Sunday, February 28, 2016

Resist The Urge...

One of the most common phrases you hear with regard to new things or change is, "resist the urge." In education, resisting the urge of the decades has become more of the norm than the rarity. Recently, technology integration, the Common Core Learning Standards, new teacher evaluation models, turbulent budget season, and more have all been a valid reason to resist the urge. However, resisting the urge of these initiatives and other societal events that are pushed upon us does not take away the issues we face or change or mission/focus. Regardless of what happens in the world around us, our children and students will still be walking through our doors each day, innocently expecting an education.

We owe to each and every child to stop resisting the urge with education and start becoming the urge. If we all put a fraction of the time we spend complaining about things "we have to do" into being a part of the solution, who knows what could happen. At any given point someone could tell us to make lemonade and then hand us a bunch rotten tomatoes. At that very point, we have a choice to make... try our best to make lemonade regardless of the fear of failure or complain that we were not given the right opportunity to succeed. I choose try my best and see where it gets me. At least if I fail I can say that I tried my best. Let's resist the urge to say, "I can't" as we move forward. After all, if a student says, "I can't" we encourage then and continue to encourage them in a myriad of ways and countless times. We won't give on our kids and let's not give up on each other. It's time to resist the urges that promote mediocrity and stonewall growth!

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to Rome City Schools and RFA for becoming a school in Good Standing as deemed by NYSED!!

Congratulations to Nicholas Wilson for becoming a National Merit Scholarship Finalist!!

Congratulations to Tekitha Posey-Barry and Kayla Barber for qualifying for the NYS Indoor Track and Field State Championships this coming weekend!!

Congratulations to Brad Dougherty, Davone Hesnandez, Derick Ward, and Ryan Swavely for qualifying for the NYS Indoor Track and Field State Championships this coming weekend!!

Congratulations to the RFA Mock Trial team on their 49-46 win last week over Frankfort!!

Congratulations to Patrick Kelly, Anthony Cantrano, Alex Smith, and Darcy Baird for being our first PBIS K-Coin drawing recipients!!

Congratulations to all of RFA for continuing to improve our culture and becoming more positive through the PBIS program!!


"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

One of the most challenging parts of parenting in today's society is certainly the digital boom. Our digital boomers have an unbelievable knack to use technology and a thirst that seems to triple their ability to use it. As adults (some of us who grew up without computers at home or even in schools) struggle to understand and keep up. The fear of not knowing and the challenge of learning can often times outweigh our desire to get up to speed. I ask you to resist the urge to technology. Although we may not agree with it and may not like it, it's a reality for our society and our future. As adults, if we don't take the initiative to learn about electronic devices and the universe of apps that accompany them, then who is going to teach our children about how to properly use them and be safe. I say, let's not leave this up to them to learn through trial and error but learn along with them so that we can guide our children to having better and safer digital lives. As we grow our partnership, please let us know if there is more the school can do to help you as a parent learn, use, and understand the technologies that surround us today. 

This Week at RFA...

2/29 - Heat of Fusion
2/29 - District Leadership Team Meeting
3/1 - Sports Physicals for Males
3/1 - Heat of Fusion
3/1 - Education Policy Meeting
3/2 - Sports Physicals for Girls
3/2 - STASS Meeting
3/2 - Heat of Fusion
3/2 - All-City Concert Rehearsal
3/3 - Heat of Fusion
3/3 - All-City Concert
3/3 - ART SHOW Opening at the Visitor Center- Fort Stanwix Monument
3/4 - Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' Performance
3/4 - NASP Tournament - Archery PE Classes
3/4 - Heat of Fusion
3/5 - Indoor Drumline Competition at Central Square
3/5 - NYS Indoor Track and Field Championships at Cornell University.


Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

For the remainder of the marking period (5 weeks or so), see if you can divert your self from resisting to do something that you don't want to. Take a chance and try something that you may not normally try or something that you think won't work. Resist to let your biases prevent you from trying something that may be successful.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Seek to Understand...

I often wonder as I am observing teachers, or students, or people watching at the mall, "What does a snap shot observation/evaluation of this individual/situation really mean?" Is there ANY value in a one time observation? The public education system has been built on evaluations and meeting criteria. Those of us that have spent our lives in education and dedicated ourselves to helping our societies improve make judgments about situations and people daily. But is that fair? Does achieving a '65' on a single exam really tell us anything about whether or not a student is prepared for the next challenge? Or walking into a classroom to observe a teacher in action for 40 minutes once a semester, are we really able to determine if the teacher is productive or not?

