Update information for parents and students

An update of information from Mr McCormack for parents and students
29-April-20
Update information for parents and students

Update and Information for parents and students of Ardscoil na Trionoide.

Hello to all our parents, students and members of our school community.

Greetings from Ardscoil Na Trionoide and I hope you are all remaining safe and well during these very exceptional times.

I am very aware that a number of our school families have had to deal with some very difficult situations over the past number of weeks and we have made every effort to offer support wherever possible in very sad and difficult circumstances.

The past six weeks since we were instructed to close the school on Thursday 12th March have been very challenging for our students and teachers in so many different ways and we have all had to adapt to our new way of life and our new teaching methodologies so quickly. However, our young students have, as always, shown remarkable resilience and strength of character in embracing these changes, even with dodgy WiFi, lack of IT equipment and so many other variables to deal with. While I know that they all miss their friends, the comradery that goes with being in school and the routine of school life, they seem to be coping as well as can be expected at this time.

While our teaching staff have all embraced Google Classroom, Zoom, Google Meets and other online platforms to link in with their classes, it’s not the same as being in the classroom but needs must and, again, I am delighted with the support shown from our teaching staff in reaching out to students, not just as students, but as young men and women needing more than just academic support at this time. On that note, our Wellbeing committee members have been extremely busy planning events, supports, fun exercises and much more for students, parents and staff. Your sons and daughters are receiving regular correspondence via their teachers, tutors and year heads, informing them of events in advance and we also have regular updates through our school website, www.ardscoil.ie and our school App. Indeed, while the restrictions continue and the school remains closed, all school correspondence will be through these two mediums, so please download the school App to your phone (details on our website) and log into our website on a regular basis.

Engagement by students for classes has been generally great but a very small number are not engaging or have not re engaged since the Easter break for various reasons. Following a survey of students, we are now providing all students with a scheduler for organising work to ensure that nobody becomes overwhelmed with schoolwork and stresses in any way. Parents, please have a look at the schedule template with your child and talk through this support mechanism with them.

Many of you have been asking about Summer assessment and reporting. All subject departments have met online in the past week and following consultation with them, the fairest system for all students of non exam classes will be continual assessment based on results to date, results of assessment yet to come in the final few weeks and student engagement with the teachers.

With regard to the Junior Cycle, what we do now know is that 3rd year students will not be sitting the Junior Cert state exams this Summer. (Please see separate link at the end of this letter to department of education statement.). All students will receive a certificate of completion of JC programme. We will update you very shortly on school based assessment for 3rd year students. Therefore, it is vitally important that all 3rd year students continue to attend online classes and work with their teachers as normal.

In relation to the Leaving Certificate and LCA exams, I outlined our relevant updates to students yesterday. Their exams will now commence on Wednesday 29th July and will continue with one exam per day until they are complete, approximately during the last week of August. The exams will take place in the school but in much smaller centres where social distancing can be adhered to and where students and invigilators remain safe. While I cannot yet confirm, I also believe that all teaching staff will be asked to attend school to support exam students for two weeks in July.

We have no details for completion of projects or practicals yet but we will, again, update you when we know more. This refers to practicals in Art ,Construction, Agricultural Science, History, Geography and LCA Information Technology and Hotel and Catering.

Our 6th year students have really shone over the last six weeks in such difficult circumstances and I have already acknowledged this to them. They too are the heroes during this pandemic where they have had to multitask and deal with so many variables and unknowns. What should have been a final term filled with tying up loose ends in their various subjects, preparing for graduation, end of school yearbook and reminiscing with teachers and classmates, they have instead had to deal with this huge upheaval and unknown in their lives. But they really have shown such maturity and resilience and I applaud their ability to adapt and get on with their lot. I’m quite sure that their exam results will recognise and reflect the inequitable circumstances that our students have found themselves working through as they prepare for the Leaving Certificate.

I have promised the class of 2020 that we will have a graduation ceremony for them when it is safe to do so, probably in September and we will make this a special occasion as always for their ‘right of passage.’

We have no details at the moment as to when our school can re open and under what circumstances but this will most certainly not happen until it is safe to do so. I will revert back to you when we hear some news but until then, we must continue to observe all instructions sent from the various government departments. I think everyone is awaiting some light at the end of the tunnel from 5th May.

We have made every effort to help and support our school community during this pandemic but I’m quite sure we may have forgotten or failed to notice something along the way. Please feel free to contact me at principal@ardscoil.ie if we can be of any assistance and I will make every effort to support you.

Finally, on another positive note, we are hearing so many heartwarming stories of kindness and giving by our students in the community during this time and we really are so proud of them. Times like these brings out the best in people and our young students have really shone as we always knew they would.

Stay Safe and Well,

Johnny McCormack

Principal.

https://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2020-press-releases/PR20-04-29.html

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