Sunday, December 15, 2019

To You and Yours...

As we enter our final week of school before the holiday recess, I would like to take a moment to wish you and your family a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. In a community full of diversity and difference, one constant amongst the differences is the need for family and support of each other. Regardless of which holidays you celebrate and how you choose to enjoy the season, this is the season to be thinking of others and helping those that may need a little pick me up. We are fortunate to be in an environment where a community is committed to improving and focused on our children. As we enter this holiday season, on behalf of the Rome City School District team, we wish you and yours a very warm and enjoyable holiday. Thank you for everything that you do to support learning, our schools, and our community. Happy Holidays!!

Referendum Reminder


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). There will be an information/question session tomorrow, Monday, December 16. The session 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 To view a video of the information sessions (if you can not attend), please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAE-ciZWthg 

Rising Stars


Rising Stars is a fun learning experience that teaches stage and life skills through games, activities, individual coaching, and actual performances on the Capitol Stage. The program focuses on developing the students' own creativity, building self-confidence, improving reading comprehension and speaking ability, accepting responsibility, and teamwork. Students will learn stage movement, character development, how to audition, and a whole lot more! Skills developed will better prepare students to compete for roles in school plays and other local stage productions, as well as interacting with confidence during pageants, interviews for college or jobs, and in everyday dealings with teachers and peers. For more information, please visit their website at https://www.romecapitol.com/rising-stars-youth-acting/ or contact Janet Foote at risingstarsjanet@aol.com


Mentoring Program


The Rome City School District will once again be participating in the New York Mentors program, in conjunction with the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. Having become a State-wide example and a leader of the program, our Rome schools are once again operating the program in all seven elementary schools for 2019-2020. Students who will be mentored will be either fourth, fifth, or sixth grade children and anyone 18 years or older willing to devote one hour a week is eligible, (including working persons, college students, and retired senior citizens) to be a mentor. Sessions will occur once a week beginning in January, ending in May before Memorial Day. For more information or to sign up to be a mentor, click HERE, or contact Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William Guglielmo at 315-337-1700 or New York State Mentoring Advisory Council Member Frank DiBerardino at 315-337-4721. 


Winter Skate


The Skating Club of Utica Whitestown is offering the Learn to Skate USA program this winter. Beginners of all ages will learn skating fundamentals through US Figure Skating Association & USA Hockey’s Learn to Skate program. Programs include a weekly group lesson with a professional coach, along with open skate time to practice. The session will include participation in our annual Ice show highlighting skills learned. For more information about the sessions, please visit their website at http://www.skatingclubuticawhitestown.com/.


CNY STEM Scholarships


SRC, Inc., Loretto, TTM Technologies, King + King Architects, and INFICON, in partnership with the CNY STEM Hub, are pleased to announce the 2020 CNY STEM Scholarship Program. This scholarship program, now in its 8th year, is open to graduating high school seniors who will be majoring in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer or Software Engineering, Nursing (including PA or NP programs), or Architecture, starting in the Fall, 2020. Students in the following counties may apply: Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Tompkins. This year’s scholarship program will provide financial support and at least one paid summer internship at the participating companies, pending business conditions. Last year’s scholarship winners were from Cicero-North Syracuse, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fayetteville-Manlius, Hannibal, ITC @ Syracuse Central, New Hartford, Nottingham and Westhill High Schools. There is no financial eligibility requirement. Students attending a college or university in New York State majoring in the select STEM areas will be given preference during the selection process. Finalists will be chosen based on academic merit, extracurricular activities, honors/awards, and an essay related to STEM. Recipients will be determined by an in-person interview. The online application and additional information can be found on the CNY STEM Hub website at www.cnystem.com. The application deadline is MARCH 1, 2020. Selections will be made in April and all applicants will be notified by May 1, 2020. If you have any additional questions related to the program, send inquiries to info@cnystem.com

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Community That Cares...


During this holiday season, it’s easy for people to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of constant events, running from place to place, in preparation of the holidays. Without blinking, you can feel like you are living in a tornado and the whole season can be over before you know it. This kind of atmosphere can make it difficult to slow down enough to see all of the amazing things that are happening around us. During this season, and every holiday season, we are all fortunate enough to be in a community that cares deeply about helping each other. There are more programs and events that occur in Rome each year to help those that may be in need, than any other place I have witnessed in my career. From our civic groups, to places of worship, to our teacher’s union, and many more, Rome has no shortage of caring organizations and people that do what they can to help others. Yes the decorations, lights, music, and events can help bring some happiness and spirit to the season, but, there is no sense of joy like seeing another person smile in gratitude as they are helped in a time of need. Our society tends to lean toward a “what’s in it for me” mentality, as people become more and more busy. While the concept of helping others and supporting those in need does happen year round, it’s more prevalent during the holiday season. No matter where you turn in life, whether it’s people watching at the mall, the people you’re sitting near at a sporting event, or the patrons in line with you at the store; no one is living the perfect life to the point where a little kind gesture wouldn’t brighten there day. It can be as simple as striking up conversation when someone looks depressed. Whatever it is, it can be done. So this holiday season, as we continue to grow our community and help each other, take a moment to care about those who are around you, if even you may not know their story or them. The world will always be a better place with a little more kindness!!

