Monday, September 2, 2019

Welcome Back September...

This year, September seems to have snapped into place with the snap of a finger. Summer weather is giving way to cooler, more fall-like temperatures (which are great to open school) and the fall athletic season is underway. We enter the 2019-2020 school year filled with optimism for the growth of our children, like we do every year. We also enter this school year with more uncertainty than we ever have from the legislative level. In New York, our State Education Department (SED) currently has several senior leadership vacancies (including the commissioner's position), we face the full implementation of ESSA, and we begin the year with new Federal financial reporting requirements that could require schools to involuntarily shift resources from one school to another if the government does not deem there to be equity. More than ever, the "business" of education is taking the focus off of children and the responsibility that our staff has to helping kids grow. As we enter the new year, it is imperative that we maintain our focus on students and their growth toward becoming productive members of our society. The worst part of education is that the main consumer has little influence on their industry and most often is not aware of the forces that are exuded on our system from governmental agencies. Education of the past may have had elements that by today's standards are barbaric, however, the one thing that they had correct was that teachers had the freedom to be the educational artists that they are trained to be. Every day, teachers and parents work magic with children in teaching them not from a script, but from the heart and mind. Thinking like a child, remembering what is to be a child, and working to relate to our children is the magic that create learning. During this year, while there are so many forces attempting to deter the mission, I hope that you and your students can retain the focus of learning and being a child throughout the year. Have a great year everyone and please find the kid in you!!

NYS Kindergarten Learning Standards

The New York State Department of Education (NYSED) has released A Resource for School Success for the New York State Kindergarten Learning Standards. This resource was developed by the New York State Education Department’s Offices of Early Learning and Curriculum & Instruction and consolidates all learning standards for kindergarten students into one document.  It is intended to be used as a reference tool by teachers, specialists, and administrators responsible for designing programs for kindergarten students. Each Tip sheet covers one area of learning, and provides developmentally appropriate strategies and activities that can be done at home, and additional resources. A link to the tip sheets and kindergarten learning standards is here:

Parent Portal

Parent Portal is an online method for families to access our student management system, SchoolTool. We will once again be utilizing Parent Portal this year for the communication of progress reports and ongoing grade reporting. 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.

Peach Jar Program

Once again, 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. If you have not already signed up for the program, you can do so by visiting our website at You can register for the program by clicking "My Account". 

2019 - 2020 Immunization Requirements

This year, the New York State legislature passed a law that no longer allows for the religious exemption for school vaccinations. This law took effect immediately and any student who held a religious exemption must be vaccinated this year for school attendance purposes. The link below will take you to the State Education Department website that outlines the required vaccinations. In addition to vaccination requirements, New York State requires several other health related items for attendance in public school. Some of these items 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 any requirements.

Here Comes the Bus

One of the best new features we have available this year is a software GPS mapping system called, Here Comes the Bus. Thanks to the technology available with GPS navigation, you can now follow your child's bus from the convenience of your home or smart phone. For more information about the program, including how to download the app and register for the program, please use the link below.

Back to School Information

This time of year always brings with it a certain level of stress, anxiety, excitement, and questions. There is a lot of information to process and a lot of new things for our kids and families alike to start any school year. While there are many places and methods to receive information, we have developed a page on the website that has everything you would need. Orientations, open house, transportation routes, calendars, supply lists, and more can all be found by following the link below. Beyond the website, Facebook and Twitter are both good electronic means of information sharing that the district utilizes regularly.