It's Vape Time...
This is a topic that I have not written about in a few years, but at the request of our elementary leaders (yes, I said elementary), it's one that we should help get some information out there to our families. One of the largest ongoing topics of conversation over the years has been the use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers (commonly known as vapes) among youth and teens in our society. It may be so prevalent in conversation, that it is becoming "white noise" to many. However, the fact remains that it is a significant problem with children as young as 7, and of more concern is the unknown substances that people are giving kids to smoke. This is not a new topic as the onset of the devices occurred more than a decade ago and they began to be used regularly by teenagers nearly 9 years ago now. Unfortunately, society at the time was not sure of the implications and the devices and substances used in them were loosely regulated, despite research that showed concerns relative to children using electronic cigarettes and vaporizers. Fast forward to today, the devices have been banned on school property through New York State law, there have been increased regulations about the age at which people can purchase or possess a vape, and the level of research has grown tremendously. Of note in all of this information is that the use of vapes by adults seems to be decreasing while the use of vapes by children is increasing. And what was once a concern for parents of high school students, and then a middle school students, now needs to be a concern for elementary age parents as we are seeing more and more children bring the devices to school after taking them from a parent or older siblung. As a parent, it is important to know that the syrups that are used in a vape can contain small amounts of nicotine, which causes the addictive nature of the device. Also, people have found ways to liquefy marijuana, among many other more lethal substances such as fentanyl, and will lace the syrups with more hard-core substances that could be more damaging to children. While the choice of smoking or vaping is something that adults have the legal right to do, it is important to know that it is illegal for minors and highly unhealthy. Before allowing your children to venture into the world of vaping, or before they make the choice on their own behind your back, I highly recommend that you take time to review the current research and literature about the outcomes and effects of the devices. More information can be found by visiting the sites below:
RFA Class of 2023 Fundraiser
Please join the Rome Free Academy Class of 2023 for Breakfast with Santa! On Saturday, December 17, the senior class of RFA is hosting a fundraiser from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Rome Free Academy. For more information, please see their flyer on our PeachJar at: https://app.peachjar.com/flyers/2374691/districts/32521.
Student Attendance at School Events/Athletics
As we prepare to begin the winter athletic season, please know that there will be new student attendance requirements for RFA and Strough students who desire to attend home contests. In response to student concerns about student behavior at football games, moving forward, any student who has a referral of any kind, will not be permitted into events for the week that the referral was received. If the referral is a major offense (level C or D in the code of conduct), the student will not be permitted into events for the season. Details on how the procedure will work for students in RFA and Strough, will be available through communications from the buildings directly. We hope that this practice not only improves the viewing experience of our general spectators but also incentivizes some students to exhibit more appropriate conduct while in school and in public.
Stuff the Bus Toy Drive
Fidelis Care and the Roser Communications Network, in conjunction with our local Colonial Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, is conducting their annual Stuff the Bus Toy Drive for children of the Mohawk Valley. If you are interested in donating a toy to their cause, there will be a drop-off on Friday, December 2, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Colonial Park. For more information, please see their flyer on our PeachJar at: https://app.peachjar.com/flyers/2375204/districts/32521.
Local Nutcracker Performances
It's that time of year for the annual Nutcracker performance at Rome's Capitol Theatre. As you probably know, many of our Rome City School District students are involved with this traditional holiday event each year. Shows will be held on Friday, December 9th, and Saturday, December 10th. For more information, including ticket information, please visit the John Hayes O'Neill Studio of Dance website at www.jhodance.com.
School Closing/Delay Information
Poor weather and/or other conditions occasionally necessitate the closing of schools. In the event of an emergency closing, parents/guardians and students are notified by means of announcements on local radio, television stations, Parent Square, 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. Announcements of school closings/delays are generally made beginning at 5:45 a.m. In some instances, it may be necessary to make announcements as late as 6:30 a.m.
ParentSquare Security Enhancement
ParentSquare is releasing a new security feature called Password Monitor to protect you and our community from hacking attempts by enforcing safe and secure passwords wherever possible. When signing in to ParentSquare or changing your password in a browser or mobile app, some of you may receive a version of the following alert: "Password Reset Required- We detected that your password was exposed in a breach at another company. As a precaution, we do not allow this password to be used to sign in to your account." Please follow the instructions on the screen to set a more secure password for your account. We appreciate your understanding in supporting these added safety measures.