day and age, it is more important than ever that we maintain a close pulse on what our youngest children are accessing online and talking to them about the dangers of re-enacting things that they may learn from the internet. While the internet can be a great source of information and learning for our youth, it can also be a place of bad learned behaviors. It is important that we take the time to make ourselves digitally savvy so that we can understand the trends of the current and future generations. The age old concept of conversation and talking through an issue without resorting to physical aggression may just be the answer for the modern trading card.  

 Celebration of Education


The 13th Annual Celebration of Education, which is sponsored by First Source Federal Credit Unionwill take place on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at Hart's Hill Inn in Whitesboro, N.Y. Each year, the Celebration of Education recognizes outstanding educators and programs throughout the Mohawk Valley that are positively impacting our students, schools and the community. The program includes k-12 schools, area colleges, and organizations that are working in these institutions. If you feel that there is an adult in your child's school(s) or program that works with your children in schools that is worthy of nomination for this awards event, please contact your child's school so that we can submit the nomination paperwork.

Rome Apparel Sale


The Rome City School District is holding an online apparel sale from now through October 12, 2018. Items for sale can be found by following this link: https://form.jotform.com/73234073037955. All apparel comes in varying sizes, men's/women's, and colors. The logo on each item varies, so please read the item description carefully. We expect product delivery to be roughly one month from the close of the sale. All payments are made online and go directly to the vendor. 


 YMCA Open House Week


This week, October 1 through October 7, the Rome FamilyA YMCA will be having their Open House Week. All week long you can try their classes, pools, fitness center, and more! Also, you sign up for a 12-month membership, you'll receive a 13th month free. The YMCA is open to the public and for more information please visit www.ymcatrivalley.org.



Sunday, September 23, 2018

Generation Z...

As with any generation of youngsters, we all receive a label of some kind. Our current group of students has been tagged with the label of 'Generation Z', and is predicted to do some of histories most amazing things. One of these, is directly related to the utilization of technology and development of new ideas. Researchers have claimed that most of the jobs our children will hold when they enter the work force, do not exist at this current point in time. Another reality of our current generation is that they are entering and staying in college longer than any other generation. The ability to decide what they may want to do with their careers is becoming more and more challenging. On the flip side, we are also seeing an increase of children that do not have any desire to attend college and industry fields that finding success by hiring students right out of high school. Like many things in society today, trade professions and others that do not require a college degree are seeing a renaissance. The children of Generation Z have more opportunities in front of them than any generation we have known. As with any teacher, parent, or grand-parent; at times it can be a challenge to relate to younger generations. You can frequently hear adults saying things like, "I just don't understand," when observing a group of youngsters. However, that doesn't mean we should stop offering our advice and experiences with our children. Although it may not seem like they are listening, the conversations that parents have with their children as they grow are stored in memory and used throughout life. Children of this generation seem to either have the ability to enter the real world immediately out of high school seemingly very prepared for the challenges, or they flourish in their mid to late 20's after years of college. Regardless of when they are ready, the consistent message from experts is that our youth need their parents and support. If you would like more detailed information or ideas on how you may be able to help connect with younger generations, I would recommend reading some of thoughts of Dr. Tim Elmore. There is not magic answer to ensuring that our children flourish as adults, but there many people out there that can help us based on the experiences that they have had. After all, Generation Z is our future and our future depends on the children of today! 

 School Health Update


The deadline for students to obtain their required immunizations for the 2018-2019 school year has passed. Beginning on Monday, September 24, any student who's immunization record is not current, will be barred from school attendance. This is not the route we prefer to take as we all know it is not best for kids. Most times, appointments for vaccinations can be delayed by matters outside the control of a family. Regardless, we have been cited last year for not complying strictly with this health regulation and the fine for students attending school without documented vaccinations is significant. If you need more information about what your student needs (if anything), please speak to your school nurse or family physician. A summary of the requirements from the health department is available by clicking the link below. Thank you for your understanding and support of meeting these laws. 



