Thank You Supported Learning...


 This past Friday, December 2, is recognized as National Special Education Day in recognition of the first federal legislation that ruled it unlawful to deny exceptional children, including those with mental and learning disabilities, publicly funded learning opportunities. These initial laws came into play in the 1970s, however, it wasn't until 1990 that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was placed into law. The IDEA act is currently one of the standards that every person involved in the education field is aware of, as well as families of students in special education programs throughout the country. For the first time, IDEA made it a legal responsibility that all children have a right to public education, regardless of need, and that parents would no longer need to worry about their children being denied an education in their home school district. IDEA has been groundbreaking in the integration of students which has helped to break down stigma barriers, it has led to the development of amazing educational technologies which have benefited all students, and it has led to several improvements in the teaching profession in general. As you know, in Rome, we refer to this department as the Supported Learning department (a name that is starting to catch on in different districts throughout the state) in an effort to further break down the stigmas associated with students having special needs. Even typing the words feels offensive as these are children that we are talking about and the labels that can be placed on them can be heart-wrenching. Students in a supported learning program can range from needing significant support to minimal support, but they are all students who represent our community and are often the best representation of our schools. Beyond the amazing students and their families in our supported learning programs, the teachers and staff that work with our students are second to none. If you truly need to brighten a day, visit a supported learning classroom to see the teachers, assistants, aides, therapists, and students in action. The amount of joy through learning that is occurring in these classrooms can't be beat. On top of the general responsibilities of educating children, being a special education teacher bring with it a host of additional reporting and documentation requirements that other school staff are often not aware of. The level at which staff members in a supported learning program know their children and their families is generally beyond a traditional relationship. It is for this reason that often the bonds and experiences in a school setting are strong and support our students in growing toward their future. The fact is, all students should have the same level of support and care that students that fall into IDEA have. Students are simply individuals, as federal legislation suggests. Each child is unique and has a unique set of learning needs that can only be addressed if schools are provided the flexibility to let their teachers do their jobs, and work their magic. We are fortunate in Rome to have such a top-notch team of professionals working with our children, and for this, I am thankful and grateful for the work that they do every day. Keep on moving forward and doing the magical things that you do every day in our world of Supported Learning. You are appreciated!!

Christmas in the City

Life Church of Rome, NY will be hosting its annual Christmas in the City event this coming Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9, 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, live animals, and much more. Christmas in the City is a FREE event and for more information, please visit their website at https://www.lifechurchny.com/christmas/


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.

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.



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