Sunday, November 24, 2019

Let's Be Thankful...

Believe it or not, the end of November is but a mere week away. With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it is time to reflect and say thank you for everything that we are afforded in life. While it can be argued that the traditional American holiday can stand for the remembrance of oppression or discrimination, what can't be argued is the underlying intent of Thanksgiving: to be thankful. With so much negativity in our world today, and the negativity more readily available to all of us, this time of year is the perfect time of year to focus on the positive. We all have our own stories that involve heartache, sadness, successes, and joy. Personally, the last 8 weeks of the calendar year always foster sad memories as any member of my immediate family who has passed away, has done so during the holiday season. This time of year always brings with it the concern and memory of loss. However, negatives can only consume us if we let them. There is much positive to focus on as well. Family, friends, and health could be a few. Regardless of your situation, there is plenty to be thankful for and each different individual has their unique perspective on the world based on the lens that they live through. We also should be thankful for the Rome family. The entire community, and specifically the educational community, is the one of the most giving and caring communities for children that you will find. I have said it frequently and will continue to say it because it is special. Our children are fortunate to attend schools where the adults in the buildings care just as much about their personal growth and opportunities, as they do about their academics. As all of us are, I am fortunate to work for a group of people who want to be the best community in the State, and are willing to roll up their sleeves to achieve that goal. So at this time to give thanks, I am thankful for each of you. Staff, students, and families alike; thank you for the outstanding opportunity to work with you each and every day. For those that celebrate the holiday, I wish you and yours the Happiest of Thanksgivings. For all of us, I hope that you can find some time to reflect on the positives in life and share your positive attributes with our community! It's time we are thankful for each other, because together, the Rome community is second to none.

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 Rome Free Academy Small Auditorium. To view the print flier, please visit: https://app.peachjar.com/flyers/879022/districts/32521 

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!!


Christmas in the City



Life Church of Rome, NY will be hosting their second annual Christmas in the City event this coming Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. each evening. The event will be held at the former NYS Armory, located at 1110 Black River Blvd. During the event there will be an interactive Christmas village, live caroling, local artisans, food trucks, treats, and live animals. Christmas in the City is a FREE event and for more information, please visit their website at www.lifechurchny.com/christmas



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!

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 https://app.peachjar.com/flyers/864999/districts/32521. 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 https://app.peachjar.com/flyers/867644/districts/32521.



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!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thank You Veterans...

This Monday, our nation recognizes Veteran's Day for all of our women and men who have served our country in one way, shape, or form. Having the fortitude, mental stamina, and courage to serve in our nation's military is one of life's paths that not everyone can follow. The women and men of our military forces are constantly in harms way to provide security for the rest of us. They perform their duties courageously knowing that the ultimate sacrifice is always a possibility. One of the most inspiring features that I have grown to admire of the veterans that I know is the humbleness with which they live their lives. Walking down the street every day are thousands of veterans who bring the qualities of dedication, perseverance, grit, pride, and service to the rest of us. All of our veterans deserve much more than one day of recognition as the lessons that they bring to the table are significant, if we are willing to listen. It would be hard to believe that in today's not day in age, every family couldn't be impacted by having a military service member in their lives. Our veterans walk amongst us in the civilian world, leading by example, and epitomizing the sense of pride in our country that we all felt when we were children. When I reflect on my friends and family who are veterans (and those family friends who lost someone in action), I can not think of a negative word to say about any of them. They are true role models who know what the meaning of the word 'sacrifice' is really all about. While we approach this Veteran's Day, please take time to reflect on the lessons that our military veterans have taught us and make sure you thank our veterans as you see them. Your service has provided the rest of us with freedom, and for that we are eternally grateful. Thank you veterans!! 

Parent Portal Reminder


As we come to the end of the first marking period and get ready to release the first report cards for the year, this is a reminder that we will be using Parent Portal to deliver the report cards. In order to obtain your child's progress reports and report cards again this year, you will need an account for parent portal. 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. For more information/assistance on using Parent Portal or the Rome City School District app, please visit the following website for video guides on both: Parent Portal / RCSD App Video Guides

Law Enforcement Career Night



OHM BOCES is partnering with law enforcement in the Mohawk Valley to offer a one-night event for students interested in pursuing a career as an officer. Representatives from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Utica, Rome, and New Hartford police departments, and the New York State Police will offer presentations and be available to answer questions. The event will be held at the Howard D. Mettleman Learning Center, at OHM BOCES, on Tuesday, November 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Any student in grades 9-12 with an interest in learning more about law enforcement is encouraged to attend. To register for the event, please contact Joanna Demma at jdemma@oneida-boces.org


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!



