Sunday, December 10, 2017

Let It Fun...

As I attempt to watch the Bills game today with all their snow and have listened to the Christmas classic, 'Let It Snow' recently; I reflect on some professional development from the past two weeks that reminded us all to find ways to provide more fun in both our jobs and in life. I have not done research on this, nor have I gone looking for it; but I would venture a bet that anecdotally most children that are disengaged with school would tell you that it is because they are not having fun. Likewise, I would imagine that most people that are not happy with their place of employment would say it's because their job is not fun. If you know me at all, you know that my next question is \, "Why?" Why can't we have more fun in school? Why can't we make our jobs more fun? Is there a rule against having fun? Perhaps the problem is who defines what fun is? In schools, it's most often defined by the adults, but students are our clients/consumers (to take lingo from the corporate world). Education historically is the only industry that refuses to produce/evolve based on the demand of it's consumers. In schools, we love to follow the, "It worked for me 20 years ago, so it should work for you model." Have you looked at your phone lately? When was the last time you heard some looking for a rotary style phone (that isn't an app) or for a land line even. Everything around us has evolved, but schooling wants to resist society. We don't have to. Let's listen to our students, our consumers, our clients. Education is not meant to serve the adults who have already completed it. It's meant to serve the children who NEED it to ensure that our society prospers when we are retired. So when it come time to make that New Year's resolution, I say, "Let It Fun!!"

Military Service Data Collection


Each year, the United States Department of Education provides roughly $40 million in Impact Aid to school districts which serve the children of military and civilian employees. In order to receive this aid, school districts must gather registration data regarding the students enrolled in their district. This funding enables us to provide programs and services that may not otherwise be available to students. The information gathered to determine eligibility for Impact Aid pertains to any student whose mother, father, or legal guardian is active military, OR a civilian working on a military post. If you are a parent/guardian that meets this requirement, please take a moment to complete the survey HERE so that our student may have the opportunity to benefit from this Federal Aid.


Socks for Teens


The Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency (MVCAA) is collecting new socks to support teen students throughout the Mohawk Valley as part of National Runaway Prevention Month. As the weather becomes more challenging, socks are an essential requirement for students who are on the streets. All schools are collecting donations of new socks of all kinds, preferably sizes 4-9. If you would like to help the MVCAA in this effort, please send in socks to your school's main office labeled "MVCAA Sock Donation" on or before December 21. 

Block R Club Cereal Drive


Once again this year the Block R Club, made up of varsity athletes, will be collecting cereal donations at all home athletic events. This year they are also accepting donations of granola bars and pop tarts. The donated items will be distributed to students for the holiday break who depend on the District for breakfast and/or lunch, since students do not have access to those resources during that time. You may also participate by simply dropping off cereal, granola bars, or pop tarts to the RFA main office at any point before December 21. Thank you to all who have supported thus far and to our student athletes for sponsoring this wonderful drive!


RCSD Apparel Sale


The Rome City School District is holding an online apparel sale from now through December 22, 2017. Items for sale can be found by following this link: https://form.jotform.com/73234073037955. All apparel comes in varying sizes, men's/women's, and colors. The logo on each item varies, so please read the item description carefully. We expect product delivery to be roughly one month from the close of the sale. All payments are made online and go directly to the vendor. 


Sunday, December 3, 2017

#WBFK...

This past week, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Google headquarters in Manhattan with a team of local educational leaders in the Mohawk Valley. During the day long visit, we met with Googlers who took us on a tour of the facility and provided some inside information about the life of Google. Throughout the day, most of us frequently would look at each other and recognize that most of what we were hearing was nothing new or earth shattering. In fact, the majority of it is no different than what we all talk about in Rome every day. As we spoke about educational philosophy and best practices, everything continued to revolve around a new acronym: WBFK. Now, I know we need a new acronym about as bad as Manhattan needs a new Starbucks, but this acronym is essentially what we all hope to do every day: What's Best For Kids. Google's entire design is centered around what's best for production. Education's entire design is supposed to be centered around what's best for kids. I would argue the almost all people in education follow this philosophy and it's only in moments of stress, fatigue, or un-focus that the concept of WBFK is lost. The largest concern in education though is the actual structure of education. Education in the United States is still very similar to education in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, etc. You get the drift. Sure we have technology, standards are different, yada yada. But have the structures changed. Has the delivery of instruction changed significantly. I would bet that almost all of our students' grandparents experienced a school environment that was very similar to today. However, the rest of the world outside of schools has changed dramatically! Everything looks different, is built different, is serviced different. It's time that from an organizational level our schools are different as well. It's what's best for kids. Unfortunately, the reason why schools have had such a tough time adapting is because as adults, we don't embrace change because of the negative connotation. Not changing is the equivalent of going backwards in time. Change is nothing more than an evolution of the current positives. This takes effort and hard work though. Rome is poised to make this evolution as we already have the staff in our schools that believe in and practice what's best for kids. As we get set to turn the calendar in the coming weeks, let's turn the page on the archaic practices of yesteryear and create the evolution that our children need. It's time to truly do WBFK!!  