Parent Portal


This is a reminder for anyone that is not currently on Parent Portal. Parent Portal is an online method for families to access our student management system, SchoolTool. While parent portal is most beneficial to secondary students (grades 7-12), there are benefits and uses for all student families. Also, this will be the platform that we utilize 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.



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Let Them Thrive...

When you think back to being a student (either k-12 or college), how often can you recall an adult telling you that something can't be done? Many times, when an adult tells a child that something can't be done it crushes their imagination and spirit. Yes, there are occasions when being told we can't accomplish a goal or a task creates additional desire to achieve. However, most people tend to lose self esteem in the face of being told they aren't good enough. Or maybe the commentary doesn't even have to be that harsh. Sometimes simply telling someone that they can't succeed because someone else has already tried and failed can produce detrimental results. In that scenario, we are just trying to provide some adult guidance based on our experiences and knowledge. But, what most adults fail to realize is that our experiences and knowledge do not have the direct impact on the ability of a child to achieve their dreams that we generally hope they do. If you take a moment to look around the room you are in right now, regardless of where you are, you will find a room filled with inventions that have become mainstream for us because somewhere in history an individual was allowed to let their thoughts and visions thrive. Today's generation of youth have a much deeper understanding of the world around them than any other in history. Due to technology, we are able to keep on almost instantaneous pulse on the entire globe. This exposure to life leads children to have a much more inquisitive brain. We are no longer relying on the teachings of our parents and schools to shape our minds. We have access to ideas, problems, and successes from all over the world. Our students are smarter than we realize, despite what some silly standardized test that was created by adults 40 years older than the students they are creating the tests for. I would love to see what a standardized test created by a child might look like? I imagine that the creativity and relevance to their actual worlds would be significantly increased compared to a traditional test. Further, I would imagine most adults would laugh at such a test simply because we couldn't see the forest through the trees. Our children have the ability to do amazing things, see amazing things, and create amazing things. It's our responsibility as adults to let them thrive. Let our children use their imaginations to create the next world changing invention. Most importantly, let our children thrive so that we can learn from them. When our youngsters thrive, entire communities thrive!

2018-2019 School Health Requirements

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. Beyond just the requirements for attendance, the school district is required to follow certain mandates for non-compliance. These mandates are STRICTLY ENFORCED and I encourage you to take note of the following consequences if your child does not possess the required medical immunizations.
  1. NYS resident children MUST provide proof of immunization within the first two weeks of school. If no record is provided, the child is not allowed to attend school. Out of State children have a 30-day grace period.
  2. We can not accept an appointment card/doctors note confirming an appointment beyond  their allotted time schedule as a means to stay in school.  
  3. Child may return to school once proof  of vaccination has been supplied to the school nurse. 
Thank you for your understanding and support of meeting these laws. Please speak to your school nurse or family physician if you have any questions regarding these new requirements.



Buick Drive for Your Students Fundraiser

Rome Free Academy, in conjunction with the RFA PBIS team and the Davidson Auto Group, is once again sponsoring the DRIVE FOR YOUR STUDENTS TEST DRIVE EVENT whereby Buick will donate $10 for each test drive up to a total of $10,000 to our school. New this year, members from our other schools (Strough, Staley, Bellamy, and Gansevoort) will also have an opportunity to raise money for their schools at this event. Davidson Auto Group will be bringing Buicks to RFA during it's Open House on Thursday, September 20, from 2:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the test drives.  Any driver age 18 or older with a valid license and proof of insurance is encouraged to come and test drive a Buick to help raise money for our students. We are encouraging all of the Rome City Schools to support this event. 



