Monday, May 30, 2016

A Day to Honor...

On Memorial Day, we stop each year to remember and honor the military men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live the life that we are all so accustomed to. Memorial Day is filled with parades, bands, military memorabilia and honorees, picnics, barbecues, ice cream, fire works, and more. Across our country it is a day of remembrance and honor for people that most of us never knew, and never knew what the true fight was. Yet part of what makes the American people so great is their ability to band together in times of need and do the small things that make the world a better place; small things like say thank you to complete strangers.

On this Memorial Day, while I want to take time to remember the military individuals who have sacrificed their lives for us, I also want to take time to say thank you to some of our own RFA family members for their service to our school. This coming summer, two of our assistant principals (Mrs. Linda O'Neill and Mr. Ric Ripa) will be moving on from RFA. While Mrs. O'Neill is retired Air Force, Mr. Ripa is not military, but both have sacrificed a tremendous amount over the past decade to help bring RFA to where it is today. Along with Mr. Roberts and Mr. Benson (who left last summer), Mrs. O'Neill and Mr. Ripa have done a tremendous amount for our school and community. So before it's too late and all we have is a memory, please join me in saying "thank you" to these wonderful administrators as they move on their lives. While today is about the memory of ones lost, we can honor the memory of our own while we still have them around.

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to all members of the Air Force JROTC program who received awards at their annual awards night last week!!

Congratulations to all students who were successful in the recent STASS Class Officers elections!!


"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

Wednesday, June 1 is a Regents examination day and CLASSES WILL NOT BE IN SESSION. Only students who are taking the Algebra 2 exam or Calculus exam should report to school on that day. There will be a bus run home at both 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., however there will be no afternoon run at the regular dismissal hour. Also, on Friday, June 10, RFA will be participating in an anti-bullying campaign called Blue Pinky Swear Day. Students and staff are encouraged to paint their right pinky blue in a silent showing of standing up to bullying. We hope that you can encourage your student to participate.

This Week at RFA...

5/30 - MEMORIAL DAY - No School
5/31 - No School - Unused Snow Day
5/31 - Rhapsody Field Trip to New York City
6/1 - Algebra 2 Regents Examination (No School except for exams)
6/1 - Calculus Final Examination (No School except for exams)
6/1 - District Art Show at the Rome Community Galleries
6/1 - Dollars for Scholars Banquet
6/3 - Senior Picnic to Green Lakes State Park

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

Find some time this week to thank a colleague whom you have seen as a mentor during your time in education. It could be someone you work with currently, a colleague from another place, or even someone who you barely converse with. Random acts of kindness such as a simple "thank you" can go along to changing a culture.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Change Is In The Air...

I think it is finally safe to say that Spring has sprung here in Central, New York. Almost everyone I know has spent a portion of this weekend outside doing work or enjoying themselves (including myself as I write this next to the fire on this fine Sunday evening). Spring brings with it all kinds of change, both literal and metaphoric in our schools. Our students are constantly experiencing new life events and for seniors the change of life coming in the next month is fairly drastic. In nature, the life cycle takes anew and we see the change of seasons right before our very eyes. While I spend my time enjoying being outside a bit, I reflect on the change that we are about to undergo in both Rome and Rome Free Academy.

This past week we appointed a new principal (Mr. Brian LeBaron) and two new Assistant Principals (Mrs. Andrea Falvo and Miss Amy Molloy). As I begin my transition into my first superintendency, I could not be more thrilled for the future of Rome Free Academy. RFA is littered with absolutely top notch educators and people, this transition of new leadership brings with it a renewed sense of life and inspiration for our students. While I am going to miss walking in those doors every day (as will our other administrators who are moving on), I know that RFA is being left in more than qualified hands and I am beyond excited for the possibilities that the future holds. As long as we all remember that change is hard, but not impossible; this transition will be easy. I know that the students, families, and staff of RFA are going to give our new leaders a very warm welcome and show them (much the same way you did me) why Rome needs to be home.

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to Hannah Skibitski for being selected as an Andrew D. Rossetti Scholarship winner!!

Congratulations to Ellie Lynn Hawkins, Meagan Hull, and Phillip McCorkle on being nominated for the 2016 OHM School Boards Institute Student Achievement Award!!

Congratulations to Maria Parker for being recognized by the Delta Omega Sorority at their annual awards tea!!

Thank you to Mr. Dunn and his students for hosting the Humane Society of Rome and raising funds to help the animal shelter!!


"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

Please remember that Friday, May 27 is a give back snow day so there will be no school on that day. Also, Tuesday, May 31 is another give back day and there will be no school then either. Wednesday, June 1 is a Regents examination day and CLASSES WILL NOT BE IN SESSION. Only students who are taking the Algebra 2 exam or Calculus exam should report to school on that day. There will be a bus run home at both 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., however there will be no afternoon run at the regular dismissal hour. If you have any questions about any of this, please contact us. Lastly, please don't forget to participate in the City of Rome's needs assessment survey at http://romenewyork.com/.

