Rome students can check out new programs, technology and a freshly renovated Ridge Mills when school starts

Submitted by the Rome City School District

The Rome City School District is gearing up for the new year with curriculum, technology and building changes that students, teachers and parents will see this fall.

Teachers will return to school for Superintendent’s Conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept, 6-7. Students return Thursday, Sept. 8.


Among the overall initiatives this year will be addressing the New York State Education Department’s new Common Core Learning Standards. The District will be focused on how these standards will be addressed in the curriculum as well as the classroom.

The district is in its third year of the Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) grant, which will allow 15 high school teachers to develop online learning programs this year that focus on core courses: ELA, math, science, and social studies. This opportunity will bring the District closer to providing high school students with the flexibility of online learning.

Strough Middle School Assistant Principal Mike Stalteri will lead a new interdisciplinary program to support at-risk students. He will work with a new social worker and other professionals to connect students and their families with school programs and community resources to help improve attendance, behavior and academics.

Gansevoort Elementary School has developed an After-School Program at Liberty Gardens to provide intensive literacy instruction to children served by the Weed and Seed community revitalization effort. The program, a collaboration between the Rome City School District, the City of Rome and Liberty Gardens, is made possible by a Development Block Grant through the City of Rome, and is supported by 4th Ward Councilor Ramona Smith and Weed and Seed Director Kathy Stockbridge.

Staley Upper Elementary is embarking on the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) collaborative partnership with Rome Research Lab and Griffiss Institute. This partnership will help spark students’ enthusiasm about science, engineering and mathematics at a young age. Engineers and experts will be available to offer professional development to teachers and unique programs for students.

Orientation Schedule for grades 5-9:

Staley Upper Elementary: 5th grade and new students, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 6 p.m.

Strough Middle School: 7th grade and new students, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 6 p.m.

RFA: 9th grade students, Wednesday, Aug, 31, 6:30 p.m.

Building improvements

A complete renovation of Ridge Mills Elementary School is complete, and students will be moving back into their building this fall. Improvements include increased parking, sewer, lighting and ventilation upgrades, asbestos abatement, a new playground, a new roof, technology and security upgrades, greater handicapped accessibility, and improvements to the gym and special programs areas.

As Ridge Mills students move out, Gansevoort students will move into the Ft. Stanwix building as their school undergoes renovations. Plans include increased parking, improved traffic flow, restoration of the building exterior, a new roof, new windows, improved security and new playground equipment. This project also includes installation of an elevator to increase handicapped accessibility. All classrooms will have improved ventilation systems, Smart technology, and improved storage.

At Clough, which houses the District Office and Early Childhood programs, a new roof is under construction. Other work includes improvements to restrooms, greater handicapped accessibility, ventilation and electrical system upgrades, a Board of Education conference room, increased parking, new playground equipment, and a baseball field.

Information Technology:

The re-opening of Ridge Mills Elementary School brings a new technology, the Epson Brightlink Interactive Projector, to create an interactive workspace. Ridge Mills will have all new technology to ensuring high-speed access to the district server farm and Internet.

The Information Technology department continues to upgrade the district’s technology infrastructure with the planned expansion of wireless technology at RFA and Staley. With this expansion RFA, Staley, and Strough (already wireless) will receive mobile technology and iPad carts. Through the Learning Technology Grant, RFA and Strough will receive a 30 Macbook and iPod cart. Core classrooms at Staley, Strough and RFA will have Smartboard technology.

Also, in the classroom: Ridge Mills and Staley teachers received laptops; K-8 art classrooms were outfitted with new Mac Minis; and K-4 music classrooms, RFA’s Project Lead the Way program and several Read180 classrooms will all have new Dell computers. In addition to upgrades at Denti, Stokes, Staley, and Strough, the Information Technology Department continues to focus on upgrades to enhance the district’s network performance.