Sunday, May 20, 2018

On Behalf Of...

On behalf of all of the students and staff at the Rome City School District, I want to thank you the Rome community for the successful passage of the 2018-2019 budget, including the energy proficiency contract. The support shown for the continued efforts of our staff is appreciated. We are very appreciative to have a community that values education and wants the best for their children. The district is dedicated to ensuring that our students are receiving the very best instruction possible with the most appropriate resources available for learning. With the middle school renovation coming to a close and the infusion of technology through the SMART Schools investment program, our schools are quickly becoming some of the most advanced in the region relative to technology. The EPC at RFA and Staley will help alleviate some of the issues that continue to arise in those buildings as we prepare for our next wave of renovation projects. The elementary programs continue to progress with our students doing more 1:1 technology integration at the k-6 level than many of our surrounding partners. Also, the emphasis on literacy, math, and soon to be 'play' at the elementary schools is making a noticeable impact on our children's growth. All of these efforts are made possible because of the support of our community. When you work in a community and environment that is support of children and growth, it makes the entire system better. We appreciate our community and once again, on behalf of our children and staff, THANK YOU for your support!!

Community Schools Carnival

On Saturday, June 2, 2018, the Rome Alliance for Education Community Schools Organization is hosting a community carnival and literacy fair at Bellamy School. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is free for the public. There will be several different activities for students to participate in and food will also be available. Finally, join us in the ribbon cutting of completing our first full year of partnership with community schools in Rome. To volunteer to participate or for more information on the event, please contact

YMCA Summer Camps

The Rome YMCA offers a summer day camp program for children ages Kindergarten through 12 years old (must be enrolled in Kindergarten for Fall 2018). Camp Crooked Arrow runs from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday, during 9 weeks of summer vacation. Throughout the day, our campers enjoy fun activities such as swimming, arts & crafts, team sports & games, nature activities, character development, songs and more all without television, video games or screen time! Whether at our camp for one week or an entire summer, a YMCA day camp experience will create hands-on memories that last a lifetime. For more information, please call the Rome YMCA.

ACES Summer Program

ACES is a positive and fun 6-week summer program specifically designed for children who struggle academically, socially and emotionally, or behaviorally. Research has shown that children perform much better academically when they are helped to improve their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical functioning. And children who perform well academically typically have much better long-term outcomes. That’s why at ACES, children participate in a variety of fun and challenging activities that target all of these areas of healthy development. If you have any questions in regards to our ACES Summer Program or our organization in general please do not hesitate to contact me or visit our website at!

2018-2019 School Health Changes

Each year, New York State reviews their health screening requirements and on occasion will make changes. For the 2018-2019 school year, there are changes to the immunization requirements and health screening requirements. For a copy of the updated immunization requirements from the Department of Health, please click the link below. Other changes to health screenings include:

Health Examinations required in grades pre K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
Vision and Hearing Screening required within 6 moths of entering school and in grades pre K or K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
Scoliosis Screenings are required for females in grades 5 and 7, and for males in grade 9.

Please speak to your school nurse or family physician if you have any questions regarding these new requirements.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day...

Each year, we deem the second Sunday of May, 'Mother's Day'. This day becomes a time to put the spotlight on our mothers and remember all of the wonderful things that they have done for us over the years, and appreciate the unconditional love that a mother provides. The reality is, and this phrase is used often, every day should be a version of Mother's Day. Our parents are more vital and instrumental in our lives than we could ever know. Unfortunately for some, by the time they are old enough to realize the value of their parents, it's too late. I could tell story after story of the things that I have personally witnessed mothers doing in the past 6 months and this blog would be an anthology. More than just the matriarch of a family structure, moms in today's society have become the most instrumental figure for the success of all of us. In many instances, going unnoticed or unrecognized for the sacrifices that they make for their families. Whether it be working 2-3 jobs to provide for their children or turning their vehicle into a charter bus for athletic weekends; we would not survive in this world without our mothers. One the greatest lessons that I learned from my mother, which was recently reinforced by my grandmother several years after her passing, is the importance of being happy in life. Life is tough and it rarely gets easier (at least until retirement and then hopefully it's easier). I have always tried to live life by the mantra that being happy is most important, because being happy leads to a healthier life. A few weeks ago during a conversation with my mother, we were remembering my grandmother and I inquired about how she always seemed so happy. My mother shared a tale with me about when my grandfather passed away, my grandmother had a choice to make, and not an easy one. She could be continuously depressed and sad, or she could find happiness. Her exact words were, "No one wants to be around someone who is miserable all the time, so if I want to keep spending time with my friends, then I need to be happy." Reflecting on my grandmother's message and thinking about how my mother now lives life, I can understand how both of these amazing women always laugh and smile. Life wasn't easy for my grandmother and certainly not easy for my mother having to raise me, but both have found a way to be happy and always smile; which has reflected on everyone around them. Regardless of the situation and stress, finding happiness is important my friends. Life is too short to dwell on negativity, and most don't want to be around it. Take some time to find happiness today, and most importantly, take time to celebrate your mother. Our moms are more instrumental in our lives than we know, the least we can do is make sure they know that we care before it's too late. Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there. I hope you have an amazing day!! 

