Letter (14) June 2020


                                                                        Issue: 14                                                         June 11th 2020

Dear Parents,

We hope this newsletter finds you all well. What a very bizarre 19/20 academic school year we have all experienced. In the true spirit of SCN we have all done our very best to ensure a level of educational continuity for all the pupils. The pupils themselves were the key players and I wish to thank them for their engagement first and foremost. You the parents were also fantastic. The homeschooling community would say that homeschooling is something you choose to do. You didn’t choose to homeschool! It has been foisted upon you. What you’ve been doing is crisis schooling! This has not been easy and as a staff we cannot thank you enough for the way you’ve supported and motivated your children at this time. SCN is very grateful. Hats off to you all on a job very well done. Staff have also been amazing and I wish to thank them all on your behalf. They have worked tirelessly every day from their homes and gone above and beyond the call of duty for your children. I applaud them for their massive effort also.

There was a beginning and a middle to our crisis schooling and there now has to be an end. This end is tomorrow ie Friday 12th of June for our pupils. Tomorrow is the last day the pupils will formally receive assigned work for completion or submission from their class teacher. I wish to point out that for staff however this does not mark the end of the road. We will be working right through to the very end and beyond. For a large school to run as efficiently as SCN the work never ceases. It can’t. The wheels have to keep turning. Well done again to everybody who plays their part in all of this.

Please remember that general notifications from SCN will still issue via your Aladdin App as normal and possibly even more regularly than normal, so please keep it checked regularly for updates throughout the summer. It is envisaged that zoom calls by teachers to pupils will continue until the end of June. Teachers will be in touch in relation to the latter. While formal instruction is now concluding, teachers will share 2 fabulous final ideas for you to consider with your family over the final couple of weeks of June. The first is wellness week, commencing this coming Monday! Many thanks to Ms Monaghan for organizing this for the whole school. The second activity is a time capsule! This will encapsulate (literally!) the unusual time your child has lived through for reference at some point in the distant future!

The tragic reality is that families throughout the country have been left sadly grieving for loved ones as a direct result of the coronavirus. More locally families have been unable to hold proper funeral services. We’re also mindful of families in our school who may be currently out of work. This is all very distressing news. It is important therefore that we see hope especially in times of trouble such as this. There has been cause for optimism and few could have foreseen the many silver linings that are becoming more apparent with the passage of time. We’ve all, parents, pupils and staff alike, had to become more I.T. savvy. Pupils have developed independent learning skills and we’ve all had to develop remote routines for getting on with our daily lives. Relationships between school and home have blossomed as direct contact has never been more regular. As parents we understand the complex role of the teacher now more than ever before. Pupils have played more outdoors in the lovely weather. We’ve also all had to slow down and get off the hamster wheel. Pupils have had had time and scope possibly for the first time in their lives to resolve their own boredom and be truly creative. Fabulous learning experiences such as gardening, cooking and baking etc have all been afforded. The list goes on and on. So let us not wallow in the notion than our primary school pupils have been educationally disadvantaged by the crisis. The opposite might be contended by some and in the fullness of time many more might view this once in a lifetime event similarly. We really want to reassure parents again that you are doing enough for your child – please don’t worry about your child in the academic sense. Our teachers will re-engage with the students once we re-open. We will work from where your child is at when they return – don’t feel under pressure to have them at a certain level, we know our job, we are professionals and we will work with the children at the stage they are at when they return to school. No child will be left behind.

I understand that a detailed statement will issue re schools tomorrow from the Dept. of Education. This will probably be the last official statement from the outgoing Government and the current Minister of Education. The set of guidelines that will issue after this will be presented to us by a new minister I’d imagine. While tomorrow’s announcement promises to be substantial, it will no doubt not be the only one that issues in the 11 week period before SCN reopens on September 1st at 8:50am. Details of all these announcements will be available through all media sources and the school will issue its own response in light of all these and what they mean for our school’s context. We will be ready for reopening in whatever form when September comes, make no mistake about that. SCN will be a safe place to return to for everybody.  Never before have we all been looking forward so enthusiastically to coming back to school and this is before the old school year has even finished!

Finally, the Board of Management, staff and I would like to wish all our graduating pupils all the very best in their future educational journey and life beyond. We were privileged to have played a part in their formation. A special mention also to our new junior infants. All 60 of them almost! We’re really looking forward to having you in SCN. We’ll be in contact with all the parents of graduating pupils and parents of new infants directly very soon! Finally on behalf of management and staff I want to wish you and your families a very enjoyable, relaxing, safe and sunny summer. Thank you for your support and co-operation throughout this most unusual year.

Go dtéigh sibh uilig slán,

Fergal Naughton.       

