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

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 You can get more information about Rotary Youth Exchange

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.