Sunday, March 22, 2020

Thank You Rome...

During this time, it is more important than ever to show appreciation for others in our community. While it has already been known (and said) that Rome, NY is one of the most giving, caring, and supportive communities of education and each other that there is, it goes without saying that this past week has had many demonstrations of how amazing Rome truly is. People throughout our community have been coming together to support each other and learn how to live in this new environment. While no one can tell how long this situation is going to persist, what we can control is that when it has passed, we maintain our community of caring and supporting each other. Ironically, the level of complaints about many things has disappeared. It's not to say that problems and issues don't exist, however, this unfortunate medical crisis has put things into perspective for many. There is no need for adults, teenagers, or children to put others down. The level of outrage and frustration over simple concerns or issues that we had grown accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis all of a sudden seems inconsequential. These events are stressful, concerning, and nerve wrecking, but they show the true human spirit of our community, our people, and ourselves. Taking time to self reflect on our own lives and the things that we "complain" about frequently will help us all to grow into better people after this is over. Crisis events such as this will either bring out the best in people, or the worst. To date, it has tended to bring out the best in our people. For that, I thank all of you for what you do on a daily basis to help each other stay safe, informed, and healthy. Keep listening to the guidance of our elected officials and the medical professionals so that we can put an end to this sooner than later. To our students and staff, an event like this helps us to truly understand and cherish this civil right that we have come to know as school or education. Many people go through 13 years of public education or year to year work as an employee of a school system either dreading certain activities/days or loathing the ground we walk on. However, when we are forced to not do the things we love to do or be with the people that help us daily, it becomes easy to realize how important our schools are to us. Our kids are missing their friends, they miss routine, they miss their teachers, they miss our other adults in the buildings that help them every day, they miss their school. Our staff miss our students, they miss each other, they miss our events, they miss providing knowledge to children and watching the smiles and eyes light up when a kid learns something. It's what we do and it's what we want to get back to doing. Until then, stay fresh, connect with each other virtually, harness the power of social media, and make sure that others know how you feel. Positive support and small forms of gratitude go a long way right now. With that, thank you Rome for being amazing and I miss all of our students and staff, and can't wait to get back to leading you along the pathway to becoming the greatest school district in New York State!! Be well everyone...

Congratulations

Just before the school closure, we have had some tremendous students achieve some remarkable things. Our combined girls' hockey team was crowned NYS Champions and our RFA VEX Robotics team qualified for the World Championships in Kentucky. Also, senior Damien Call planted himself in RFA history becoming the boys' basketball program's all-time leading scorer. Our top ten for the class of 2020 was announced. Beyond these few tremendous accomplishments, there are students all throughout our district excelling at many things and I encourage you to follow their stories through our social media accounts. During this closure, we are going to continue to provide as many positive stories as we can about the amazing things that happen in our community every day!!



Observer Dispatch 2020 Teen All-Stars


Who's your Teen All-Star?

The O-D is currently accepting nominations for its 2020 Teen All-Stars! Each year, dozens of local seniors are nominated by friends, family, school officials and members of the community.
Teen All-Stars is an annual awards program created by the Observer-Dispatch to recognize local students who excel both academically and in their extracurricular activities.
The nomination period will be open until April 1, 2020.
To nominate a local high school senior, please fill out the nomination form, located below. Nominations can be made by any member of the community for our students. Let's make sure RFA is represented with our amazing students.

Utica OD Teen All-Stars Nomination Form


RCSD Coronavirus Information Update


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has communities and schools throughout or state, country, and the world on edge and responding in ways that none of us could have ever imagined. Fortunately, there are now more answers than we had before and we are able to start getting answers to more questions. The Governor continues to provide daily briefings, and our local legislators have also been at the forefront of keeping everyone informed. I urge you to follow their communication efforts and stay informed. Below are some quick pointers that are specifically related to the Rome City School District. As new information is available and things change, we will continue to provide updated information. At this time though, please know that our focus remains on the children that we serve and what we can/need/will do to help them make it through this crisis.