Aladdin Connect:

  • This will be the final week of Homework. Teachers will stop assigning homework after Friday June 12th. It is however envisaged that teachers will continue with their weekly Zooms right up to the end of the month.
  • Please continue to check the Aladdin app for SCN communications, as this is how texts are now being received by everybody.
  • End of year school reports will be available to view on your Aladdin connect app from Monday June 22nd, at the latest.
  • We are delighted to announce that we are rolling out the Aladdin ePayments system to parents / guardians of children in our school with effect from August 1st. We’d ask that all payments are made this way for the new school year and that your e-payment is completed by September 4th at the latest please.
    • Aladdin ePayments will give you access from an internet browser on your computer, phone or tablet to make secure payments to the school using your credit or debit card.
    • The purpose of the ePayment system is to facilitate the easier payment of school money collections for parents / guardians and to reduce the amount of cash and cheques being sent into our school in line with recent central bank directives.
    • In addition to this we especially wanted to facilitate contactless payments, given the current pandemic situation.
    • Aladdin uses state of the art security to safeguard information entered by you and the school and data is stored and processed in strict compliance with Irish data protection laws.
    • Going forward, when money is due for any school activity that is relevant to your child(ren), you will receive a text / email message containing your payment access link. This will bring you to a parent payment page, which will contain all payments requested for all siblings in a family. There is only one link per family ensuring you have the option to pay all amounts due for all your children in one transaction.
    • Once you have completed your payment, you will be issued with a reference number. You will also receive an email receipt, which will contain details of the transaction and reference number. Please quote this reference number in any queries you may have as regards this payment with the school.
    • We hope that you will find the Aladdin ePayments facility useful and that it is a very successful system for all.
    • The secretary or myself will welcome any feedback or questions you may have.

Booklists 2020 / 2021:

  • Booklists for next school year will be emailed to all parents tomorrow ie  Friday June 12th.
  • School costs are now consolidated into one payment of €40 per child. This figure has been reduced from a cost that had been previously approved by the B.O.M. because of the pandemic. School costs are charged by all schools solely for school purposes & most especially to help provide the best & most comfortable educational provision/experience for all its pupils.

Tuesday June 16th (from 11am to 7pm):

The school hall will be open on Tuesday June 16th (from 11am to 7pm) to facilitate the following preparations for the coming school year.

Parents with a surname starting with A-L are asked to come to the school between the hours of 11am – 3pm and parents with a surname starting with M-Z are asked to come between the hours of 3pm – 7pm.

Given the current Public Health situation there will be strict guidelines to be followed on the day so please read the separate note in relation to “Book Rental Scheme 2020/2021” carefully.

  • Return of all current Book Rentals:
    • Please check your child’s school bag for all books that were rented from the school (if you are unsure, you will see the “Scoil Chroí Naofa” stamp on the inside cover). The school has a record of the books rented by the children also, so we can check if you have queries.
    • It is very important that these books are returned on Tuesday June 16th. If the books are not returned it will put the Book Rental scheme for the coming year in jeopardy.
  • Purchase of School Books. The school wishes to buy back the following books from parents, so that they can be included in the book rental scheme for the coming year. Price the school will pay for each book is noted below:
  • Junior Infants: “Over the Moon” Pack of 9 readers                                       (€14)
  • 4th Class: “Bua na Cainte 4”                                                                           (€8)
  • 4th Class: “Lift Off 4th class” Text book & Portfolio book                             (€10)
  • 5th Class: “Above the Clouds 5th class” Text book & Portfolio book            (€10)
  • 6th Class “Flying High 6th class” Text book & Portfolio book                       (€10)

If you are in a position to sell these books to the school please bring them to the school hall on Tuesday June 16th. There will be a designated desk in the hall for the purchasing of these books. You will be paid on the day.

  • Book Rental Scheme for the coming year:
    • Register your interest at the designated desk in the hall on Tuesday June 16th
    • The books you order will be left aside for your son or daughter and handed out in September
    • Payment for the book rental scheme will be requested in September and should be made via ePayments on Aladdin Connect
  • Band Instruments:
    • At the time that the school closure occurred we were getting ready for our St Patrick’s Day band performance. For this reason I would ask that if your daughter has a school melodica, accordion or bell lyre at home, please return it to the school on Tuesday June 16th.
  • Scoil Chroí Naofa books & library books:
    • Some children may still have books which belong to the school e.g. Literacy Lift Off books, PM readers, SESE books, Read at Home books etc., and / or Galway County Library books that they may have borrowed from the school library. Please check your child’s school bag / school basket and return any books that belong to the school on Tuesday June 16th.
  • Donations:
    • Parents have been very generous in the past in donating uniforms. These uniforms are given to families who find the beginning of the school year difficult. If you wish to donate uniforms, please drop them into the school on Tuesday June 16th
    • The school would also welcome donations of current or old school books
  • Pick-Up of Belongings:
    • Tuesday June 16th will be the last opportunity for you to collect items that your son / daughter may still have left in the school. These items will be left on benches in the hall.
  • School Device Loan Scheme:
    • Sincere thanks to Miss Murray who co-ordinated the Device loan scheme for the school. A number of new tablets were purchased using the grant from the Department of Education. We are very pleased to be able to say that we were able to supply everyone who asked for a device. We are delighted that we could support families in this way.
  • If your child availed of the school’s Device Loan scheme then these devices should also be returned to the school on Tuesday June 16th. Please ensure that the devices are returned in the condition they were received, along with the original plugs, cables, covers & bags, as appropriate.

