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April Newsletter

posted Apr 30, 2013, 2:56 AM by Simon Lewis   [ updated Apr 30, 2013, 5:51 AM ]
April Newsletter 2013

We're heading into the final two months of the school year and we're hoping that the sun stays with us for most of it. April has lived up to its reputation with lots of showers but it hasn't stopped the fantastic work in the school. In this month's newsletter, we'll be going through all the latest projects and events in the school over the last month. Before I do, we had some slightly disappointing news that there is a delay to our new school building. There is a cable going across the site of the school and the ESB have to bury it. Unfortunately, it takes ten weeks for this to happen so the new date for moving to the new school will be November 2013. Thankfully, we have enough space in our current school. Over the next few months, we are going to be introducing some of the systems that will be taking place in the new school to ease the changeover. There will be more about this over the next page or two. As you know, the school had to cancel a major fundraising day to buy a stage for our new school due to lack of numbers. The Board of Management have discussed ways that we can raise much needed funds for specific items and there is a survey at the end of the newsletter so we can get feedback on how we can best involve parents for this. Due to lack of government funding, all schools have to fundraise in order to be able to stay afloat and while it is not right, it doesn't look like this will change. In more positive news, our school is involved in a town-wide competition, where all children have been given pedometers and their challenge is to make as many steps as they can before the 7th June. Every child received a tracking chart so please help your child out by going for extra walks. We want to be the fittest school in Carlow Town so we need your help. After mid term break, we're continuing with the fitness drive as we launch Active Week. We're also hoping to launch our Healthy Eating Policy. Don't forget - our Sports Day will also be coming up, which is always a great success. I hope you all have a lovely week off next week and look forward to seeing you for the final half term of the year. Until then, keep happy, safe and learning. Simon.

News & Reminders
  • The Educate Together AGM will take place on 25th May, 2013 in Swords, Co. Dublin. Our school has two motions put forward. Any parents who would like to attend the AGM should talk to Simon.
  • The school has received funding for the School Completion Programme. Marita has been in the school 3 days per week this year and will work 5 days per week next year. The funding is allocated for the work that Marita does with the school. We will be purchasing a number of social skills programmes and some sports equipment. We have also hired a part time attendance tracker who monitors attendance.
  • Please ensure that a written note or online absence note is filled in for any days away from school for any reason. When a child misses 20 days of school for any reason, there must be written evidence of a reason for the absences. We are obliged by law to report all absences to the NEWB. The school writes notes to families when they have reached 15 days of absence to remind them.
  • Mid Term Break will take place from 6th to 10th May. School will be closed.
  • In preparation of our Healthy Eating Policy being published, please make sure to read over the Healthy Eating Guidelines in your child's homework journal.
  • Parents are welcome every Friday morning to the staff/parents' room for a coffee. It's a great time to meet with other parents and families so please do come along.
  • Congratulations to the children who made their sacraments this month.
Active Week
Active Week will take place on the week we come back from Mid Term Break. The staff have been busy planning a fantastic week of events. Please make sure your child(ren) are wearing comfortable clothes for the week as they will be running, jumping, skipping and generally being very active throughout the week. Some highlights of the week include: A special GAA match between Carlow and Portlaoise Educate Together Schools, A penalty shootout against the principal, Buddy games and lots more. A full timetable of events will be ready soon. A big thanks to the organisers of the week - it's going to be brilliant!

Preparation for the new school
As we prepare for the new school, the staff, parents' council and Board of Management discussed ways in which we're going to be able to make the transition to the new building as straightforward as possible. One of the big concerns about the new building will be health and safety measures around accessing the new school. Everyone agreed that we must start a routine in preparation for when we reach our full capacity. We want to make sure that we keep the children in a happy, safe, learning environment without counteracting the ethos of the school. One such measure that we are going to introduce is how children will safely enter the building in the mornings. The Board of Management, staff and Parents' Council have agreed that we are going to designate a place where children will line up on the mornings to be collected by their teachers. This will allow parents to communicate briefly with their teacher in the morning before the children are brought into the school in a safe fashion. Children will be expected to be lined up and ready to go inside for 8:50am. As part of Active Week, we're going to start this process as everyday during the week, children are going to be collected from their line to go straight into a morning warm up activity. After Active Week, we're going to continue with lining up on the mornings and see how it works out. Over the next few months, we will introduce some of the other measures. Your feedback will be appreciated. So far, we are delighted that the response has been very positive.

A Note about previous Safety Announcements
We are happy to note that as a result of the announcements in the previous two newsletters that there has been a significant improvement in children being supervised by their parents when they are in the building and that there has been no evidence of food been left around the school. The school thanks parents for continuing to respect the need for the school building to be a calm learning environment for all children. The school would also like to make it clear that the announcements were not aimed at the Parents' Council. In fact, all staff recognise that the Parents' Council keep the staff room in immaculate condition and are entirely respectful of the school.

Pedometers and MSD Be Well Campaign
Every child in Carlow primary schools have been given a pedometer and a tracking card to measure the number of steps they have taken every day for 4 weeks. MSD are sponsoring the Be Well programme and the school that makes the most number of steps will win a special prize. Even though we are the smallest school, we know we can win this, but we need everyone on board. Everyday, children should aim to have made 15,000 steps - the minimum recommended number of steps for a child. Make sure your child remembers to put on their pedometer everyday and help them record the number of steps they have taken. Unfortunately, we cannot replace pedometers as MSD have none left. Earlier in the month, 6 pupils, (right), won a poster competition organised by MSD. The six children visited the MSD site where they met Kathryn Thomas and Seán O'Brien and got lots of goodies!

