Sunday, October 27, 2019

December Referendum Update...

As you may know, the Board of Education this week approved a resolution for a December ballot referendum that is aimed to provide significant repairs to Rome Free Academy, the track and field, and includes a phase II energy performance contract (EPC). While there will be many upcoming informational opportunities, including opportunity for dialogue, this blog entry provides the 30,000 foot view of the proposed project. For reminders, an EPC does not require a vote to be approved. However, a successfully voted EPC provides a district it's full aid reimbursement from the State Education Department. In our case, the difference in aid between a voted EPC and non-voted EPC is 17%. Given that number, it's obvious that a vote would be most beneficial to the taxpayers. The purpose of doing a December referendum is two fold in that there are significant needs at the high school currently which can be addressed through an energy performance contract in the spring. Part of the failing HVAC system, that you may have heard a lot about over the past 10 years, includes failing connectors and couplings in the lines of the system. These connections need to be replaced as soon as possible and our choices are either spend roughly $300,000 unbudgeted out of the general fund this year, or have an EPC cover the repairs and spread the payments out over 15 years. Another item for immediacy is the track and field at the RFA stadium. By voting in December (if successful) there is a high likelihood that these repairs could be completed prior to the start of next school year. The RFA building components that are contained in the project proposal include new roofing, installing flashing along the facade of the building to prevent continued water penetration, some electrical systems upgrades (not covered under an EPC), and other items of non-cosmetic value (general maintenance). The EPC phase II covers the issues in RFA mentioned previously, as well as, HVAC issues, building envelope issues (insulation), boilers, some windows, and other general improvements that will reduce energy costs in our elementary schools. The annually projected cost to the district of the proposed project is $148,063. Payments on capital projects are made over 15 years. The annual estimated energy savings, as a result of the EPC phase II, ranges between $183,066 and $278,901 over the same 15 years. The end result is a negative tax impact (zero tax increase) on the community, which would allow the district to fulfill the scope of the proposed project without impacting the tax payers of the district. Obviously, there will be many questions that people may have regarding this proposal. There will be upcoming community forums, video messages, print newsletters, and other means of communicating the proposed project to the community. In the meantime, if you have questions that you would like to ask, please do not hesitate to email or call.  


Marching Band Fundraiser

On Sunday, November 3, join the RFA Marching Band for a pancake breakfast! From 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the RFA cafeteria you can have breakfast with the members of the RFA marching band. The cost for each meal is $8.00 at the door. For more information please contact the RFA band boosters at RFAbandboosters@gmail.com.


Screenagers Film Showing

Strough Middle School is thrilled to present SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age, a documentary about the biggest parenting issue of our time. SCREENAGERS addresses the most pervasive parenting issue of our time head on—depicting teen struggles over social media, video games and internet addiction. The film empowers kids to best navigate the digital world and provides practical resources to help them do it. The showing will take place on Friday, November 1, 2019 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Strough Middle School. For more information, please visit https://www.eventcombo.com/e/screenagers-film-presented-by-strough-middle-school-36455


Oneida County Youth Services Council



As part of New York State’s Access to Childcare initiative, The Child Care Council received a grant to collaborate with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council to survey child care needs as they affect our business and employer community in the Mohawk Valley.  This survey is meant to be taken by ANYONE, regardless of if you have children.  So please take it!  The survey aims to get real-time data on child care needs in the Mohawk Valley workforce – right now we use census data to generate statistical assumptions about child care needs. The council is asking for two things: Takes the survey yourself and send the link along to anyone else you know that may not have access. The survey will be open until November 1 and the survey can be found at this link:


Trunk or Treat Event



Trunk or Treat is all about safe, family fun and don't forget the candy! It's a holiday themed community tailgate party and it's completely free. You can expect bouncy castles, games, popcorn, cotton candy, prizes giveaways, and candy. The group will be awarding one lucky family 100 pounds of candy!! Plan on dropping by the Redeemer Church in Rome between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on October 31. For more information, please visit www.redeemer.tv/trunkortreat or call 315.792.4748. Trunk or Treat will take place at 129 N. Washington St. in Rome.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Thank You BoE...

The week of October 21, 2019 is dedicated in New York State as Board of Education Recognition Week. On behalf of the entire school community, I say thank you to the Rome City School District Board of Education members, including all past members, who have given their time, energy, and passion to helping the students, staff, and families of the Rome community.  It takes strong schools to build a strong community, and the women and men of our board devote countless hours to making sure our schools are helping every child learn at a higher level. They make the tough decisions every month and spend many hours studying education issues and regulations in order to provide the kind of accountability our citizens expect. The key work of school boards is to raise student achievement by: Creating a shared vision for the future of education, setting the direction of the school district to achieve the highest student performance, providing accountability for student achievement results, developing a budget that aligns district resources to improve achievement, supporting a healthy school district culture in which to work and to learn, and much more!! Despite popular belief, the responsibility thrust onto a person who volunteers to serve the school community brings with it a tremendous amount of pressure. There is a myriad of laws to wade through, levels of bureaucracy with both federal and state government that has to be accounted for, and the pressures of constituents to push certain agendas that makes the job of a board members ever more challenging. Beyond all of that, maintaining the ability to focus on ALL students within a community is vital to their efforts. The vast majority of board members throughout our communities in New York State have little to no educational systems experience prior to becoming a community servant. The patience, understanding, perseverance, and effort of all board members everywhere is unmatched and for that, we are grateful for your service. Once again, on behalf of the entire District staff and community, thank you to our nine Board of Education members who devote many hours to our children each week!! 

