From promoting a STEAM academy for sixth graders to collaborating with principals to create school improvement plans the newest members of the Rome City Schools central office staff are putting plans together for the school year.

“I have the most exciting new job this year,” JoAnn Moss the director of development and special projects said. “One of the first projects I will be working on is the design of the new sixth grade STEAM Academy.”

The new STEAM Academy will be located on the North Heights Elementary School campus. STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Once the new Main Elementary School is completed students from North Heights will move to the new facility. The new school is projected to be finished by fall of 2020.

North Heights will then begin its transformation into the new sixth grade STEAM Academy where all of the city’s sixth grade students will attend classes.

“It is a stand alone, high tech, 21st Century school for all sixth graders,” Moss, the former principal of Elm Street Elementary, said. “This isn’t an establishment for magnet groups; every sixth grade student in Rome City Schools will attend this academy before they move on to middle school.”

As the former principal of West End Elementary, Buffi Murphy isn’t much of a new face to schools in Rome — although she is taking a new role.

As the new professional learning specialist, Murphy will be working with all of the district principals and their school improvement plans.

She will be looking at collaborative ways to derive professional learning plans for the teachers to increase student achievement, parent and family engagement, and to create a culture of student success.

“This is an exciting role for me because I have been teaching and in school administration for a long time,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to mentor other principals and help to develop the leadership skills that make Rome City Schools such a great place to work and learn.”

Another former principal was promoted to the head of director of school improvement.

Leslie Dixon will be leaving her seven-year position as principal at West Central Elementary and her new position encompasses many responsibilities — including federal funding.

Title I programs focus on at-risk students, Title II address professional learning and assuring teachers are highly qualified, Title III programs assist students who are learning English as a second language and Title IV programs provide educational opportunities for the system’s homeless population.

“There are certain qualifications the Rome City Schools have to meet and this enables the school system to use the funds responsibly at the school level for the betterment of the students,” said Dixon.

In planning for her new transition, she has been meeting with principals from each school, and talking to them about their school improvement plans and ways she can help each school achieve their goals.

“I’m meeting with each them individually to offer my help and my assistance. A lot of focus has been on our newer principals and trying to help them understand the programs that are available to their students,” Dixon said.