Monday, March 23rd, 2020
I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are managing well through these challenging and unprecedented times. By working together and heeding the advice of the medical professionals, we will get through this. SOCIAL DISTANCING AND HAND WASHING IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE.
As referenced last week, ‘If we can all winter this out, we can summer anywhere’. We continue to keep our school, our national and global community in all our thoughts and prayers.
As we move into our 2nd week of digital and distance learning I would like to express my thanks to every teacher for working with our students giving them the best possible opportunity for learning. I would also like to say a big thank you to you – our parents/guardians and students – for your commitment and understanding during these exceptional times.
I think at this stage we can all expect a closure beyond March 29th and to that end, we are planning and preparing:
- On-line classes with their students. It is not realistic to have a “normal timetable” of classes. Teachers are also looking after their own children or old or sick family members. Some online classes have been happening, and there will be an increase over the days and weeks ahead. We might especially for the Seniors, be able to benefit from economies of scale, where one teacher might deliver an on-line class to all students in a year group, while other teachers will work on sharing resources via Teams and each student has their own dedicated school email address;
- On-line platforms such as Office Teams to set and receive work;
- Resources to share amongst their students and with each other;
- Continuing to email work to students directly & receiving work (homework) in return via email from their students. Teachers will focus on telling students and parents what to do each day and how long to spend on it, including success criteria.
- Sharing videos of demonstrations via email or other means.
We will make every effort to give structure to our students; however, nothing can replace daily classes in school, with their friends and the social dynamic of a live classroom with a teacher. Whatever we do remotely will not replace this but we will strive to be the next best thing.
Here is a link to the HSE website with very good advice regarding mental health and how you might support your son at home so that he anxiety does not overwhelm him:
Oral and Practicals
The planned closure period directly impacts on the scheduled dates for this year’s oral and practical performance tests.
- Following a review of all possible options the Minister has announced today that it has been decided to cancel these tests and to award candidates the full marks for the components in question. For your attention and information, see here the SEC’s press release on this decision. https://www.examinations.ie/misc-doc/EN-PR-99651218.pdf
- The Department has also announced an extension of the completion date for project work and coursework which was due for completion on various dates between the 20th March and the 24th April. Candidates will now have until the 15th May to complete this work. The SEC will provide further details on the revised arrangements in the coming days to school authorities and will publish details on their website for the information of students, parents and guardians.
- Awarding full marks for the oral and practical performance tests was considered to be the most fair to candidates as it guarantees that no candidate can be awarded a mark lower than they would have achieved in the test. No other approach to generating a result for these components would have given this guarantee. These decisions have at all times been guided by consideration of the best interests of candidates. The advice to candidates is that they should continue to prepare for the remaining elements of their examinations as scheduled.
FAQ – please click on the link above to read the most up to date information regarding the impact of the decision for candidates.
Wellbeing and Motivation
This week we were to have John Doran to speak with our 3rd and 6th years again around study skills and motivation. John is an inspirational speaker and students really enjoyed their workshop with him before the Christmas.
Here in CBS Roscommon our top priority is to support exam classes as they continue to prepare for State examinations. We kindly ask parents and guardians to continue to encourage your sons to attend to their on-line classes, tutorials and school-work. In addition, we ask that your sons continue to keep up with the work as set out by their teachers in combination with a degree of self-directed learning.
2 – Way Communication
As professional educators, we have a dutiful sense of service to continue to do our very best for all our students over the coming weeks. Parents/Guardians are also doing their bit by ensuring that the students engage on-line on an ongoing, two-way basis.
- We are involved in a process, it is not simply about sending work out to the students one-way – the students need to respond on-line with homework for teachers to correct and such homework can be graded accordingly and sent back to the students. There has been very positive feedback from teachers in this regard
- Parents/Guardians are asked to remind all students that while they are off school, they are not off school-work and they should endeavour to work at home for the hours that they are missing in school. Parents/Guardians can also access the Office 365 and keep in touch with the interactions there between student and school.
- A question that was asked by a student – Can I bring my project home?
- The State Examinations Commission has advised schools that project work relating to the State exams should remain in the school as normal and not be taken home by students.
- Mr O’Doherty has set up a Leaving Certificate Guidance Class Group on Teams – relevant information regarding CAO, Scholarships, Apprenticeships, Grant information etc. Leaving Cert students can contact Mr. O’Doherty directly and is happy to arrange voice calls if this is required. The careers portal site that we use on a daily basis is full of tips targeting Leaving Cert students from Study to Wellbeing and all the relevant information in between – please keep an eye on this website on a regular basis.
In conclusion, during this period of unexpected absence from school our students are bound to have concerns about the demands of examination activity when they return to school, particularly as they will wish to refocus their efforts on their preparations for the written examinations commencing on June 3rd.
Student welfare is of utmost concern at this time and along with the State Examinations Commission (SEC), CBS wishes to provide reassurance to students and their parents/guardians and to provide clarity about what they need to focus on during their absence from school.
As you can imagine, things have moved at an incredible pace and all our staff here in CBS are adjusting accordingly to the new demands of the current situation. Keeping a regular routine appears to be the mantra that is coming through in all the literature at present. Getting up for school at the normal time and working at your study desk with regular breaks every 40 minutes is a definite way to keep on top of things.
REMEMBER WE CAN ALL PLAY OUR PART!
In relation to social distancing protocol, the following poster (link) highlights the need for observance of proper distancing, especially among teenagers and young adolescents. https://assets.gov.ie/71609/34390198bec74437ac5d759865dae786.pdf
Thank you all for your patience.
Le gach dea-ghui
Other useful resources that might be of some use in the weeks ahead:
The article below from the late Professor Aidan Moran of UCD might be useful regarding some intrepid study tips:
Niall Breslin has his own meditation podcast on Spotify entitled “Where is My Mind?
Create short-term goals and avoid long to-do lists that become a burden with no end in sight.
Most of the educational book companies are giving free access to their on-line books during the current emergency. Edco, Folens, CJ Fallon, etc.