September 2018 Newsletter

Dear Parents,

The staff and I would like to welcome you all back after the Summer holidays. Thank you all so much for the vouchers and presents you gave us all at the end of the Summer term. They were very much appreciated. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Junior Infants and their parents and the families who are new to the school in other classes. Thank you to the PTA Committee and to all those parents who baked, brought in items to sell and who helped out both during the week before and at the Fete itself. The day was a great success and raised much needed funds for the parish and school.

New Staffing Arrangments

I am pleased to welcome Ms. Eleanor Barkley, Special Needs Assistant, to the staff and Ms. Alison Gallagher to teach in 1st Class until Mrs Susan Crammond returns from parental leave. I would like to wish Mrs. Aoife McMurdock all the very best as she approaches her Maternity Leave. I would also like to welcome back our Spanish teacher, Mme Nuria Gomar, to teach in 5th and 6th Classes on Wednesdays.

We are also pleased to welcome Ms. Kylie Ficker and Ms. Marissa Hines, American teaching students, who are with us this term, assisting mainly in 3rd Class and Junior infants.

Please read all Newsletters carefully for important information. I would also ask you to check your emails on a daily basis as, in order to reduce our impact on the environment and to be more cost effective, the majority of correspondence is being sent via email only, including Newsletters (a hard copy of the Newsletter is on the Noticeboard and a copy is on the website also). Any circulars that require parental signatures will still be issued, with email copies as back up and for urgent correspondence, texts will also be sent. Anyone who has updated their email address recently or who is not receiving the emails, should contact the Office email address – schooloffice@rathmichaelschool.com.

Garda Vetting

All new Junior Infant parents and other new parents should have received Vetting invitation forms. Please complete and return these to Trish as soon as possible, if you have not already done so. This will enable us to commence the vetting process so that you can help in the classroom, at the Pool and on school trips. If you have not received a form, please contact Trish. Parents whose vetting is out of date will shortly receive forms so that their vetting status may be updated.

Important Diary Date: Please note that school will be closed on Friday 26th October as we are being used for elections. The week after this is the mid-term break so we will be back in school on Monday 5th November.

Games began this week with Southside School Sports and I would ask you to contact Jill Aston in the SSS Office directly if you have any queries. This exciting new venture is still very much in the experimental phase and I would ask you to be patient in all your dealings with Jill and the coaches.

Swimming returns on Friday 14th September for 3rd and 6th Classes. A separate note has gone home. If you can help please fill in the rota on the noticeboard. A parent is also needed on the bus each week (excluding this Friday).  Please note that 2nd and 5th Classes will also have swimming this term, beginning on 7th December.

Whole Class Meetings will take place for parents on Wednesday 19th September (5th and 6th Classes) and Friday 21st September (Junior and Senior Infants, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Classes). A separate note has gone home via email.  Individual Parent Teacher meetings will be held in November/December on dates to be advised.

Spanish (5th and 6th Classes) has started and Gaelic Football has returned for Junior Infants to 2nd Classes.  Rory O’Hare will be back with us shortly for football for selected classes on Thursdays, up until the mid-term.  Outside school hours, Chess and Coding should commence next week.

Volleyball classes for pupils in 5th and 6th Classes will commence during school hours on Thursdays from 8th November for 7 weeks. Pupils from Transition Year in John Scottus School will be undertaking the coaching as part of  their TY programme.

Teaching Practice

We will have students in a number of classes over this term and the next two terms.

Homework Club

Unfortunately this will not be continuing this year. This was very popular with pupils and parents. However, tax constraints mean that it is too expensive to run. I would like to thank Ms. Ferris for all her time and hard work in running it over the past couple of years.

Music

We hope that this will return after the mid-term break. However I have no further information at present.

Grip/Slip Youth Clubs

Unfortunately these are on hold at the moment while the Church tries to find a replacement Youth Worker. We will keep you informed of developments.

Vacations/Holidays

A note of these was sent via email and a copy is available on the website.

PTA Events

You will shortly be advised of the dates for the Sponsored Walk and the PTA AGM.

What’s App Etiquette – Parents

An updated What’s App Etiquette has been sent via email to all parents and a copy is on Noticeboards. Please take time to read this as it contains important information.

Birthday Day Off Homework

In order to accommodate all our pupils, especially those who have their birthdays during the holidays, it has been decided to issue birthday homework passes to all pupils – these passes may be used on the actual birthday or on a day of the child’s choosing.

Active Flag/Green School Flag

This year we will be concentrating on attaining our 2nd Active Flag and pupils will be encouraged to be active during school hours and will also have an Active Homework night.  We are working towards our next Green Flag also, with Marine as the theme.

Anti-Bullying Policy/Attendance Policy

Please note that these are on the website.

Voluntary Contribution

A limited number of grants are available to the school to cover electricity, gas, some maintenance and ancillary staff. However in order for us to maintain the building and grounds to a good standard we have to supplement this. It is through your Voluntary Contribution and fund raising events that we achieve this.  I want to thank you all for your continued support in this way.

