Good afternoon to all Parents/Guardians,
Firstly, we would like to thank everyone for making a tremendous effort (and a lot of sacrifices) in supporting the school reopening in such a calm and organised fashion over the last few months. School management acknowledges the contribution of all concerned in our school communities to this national effort and the exceptional efforts of our own school staff, students and parents/guardians in implementing the back to school guidance protocols.
We, in the College, have particularly focused on creating a positive and safe environment for teaching and learning for all within our school community by:
• Ensuring that all students/teachers/parents are made aware of the public health requirements as they relate to schools within the context of COVID-19 and the particular context of those requirements within the students’ own school
• Encouraging students to take personal responsibility for their actions so as to create and nurture a positive climate that reinforces good behaviour
At this point we must acknowledge the tremendous effort made by teachers and students to ensure that all students sanitize their work stations and hands every 40 minutes. This can often be slow and frustrating particularly when you consider that the actions are repeated 9 times per day!!!. Ourselves and our colleagues are consistently praising the boys for their patience and compliance with all protocols that have been requested of them. The boys have taken on board all instruction and have got on with it. They wear their masks at all times inside the school building without complaint and it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the immense effort that they, their teachers and the ancillary staff have made to keep us all safe within the SMC community.
While the school has to date remained Covid-free, we none the less need to make preparations in the event of a full school closure in the coming weeks/months. There is no indication that this will happen soon, but things change fast in these surreal times, as we all well know.
Distance On-Line Classes
The school has developed an Online Timetable for all our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th Years, which will come into effect in the event of a full closure.
This timetable looks completely different from what is our normal school timetable. The number of online live classes that teachers will deliver with their respective class groups will be at least halved. This is to cater for the numerous challenges that both teachers and students face in participating in On-line Live Classes.
We have planned to schedule all classes- both Junior and Senior to be of 1-hour duration each and tried to ensure where possible avoiding the scheduling of too many classes on any one day for any teacher or for any one student.
We have timetabled all live classes between the hours of 9.00-3.00pm each day.
It will be expected that teachers will continue to issue work, notes and corrections through TEAMS during the week(s) of a school closure in the normal fashion as we did so in March/April/May last in addition to these timetabled online classes (particularly with 3rd, 5th & 6th Years).
Finally, we do believe that during Distance On-line Learning, parents will have to think differently about what their child needs to be successful. It will likely be a challenging transition, made more difficult by circumstances where parents are also trying to work. We also ask that parents be patient and empathetic to our teachers, who themselves are facing challenges of their own, as well as a transition to a different learning model.
In the meantime, we will continue to keep all parents/guardians/students updated as events evolve in relation to Covid-19 restrictions.
Maths Assessments (5th & 2nd Year)
As you know we planned to assess all 2nd & 5th Year students at the end of this term in Maths so as to plan for streaming and timetable for Higher and Ordinary Level classes.
Therefore, with the prospect of school closures always on the horizon, we have given that assessment to 2nd and 5th year students today (Friday 16th October). The students were informed well in advance of these 40 minute classroom assessments.
Please note that no changes of class groups will take place until the results of these assessments are completed, sometime next week.
Anti- Bullying Week (all year groups)
Next week marks the start of our annual Anti Bullying week (commencing on Monday 19th October). This is an awareness initiative that we have undertaken for the past 7 years. The week is designed to draw the student’s attention to all aspects of bullying behaviour including identification of bullying behaviour, impacts of bullying and what steps to take if you are being bullied. Each year we concentrate on a different type of bullying. This year our main focus will be on “Being Kind, Being Sound”.
On three mornings next week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, tutor time will be extended by an extra 10 minutes. This is to allow for the presentation of age and stage appropriate bullying awareness clips to be shown to each class group. There will also be varies activities arranged for different year groups, again to emphasise our Anti Bullying Slogan “Be Kind, Be Sound”
- 1st year- Slogan Campaign,
- 2nd years- Art Campaign
- 3rd years- Writing campaign.
The resources that we will be using in class are outlined as follows:
DAY 1 – MONDAY 0CTOBER 19th
Below is a video link from THIS MORNING on UTV encouraging students to be kind to each other. Included are two stories from parents who have lost children to suicide because of bullying. If teachers could have a chat with their class after watching this it would be great to develop a conversation around bullying.
Subscribe now for more! http://bit.ly/1JM41yF Across the country today, there are children spending the day in fear. Too frightened to go to school. Too frig…
DAY 2 – WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 21st
Below is an article about cyber bullying and the effects it has on Irish students from the Independent newspaper. Can teachers please read the article with their class and watch the short video that accompanies it. This is centred around the launch of Watch This Space, a website devoted to young people who are victims of online bullying.
DAY 3 – FRIDAY OCTOBER 23RD
Teachers are asked to remind students of the school “#Soundeffects” initiative and read the details of the programme to all classes. Encourage students to write down one “Sound” gesture someone else has shown them or one sound thing another person has done for them. This only needs to be a couple of lines long and can be anonymous. Hand up these to their tutor at the end of class.