Christmas in the City Event


Life Church of Rome, NY will be hosting a Christmas in the City event this coming Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9, from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. 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


RCSD Apparel Sale


The Rome City School District is holding an online apparel sale from now through December 22, 2017. Items for sale can be found by following this link: https://form.jotform.com/73234073037955. All apparel comes in varying sizes, men's/women's, and colors. The logo on each item varies, so please read the item description carefully. We expect product delivery to be roughly one month from the close of the sale. All payments are made online and go directly to the vendor. 


Closing/Delay Reminders


Poor weather and/or other conditions occasionally necessitate the closing of schools. In the event of an emergency closing, parent/guardians and students are notified by means of announcements on local radio, television stations, automated phone calling system, 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 city of 72 square miles and overall road conditions might not be the same in one part of the city as in other areas. Announcement of school/closings are made through the news media and automated phone calling system, generally beginning at 5:45 a.m. In some instances, it may be necessary to make announcements as late as 6:30 a.m. Since decisions on closing have to be made very early in the morning and weather conditions sometimes change drastically before students actually begin traveling to school, the ultimate decision on safety of travel conditions for students rests with the parents/guardian. For more information, please visit our website  at http://romecsd.org

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Feel vs. Real

The other week, a colleague sent me an amazing article from a current researcher, Tim Elmore, who specializes in raising our next generation of children. The article is about parenting and being adults relative to today's society and what is real vs. what we feel. In a complete sense of irony, the research he has conducted demonstrates that the world is safer than ever for our children, yet our parenting style has become increasingly protective. The research show that child mortality is down nearly 50% and missing children are down 40% since the 1980's, however adults worry more than ever about their children. This concept of feel vs. real is the reason. Negative news spreads much faster today than positive news, and often times we are so flooded with all the bad that is happening, it makes us feel like our environment is unsafe. As parents, we spend more time than ever doing things for our children, making decisions for them, that the research is starting to show that we may be the problem relative to childhood anxiety and other issues. We spend so much time worried about what WE feel that we are ignoring what our children want and need (reality). In the article, Mr. Elmore recommends some of the same things that we have heard before, but many do not heed the notice. He recommends making more connections with our kids by giving them choices about what they want to do, get the viewpoint of the child or the involve them in the decision making process. This advice is not earth shattering as we've heard it before, but it seems more important than ever in today's society. Our over-exaggerated need for safety is leading to a generation of people who don't know how to communicate in person with each other, want to lead sheltered lives in their homes, less attention span, and many other negatives. We need stop saying the phrase, "back in the day, ..." and start living the phrase, "back in the day, ...". If we truly want what's best for our children, we need to be more cognizant of what is real rather than what we feel. To read the entire article and to learn more about Tim Elmore's research, please follow this link: https://growingleaders.com/blog

Dialogue Event


On Monday, November 27, we will be hosting our first Dialogue with the Superintendent event at RFA from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Library. Following last year's tour through the District to provide families an opportunity to chat informally and get questions answered, we will be continuing the practice this year, however in fewer locations. The event is intended to provide families an opportunity to ask questions through the submission of a question card and elicit an on the spot response. All questions are anonymous. For more information or if you have questions, please contact the District office.



Breakfast with Santa


On Sunday, December 3, the RFA Travel Club will be hosting a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser from 8:00 am to 11:00 am at the RFA cafeteria. Tickets for the event are $6.00 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. Children ages 5 and under eat free and all proceeds benefit the Travel Club and their upcoming trip this Spring. We look forward to seeing you for a great pancake breakfast on December 3!


Closing/Delay Reminders


Poor weather and/or other conditions occasionally necessitate the closing of schools. In the event of an emergency closing, parent/guardians and students are notified by means of announcements on local radio, television stations, automated phone calling system, 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 city of 72 square miles and overall road conditions might not be the same in one part of the city as in other areas. Announcement of school/closings are made through the news media and automated phone calling system, generally beginning at 5:45 a.m. In some instances, it may be necessary to make announcements as late as 6:30 a.m. Since decisions on closing have to be made very early in the morning and weather conditions sometimes change drastically before students actually begin traveling to school, the ultimate decision on safety of travel conditions for students rests with the parents/guardian. For more information, please visit our website  at http://romecsd.org