Annual Budget Vote

The school district 2018-2019 budget and Board of Education member elections will be held this week on Tuesday, May 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. More information regarding the proposed budget can be found here: SCHOOL BUDGET DETAILS
Voting locations are as follows:
First Ward: Staley Upper Elementary School – 620 E. Bloomfield St.
Second Ward: Staley Upper Elementary School – 620 E. Bloomfield St.
Third Ward: Lobby at City Hall – 198 N. Washington St.
Fourth Ward: Gansevoort School–  758 W. Liberty St.
Fifth Ward: Denti Elementary School - 1001 Ruby Street
Sixth Ward: St. Paul’s Catholic Church - 1807 Bedford St.
Seventh Ward: The Ava Dorfman Senior Center - 305 E. Locust St.
Eighth Ward: Stokes School – 9095 Turin Rd.
Ninth Ward: Stokes School – 9095 Turin Rd.
Tenth Ward: Westernville Library – 9172 Main St, Westernville.

Energy Performance Contract

On the May 15, 2018 budget vote ticket, you will find a proposition to approve an Energy Performance Contract for RFA and Staley Elementary. Unlike a referendum project, the community is not voting on whether or not to conduct the project; rather the community is voting to require additional funding from the State Education Department. The project does not need approval from the community because it is meant to increase energy efficiency and reduce utility cost through improved infrastructure. During the summer of 2019, we are planning to replace the lighting fixtures to LED lighting and improve the mechanical systems at both schools. This would mean replacing boilers at both schools and at RFA fixing the chiller system that has functioned poorly for about a decade. The important part is the vote. If the community supports the project, the State pays for 93% of the project. If the community does not support it, the State pays for 83%. For more information about the Energy Project, please visit the website at

Retirement of Flags

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Office of General Services will collect worn and tattered flags at locations statewide so that they can be properly retired. The collected flags will be disposed of as part of the Memorial Watchfire hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 103, on Sunday, May 27th, 2018 at the New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY. Information on the Watchfire can be found here.  "American flags should be retired with respect and honor and this collection program provides New Yorkers with a simple way to accomplish this," Governor Cuomo said. "The Watchfire offers a valuable community service and brings people together to observe the Memorial Day holiday." The Office of General Services has set up drop-off locations across the state for businesses and individuals to bring their flags. All flags collected will be properly folded prior to disposal. The drop-off locations will be collecting donations from Tuesday, May 8 through Wednesday, May 23.

