The beginning of a new school term – April 20th 2020.
We hope that you and your family have had a restful and safe Easter period and that you are ready to support your son to engage in his studies from home once again on Monday. We are very aware of all the challenges that the current situation has created and teachers will at all times be cognisant of this.
However, with the most recent indefinite deferral of our return to the classroom, by the Minister for Education, your son’s engagement in learning over the coming weeks is more vital than ever. If we do not return to class by May 29th, when the summer holidays begin, it will be the equivalent of losing 10 weeks of classes, 450 class periods or 300 hours of class contact for him.
If this loss is applied to the Senior Cycle (current 5th or 6th Years) it is a loss of approximately ONE SIXTH and in the case of Junior Cycle (1st, 2nd & 3rd Years) ONE NINTH of the total course tuition time. This is time and more importantly content that will be difficult to revisit in class, if at all, when face-to-face contact returns.
It is more important than ever that your son engages with his teachers and we ask again for your support as parents in this area. Given the challenging times we are all facing please do not allow your support and encouragement to become a bone of contention a source of frustration or upset in your home. We all need calm and peace in our homes right now! We have a number of supports for you in this regard;
- Check in on your son’s Good Counsel College email account as this is where teachers will email work and schedule online classes.
- Log into VSware for a weekly summary of your son’s engagement in subjects. This reporting tool is not being used by all teachers but it is very helpful where it is used.
- We are introducing a Traffic Light approach to support students who are finding it difficult to engage. It may involve the following stages.
- As a first step we have now made it possible for teachers to text you directly through the school account if your son is not engaging. They may, if they deem it necessary, also give you a call to advise you if he is not participating and check to see if there is any way they can help.
- Where your son continues to disengage we will make further efforts to support him through the Year head, Deputy Principal and Principal.
- Please feel free at any time, as a parent/guardian, to contact your sons teachers or us to seek support in encouraging him to engage to the best of his ability with his studies.
We will be scheduling formal summer house exams for all students in 1st Year, 2nd Year (where no CBA was completed after Christmas) and 5th Years. Should schools not be reopened at that point these will;
- take place at the end of term and a timetable will be posted on our website;
- require parents to arrange for exam conditions for each exam, i.e a silent room, no notes and a set time;
- be set and emailed to students by their teachers in advance of each exam;
- need to be returned to teachers by email;
- be marked and reports completed by teachers.
As the position evolves further details will be made available in the coming weeks.
Our 6th years need to continue to work with the end of July as their new focus for exams. They should ignore the chatter on social media and only take their lead from ourselves, the HSE and the Department of Education in this regard. We sent our 6th years a direct update email last Saturday and will keep them and you informed of changes as we get them.
Regardless of the challenges each of us face right now, we know they will not stay. They will pass! In the coming weeks, do what you can with what you have, and ask for help if needed. Most importantly, never give up on supporting your son to be the best he can be. Take care of yourself and loved ones. Should you have any worries, concerns or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact any staff member. You can find information about their emails here.