Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thank You RFA...

Well, we have all made it through another school year. Summer is a few short days away and the frantic pace of the end of a school year is in full swing within the building. This will be my last blog both as the Rome Free Academy principal and for the summer (I take some time off too!!). While I could always find something to ramble on about, today I am choosing to simply say thank to the RFA community; students, staff, and families alike. A few short months ago I was granted the privilege of being your leader and I could not have underestimated just how much of a privilege it is to be the RFA principal more. All of you have truly been amazing and in all of my years in education, I have not met a more welcoming community than Rome. I only hope as we enter this new chapter of life together, that I can provide back to the community what you have all given to me. So, as I congratulate our senior class for their efforts and accomplishments, I would like to leave them with some words of wisdom. As you go through life, always remember that you are a part of something larger than yourself. Whether it is your job, a sport, a family, or your community; you are always simply a piece of the puzzle. If you can remember that we are always a part of something greater in life than ourselves and recognize that teams and communities always achieve more together than in pieces, you will live a successful life. After all, humans have an inherent want to belong to something. Make your life matter by belonging to something greater than yourself. Together we accomplish great things!! Thank you all once again and best wishes for a successful and prosperous future!!

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to the Rome Free Academy Class of 2016!!!

Thank you to our PBIS committee for organizing our end of the year celebration!!

"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

We are still in need of a host family for a foreign exchange student from Italy for the 2016-2017 school year. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact the main office and we will connect you with the organization. Finally, I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the parents, grandparents, adults, etc. that have made the 2015-2016 school year a success. RFA has had a lot to adjust to in a short period of time and none of us would have been successful without the help and support of you from home. Please find ways to keep your student(s) educationally engaged during the summer and I look forward to continued success and growth in the future!! Thank you!!

This Week at RFA...

6/20 - RCT Exam in Mathematics
6/20 - RCT Exam in U.S. History and Government
6/21 - Regents Exam in Physical Setting/Chemistry
6/21 - RCT Exam in Global Studies
6/21 - Regents Exam in Physical Setting/Physics
6/21 - RCT Exam in Reading
6/21 - Senior Awards Night
6/22 - RCT Exam in Writing
6/22 - RCT Exam in Science
6/22 - Board of Education Meeting
6/24 - Graduation Rehearsal
6/25 - GRADUATION

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

Enjoy the summer everyone!! Finding time to relax and recharge is professional development enough. Be well and thank you!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

High School or Golf...

So, if you don't know, golfing is by far my favorite hobby. I think it's because no matter where you play (the same course every day or somewhere totally different every round), the game is never the same. Each round you play there are decisions to make (risk vs. reward), patience to be exhibited, mistakes to learn from, fun to be had, and with every swing the opportunity to hit the greatest shot of your life!! All of the fun aside, it is also probably known as the most frustrating hobby of all-time. Even when us golfers are "having fun" or "enjoying" our day, we can come across extremely miserable to anyone who doesn't understand the game. Ironically, as I watch our students interact and weave their way through the halls these last few weeks and more recently, the last few days; I have noticed that being a teenager in high school is not that much different than grinding through a round of golf.

Every day our children are faced with challenges and decisions that they have never been presented with before. With every action or decision, there is a risk/reward element that our students have to consider. Do I do my homework or do I hang with my friends? There is a constant fear in many of them due to the fear of the unknown. Whether they walk the same exact path to class every day, or take a new track just because; anything can happen at any given time to upset their world. On the flip side, each day brings with it the opportunity to find their passion, decide which college they want to attend, pursue a career, make a friend, or help someone in need. Similar to a round of golf, a day at school is filled with every emotion and struggle possible. However, with some perseverance and effort, the end result is hopefully the same as my golf game; a score that is NOT my worst ever but good enough to keep me coming back. So, whatever your game (golf of school), grab your sticks (Pings or a backpack full of pens and pencils) and make your next day a new adventure with the hope that it will be your best day ever!!

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to Hannah Skibitski for receiving the Rosetti Scholarship for future educators from MO BOCES!!

Congratulations to all of the juniors who received awards this past week at the Junior Awards Ceremony!!

Congratulations to the 548 students who attended 175 days of school or more this year!!

Congratulations to all of the students who contributed to the 2016 edition of Galleries!!

"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

On Monday, June 13, RFA will be running a reduced scheduled and the building will hold a building wide picnic celebration sponsored by our PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Team to reward all students and faculty on a good school year. At 12:30 we will be providing school lunch for those that want it (hamburgers, hot dogs, picnic food, etc.) as well as have several food trucks on site (students must purchase their own food from the trucks) and finally we will have many outdoor activities for students to partake in. In conjunction with this, the  RTA will be hosting a raffle to reward any student with absences totaling 5 days or less this year through the Must Be Present to Win It initiative. All students eligible (548 of them) are entered into a random drawing for gift cards. Eligible students will be posted in the main hallway Monday morning and should visit the RTA "Must Be Present to Win It" table during the celebration. We welcome any parent wishing to attend and participate in the festivities to come by and spend the afternoon with us!!