Open Night
Open Night will take place on 28th May. We'd love to see as many parents and their families as possible on the night. Each Open Night there are talks from every teacher about what to expect in their new class the following year. You will get to meet the new teacher for your new class and he/she will outline the new things they will be learning. We also have some fun events where we turn one of our classrooms into a cinema, we open up the sensory room for a chill out and lots of other surprises. It all starts off at 7pm and if you have any friends that are interested in what Educate Together is all about, we'd love to meet them.

The Department of Education provides all primary schools with roughly 65-70% of the running needs of the school. The Department of Education pays a capitation grant to pay for the running of the school based on the number of children enrolled. The rest of the money has to come from fundraising and other initiatives. Over the first few years of our time in school, we had a problem that we received funding for the number of children in the building but this did not correlate with the utility bills as the size of the building didn't change. This meant that for our first 3-4 years, in order to pay our heating, lighting and any other utilities, we needed to do serious fundraising in order to keep afloat. Luckily, we have been able to survive thanks to the generosity of parents' time and efforts. However, it is understandable that the level of fundraising required was not sustainable. This year, the school has ensured that rather than having regular small fundraisers for the school that we would have 1-2 major events during the year. The school was also conscious that we didn't want parents to have to stick their hands into their own pockets. With this in mind, the Parents' Council arranged a flag day where a small number of parents could give the school 2 hours to collect money around Carlow Town. This type of event usually brings €2,000-€3,000 in funds. We hoped that we would be able to buy a stage for our new school in order to put on concerts, etc. in our new building. Unfortunately, we did not have enough volunteers so the event had to be cancelled. With this in mind, the school needs your feedback. Given that every school needs to fundraise in order to be able to cover costs, what should the school do to encourage families to aid us. We would appreciate it if you wouldn't mind filling in this brief survey so we can make plans for next year. One idea is that the school will outline a concrete plan for 2013/14 for fundraising so families will be able to plan the year accordingly. You can answer the survey online or by filling it in on paper and returning it to the office. The Board of Management will discuss any ideas that are raised.

Fundraising Survey

News from Around the Classrooms

Senior Infants

Senior Infants have been learning about the importance of looking after our environment and how reducing ,reusing and recycling our waste can help. They are really good at ensuring our classroom waste goes into the correct bin everyday. This month they have been collecting boxes, cartons, bottle tops and paper which they used to make a fantastic recycle city. They constructed bridges, castles, skyscrapers, clock towers, several swimming pools and even Godzilla.It was lots of fun

The Senior Infants have been learning about 2d and 3d shapes. They learned that 2d shapes are flat. We read the stories “Flat Stanley” and “Paper Dolls” and imagined what it might be like if we were flat. We decided we were happy being 3d for now. Then we used clay to experiment with making the new 3d shapes we learned had about spheres, cylinders and pyramids. Finally we set to work as sculptors and made some lovely 3d pieces but not before drawing our designs in 2d. Take a look at some of our work on the school web site.

2nd Class

Second class had great fun using recycled materials to create these wonderful Spelling Monsters. Be careful they’re hungry, they love to eat words!

Second class also had their first visit from Caroline our Junior Achievement volunteer . Caroline works in our community and is teaching us all about our community. Our Community looks at responsibilities and economic opportunities within a community.Caroline displayed a poster of a typical community and students met some of the people who live and work there. Through hands-on activities, the students learn about workers, the work they perform, why workers are paid, what taxes are and how they are used as well as where to save money!

3rd/4th Class

A new study was published which found that children in Ireland are the 10th happiest in the world. We wrote some reasons explaining why we, as children in Ireland, are happy in Ireland using our class laptops and here it a ‘wordle’ detailing our responses.

The children in 3rd and 4th class completed Levels 1, 2 and 3 of Cycling Safety with Jason Morrissey, from The children thoroughly enjoyed the classes and they were rewarded for their outstanding participation when they were presented with their certificates this week. Well done everyone

Michael’s Class have been learning about Growing and Changing in SPHE. Everyone collaborated to compose this poem in class today.

A Life That’s Mine

When I grow up I want to be,
a teacher, a writer, or a builder; it could be me.

If those don’t work out there’s a chance that I
will become a surgeon, a doctor or a pilot who can fly.

If it happens to be that I can’t get these jobs,
maybe I’ll be found fixing door knobs.

Whatever transpires, I’ll be fine,
I’ll be leading a life that’s completely mine.

By 3rd and 4th class, Carlow Educate Together, 2013.

5th/6th Class

We enjoyed a special visit by author Olive Mooney. Olive has written ‘The Chronicles of Cadaver College’ series and she read a selection of excerpts from her book for the children in 3rd – 6th class this afternoon. Olive was on hand to sign her book following the reading. We would like to thank Olive for taking the time to visit us this afternoon and we wish her every success with her new books. Click here to visit Olive’s website.

Derek's Class
In Celebration of the coming of Spring, our Hindu friends celebrate the festival of Holi, where rapture and delight are the order of the day. Our boys got right into the festivities and created their own Holi paintings