School Closings/Delays



Poor weather and/or other conditions occasionally necessitate the closing of schools. In the event of an emergency closing, parent/guardians and students are notified by means of announcements on local radio, television stations, automated phone calling system, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and the District website. The decision to close is based upon several criteria – wind speed in combination with temperature, present and predicted precipitation, and overall road conditions. Also keep in mind that Rome is a school district of roughly 72 square miles and overall road conditions might not be the same in one part of the district as in other areas. Announcement of school/closings are made through the news media and automated phone calling system, generally beginning at 5:45 a.m. In some instances, it may be necessary to make announcements as late as 6:30 a.m. We will be conducting a test call to verify that we have accurate phone numbers and emails in the coming week, so please stay tuned for that. 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Recognition for Rome...

This week, the Rome City School District had several distinguished guests visit our schools. Thanks to the hard work of our educators and staff, Rome is being recognized both nationally and state-wide for the growth that is occurring. In conjunction with the Rome Alliance for Education and Connected Community Schools initiative, the Rome Community Schools model has quickly become a model program for communities throughout the region/country to follow. Due to the efforts of many individuals in several of our schools (and throughout our community), we were fortunate enough to welcome the President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, to Rome this week. While in Rome, she was able to visit with community leaders, programs, and schools to see first hand the impact that can be made for students and families when we all work together. Due to these efforts, the Community Schools Initiative was awarded $350,000 for continued work to strengthen to the model that is already established. Our community schools program can assist families with almost any need that may arise from medical support, to clothing, to food, to technology access. When communities work together to find the good in each other and support each other, amazing things can happen. The funding from the AFT amounts to 35% of the grant funding provided to all schools in the United States in a given year. Our school district and community would never have had this opportunity if it weren't for the efforts of all of us working together to improve our community for our kids. We were also privileged to have a visit from the Chair of the State Assembly Education Committee (Assemblymen Benedetto) and our local Assemblywoman Buttenschon this week, as they toured our schools to learn about things that our legislature can do to assist schools in removing barriers to improve the experiences that our students have in schools. The two visits combined marked a milestone for the Rome City School District as we move from a location where people gloss over, to a location where prestigious organizations and individuals are taking note of our potential and growth. It is due to the efforts and hard work of our dedicated staff and devoted parents that is making this a possibility. They say Rome wasn't built in a day, but they never said we can't try. Congratulations Rome on the progress made, let's keep the train rolling!!


School Closings/Delays

Poor weather and/or other conditions occasionally necessitate the closing of schools. In the event of an emergency closing, parent/guardians and students are notified by means of announcements on local radio, television stations, automated phone calling system, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and the District website. The decision to close is based upon several criteria – wind speed in combination with temperature, present and predicted precipitation, and overall road conditions. Also keep in mind that Rome is a school district of roughly 72 square miles and overall road conditions might not be the same in one part of the district as in other areas. Announcement of school/closings are made through the news media and automated phone calling system, generally beginning at 5:45 a.m. In some instances, it may be necessary to make announcements as late as 6:30 a.m. We will be conducting a test call to verify that we have accurate phone numbers and emails in the coming week, so please stay tuned for that. 

Parent Portal Reminder

As we come to the end of the first marking period and get ready to release the first report cards for the year, this is a reminder that we will be using Parent Portal to deliver the report cards. In order to obtain your child's progress reports and report cards again this year, you will need an account for parent portal. 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. For more information/assistance on using Parent Portal or the Rome City School District app, please visit the following website for video guides on both: Parent Portal / RCSD App Video Guides

Bellamy PBIS Fundraiser

On Wednesday, November 6, the Bellamy PBIS team will be hosting a fundraiser in conjunction with the McDonald's on Black River Boulevard. A portion of ALL proceeds collected between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. that evening will be donated back to the school and their PBIS initiative. PBIS is a school based strategy to promote and recognize positive things within a school. Please take a moment on Wednesday night to support our Bellamy PBIS crew!!

Law Enforcement Career Night

OHM BOCES is partnering with law enforcement in the Mohawk Valley to offer a one-night event for students interested in pursuing a career as an officer. Representatives from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Utica, Rome, and New Hartford police departments, and the New York State Police will offer presentations and be available to answer questions. The event will be held at the Howard D. Mettleman Learning Center, at OHM BOCES, on Tuesday, November 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Any student in grades 9-12 with an interest in learning more about law enforcement is encouraged to attend. To register for the event, please contact Joanna Demma at jdemma@oneida-boces.org