This Week at RFA...

6/13 - LAST DAY OF CLASSES
6/13 - PBIS CELEBRATION PICNIC
6/13 - Completion Ceremony for BOCES CTE
6/14 - Regents Exam in Global History and Geography (8:00 am)
6/14 - Regents Exam in English Language Arts - Common Core (12:00 pm)
6/14 - Completion Ceremony for BOCES CTE
6/15 - Regents Exam in Living Environment (8:00 am)
6/15 - Regents Exam in US History and Government (12:00 pm)
6/15 - Completion Ceremony for BOCES CTE
6/15 - Personnel Committee Meeting
6/16 - Regents Exam in Algebra 1 - Common Core (8:00 am)
6/16 - Regents Exam in Comprehensive English (12:00 pm)
6/17 - Regents Exam in Physical Setting/Earth Science (8:00 am)
6/17 - Regents Exam in Algebra 2/Trigonometry (8:00 am)
6/17 - Regents Exam in Geometry - Common Core (12:00 pm)

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

Summer is around the corner! Take a moment in the closing days to think about your favorite pastime and passion. Discuss this with colleagues and students so that people can see what you enjoy doing as a person, not as their teacher/colleague. Building these personal relationships will always help to strengthen any bond that a faculty and staff can have together. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Kids...

Over the past several weeks, I have been experiencing multiple events where we recognize kids for the great things that they have accomplished. Our PBIS team continues to go out of their way to recognize and encourage positive behavior in school, and of course seniors throughout the country are recognized for their achievements in school. When I was a kid, I don't recall half of this stuff to be honest. Maybe it's just because I wasn't worthy of recognition so I didn't participate, or maybe time have changed drastically in 20 years. Regardless, I continue to see things around schools change however schools on the inside continue to resist. Most all school settings, procedures, expectations, environments are very static and similar to when us adults attended high school. Are we truly meeting the needs of kids in today's society with this mentality? Is this why so many kids drop out of college because they are not ready for the freedom and responsibility that comes along with college life?

People that are around me can you tell you that I firmly believe in making decisions that impact kids. Kids HAVE to be the focus of our public school system. We are a business in the business of educating and helping kids have a better life. Our kids generally don't have a seat at the table of decision making with their lives and too often our schools make decisions based on what's best or easiest for the adults, not what's right for kids. I wonder, are schools supposed to educate kids (which means allowing them to take risks, make mistakes, show them empathy, and help them learn) or are we still meant to teach compliance? The future of all of our lives depends on our kids. Our kids need to learn how to be thinkers and understanders of society, not merely compliant officers. If we truly want our kids to be successful in college and career, then we need to teach them how to problem solve and think their way through challenging times. I know we as educators have it in us to be different, I just hope that our schools can get on board sooner than later.

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to girls track athletes Kayla Barber, Sarah Crockett, Sydney Lewis, Mattison Hunt, and Tekitha Posey-Barry for qualifying for the New York State Championship finals this coming weekend!! Thank you for representing RFA!!

Congratulations to Deven Desai and Spencer Parrish for being awarded with the New York State Senate Youth Leaders Award!!

Congratulations to all students who were recognized by the Rome chapter of Dollars for Scholars this past week!!


"PAIR"ents Partnership ...

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. Also, on Monday, June 13, RFA will be running a reduced scheduled and the building will hold a building wide picnic celebration sponsored by our PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Team to reward all students and faculty on a good school year. At 12:30 we will be providing school lunch for those that want it (hamburgers, hot dogs, picnic food, etc.) as well as have several food trucks on site (students must purchase their own food from the trucks) and finally we will have many outdoor activities for students to partake in. We welcome any parent wishing to attend and participate in the festivities to come by and spend the afternoon with us!!

This Week at RFA...

6/6 - BOCES Awards Ceremony, Rosetti Courtyard
6/7 - Ed. Policy Meeting
6/7 - Corporate Challenge Run/Walk
6/7 - RFA Spring Concert I
6/8 - Rosetti Scholarship Awards, BOCES
6/8 - Board of Education Meeting
6/9 - Junior Awards, first period in the Library
6/9 - RFA Spring Concert II
6/10 - NYS Track and Field Championships
6/11 - SENIOR BALL
6/11 - NYS Track and Field Championships

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

As the school year comes to a close, take time to reflect on your procedures and expectations related to kids. Maybe allow kids time to do an exit survey of your classroom, teaching practices, and relationships with kids. Our students are our clientele, the reason why we have a job. It only makes sense to gain feedback from their point of view so that as a profession, we can grow.