Sunday, November 17, 2019

It Is Different...

Recently, I have been involved in discussions with several business leaders from around the region discussing the needs of industry and the evolution of society around us. One of the common themes that seems to pop up in these conversations is how similar public education is to the model that existed decades ago. This is not a topic that is unfamiliar to educators, but it is one that most people are tired of hearing and/or don't want to hear. Public education has not had a drastic overhaul in decades, with the exception of the implementation of a new annual teacher performance requirement. This new requirement had the exact opposite effect on schooling that legislative entities thought it would. It took creativity out of classrooms, caused teachers to go on the defensive, and filled our world where everyone became more worried about scores and numbers, than they were about feelings and kids. If you were to ask any elementary school teacher about any of their students, I would bet that they could tell you exactly what that kid's strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and needs are. They don't need tests and evaluations. They need flexibility. Ironically, the American secondary education system was built on the factory model concept by where the students where employees and expected to do as told, or face consequences. While secondary teachers could also tell you a lot about their students without the need of assessments and evaluations, the concept of building relationships is a very new one for secondary staff. More so than ever, our teenage students are craving the opportunity to be noticed as people and a part of the solution. The key is the relationship. One of the world's most successful companies (Apple) has the perfect company slogan, "Think Different." Adapted from their 1980's main competition in the world of computers (IBM), whose slogan was, "Think", Apple realized that it doesn't require a lot to make things better. Simply being different than everyone else was a good thing and has allowed the company to flourish. Our society is different than it once was. Our schools are not different enough. Being different does not mean that everything before now was wrong our bad, it simply means it can be better. Our kids are different today than they were last year, and they will be different tomorrow than they are today. Our society has evolved significantly and it is different. Are you?

Referendum Update

As you may be aware, there will be a referendum vote to be held on Wednesday, December 18 for the purposes of completing significant maintenance concerns at RFA (roof, flashing, general repairs), the artificial surface and track at the stadium, an Energy Performance Contract for elementary schools to improve infrastructure items that will produce an energy savings to the district, and for the establishment of a Capital Reserve so that the district can begin to save money for future projects (to be used to offset any potential tax increase). Prior to the referendum, there will be two public information sessions held to provide information on the project and field questions. The sessions will take place on Tuesday, December 3 and Monday, December 16. Both sessions will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in the Strough Middle School Auditorium. 

RFA Open Mic Night 

On Tuesday, November 26, RFA will be holding their annual Open Mic Night at Rome Free Academy. This annual fundraiser has become a November tradition at RFA and an evening to enjoy some of our best talent throughout the school. The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the fee for entrance is $8.00 or $7.00 with a canned good donation. Start the holiday season right with some enjoyment at the Open Mic Night!!

Fine Arts Faculty Recital

On Friday, November 22, the Rome City School District Fine Arts faculty will be hosting a Celebrate the Arts Holiday Pops Concert and Art Gallery Event. Starting at 6:00 p.m., the art work of our decorated art teachers will be on display in the RFA cafeteria. Following the art gallery, a concert of holiday tunes will take place in the RFA auditorium, beginning at 7:00 p.m. For more information, please see the event flier at Kick off your holiday cheer with some great music and art from our very own faculty!!

JROTC Holiday Basket Raffle

The Rome Free Academy Air Force JROTC will be holding their annual Basket Raffle on Sunday, November 24, in the RFA cafeteria. The JROTC Basket Raffle is one of their largest fundraisers for the year. The doors will open at 12:00 p.m. with bidding occurring from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. There are many door prizes and special drawings that also occur at the event. Complimentary appetizers and beverages will be served throughout the afternoon. Admission to the event is $5. For more information, please see the event flyer at

RFA Class Holiday Window Competition

Once again, in conjunction with our local JCP, who is a tremendous supporter of our local education, families, and students; each of the individual RFA cohorts has decorated a holiday window display at the local JCP as a fundraising event. The window paintings will be on display throughout the holiday season and you can vote for your favorite window in the store. The winning class will receive a $200 donation from JCP. Thank you to JCP for sponsoring such a fun event which brings the school and community together during the holiday season.  Students from each class volunteered their time and creative ability to design the best windows for Rome, so make sure to get out and vote for your favorite!