Posts

Readying for Return...

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With the end of September upon us, and COVID-19 statistics and data in our region continuing to trend in a safe range, it is time that we set our sights on a return to school for more students. At this point, we are targeting a return date of Monday, October 26 for all students in grades preK-12. If possible, depending on responses to the next round of surveying, we may look to bring students in grades preK-2 back to school on Tuesday, October 13. That determination will need to be made in the next 2 weeks so students, families, and staff can prepare. In order to keep the preparations moving forward, we are in need of an additional round of surveying. While there hasn't been drastic changes in COVID-19 data or situations since August, a families mindset and/or opinions on in-person/remote learning may have changed drastically. In an effort to get the most accurate data and information from which to plan and prepare from, we are asking families to once again complete a brief survey…

Forward March...

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Week one is in the books, and there is much to celebrate, as well as, much to improve upon. As always, everyone can always improve and grow on our pursuit to perfection and being the best; but all things considered the week went well and I can't thank our teachers, administrators, parents, support staff, and students for the amazing effort put in this week.There is no doubt that remote learning can be a challenging endeavor as it requires teachers to redesign their mentality and practice, requires students to be more independent than traditional learning, and requires parents to be more active than we are used to. All of this occurring at a time when stress and frustration is at an all time high, and patience for returning to normal is at an all time low. As we move forward, we are closely monitoring school situations throughout the State and different locations are starting to see positive virus cases in their schools. At this point in time, if things continue to trend in a safe …

Ride the Coaster...

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As staff returned to work last week, I spoke with them all about the range of emotions that everyone in our schools, community, and country could be feeling related to schools reopening. Every possible emotion from happiness, to anger, to fear, to anxiety, to joy, to optimism, to frustration, to determination exists in every school throughout our state right now. Even more than that, each individual working in schools and each parent may be feeling those emotions regularly, sometimes occurring almost simultaneously. I liken this crazy swinging of emotions to riding a roller coaster. There is a lot going on as schools reopen and teachers, parents, and students attempt to do something that has never been done before. This is not like the spring and it most likely will never be like the spring again. Education is changing for certain, and hopefully for the better. Hopefully we are moving into a world where students and families have more choice over the way in which their child is learni…

We Got This...

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During the past week, I have been witness to people coming together in an attempt to design and provide something never before accomplished. While our twelve month employees put the finishing touches on everything needed to ensure we welcomed back the rest of our staff this week, our teachers have been hard at work participating in trainings and collaborating with each other as they prepare to welcome students to the 2020-2021 school year. Teacher participation in professional development is at an all time high, and it's a testament to the desire and determination that teachers everywhere have to the duty of helping children grow. As we enter the final week of preparation, it is clear that everyone this year is a first year employee! None of us have ever attempted to do what we are about to do. The playing field is level and collaboration and support for each other is necessary today, more than ever. It is likely that some students will know more about technology or a specific app…

Final Countdown...

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It's hard to believe that we are at the end of August. Schools throughout our State are preparing to open under circumstances that none of us could have imagined would prolong like this, with multiple sets of requirements and guidance documents that change weekly or daily, and with stress and anxiety of everyone at an all time high. Throughout the past 5 months, we have all worked together to help build the "new normal" and as things begin to return to a more familiar situation, patience has worn thin and emotions are easily triggered. Unfortunately, as schools are set to open, there continues to be many more questions than there can be answers for. This is a result constantly changing rules, expectations, directives, regulations, etc. and the fact that many of the answers that people seek cannot be found until after things gradually open up and we are able to test our plans for surety that they work. For some, this sounds like a "trial and error" mentality, ho…

RCSD Reopening Schools Update...

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I hope that this message finds everyone well and enjoying their summer. The past several months have been anything but normal for all of us and as we head into August, the stress and anxiety of a potential return to school will no doubt leave students, parents, and staff a little on edge. If you are not aware, this past week the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) both released their guidance documents for return to school plans. Both plans provide a lot of useful information as we attempt to build a plan that focuses on health/safety while educating our students, but also maintains high regard for our families' individual desires regarding in-person education while recognizing that for a lot of families, public education provides parents the opportunity to work while kids are in school. While in some regard the guidance documents can leave you with more questions than when you started, the information will help us all to h…

You Made It...

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Congratulations to the Rome Free Academy Class of 2020! You made it! Despite every challenge, hurdle, road block, etc. that was thrown your way, you have persevered and made it. As an adult, we tend to look back on life and compare our childhoods to the life of a current child. Often times, you can hear adults talking about how kids these days grow up so much faster than we did, and things are so different. The Class of 2020 is a prime example of this analogy. I know for a fact my senior class in high school could not have handled all of the changes to our schooling, combined with the uncertainties and fear associated with a pandemic with the same grace that the RFA Class of 2020 has handled these past 3 months. With every step, you have been calm, patient, objective, and focused on the goal. While students had not been required to learn virtually before COVID-19 hit, they were versed with technology, the resources needed for learning, and more importantly, the skill of communicating …