This Week at RFA...

5/23 - NHS, AP Physics & AP Calculus Field Trip to Darien Lake
5/24 - I & S Committee Meeting
5/24 - Key Club Meeting
5/24 - RFA Boys Tennis Banquet
5/24 - Girls (v) Golf Sectionals
5/24 - Boys (v) Lacrosse Sectionals at West Genesee
5/25 - Faculty Meeting
5/25 - Track and Field Sectionals at CNS
5/26 - World Wars Classes Field Trip to Buffalo Naval Yard
5/26 - Policy Committee Meeting
5/26 - STASS Elections
5/26 - JROTC Awards Banquet
5/27 - NO SCHOOL
5/27 - French Club Field Trip to Niagara on the Lake
5/28 - Travel Club Field Trip to New York City

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

I've said this below and my feelings have been reaffirmed recently by visiting our elementary schools. I heard repeatedly about how many teachers visited each others' classrooms and the benefit that they found to observing their peers. It is the most powerful professional development that we have and it is free!! Not only is it free, but we can do it 5 days a week. Please find the time to observe a colleague and notice all the great things that you have going on in your school!!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

We Come Together...

This is that time of year where our students are enjoying the sunshine, the green outside, and the thought of summer approaching. Over the next 6 weeks high school students all over are going to experience many events that bring them together as groups of friends and classmates to create memories that will last a life time. As adults, we always hope that our students and children make wise decisions so that the memories created are for the right reasons. As we finished our Junior Prom this weekend, it was so nice to see kids being kids and enjoying themselves. We decided to have our Prom at the high school this year in an act of "retro" and the students truly did an amazing job!!

Unfortunately at RFA, while we have a lot of wonderful events to bring us together and create memories, we have also experienced tragedy that has united our school community. As we begin to celebrate the end of the school year and all of the successes that come with that, the RFA family was suddenly thrust into celebrating the life and memories of our own with the unexpected passing of a senior last week. While this is not the type of event we ever want to occur, it brought our school community together and truly showed the level of care that our students and staff have for each other. As we move forward into the future, it is my hope that our school continues to come together as a community and a family for the right reasons and because we care about each other as people. It's time to put differences aside for good and respect each other because it's the right thing to do.

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to the girls varsity track team for completing their 6th straight undefeated season!!

Congratulations to Spencer Parrish for being selected as News Channel 9's Extraordinary Talent of the Week!!

Congratulations to Casey Borst and Gabriela Lopez for being recognized by the LECNY (Language Educators of Central New York) this week!!

Congratulations to all students who completed their AP Exams these past 2 weeks!!


"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

In the coming weeks the city of Rome will be conducting a public needs assessment survey. I would encourage you all to participate and complete an online survey found at http://romenewyork.com/ to help provide our city government with feedback on various components, including our school system. Also, the interim reports will be mailed home this week on Friday, May 20. The last few weeks of the school year are always fast paced and filled with all kinds of goodness. I would encourage you to talk to your student about their academics as the year comes to a close. Finally, for a copy of our Regents exam schedule, please visit our website at http://www.romecsd.org/.

This Week at RFA...

5/16 - Girls (v) Softball vs. Central Valley Academy
5/16 - Boys (v) Baseball vs. Central Valley Academy
5/16 - Boys (v) Lacrosse vs. Proctor
5/17 - BUDGET VOTE
5/17 - NYSSMA Major Festival Field Trip (music)
5/17 - Key Club Meeting
5/17 - Boys (v) Track and Field at Camden
5/17 - Girls (v) Track and Field at Camden
5/17 - Girls (v) Softball at Proctor
5/17 - Boys (v) Baseball at Proctor
5/18 - Board of Education Meeting
5/18 - Boys (v) Lacrosse vs. Whitesboro
5/18 - Girls (v) Lacrosse at Whitesboro
5/19 - Career Seminar in the Small Auditorium
5/19 - Boys (v) Baseball vs. Notre Dame
5/20 - Camp CEAL Kayaking to Delta Lake
5/20 - Adopt a Pet Program
5/20 - Travel Club Meeting
5/21 - Boys (v) Golf TVL Tournament
5/21 - Boys Track and Field EDDY Meet
5/21 - Girls Track and Field EDDY Meet

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

Have you taken time to visit a colleagues classroom lately? If not, spend a period observing a friend teach and look for something new that you generally don't do in your classroom. The power of peer observation is huge, especially when focusing on the positive and trying to learn new/exciting strategies.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Day for Mom...

