Letter to Parents June 2020
Dear Parents and pupils,
It is hard to believe that our school year is almost over and that we have not seen you at all in this last term. It has been a surreal experience. Life changed so dramatically overnight affecting everybody in our country and in our world. We will look back on this time in years to come and if we are to try to ‘find the good’ in all of this I think we will possibly appreciate each other so much more. The simple things like spending time with friends, giving a hug, seeing our relatives, even the practical things like being able to get a coffee in a cafe or getting hair cut are things we now no longer take for granted.
As a staff we have felt very much robbed of the last term with the children in our school, especially the girls and boys in 6th class and our outgoing wrens. The last term in primary school is always one that brings memories and reflection and special chats. We will not say goodbye now or finish up in a newsletter. We will do that properly in due course.
We will be organising a special day for our 6th class children in August and our wrens who are transitioning to other schools and we look forward to that. We will be in contact with parents of our 6th class children, the wrens, the incoming Junior Infants and the incoming wrens over the holidays with more details.
To all our children from Junior Infants to 5th Class, we hope you all have a really lovely holiday on the 25th of June. We have missed you all this last term. We as a staff would like to reassure you about a few things before we break up for the holidays. The first thing is that when you come back to school in September, although you will have essentially moved into the next year group we will be treating you as if you are still in the previous year. We will be doing a little bit of extra planning, preparing, assessing and observation as teachers to see exactly what work we need to do before we continue on with the programme of work for the class you have moved into. Therefore there is absolutely no need to worry if there are areas that you feel you are unsure of or that you need to reinforce in school as that is what we are there for and we will ensure that none of you are left in need. The Learning Support team in our school is second to none and we will all work together to facilitate the children that need extra help and support.
We believe in an evidenced based approach in Scoil Naomh Cholmcille and accuracy in reporting to pupils and parents is essential. The Board of Management again discussed the merits of reporting to parents at the end of this academic year and felt that as a result of the unprecedented situation it would be inappropriate to report to parents in June as some children may have regressed and the information we had in March may not be accurate at present. We will report to parents in the first half of the new term after assessments have been completed and where we have a clear picture of the children’s strengths and areas for improvement. This reporting will be based on evidence collected from assessments done in school and these will help inform students, parents and teachers and allow us to accurately assign extra support to our students who might need a little temporary boost as a result time lost in class. We have discussed this at length as a staff and feel that accuracy and an evidenced based approach is key in reporting to parents.
Book-scheme: The link for the book-scheme will be sent out in the coming week. The price for the coming year is €70. This can be paid in instalments through the Aladdin payment system.
As a result of this unprecedented time we have signed up with G-suite which is an internal suite of secure Google apps that allow children to navigate the world of educational technology and will be beneficial to them not only when they progress to secondary school but also for university as well.
The rationale behind signing up with this programme is two-fold:
- We have an internal secure programme which can provide a platform to lessons in real time should there be another outbreak of covid which requires school closure.
- This programme will be used in school going forward as a complimentary supplement to the curriculum. It will allow children to upload their work to teachers from their desk or from home which teachers will correct and return to them. This will be introduced at an age appropriate level. It will reduce the risk of cross contamination within school during this unprecedented time.
We recommend that all children have access to their own ICT device, ie chromebook, tablet, laptop (Mobile phone not permitted!) for September. The statistics are looking good at the minute and hopefully it will stay this way. We must make provision for every eventuality and it would be prudent to allow for that. For children that do not already have their own individual device, our ICT company can access chrome books which are compatible with our G Suite Programme at a cost of €255 + Vat. For those of you who might be interested in this deal please contact us through the school email for orders, (this can be paid in instalments) however there is absolutely NO OBLIGATION to purchase through the school or to purchase a chrome book. Any device that can take photos or upload information will be perfectly acceptable. Our updated Acceptable Use Policy will be available by the end of the summer holidays and you will be consulted in relation to the content.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teachers and SNAs in our school for the sterling work done during this time. There was a lot of work done behind the scenes by all! I would like to thank Mr Carroll in particular for uploading all the work onto the website every week, nothing was ever any trouble for him! I would like to mention the Board of Management and in particular our chairperson Mr Seamus Finegan, who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, their support has been amazing! I would like to thank our parents’ council for all their support during the year, this time last year we were measuring up outfits and getting ready to go on stage.... we thought that was a challenge last year!!!! I would like to mention our cleaner Dolores, our Bus Escorts Olive Manning, Olive Daly and Karen Flood, thank you for all your hard work during the year! I would also like to mention out parish priest Monsignor Jim Carroll and our Chaplain Fr. Daly, they have both provided us with pastoral support over this past year. I would like to wish Ms Keegan well as she takes on a job share position this year in St Brigid’s and St. Patrick’s Bothar Brugha for this academic year. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Olga our secretary and John our caretaker for all their hard work all year. We welcomed Mrs Hurson back this year and we will be welcoming Mrs O’ Neill back in September. Ms Ryan and Mrs Duffy will be on career break again this year. There will be interviews happening over the school holidays and as soon as I have all staff appointed for the 2020-21 school year I will send a text out to inform parents of the teachers assigned to each class.
Most importantly to all the parents, I would like to acknowledge your work in supporting your children through this crisis. I know only too well how difficult it is to juggle work and homeschooling; it is not an easy feat! Thank you for all the work that was submitted and for all the lovely messages. It was so lovely to see your work and read the updates as to how you were all getting on! It was also lovely to read your submissions for our ‘We are writers’ book. Well done to all the girls and boys for working so hard. We will look forward to seeing you all at the end of August! Our school calendar is posted on the website. We will look forward to seeing our 5th and 6th Class on the 14th of August for Confirmation and the 6th Class Graduation. We hope to have a small graduation for our outgoing Wren’s on the 13th August at 2pm and an information morning for our incoming Junior Infants on the 13th of August at 11am.
The Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Cholmcille will be working hard over the summer to ensure that all guidance from the Department of Education and Science and the HSE is adhered to in order to ensure a safe return of our children to school. It remains for me to wish you all a very happy summer break and we look forward to seeing you all in August. Should you have any queries over the summer holidays please do not hesitate to contact me on the school email address.