NEW WEBSITE: In an effort to streamline communications and provide a single source of information for the district, our public relations team has developed a new webpage that is connected to our district page which serves as a clearinghouse for all things. COVID-19. We continue to update this page as frequently as possible. The page is located here: https://sites.google.com/romecsd.org/rcsdcovid-19updates/home

COUNSELING SUPPORTS: One of our amazing counselors has taken the initiative to develop an online counseling group for students and families. In just a few short days, the group has grown to more than 1,400 members. For more information or to join, please visit their page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DailyaDoseOfLearning/?ref=share. Thank you to our school counselors for working on this for our families.

FOOD SERVICES: Thank you to our Food Services team for getting Grab and Go meals available and distributed to our students this week. We currently have 7 sites (elementary schools) and will begin serving meals on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the Rome Senior Center in South Rome. Of most importance is that food services employees have been deemed essential under the Governor’s new order today so we will continue to provide our daily meals to students, Monday through Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the elementary schools.

FOOD PANTRY: Thank you to our community partners, Rome Alliance for Education and Connected Community Schools, for operating a food pantry during this time. While we attempted to operate multiple pantries, there were some small issues on day one and they have decided to move to one pantry out of Gansevoort Elementary. The pantry is open on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Connected Community Schools is looking for donations and volunteers. If you are interested, please contact them via their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/RomeCommunitySchools/. They have also set up a Venmo account for online donations. More information can be found in the Venmo app or on their Facebook page.

CHROMEBOOKS: Due to an abundance of caution, we postponed the distribution of Chromebooks this week. We have rescheduled the Chromebook pick-up for Tuesday, March 24. Chromebooks will be distributed at the District office (409 Bell Road) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. A legal disclosure will be required to be signed by the parent/guardian and identification will be required. While we cannot provide internet access, we can provide the tool to access the internet for the purposes of maintaining a student’s knowledge set. Please note that the district maintains the ability to remotely access and disable any device that we deploy to a student/family. Any device that is not returned at the time this closure is over will be remotely disabled and no longer function. If a student has forgotten their username/password for any of the programs the district currently operates, please send an email to Studentaccounthelp@romecsd.org and we will work to help the student regain access.

CHILD CARE NEEDS: One of the Governor’s recent orders requires the school district to coordinate with local agencies to provide day care services to essential employees who are required to work during this time. We are currently canvassing the community for need. This is the message that has been sent out regionally, “During this current health crisis you may be considered an essential employee who is still required to work. Child care placement may be available to essential employees who work in health care, are first responders, who work in grocery stores, in transportation, some construction fields, certain non-profit agencies and in food or supply distribution fields.” If you believe that you may qualify, or if you know someone who may qualify and has a need, please call the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Child Care Resource Center at 315-223-7850 extension 222. They are working to organize this effort on behalf of our entire region.

STUDENT LEARNING: We have prepared a section of our website where student resources are provided by building. The webpage where these resources can be found is here: https://www.romecsd.org/news_page/student_resources_during_closure_ The Rome City School District also has many electronic resources that students have accessed frequently throughout the year. Those resources can be found here: https://start.me/p/VjydLr/students. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has also recently announced that PBS will begin broadcasting more k-12 instructional/educational programming, with multiple channels dedicated to different grade level bands. A link to the article on this topic can be found here: http://www.nysed.gov/news/2020/state-education-department-and-new-yorks-public-television-stations-announce-expanded. Finally, NYSED has a new section of their website dedicated to the continuity of learning with several resources for teachers, students, and families. That website can be found here: http://www.nysed.gov/edtech/continuity-learning.

HELPFUL LINKS/INFORMATION :The following links have been provided by the CDC to help all members of our community be educated and prepared.

https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/index.html - CDC link on how to protect yourself and others from respiratory illnesses being spread within the community.  There is a section specific to schools and worksites. 
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html - CDC link to Coronavirus updates
https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/ - NYS DOH link to Coronavirus updates