Dads Take Your Child to School Day

On Tuesday, September 18, I would like to encourage you to participate in “Dads Take Your Child to School Day”, an annual event that seeks to jump-start or renew a father’s commitment to participate in his child’s life – regardless of the child’s age and/or his residential status within the home.  Dads Take Your Child to School Day encourages fathers and father figures to take their child to school with the expectation that he will remain engaged throughout the school year and beyond. This initiative is sponsored by the Office of Children and Family Services.  As we all know, parental involvement in a child's schooling has proven to be an indicator of both school success and future success. This event is a simple attempt to remind us of this importance and encourage Dads to bring their child to school for a day. For more information, please visit http://dadstakeyourchildtoschoolday.com/

Rotary Host Family 

The Rome Rotary Club is looking for host families for the winter and spring of this school year. Our 2018-2019 student is from Paraguay. He is being hosted by a family for the fall, however a host for the remainder of the year is needed. If you are interested in hosting for winter or spring, please contact Sam Pendergrast at 315-617-3567 or slpender55@gmail.com You can get more information about Rotary Youth Exchange atwww.7150YouthExchange.org

Mentoring Program

The Rome City School District will once again be participating in the New York Mentors program, in conjunction with the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. Having become a State-wide example and a leader of the program, our Rome schools are expanding the offering from five schools to all seven elementary schools for 2018-2019. Students who will be mentored will be either fourth, fifth, or sixth grade children and anyone 18 years or older willing to devote one hour a week is eligible, (including working persons, college students, and retired senior citizens) to be a mentor. Sessions will occur once a week beginning in November, ending in May before Memorial Day, and will run from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more information or to sign up to be a mentor, contact Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William Guglielmo at 315-337-1700 or New York State Mentoring Advisory Council Member Frank Di Berardino at 315-337-4721. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

What's the Score...

Recently, I have spent my free time reading up on the psychology behind positivity and happiness. Unfortunately, most research in the area of psychology focuses on the negative aspects of human emotions and actions. This isn't a mistake because doctors need things to be wrong with people in order to thrive. They want us to have issues so they have a steady stream of patients. However, research in the area of positive psychology has begun to take center stage. Researchers have been looking into what enables some people to happy or positive all of the time, despite whatever may be going on in their lives. While in some situations simple grit, perseverance, or determination may be enough to enable a person to remain optimistic, researchers are finding a much simpler answer to maintaining happiness in what we do. Psychologist Shawn Achor, who has been one of the leading researchers of positive psychology for nearly 10 years, believes that the answer is a simple correlation. Through his research, he has developed a theory that happiness can be maintained by anyone if they can maintain a positive experience to negative experience ratio of 3:1. This simply means that for every single negative experience or encounter we have, we need three positive experiences/encounters to remain happy. The worst part of this ratio is that it highlights what a profound impact negative experiences and people can have on our moods. On the positive side, it also shows that maintaining positivity and happiness can be achieved. By now you may be asking what this has to do with education. The answer, everything!! A child's mood is almost 100% dependent on the actions of the adults that they are in contact with. Rarely does a child have the ability to create their circumstances. This means that it is incumbent upon us as adults to work harder to provide positive and happy experiences for our children. In some cases, our children may come to school having already experienced negative interactions, situations, or emotions. Unfortunately, I would argue that most students (not unlike adults going to work), begin their day with a score of at least 2-0 on the negative to positive spectrum. For all us, beginning our day already in the negative is like having the opening kickoff returned for a touchdown. Yes there is a deficit, but it doesn't mean that the game is over. Whatever the score is when our kids come through those doors in the morning, our first task is to maintain positive environment and measure the learning in smiles. Positivity is a mindset choice that ultimately leads to happiness. 

2018-2019 School Health Requirements

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. Beyond just the requirements for attendance, the school district is required to follow certain mandates for non-compliance. These mandates are STRICTLY ENFORCED and I encourage you to take note of the following consequences if your child does not possess the required medical immunizations.
  1. NYS resident children MUST provide proof of immunization within the first two weeks of school. If no record is provided, the child is not allowed to attend school. Out of State children have a 30-day grace period.
  2. We can not accept an appointment card/doctors note confirming an appointment beyond  their allotted time schedule as a means to stay in school.  
  3. Child may return to school once proof  of vaccination has been supplied to the school nurse. 
Thank you for your understanding and support of meeting these laws. Please speak to your school nurse or family physician if you have any questions regarding these new requirements.



