Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Month of Awareness...

April is one of the most busy months of the year with awareness and recognition events. This month alone holds student athlete recognition day, administrative professionals day, kindergarten day, school librarian awareness month, Earth Day, and finally, autism awareness month. Each and every one of these has a level of importance for our school community and community at large. From the student athletes that represent our schools and communities to the administrative professionals who are the backbone of our daily operations, our way of life in schools would not be the same without all of these. Kindergarten day recognizes the amazing work that our families and staff do together to prepare some of our youngest leaners as they begin their journey to young adulthood. School librarian month brings with it a new appreciation this year given the challenges that we have faced over the past 2 months with our budget. Two years ago, our school librarians were charged with reinventing the way in which we deliver library services to our elementary schools. Today, our program is a model within the region with many other schools inquiring about what our librarians are doing so that they can copy it. Along with this, our elementary students have seen increased access to technology, research practices, and complete understanding of what a library has to offer an individual. Libraries are more than books and borrowing. Our school librarians work every day to help our children understand this. Earth Day (which happens to be tomorrow, 4/22) is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our practices and strive to improve our treatment of the planet we live on. Whether it be working to reduce our use of plastic, minimize paper waste, or increase our use of reusable materials, we can all do something more to improve our environment. In schools, thanks to the partnership with many community organizations, students are learning more about gardening, planting trees, recycling, and many more activities that can provide a healthier Earth. Hopefully, those teachings are being transferred to the home and as a community we continue to do more. Finally, autism awareness month also occurs during the month of April. While many want to believe that autism is a disability that challenging to diagnose and creates situations that make learning challenging for children, I believe that autism is the simple gift of uniqueness. Autism is teaching schools all over the country that the days of expecting children to conform to the standards and desires of school staff is not the best practice. Autism is not a disability, it is a gift that provides an individual with unique abilities that help others learn to be flexible and adaptable. The discovery of autism has required schools to learn how to teach and program to the student, not to the masses. Our entire education system was developed 100 years ago on the factory model and conformity. Special Education services have started to move the needle toward student centered models for all, and no other single disability has done this more than autism. Many individuals are diagnosed as autistic each and every year, and we have a long way to go before there is a complete understanding of this vast diagnosis and the many variables that come with it. However, the awareness that has surrounded autism has been monumental for the revolution of educational systems. Given all of these wonderful reason to recognize people from throughout our school community, please take a moment to say thank you to anyone you know from these groups. Each of these awareness/recognition groups bring with it a major purpose for our school community and we are fortunate to have these individuals in our lives.

Proposed Budget

As mentioned in the last blog update, the 2019-2020 budget picture has become much more clear in recent weeks with the adoption of the state budget. Of note or the restorations of multiple teacher positions (elementary classrooms, AIS reading positions, AIS math positions, and elementary librarians), the 3-year-old Pre-K program, modified sports, and secondary clubs and activities. At this point, the only additional revenue that we could potentially see is in the form of bullet aid and would come as a one time payment from the Governor or the legislature. Beyond bullet aid, local share revenue is the only other unknown source of revenue that we will receive, and we control. The links below provide more detail on the 2019-2020 proposed budget.

ESSA Family Engagement Survey

As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the district is conducting a family engagement survey. The results of the survey are utilized to develop our District Comprehensive Improvement Plan, as required by the State Education Department. To participate in the survey, please click on the link the below and enter the password: Rome2019. Thank you to all who have already completed the survey and we appreciate your participation.

Board of Education - Open Seats

This year, there are three (3) open seats on the Board of Education. All three of these seats will be available on July 1, 2019. The term limit for each open seat is three years, expiring on June 30, 2022. Interested candidates must submit a petition to the District on or before May 1, 2019. Completed petitions must include at least 100 qualified signatures and should be returned to the business office of the district at 409 Bell Road. Petitions for the available seats are also available in the Business Office of the Rome City School District. Any questions regarding the Board of Education open seats can be directed to the district's business office, or Board of Education President, Mr. Paul Fitzpatrick.

Paint Class Fundraiser

On Sunday, April 28, the RFA junior class will be hosting a painting class fundraiser in conjunction with KT's Art and Design. From 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. you can enjoy the art of painting and improve your skills. The cost of the class is $45 and for further information, please check out their flier by clicking HERE.