Breakfast with Santa


On Sunday, December 15th, the RFA Travel Club will be hosting a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the RFA cafeteria. Tickets for the event are $6.00 and can be purchased at the door. Children ages 5 and under eat free and all proceeds benefit the Travel Club and their upcoming trip this Spring. There will also be a poinsettia sale, basket raffle, arts and crafts, and more! We look forward to seeing you for a great pancake breakfast on December 15th!

Mentoring Program


The Rome City School District will once again be participating in the New York Mentors program, in conjunction with the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. Having become a State-wide example and a leader of the program, our Rome schools are once again operating the program in all seven elementary schools for 2019-2020. Students who will be mentored will be either fourth, fifth, or sixth grade children and anyone 18 years or older willing to devote one hour a week is eligible, (including working persons, college students, and retired senior citizens) to be a mentor. Sessions will occur once a week beginning in January, ending in May before Memorial Day. For more information or to sign up to be a mentor, click HERE, or contact Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William Guglielmo at 315-337-1700 or New York State Mentoring Advisory Council Member Frank DiBerardino at 315-337-4721. 


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!


CNY STEM Scholarships


SRC, Inc., Loretto, TTM Technologies, King + King Architects, and INFICON, in partnership with the CNY STEM Hub, are pleased to announce the 2020 CNY STEM Scholarship Program. This scholarship program, now in its 8th year, is open to graduating high school seniors who will be majoring in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer or Software Engineering, Nursing (including PA or NP programs), or Architecture, starting in the Fall, 2020. Students in the following counties may apply: Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Tompkins. This year’s scholarship program will provide financial support and at least one paid summer internship at the participating companies, pending business conditions. Last year’s scholarship winners were from Cicero-North Syracuse, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fayetteville-Manlius, Hannibal, ITC @ Syracuse Central, New Hartford, Nottingham and Westhill High Schools. There is no financial eligibility requirement. Students attending a college or university in New York State majoring in the select STEM areas will be given preference during the selection process. Finalists will be chosen based on academic merit, extracurricular activities, honors/awards, and an essay related to STEM. Recipients will be determined by an in-person interview. The online application and additional information can be found on the CNY STEM Hub website at www.cnystem.com. The application deadline is MARCH 1, 2020. Selections will be made in April and all applicants will be notified by May 1, 2020. If you have any additional questions related to the program, send inquiries to info@cnystem.com



Sunday, December 1, 2019

We Need More Pollyanna...

Polyanna is a 1960's Disney film that is based on the concept that life's most difficult challenges can be overcome by having a positive attitude and being pragmatic. We all know that life is constantly throwing challenges at us and that nothing seems to be easy, or come easily. However, what's to say that being positive in the face of adversity is not the answer? In our world of education, the mandates that school systems and teachers continue to face are increasing, making the actual job of teaching nearly impossible. If you were to ask a teacher in today's world of education how much of their day that they actually have the control over deciding what to do and how to do it, you would find that the answer is staggeringly low. Teachers have almost zero control anymore about doing what they feel is best for their students. And those that do dare to step out of the box tend to be in violation of some mandate that came from somewhere. We hear it all the time from many places that if we all just do what we are told to do and "play the game", things will improve and our district won't be on the improvement lists. But, has anyone bothered to ask the questions about who determined what the game was? Do the people creating the game know our kids, our families, our staff, and our schools? Is the game to be played because we are told to play it, or because it's best for kids? This is where Pollyanna steps in! If you evaluate the game and realize that it's simply a set of hoops to jump through, and includes more mandates that don't make sense, then why play it? At some point, the adults need to step up and say no to the game. We need to do what's best for our kids, because education is about them. Kids are the consumers of our industry. More than just this, our teachers need to be heard as they know how to help the kids the best. You wouldn't stick with a doctor that every time you don't feel good, uses a manual to determine what to do. Doctor's use their professional knowledge and experience to make a determination of how to help a patient. That's no different than operating a classroom. Teacher's have historically been the most Pollyanna-like individuals in our society because of their inherent desire to help children. So I say, what's wrong with Pollyanna? Education is a challenge, yes. But, with a Pollyanna-like attitude to believe that we can all make a difference, regardless of mandates, our kids can have the experience that they desire in their education! 

Scholar Athlete/Team Awards


Congratulations to all of our Fall sport scholar athletes and teams! The NYSPHSAA has released the list of scholar athletes and teams for the Fall 2019 season. Our Scholar Teams for the Fall 2019 season include: Girls Varsity Field Hockey coached by Mackenzie Welker, Girls Varsity Cross Country coached by Ty Knamm, Boys Varsity Cross Country coached by Nicholas Jeror, Girls Varsity Soccer coached by Melissa Downs, Girls Swimming coached by Michelle Browne, and Girls Varsity Tennis coached by Nick Natishak. In total, across all sports, we had 114 students achieve the Scholar Athlete distinction. Individual awards are given to any student who has a cumulative GPA of 90 or higher; while team awards are given to teams that have 75% of the roster achieving a GPA of 90 or better. 


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!