Junior Infants 2020 / 2021:

  • Parents of children due to start in Junior Infants in September will be sent details on how to sign up to the Aladdin Connect app in early July. This is how the school has been communicating with parents during the current Pandemic and it will be our main channel of communication going forward.
  • You will receive your child’s Booklist for September tomorrow, along with all other parents in the school
  • If you wish to avail of the Book Rental scheme for your child’s English readers, you are welcome to come along to the school hall on Tuesday Jan 16th, if you wish. Alternatively please feel free to register your interest with our book rental co-ordinator Michelle Greally using the following email address   [email protected] as per the separate note entitled “Book Rental Scheme 2020/2021” you will receive.   

Graduations:

  • First Class Boys:    
    • Ms. Dolan and Mr. Hanley will host an online graduation for the First Class boys using Zoom on Tuesday June 23rd, at 11am. All the children of First Class will be invited and parents will get an invitation to the graduation the week before the event. As there will be a large number of participants only the hosts, as well as Mr. Naughton and Mrs. Cronin will be speaking. We hope everyone can attend and give our First Class boys a fitting send off to the Boys School. Sincere thanks to Mr Hanley & Miss Dolan for all the effort they are putting into this special virtual ceremony!
  • Sixth Class Girls:
    • The date of our sixth class “Drive-By” graduation ceremony is Wednesday June 24th at 12 noon! Details will be given to 6th class next week. Many thanks to Mrs Monson for all the work she has put into this. It promises to be a memorable occasion!

Easter Camp:

  • If you had paid money to attend the Easter Camp, you are due a refund. Ms Tyrrell and Mrs Murray will be in School on Mon June 15th from 3-5pm to refund money. Please come to main front door and observe the Public Health guidelines.
  • If you are unable to come to the school that day, you will receive your refund in September.

Shoelace tying:

Staying Connected:

  • Please follow us on Twitter at @chroinaofa to keep up-to-date with news, information and tips for parents during this school closure. We are also tweeting some of the many wonderful things the children of SCN are getting up to during this closure. Many thanks to those of you who have made contributions to date. Our Twitter page has a link to our school website also (www.scoilchroinaofaathenry.ie), where you can log on to our school blog.
  • The School Blog continues to be active during this closure. Please send any news item you would like featured to Mrs Cronin at [email protected]. We love to see what the children of SCN are getting up to and escpecially to share our news with our school community. It’s our way of staying in touch
  • Please visit our Covid 19 Resources Hub in the Parent Hub on the SCN website to access information, advice and recommended resources including useful Padlets for all curricular areas and one specifically for Irish. It is updated regularly so check in regularly to be fully informed. If you have anything you would like to add to it, please email Mrs Cronin at the above email address.
  • Miss O’Byrne & Mr Naughton had a Zoom call with the First Communion girls from 2nd class on Saturday May 23rd, which was the day that they should have made their First Communion.
  • Mrs Monson’s 6th class were able to go ahead with a scheduled Internet Safety talk which they were due to have this month. The facilitator was able to host a Zoom call for Mrs Monson & the girls, along with their parents. It was great that the girls did not miss out on this very important talk given the current restrictions.

ZOOM:

Zoom has been very useful for staff and pupils to make connection. So much teaching is relational. We need to socialise and from this point of view in particular zoom worked very well. It has however, in our collective professional experience not been the teaching/learning tool for primary school children we would have liked it to be for a number of reasons. At its most basic level how could a virtual classroom ever replace the real thing for young learners? We’ve all had to manage our expectations as a result of this reality surrounding video conferencing in our school. That’s why Aladdin Connect was our anchor tool throughout the whole crisis to date and will continue to be our communication tool long after this crisis is over.

Finally, I would like to thank the Board of Management, the School Management team, the Parents Council, all the staff and all the parents of the school for their support all year. I would like to wish you and your families a very enjoyable, relaxing, safe and sunny holiday!  Thank you for your support and co-operation throughout the year. I’ll be in touch again soon.

Is mise le meas

Fergal Naughton      

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