On this Mother's Day, we all need to take a moment to reflect and think about the value our mother's have added to our lives. We've all heard the old sayings about how our parents are our first teachers, and there is truth to that. One of the nice things about being an adult is that you learn to appreciate the moment and enjoy the little things in life as you learn that not everyone has the same life that you may have. You also learn to value those in your life that helped raise you and you understand a parents unconditional love. This past weekend, I witnessed 2 events with my own mother that made me realize just how much she cared about me. First was funny, when she pulled her selfie stick out at the zoo to take a family portrait. I am very tech-saavy and have never even used one, it was a great example of how my mother tries to stay current so she can relate to use tech-generation folk.

The second occasion occurred when I handed my mom a copy of a newspaper article with my new appointment in it. The smile on her face could not have been bigger and her reaction really showed me just how much our mothers (and all parents) truly care about us, no matter the age. She keeps on saying, "your grandmother would be so proud." What does all this mean? It means that we need to take more time and recognize that our parents care about us more than we imagine. As a teenager (and college student) I certainly did not have the understanding of family that my parents deserved. As an adult, the picture could not be more clear!! Our parents truly are our first teachers and they never stop. Life is too short for grudges and conflict, everyone shows their affection in different ways but a simple phone call, meal, or card goes a long way. So on this Mother's Day, I hope that you all take a moment to truly recognize and thank your mom.

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to Rockia Ricketts on being one of four students Statewide that was awarded a National Technical Honor Society Scholarship!!

Congratulations to Spencer Parrish and Daniel Wilcox for receiving the Teen All-Star Scholarship through the Utica Observer Dispatch!!

"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

Each year the Rome Rotary Club welcomes a foreign student to our community for the school year. A key need for each exchange student is host families. Typically, a student lives with three different families through the course of a year for about 3 1/2 months each (One from late August - Thanksgiving, one from Thanksgiving through mid-March, and one from mid-March through the end of June or early July. Our community life has been enriched by many students you may remember through the years- Mathilde Crampon this year from France, Gustavo Calderon last year from Ecudor, Sandy Li the year before that from Taiwan, and many more. Next year we will welcome a young woman from Brescia in Northern Italy.
If your family would like to find out more about hosting, please contact Sam Pendergast, who is the Youth Exchange Officer for the Rome Rotary Club at 315-617-3567 or at slpender55@gmail.com. You can find out more information about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program as http://rotaryyouthex.org/. Please talk to Sam Pendergast prior to beginning an application to become a host family.

This Week at RFA...

5/9 - Advanced Placement Exams
5/9 - Boys (v) Tennis at Whitesboro
5/9 - Girls (v) Golf vs. Holland Patent
5/9 - Boys & Girls (v) Track and Field at Whitesboro
5/9 - Girls (v) Softball at Whitesboro
5/9 - Boys (v) Baseball at CNS
5/9 - Girls (v) Lacrosse vs. Watertown
5/10 - Advanced Placement Exams
5/10 - Key Club Meeting
5/10 - National Honor Society Meeting
5/10 - DASA Task Force Meeting
5/10 - Girls (v) Golf vs. New Hartford
5/10 - Boys (v) Golf at Whitesboro
5/10 - Boys (v) Tennis vs. New Hartford
5/10 - Girls (v) Softball vs. New Hartford
5/10 - Boys (v) Baseball vs. New Hartford
5/11 - Advanced Placement Exams
5/11 - Field Trip to The Beeches Congressional Forum
5/11 - Field Trip, Strolling Strings to the Presbyterian Home
5/11 - Boys (v) Golf vs. New Hartford
5/11 - Girls (v) Golf at New Hartford
5/11 - Boys (v) Track and Field at Oneida
5/11 - Girls (v) Track and Field vs. Oneida
5/11 - Girls (v) Lacrosse at Auburn
5/12 - Advanced Placement Exams
5/12 - RFA Teachers Coordinator Meeting
5/12 - Boys (v) Golf at VVS
5/12 - Girls (v) Golf at Camden
5/12 - Boys (v) Tennis vs. Camden
5/12 - Boys (v) Baseball vs. Camden
5/12 - Boys (v) Softball vs. Camden
5/12 - Boys (v) Lacrosse vs. New Hartford
5/13 - Advanced Placement Exams
5/13 - Travel Club Meeting
5/13 - NYSSMA Solo Festival at Mexico H.S.
5/13 - Girls (v) Golf at Camden
5/13 - Boys (v) Golf vs. Camden
5/13 - Boys & Girls (v) Track and Field at Oneida Invitational
5/13 - Girls (v) Lacrosse at Clinton
5/14 - NYSSMA Solo Festival at Mexico H.S.
5/14 - Boys (v) Baseball at VVS (double header)
5/14 - Girls (v) Softball - Sally Page Softball Tournament
5/14 - Boys (v) Lacrosse at Watertown
5/14 - Junior Prom

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

As the year continues, more and more of us adults begin to feel the pressures and stress of our students and personal lives. As noted before, please make time for yourself through it all. Sometimes a little self-pampering goes a long way to reducing stress and relieving that feeling of pressure. Finally, collaborate with your colleagues as well regarding things that you may believe you are struggling with or need advice on. Our network of professional developers within our school is better than any professional development we can gain elsewhere.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Down the Stretch...