Today, sadly, all around the world, there are teenagers being bullied, too frightened to go to school, too frightened to tell anyone. Bullying can occur in person or on line for these teenagers. It can change a perfectly outgoing, happy teenager into a shadow or a shell of himself.
While the majority of parents will regularly and naturally make the statement “I hope that my child is not bullied” it is important that all of us as responsible adults/parents, contemplate the other perspective of this statement “I hope that my child is not a bully”. We must recognise the fact that the way in which our children behave in the comfort of their own homes, with their families, is often very different, to the way they behave when they are with a group of friends.
It is essential that parents and teachers talk to the boys about the topic of bullying and just being a nice person. We must emphasise that bullying is always wrong, and that if your son is part of a group who is bullying and your son is not themselves directly involved in that bullying behaviour, they are now bystanders. Bystanders can help the victim by reporting the bullying to someone they trust in the school or by reporting to you at home. We appreciate that the boys and you the parents are very forthcoming with information in relation to bullying behaviour and we do acknowledge and thank you for that.
In our school, we are not looking to punish, rather, we are looking for the bullying to STOP and to support the victim in addition to facilitating the bully to change his bullying behaviour. No adult wants to hear of any child coming into school with a knot in their tummy. This will effect their appetite, their growth, their concentration and their academic achievement. Therefore, there is an onus on all of us to educate our boys in relation to bullying behaviour, build their skill set, so that if they experience bullying when they leave our care, they know how to deal with it responsibly and by that, we mean telling somebody and seeking help.
Our slogan this year is simply “Be Kind, be Sound”. The” Be Sound” campaign comes from our own “Soundeffects” initiative which we introduced to the school a number of years ago as an affirmation of the many positive behaviours that we see being displayed by our boys on a daily basis.
The idea for #Soundeffects was launched by Bressie and his mental health awareness campaign “Lust for life” some years ago. We adapted the initiative to fit our school context. We are fortunate in this school to have so many well behaved, respectful, mannerly and courteous young men and equally fortunate to have over the years built up a culture of respect between teacher, student and vice vearsa. While we do recognise, acknowledge and appraise a lot of this good behaviour we feel that we could always be doing more to accentuate and celebrate all of the good behaviour that we observe. This is where #Soundeffects comes in!!
In a world that can often amplify fear and negativity we believe deep down that most people and the majority of our boys are in fact “Sound”. The word sound is a word that is often used both by adults and by the students. It is a slang word. To be sound is a state of existence. It usually refers to someone who willingly does a favour, asked or not, although usually unexpected. Also “sound” can be used as an adjective to describe a genuine nice person. Someone who is decent and kind and an overall good human being.
In the context of an alarming increase in mental ill health in Ireland and an urgency around how we are going to tackle the real pain faced by many people including some of our own boys, we need to focus our energies on “Being Sound” and promoting overall well- being which is at the core of positive mental health.
We are asking teachers to record any instances of sound actions that they come across. Once the teacher logs and submits their experience of a sound action on special sound effects cards, this card will then be posted up on our sound effects display cabinet located in the main hall way (no names of students are posted up so as to save embarrassment). It is up to the teacher to reward the student in whatever way they see fit, it could be verbal praise or a small bar of chocolate. This would be done not in front of the class but rather a quiet word of praise. #Soundeffects is about sharing something sound that someone else did for you. It can be a very small gesture (a student staying back to push in your chairs after class, a student that is always mannerly and respectful or a student that has helped one of his peers in some way that the teacher is aware of).
At the end of each year we always have a series of sound actions posted up in the #Soundeffects display cabinet documenting some of the sound actions that have taken place within our school community.
Colours Day in Aid of Adapt House Friday October 23rd
ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services is a voluntary organisation which was set up in 1974 to provide a wide range of supports to women survivors of domestic abuse and their children across Limerick City and County. ADAPT runs the largest refuge in the country providing emergency accommodation for women and children who have to leave their homes because of domestic abuse. It also provides a wide range of outreach services for women who are not staying in the refuge including: 24 hour helpline support, 1-2-1 support in relation to issues arising as a result of domestic abuse e.g. financial and housing concerns, accompaniment to court to seek legal protection, support groups for women who are or have been in an abusive relationship, and educational opportunities for women survivors of domestic abuse.
This year one of our Transition Year YSI groups has undertaken a social innovative initiative for the above organisation Adapt House. They have, under the guidance of their teacher, Ms. Quilter, researched, and co- ordinated an information pack on Adapt House. Part of their initiative is to raise much needed funds for Adapt. With Covid -19, essential organisations like Adapt have lost out on fundraising opportunities. Therefore, next Friday, October 23rd the TY’s have organised a Colour’s Day for our school, where all students are permitted to wear their own clothes . Each student who participates donates €3 towards Adapt House. The TY’s will collect the money from students at each student entrance (and at the school gate if any parent would like to contribute) on Friday morning. Thank you in advance for your support.
Virtual Open Night