October 25 - No School

Just a reminder to all that Friday, October 25 is scheduled as a Superintendent's Conference Day and there is no school for all students, pre-k through twelfth grade. Classes will resume as scheduled on Monday, October 28.

Screenagers Film Showing

Strough Middle School is thrilled to present SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age, a documentary about the biggest parenting issue of our time. SCREENAGERS addresses the most pervasive parenting issue of our time head on—depicting teen struggles over social media, video games and internet addiction. The film empowers kids to best navigate the digital world and provides practical resources to help them do it. The showing will take place on Friday, November 1, 2019 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Strough Middle School. For more information, please visit https://www.eventcombo.com/e/screenagers-film-presented-by-strough-middle-school-36455


Oneida County Youth Services Council


As part of New York State’s Access to Childcare initiative, The Child Care Council received a grant to collaborate with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council to survey child care needs as they affect our business and employer community in the Mohawk Valley.  This survey is meant to be taken by ANYONE, regardless of if you have children.  So please take it!  The survey aims to get real-time data on child care needs in the Mohawk Valley workforce – right now we use census data to generate statistical assumptions about child care needs. The council is asking for two things: Takes the survey yourself and send the link along to anyone else you know that may not have access. The survey will be open until November 1 and the survey can be found at this link:


Trunk or Treat Event


Trunk or Treat is all about safe, family fun and don't forget the candy! It's a holiday themed community tailgate party and it's completely free. You can expect bouncy castles, games, popcorn, cotton candy, prizes giveaways, and candy. The group will be awarding one lucky family 100 pounds of candy!! Plan on dropping by the Redeemer Church in Rome between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on October 31. For more information, please visit www.redeemer.tv/trunkortreat or call 315.792.4748. Trunk or Treat will take place at 129 N. Washington St. in Rome.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Drive the Race Car...

Recently, I had an opportunity to experience a professional development session with an educational activist and author who used the analogy of racing cars when trying to operate a school. While the analogy is similar to many other that you've probably heard, I felt that the message said from a slightly different perspective may make sense. Not having ever driven a race car, or any car at 200 mph, I lacked the background knowledge to understand that when traveling at that speed in a race, the driver needs to keep their eyes on the top two-thirds of the windshield and if they let their eyes wander to low on the windshield or dashboard, the potential for an accident increases dramatically. At first, people's reactions were so-so and many left thinking, "yeah, I guess that makes sense." As the presenting began making connections to the world of education, the light bulbs in the room began going off. Driving a race car (while it is the driver that gets most of the credit) is simply a part of being a team. And the driver relies on a host of people to also help guide the car around the track. There are team members monitoring the vitals (dashboard), tire usage, speed, fuel, other cars around their car, and much more. In essence, the driver simply needs to worry about the big picture while the team members worry about their functions of the team. And if ALL members of the TEAM stay focused on their responsibility, the team is successful and has a better chance to win the race. Thus, the driver focuses on the top part of the windshield so they can see things coming in front of them from further away, allowing them a better opportunity to react and adjust to a potential problem. When members of the team become focused on aspects of the race that they do not have any control over or are not necessarily expected to be focused on, the performance of the race car can break down and the team is not able to reach their maximum potential. I found this analogy powerful because we live in a society where everyone has more information than ever before. Not in all cases, but in some cases, people think that they may be an expert in a certain area simply because they have some experience with it. Also, thanks to the internet, we all have access and ability to learn new things through the simple process of some research. The ability for individuals to learn about things, however, does not make them an expert. While we can research various ailments online and learn a bit about what may be plaguing our health; the internet is no substitute for a visit to the doctor. Likewise, I can read a lot about how to drive a race car, but I'm pretty sure that I would not have the ability to walk onto a track and outperform someone who has been trained to do the job. Our society is no different. We are comprised of many intelligent people and when people work as a team and maintain their expertise, the group flourishes. Keeping the focus on the big picture while understanding what part of that picture we contribute to is the ultimate way to growth and success!!

Oneida Council Youth Services Council


As part of New York State’s Access to Childcare initiative, The Child Care Council received a grant to collaborate with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council to survey child care needs as they affect our business and employer community in the Mohawk Valley.  This survey is meant to be taken by ANYONE, regardless of if you have children.  So please take it!  The survey aims to get real-time data on child care needs in the Mohawk Valley workforce – right now we use census data to generate statistical assumptions about child care needs. The council is asking for two things: Takes the survey yourself and send the link along to anyone else you know that may not have access. The survey will be open until November 1 and the survey can be found at this link:


Trunk or Treat Event


Trunk or Treat is all about safe, family fun and don't forget the candy! It's a holiday themed community tailgate party and it's completely free. You can expect bouncy castles, games, popcorn, cotton candy, prizes giveaways, and candy. The group will be awarding one lucky family 100 pounds of candy!! Plan on dropping by the Redeemer Church in Rome between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on October 31. For more information, please visit www.redeemer.tv/trunkortreat or call 315.792.4748. Trunk or Treat will take place at 129 N. Washington St. in Rome.



Free Bullying Prevention Workshop


One of our local karate dojos is sponsoring a free bullying prevention workshop on Friday, October 25 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. The seminar, sponsored by Bullyproof: Unleash the Hero Inside Your Kid and Sidekicks Karate, aims to give kids the tools they need to protect themselves and empower them to have the confidence to stand up for themselves and others. For more information, or to register, please visit this website: https://romenykarate.com/bully-prevention/