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

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 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 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 You can get more information about Rotary Youth Exchange