Dads Take Your Child to School Day

On Tuesday, September 18, I would like to encourage you to participate in “Dads Take Your Child to School Day”, an annual event that seeks to jump-start or renew a father’s commitment to participate in his child’s life – regardless of the child’s age and/or his residential status within the home.  Dads Take Your Child to School Day encourages fathers and father figures to take their child to school with the expectation that he will remain engaged throughout the school year and beyond. This initiative is sponsored by the Office of Children and Family Services.  As we all know, parental involvement in a child's schooling has proven to be an indicator of both school success and future success. This event is a simple attempt to remind us of this importance and encourage Dads to bring their child to school for a day. For more information, please visit http://dadstakeyourchildtoschoolday.com/

Mentoring Program

The Rome City School District will once again be participating in the New York Mentors program, in conjunction with the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. Having become a State-wide example and a leader of the program, our Rome schools are expanding the offering from five schools to all seven elementary schools for 2018-2019. Students who will be mentored will be either fourth, fifth, or sixth grade children and anyone 18 years or older willing to devote one hour a week is eligible, (including working persons, college students, and retired senior citizens) to be a mentor. Sessions will occur once a week beginning in November, ending in May before Memorial Day, and will run from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more information or to sign up to be a mentor, contact Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William Guglielmo at 315-337-1700 or New York State Mentoring Advisory Council Member Frank Di Berardino at 315-337-4721. 


St. Jude End Childhood Cancer Run/Walk

The Mohawk Valley Chapter St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is hosting the Third Annual St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer on Saturday, September 15. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. at Whitesboro High School and pre-registration is available online at Stjude.org/walkrun. The event is open to all ages and registration is just $10 for age 6 and up and free for children 5 and under, whom must be accompanied by an adult.

The 5K Walk/Run will start at 9:00 a.m. at Whitesboro High School on State Route 291, follow the Canal Trail and Mohawk Street, and end at the Village Green on Main Street in the Village of Whitesboro, where there will be food vendors, face painting and various basket raffles, including a kayak, Mt. bike, and a custom built grandfather clock. For more information, please contact Nicole Spath at Nicole.spath@stjude.org or 518.944.2750.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is located in Memphis, Tennessee, and works to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.



Buick Drive for Your Students Fundraiser

Rome Free Academy, in conjunction with the RFA PBIS team and the Davidson Auto Group, is once again sponsoring the DRIVE FOR YOUR STUDENTS TEST DRIVE EVENT whereby Buick will donate $10 for each test drive up to a total of $10,000 to our school. New this year, members from our other schools (Strough, Staley, Bellamy, and Gansevoort) will also have an opportunity to raise money for their schools at this event. Davidson Auto Group will be bringing Buicks to RFA during it's Open House on Thursday, September 20, from 2:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the test drives.  Any driver age 18 or older with a valid license and proof of insurance is encouraged to come and test drive a Buick to help raise money for our students. We are encouraging all of the Rome City Schools to support this event. 


Rotary Host Family 

The Rome Rotary Club is looking for host families for the winter and spring of this school year. Our 2018-2019 student is from Paraguay. He is being hosted by a family for the fall, however a host for the remainder of the year is needed. If you are interested in hosting for winter or spring, please contact Sam Pendergrast at 315-617-3567 or slpender55@gmail.com You can get more information about Rotary Youth Exchange atwww.7150YouthExchange.org

Monday, September 3, 2018

And We're Back...