The drop-off locations are as follows:
  • Alfred E. Smith Building, 80 South Swan St., Albany
  • New York State Capitol, Washington Avenue, Albany
  • Empire State Plaza Main Concourse, Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Agency Buildings 1,2,3,4 - Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Legislative Office Building Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Swan Street Building, Core 2 and Core 3, Empire State Plaza, Albany
  • Harriman Campus Buildings 5, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 12 Harriman Campus, 1220 Washington Ave., Albany
  • Ten Eyck Building, 40 North Pearl St., Albany
  • 50 Wolf Road, Albany
  • 625 Broadway, Albany
  • Hampton Plaza, 38-40 State St., Albany
  • 44 Holland Ave., Albany
  • 328 State St., Schenectady
  • Senator John J. Hughes State Office Building, 333 E. Washington St., Syracuse
  • New York State Fairgrounds (Gate 2 Security Station), 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse
  • Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown
  • Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica
  • Homer Folks Facility, 28 Hill Street, Suite 327, Oneonta
  • Eleanor Roosevelt State Office Building, 4 Burnett Blvd., Poughkeepsie
  • Henderson-Smith State Office Building, 107 Broadway, Hornell
  • Binghamton State Office Building, 44 Hawley St., Binghamton
  • NYSP Troop E Zone 1 Station, 1155 Scottsville Road, Rochester
  • Senator Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court St., Buffalo
  • Perry B. Duryea State Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge
  • Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, 163 West 125th St., New York City
  • Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building, 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Down the Stretch...

With the Kentucky Derby looming just one week away, it seems appropriate to refer to the beginning of our last 7 weeks with a racing reference. Although it doesn't feel like the start of May, here we are. Unfortunately, our golf, baseball, and softball teams have not been able to get their seasons off and running yet due to the weather, which will only add to the hecticness of the month of May for those students. For the rest of the student body, whether they are in kindergarten or twelfth grade, the end of the school year always brings a flurry of activities, stress, and excitement. During any given week you can find an athletic event, awards ceremony, concert, picnic, or class celebration to attend. Above that, students in the secondary level are priming for their final exams, AP exams, and Regents exams while our elementary students finish the final leg of New York State assessments. Staff members are also feverishly working to ensure students are prepared to be successful at the end of this year while planning for next year. Time never seems to move slow enough at this time of year, and when the weather finally begins to feel like Spring (hopefully sooner than later), it makes the ability to focus on the task(s) at hand that much more challenging. So, as we exit the bend and approach the home stretch of our year, make sure to take the time to enjoy the atmosphere, camaraderie, and events that come along with the end of a school year. It can be very easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle, or caught up in the stress of the end of the year. Taking a few moments to enjoy your classmates, teachers, families, and events is a must. For many, these opportunities only happen once in a lifetime and you don't want to look back in 20 years wishing you had enjoyed the experience as much as you were focused on the job at hand. After all, the stretch run is short and it will be over in the flash of an eye.  

Official Budget Hearing

During the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting on Thursday, May 3, 2018, the District will be presenting the annual 2018-2019 budget hearing. A copy of the presentation can be found HERE, which will be described in greater detail during the hearing. The annual budget hearing is an opportunity for the Board of Education and the community to hear details about the 2018-2019 proposed budget, along with a question and answer session following the presentation. The Board of Education meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the District Offices located at 409 Bell Road.

Griffiss Institute Summer Camps

This summer, the Griffiss Institute is celebrating their 10th year of providing summer STEM camp opportunities to students. In 2018, there will be six camps offered in the areas of LEGO Robotics, Engineering, Drone, Cyber, Arduino, and ROPES. Registration for the camps opens online on May 1 and will remain open until all spots are filled. Registration spots for these camps fill up quickly, so I would recommend registering ASAP if you are interested. For more information about any of the six camps, please visit the Griffiss Institute website at 

Student Dismissal Reminder

Just prior to the break, there have been several incidents during dismissal of our elementary students where parents arrive at the school well before the dismissal time and want to simply wait inside the building for their children. Unfortunately, allowing groups of parents into the buildings at the end of the day is not only an unsafe measure for all students, it is also causing disruptions and distractions in the buildings. Several buildings have been adjusting their dismissal procedures in recent weeks and some of the changes include not allowing families into the building prior to the actual dismissal of students. While I understand that this can be upsetting to families, please understand that it is the safest practice possible and is necessary to maintain a safe environment all the way until the end of the day for our students and staff. Also, please be reminded that students should not be signed out early from school without a valid reason in compliance with NYSED regulations. Finally, when signing students out of school, you should be required to provide identification so that the school officials can ensure that students are leaving school with an authorized adult. While we understand that some adjustments in these practices can be cumbersome and 'annoying'; please know that we work to constantly improve our safety measures and adopt best practices related to student safety. Thank you for your understanding.