Principal’s Newsletter May 2020

1st May 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope you and your families continue to remain upbeat and healthy as the reality and domino effect of Covid-19 continues to unfold before us. 

On behalf of the teachers I want to commend you on your renewed efforts to engage with ‘home schooling’ since Easter. They were delighted to receive samples of the student’s schoolwork during the past weeks or simply a message saying that your family was keeping well. 

We recognise how much many of our students are missing their school environment and their daily interaction with their teachers. Therefore, we too continue to navigate the challenges of distance learning and have been considering and investigating the various technological platforms and their suitability in each class context. 

To date we have made the decision to provide voice and video content through the platforms of Padlet and Seesaw where we feel that a teacher’s personal engagement or instruction will clarify or enhance the learning experience. The child can access content relatively independently and repeat instructions as often as needed at a time best suited to the family schedule.

Some of you have mentioned the possibility of using Zoom and the decision to date is that for teaching purposes it would be pre-recorded so that we maintain a balanced approach that is fair to all. We are in agreement that a teacher could consider a live Zoom session to do a ‘check in’ with their class but this form of interaction is suitable mainly for students in 5th or 6th class. This will be at the discretion of the class teacher and parental consent will be sought in advance. 

I do want to reassure parents that if it would be helpful for your child to engage with your class teacher via a phone call or a video call, to discuss schoolwork or to alleviate any anxiety, all the teachers are happy to accommodate students and parents so please do not hesitate to ask.  

We are fully cognisant of the fact that children will finish their school year in a different place academically than we would expect. I would like to reassure you that our starting point with the children will be based on our professional evaluations of where they sit academically on return to school and the curriculum will be adapted and modified accordingly to support each student. Secondary schools will take a similar approach for 6th class students. Therefore, please do not worry about your child’s academic achievements since the closure or if the closure is extended through May and June. 

Finally, on a more practical level should a plan be unveiled for schools to re-open in any shape or form during the months of May and June  our cleaning company are in a position to provide us with the necessary hand sanitising products and the intensive regular cleaning which will be required. 
I wish to conclude by thanking the whole school community – parents, teachers, classroom assistants, Tara, Marie, Kevin, Fr. John, and after-school teachers for working together to help the children through this experience in a positive way in difficult times.

Wishing you all an enjoyable bank holiday weekend and continued good health.

Le dea-mhéin,

Norma Linehan

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