It's that time of year where kid's get excited to meet new teachers and make new friends, staff members in the world of education look forward to the new year ahead, and in general; optimism fills the air! The end of summer brings a myriad of emotions and thoughts for many. As does the beginning of a new school year. In many ways, the start of a school year can feel like all of the calendar year's  major events and holidays rolled up into one week. It doesn't matter if you are a kindergarten student entering school for the start of a 13-year journey or a 35-year veteran teacher who is embarking on the final year of their career; the start of a new school year brings an opportunity for everyone to start new and be excited. Optimism is abound in schools all across our State this week as our children return to the institution we historically refer to as school. As we embark on the new year, I have challenged our staff to continue the difficult task of moving our District upward to becoming the best school district in New York State. There are many hurdles along the way to the top, and growing is never an easy task. However, I have also introduced our staff to a researcher named Shawn Achor, who studies the positive side of psychology and the corresponding effects that working to remain positive has on our lives. Mr. Achor's major research is embodied in a book called the Happiness Advantage, which I encourage you to Google. As he states, "when we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive." If that doesn't sound like the purpose or mission of a public learning institution, then I don't know what does. So, as the journey also known as the 2018-2019 school year begins, I encourage you to work to maintain the optimism and excitement that fills the air this week. Being positive and happy is decision that needs to be made. The challenge comes in that our society has made it challenging to remain positive and focused on the good. Our children do amazing things throughout the year. In the athletic arena, in the classroom, on the stage, on paper. With their brains, hands, voices, and muscle. It's our students who are our client. For them, keep the optimism alive and the positivity flowing; so they can have the most memorable year of their lives!


Peach Jar Program

For the 2018-2019 school year, the Rome City School District will be working with a vendor to electronically distribute fliers that are typically copied and sent home through backpacks. Beyond just the distribution of fliers, the program can also allow individuals to register or sign up for events online; allowing building staff's to have a better handle on attendance figures prior to an event. In the first week of service, the District has saved more than 35,000 pieces of paper! If you have not already signed up for the program, you can do so by visiting our website at https://app.peachjar.com/flyers. You can register for the program by clicking "My Account". 


Parent Portal

Parent Portal is an online method for families to access our student management system, SchoolTool. While parent portal is most beneficial to secondary students (grades 7-12), this will be the platform that we utilize 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.

Mentoring Program

The Rome City School District will once again be participating in the New York Mentors program, in conjunction with the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. Having become a State-wide example and a leader of the program, our Rome schools are expanding the offering from five schools to all seven elementary schools for 2018-2019. Students who will be mentored will be either fourth, fifth, or sixth grade children and anyone 18 years or older willing to devote one hour a week is eligible, (including working persons, college students, and retired senior citizens) to be a mentor. Sessions will occur once a week beginning in November, ending in May before Memorial Day, and will run from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more information or to sign up to be a mentor, contact Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William Guglielmo at 315-337-1700 or New York State Mentoring Advisory Council Member Frank Di Berardino at 315-337-4721. 


2018-2019 School Health Requirements

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. Beyond just the requirements for attendance, the school district is required to follow certain mandates for non-compliance. These mandates are STRICTLY ENFORCED and I encourage you to take note of the following consequences if your child does not possess the required medical immunizations.


  1. NYS resident children MUST provide proof of immunization within the first two weeks of school. If no record is provided, the child is not allowed to attend school. Out of State children have a 30-day grace period.
  2. We can not accept an appointment card/doctors note confirming an appointment beyond  their allotted time schedule as a means to stay in school.  
  3. Child may return to school once proof  of vaccination has been supplied to the school nurse. 
Thank you for your understanding and support of meeting these laws. Please speak to your school nurse or family physician if you have any questions regarding these new requirements.





Pre-K Program Times

For those families that have students attending the pre-k program (either 3-year-old or 4-year-old), please note that the start times have changed for this year. The morning session will run from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the afternoon session will run from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Communication has been occurring during the registration process and for more information, please contact the pre-k office.