Many would say no, and I would as well at times. But, I believe that if we ask the right questions following an evaluation, then a 1 time snap shot can prove valuable. Instead of damning an individual or making a negative judgement about someone/something based on a quick encounter, have a conversation with the person to determine what was really happening. Communication is the key to all success within an institution. I love that quote, "Seek first to understand and then to be understood." Often times, we always think the negative about everything as opposed to seeking to understand the event/individual. Our evaluation systems can be VERY effective if we learn to communicate, ask questions, and genuinely want to improve our educational environment. We owe to our students and their futures to teach them how to communicate and accept constructive feedback. So, next time you find yourself making a judgement about someone or something you don't understand or don't know about, seek first to understand WHY the situation is the way it is, before developing your opinion.

Black Knight Kudos ...

Thank you to all of our community members who participated in this past weekend's American Heart Association walk at RFA!!

Congratulations to all of our winter season athletes and teams for all of their accomplishments. Thank you for representing RFA well!!

"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

Welcome to the newest section of my blog. Based on feedback from our community, the parents would like to be more informed about our building and their children, who blames them!! So, moving forward I will be incorporating some info here for our "pair"ents as I am coining this partnership. If you are a parent of an RFA student and have specific requests of things that would help parents collaborate with the high school, please send me a message or call. Building a strong school to home network is a leading indicator in the success of students at all ages, not just elementary school. Increasing our lines of communication and decreasing the barriers to student achievement is vital. We all have the same goal for our children, let's work together to achieve this goal!! 


This Week at RFA...

2/22 - Heat of Fusion
2/23 - Boys and Girls (V) Bowling Sectionals at Fulton
2/23 - Heat of Fusion
2/23 - District Attendance Committee
2/23 - RFA Discipline and Attendance Meeting
2/23 - 8th Grade Parent Night at RFA
2/24 - PSAT Administration
2/24 - DTSDE State Review
2/24 - Heat of Fusion
2/25 - DTSDE State Review
2/25 - Heat of Fusion
2/26 - DTSDE State Review
2/26 - Heat of Fusion
2/26 - Mr. RFA Pageant
2/27 - VEX Robotics Competition at Oswego
2/27 - Winterguard Competition at Mohonasen

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

During the coming weeks, take the opportunity to ask questions of others to help grow your knowledge of them and the situation you find yourself in. Before you trust the 'rumor' you hear or make a judgement about something you don't have an understanding of, seek to understand. You will find that more often than not we are missing vital information related to our circumstances. Having the right information allows us to have better dialogue to move things in the right direction.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Power of Positive...

This past week, Rome Free Academy began to implement the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program throughout our school. As our teachers were presenting the introductory lessons to our students and we had the opportunity to listen into the discussions being had, it was simply amazing to see the amount of individuals (adults and students) that brought about real world issues for our school and sought ways to make things better. As much as teenagers want independence and the ability to do as they please, it is obvious through talking with them that they also crave structure, expectations, and a positive climate. Most defiance comes when teenagers feel disrespected. Ironically, isn't that the case for all people? Our students have no problem being accountable, and most accept accountability, but they need positive reinforcement as well. Being positive is a mindset and a habit. And often times, more challenging than being negative.

Research claims that people who witness others perform good deeds experience an emotion called 'elevation' and this motivates them to perform their own good deeds. The concept of pay it forward. If you think about it, how often do people randomly say thank you every day? Or how often do you see someone pick up a piece of trash in the hallway because it's the right thing to do to help others? Other little things like saying "Good Morning" or "Have a great day" to random people throughout the day can go a long way. Our students simply want to know that they are cared about as people and not just figures or robots that move throughout our halls. Being positive and helping others does not take much effort. It takes us as individuals putting aside our agenda for a mere second to brighten someone else's day. And being positive is infectious, it rubs off on others throughout an organization. The ability to remain positive and spread happiness is what successful organizations have mastered. perhaps the best part about it, it's free!! The check is blank, how much are you willing to contribute?

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to Tiana Pugh on scoring her 1,000th career point this past week in Girls Basketball!!

Thank you to our PBIS team for developing and implementing our PBIS program throughout the building!!

Thank you to ALL staff for introducing our students to the world of positive and for allowing the conversations to take place within your classrooms that allow a building culture to grow!!


This Week at RFA...

2/8 - District Parent Advisory Council Meeting
2/9 - District Attendance Committee Meeting
2/9 - RFA Jazz Concert
2/9 - Girls (v) Basketball at Proctor
2/9 - Boys (v) Basketball vs. Proctor
2/11 - Boys (v) Swimming - Sectional at Nottingham
2/11 - Boys (v) Bowling - Section III Shootout at Fulton
2/11 - Girls (v) Bowling - Section III Shootout at Fulton
2/11 - Boys (v) Hockey at IHC
2/13 - Boys (v) Wrestling - Section III Finals at OCC
2/13 - Boys (v) Swimming - Section III Finals at Nottingham
2/13 - RFA Winterguard Competition at ESM 

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

In the coming days, see how often you can turn a negative into a positive simply by highlighting something that someone did well, as opposed to what they did wrong. If you can continue this trend, see how quickly others pick up on the attitude and watch the positivity in your environment grow!!