Round the Bend...


It goes without saying that the past year has been the most challenging that any of us have experienced. No matter which lens you view it through or which role you serve within the school system, nothing about the last year has been normal, easy, relaxing, or comfortable. Every day is approaching with anxiety, uncertainty, and the worry of not knowing if the day will end the way that it began. At this point, it is hard to believe that we have reached the start of the home stretch. As we approach the last week of April, we are rounding that bend and staring the month of May directly in the face. May is generally that month where the excitement of year-end activities and celebration take hold, the rebirth of the plants and trees outside provide the encouragement to keep going, and the sound of kids outside playing once again brings joy to our ears. A year ago, we were still in the throes of uncertainty. Not knowing if the school year was going to resume at all, not knowing if kids were going to have to make up school over the summer, not knowing if there was going to be a graduation. Fast forward to today and while there are still daily uncertainties, we are not talking about canceling year-end activities and we know that our students will have the opportunities they deserve to celebrate their accomplishments with their families and classmates. The largest difference this year, the fatigue. Under normal circumstances, students and staff are tired by the time May rolls around, but the activities and the weather tend to give everyone that extra boost they needed. This year, everyone has been going non-stop, all hands on deck, for more than a year, and the level of stress, anxiety, and worry are at an all-time high. Many students and staff reached their threshold months ago. As we round the bend this week and move into the home stretch of the month of May, it is more important than ever that we support each other and work together to finish strong. Remembering that everyone has the same purpose, to help improve the lives of our students, will help us get to the end stronger than ever. If the last year has taught us anything, the next 8 weeks will be filled with continued uncertainty, random changes/directives from SED or Albany, and puzzlement. Regardless, if we all seek to understand why and what is occurring, we will all be saner in the end for it. As we round the bend, let's stick together, support each other, and find the positive in every day/event! 

RFA Vaccination Clinic

Thanks to our partnership with Mohawk Valley Health Systems, we are pleased to be able to provide a vaccination clinic for our RFA students, ages 16 and up. This opportunity is completely voluntary and we will have approximately 250 doses available. The vaccine clinic will be held at the Rome Free Academy in the small gym on Wednesday, April 28, from 8 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The vaccine clinic will use Pfizer vaccines, which can be administered to anyone over 16 years old.  Students, whether remote or in-person, can register for the vaccine clinic.
A few things you should know:
1. Parents must give verbal consent for students under the age of 18 to be vaccinated. This can be done over the phone or in person.
2. The vaccine is FREE and available at NO COST to students and their families.  However, if a student or family member has insurance, they should bring their insurance card as well as a form of ID (if available). 
3. To register for the clinic:  go to this link and choose an appointment time:
https://apps2.health.ny.gov/doh2/applinks/cdmspr/2/counties?OpID=C0803A4F0EF70AACE0530A6C7C168F4B
4. Students must bring a copy of their registration form (or they can bring a screenshot).
5. Please contact Rome Free Academy with any questions. 

RFA Tutoring Opportunity

The RFA Chapter of the National Honor Society will be offering tutoring for high school students in grades 9-12. All tutoring will be done virtually and can be requested by any student.  We have tutors in just about every subject area; English, Algebra1 & 2, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus AB, Earth Science, Living Environment, Chemistry (Regents and AP), Physics, Global 1 &2 (Regents and AP), US History (Regents or AP), Government, French, Italian and Spanish. Students in grade 9 and 10 will sign up in Mrs. Bowles' office. Students in grades 11 and 12 will sign up in Mrs. Hess' and Ms. Dodd’s office. Please print your name, the subject(s) you want to be tutored in and your Rome City School District email address. If you are fully remote you can email Mrs. Richie mrichie@romecsd.org or Mrs. Sigg jsigg@romecsd.org your tutoring needs and they will make sure tutors are notified.  Once you have signed up, your tutor will reach out by email to set up a good time to meet. He or she will send a Google link with the time agreed upon where he/she can provide the help required. 

Congratulations VEX Robotics

The Rome Free Academy VEX Robotics team has earned the 2021 New York State Northern Region Championship! This is the second State Championship for our VEX Robotics team in the last 7 years. This year's accomplishment is particularly rewarding because, like many other things throughout the pandemic, the team was required to learn an entirely new way of operating and communicating in order to compete. With the State Championship, the team will now be competing in the VEX Robotics World Championships next month.  

Virtual Stem Conference

NASA has scheduled the downlink with the International Space Station for SUNY Plattsburgh’s Shine On! Look to the Stars conference during Expedition 65 on May 6, 2021. The downlink is part of a one-day virtual conference available to all PK-8 classrooms throughout New York state and is slated to feature NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, members of NASA’s Space X Crew-2. For more information on this opportunity, please visit the Shine On! website at: https://www.shineongirl.org/ 

Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Information

The New York State Education Department has partnered with the Office of Mental Health have partnered together to help schools, families, and students to be supported throughout the pandemic with resources related to mental health needs and suicide prevention. Mental health continues to be a top concern for everyone during this past year. Most recently, they have developed a resource document for families, students, and schools to assist in addressing possible concerns of mental health and/or suicide. For a copy of this resource page, please visit their website at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/documents/MentalHealthandSuicidePreventionResources.pdf  

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