May is here and in education we refer to these next weeks as the home stretch or crunch time. For some students (and staff) it can be the most stressful time of the year. For others, the most enjoyable and of course there are a few in the middle. The reason why these next weeks are so important is because of the potential for poor decision making on the part of our students (and ourselves as adults in their lives). Not only are there a host of students who are preparing to move into the next phase of their lives, but there is 75% of each high school student body that is preparing for something else. All of our students are faced with exams and testing which alone, can be stressful. Throw on top of that the concern about passing certain classes, prom and ball dates and/or attire, finding a summer job, and a potential host of other concerns that could be more important to a teenager than their education when the weather gets nice. Lets be real, we all tend to find a shift of some amount in our priorities when the Spring months arrive and sun begins to shine, so why would we expect different from our youth?

So what's the point? The point is that as we come Down the Stretch this Spring, we as adults need to remember the various different stresses, influences, and struggles of our kids. Children (and adults) are prone to making bad decisions as they grow up; after all it is a part of growing up and the learning process. However, each year more and more teenagers make bad decisions that end up influencing the rest of their lives, and in many cases could be prevented if they felt that someone cared a little more about them. Yes exams are important and graduation is important, but having less stress along this path is important too. All human beings are more productive and healthier if they are enjoying what they do and are happier. As we head Down the Stretch, lets keep our attention on education while ensuring that all of us (students, parents, and staff) are able to enjoy, remember, and savor the moment. No test, moment, or event is so important to a teenager that it should stress them to the point of thinking about making bad decisions. Lets work together to ensure that everyone arrives at the end point of the stretch in a good place!

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to VEX Robotics Team for participating in the World Championships last week in Louisville, KY!!

 

"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

During the final weeks of the school year, please keep in tune with your student's demeanor. Stress can rear it's ugly head in many shapes and sizes and it's important to take note of attitude or behavior changes in our students. If you feel like something is awry, don't hesitate to have a conversation with your child or reach out to their teachers. Everyone during the coming weeks is going to be extremely busy (including yourself) and it is vital that we find a way to continue to communicate. Getting enough rest, good nourishment, and finding time to be a kid are going to be vital for your student's success in the coming weeks. 

This Week at RFA...

5/2 - AP Examinations
5/2 - Girls (v) Softball vs. VVS
5/2 - Girls (v) Golf at VVS
5/2 - Boys (v) Golf vs. VVS
5/2 - Boys (v) Tennis vs. VVS
5/3 - FACULTY/STAFF APPRECIATION DAY
5/3 - AP Examinations
5/3 - Education Policy Committee
5/3 - Key Club Meeting
5/3 - Girls (v) Golf vs. VVS
5/3 - Boys (v) Tennis at Oneida
5/3 - Boys (v) Golf at New Hartford
5/3 - Girls (v) Softball at Oneida
5/3 - Boys (v) Baseball at Oneida
5/3 - Girls (v) Lacrosse vs. Whitesboro
5/4 - AP Examinations
5/4 - STASS Meeting
5/4 - Faculty Meeting
5/4 - Attendance Committee Meeting
5/4 - Board of Education Meeting
5/4 - Girls (v) Golf vs. Oneida
5/4 - Boys (v) Golf at Oneida
5/4 - Boys (v) Track and Field vs. Proctor
5/4 - Girls (v) Track and Field at Proctor
5/4 - Boys (v) Baseball at Indian River
5/5 - AP Examinations
5/5 - PBIS Committee Meeting
5/5 - Career Seminar
5/5 - Boys (v) Golf at Notre Dame
5/5 - Boys (v) Lacrosse vs. VVS
5/5 - Girls (v) Lacrosse at New Hartford
5/6 - Travel Club Meeting
5/6 - Boys (v) Track and Field at New Hartford Invitational
5/6 - Boys (v) Lacrosse at Skaneateles
5/6 - Girls (v) Softball at Oswego
5/6 - Boys (v) Golf at Proctor/CVA
5/7 - SAT Examination
5/7 - Girls (v) Track and Field at Copper City Classic

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

This week, instead of professional development, I am going to encourage personal development that helps us be better professionals. The next 2 months are fast, furious, and stressful for all. Make sure you are taking time during the end of the year for yourself when you need it. We all know ourselves well enough by now to know when we need a little mental break or a breather. Don't be afraid to take an hour, afternoon, or even a day to yourself when you feel it's needed. Our kids know just as well as you do when you are not on your game, and we need you to be on your game!!