Late Arrivers/Absences – REMEMBER THAT SCHOOL STARTS AT 8.40 A.M.

A sign-in system operates for children who are late into school and therefore miss roll call. Any children coming into school after 9.00 a.m. must call into the Office, accompanied by a parent/guardian, before going to their classroom, to be signed in by Trish. Otherwise they will not be covered by the school insurance on that day. If pupils are to be late, due to certain unavoidable appointments, it is essential that parents inform the school prior to the appointment so that they can be included on our roll.  As last year, I will be taking note of regular latecomers and letters will ensue if lateness persists.

If your child is absent from school for any reason, the school should be telephoned early in the morning, preferably before 9.00 a.m. and Trish should be informed of the reason for his/her absence.  This absence should be followed up with a note on the child’s return to school. This is essential to ensure that the school is aware of the whereabouts of all of the children in our care.

Parking/Driving

Parking in the school grounds is for Junior and Senior Infant Parents only in the morning and 1st and 2nd Class parents only at 2.25 p.m. Cars can only be parked in the spaces provided. No driving in to the school grounds during games or during outdoor activities in school hours. Gates are closed for these activities and at 2.35 p.m. for Games. You are also asked that you collect your children promptly at 1.25 p.m. (Junior and Senior Infants) and drive out immediately and also at 2.25 p.m. (1st to 6 Classes inclusive) so that Games may safely commence on time. The pedestrian crossing must be unobstructed at all times – children have priority when crossing.  Please be aware of the crossing and do not stop on or near it to talk to other parents as  this holds up traffic generally and obstructs the view of other drivers approaching the crossing. Please drive slowly in the grounds and do not overtake under any circumstances, particularly on the crossing.

Cars should not be left at the set down area for any reason as this again disrupts the smooth flow of traffic nor should cars be parked haphazardly in the grounds – please do not block other cars in or park on double yellow lines. Generally if you cannot find a space, please keep driving round until one is free. I will be patrolling the grounds at peak times to ensure that the rules of the carpark are respected.

The Gardaí have asked that you do not park on the Dublin Road (side of school grounds). Parking is available beside St. Anne’s School and in the grounds of St. Anne’s Church. However the latter is for set down and pick up only – please do not leave cars parked there. The management of Woodbank (the development behind the school), has also asked that you do not park on its grounds.

You will be encouraged by your children’s teachers (Snr Infants – 6th Class) to discontinue accompanying children into the classrooms each morning unless you have to meet the teacher.

Crossing with the School Wardens

Please encourage your children to cross with the Traffic Wardens as they have been put there for everyone’s safety. Lessons learnt in crossing the road safely will stay with the children when they leave us for secondary school. We would particularly ask parents and children not to cross on the diagional at the lights and to encourage children to cross with the warden on Stonebridge Road and then again with the warden at the lights rather than turning left at the school gates and crossing at the first set of lights. The former takes more time but is the safest route to take.

School Timetable – Notice to parents

Please be aware that school doors open at 8.40 a.m. every morning and children are not supervised by teachers until this time. Accordingly, while of course the school grounds will be open to the pupils, the school cannot accept responsibility for children arriving before the official opening of the school or remaining in the school grounds after school. Parents must accept responsibility for each of their children who are in the school grounds before official opening time and for younger children not attending the school, while waiting to collect older siblings at going home time.

The Timetable is as follows:

The School will be open to receive pupils from 8.40 a.m.

Classes will commence at 8.40 a.m.

Without good reason, no pupils should arrive later than 8.40 a.m.

Lunch break is from 12.45 p.m. to 1.15 p.m.

Classes will end each day at 1.25 p.m. (Junior/Senior Infants)

Classes will end each day at 2.25 p.m. (1st Class to 6th Class inclusive)

Parents who wish to have their children escorted home before school closing time should arrange to have them met at the classroom by arrangement with the teacher (having first called in at the School Office) at the appointed time. All pupils should vacate the premises at 2.25 p.m. unless remaining behind for legitimate extra curricular activities. Pupils who are not collected at 2.25 p.m. owing to parental delay or misunderstanding should go to the Office.

Homework Journals and Contact Details

Pupils from 1st to 6th Classes inclusive have been issued with Homework Journals. These should be signed by a parent on a daily basis to confirm that homework has been completed and checked by the parent. Please ensure the Contact Details section of the Journal is fully completed. Should any of your contact details, or address, have changed since last year, please advise Trish so that we may update our system. It is vital that we are able to contact parents in case of an emergency.

Uniform

School jumpers and white or navy polo shirts (all classes) and Hoodies (from 3rd class up) ARE TO BE WORN AT ALL TIMES.  These may be ordered directly from the  Office.

Please ensure that your child wears the polo shirt or required jumper at all times. I will be conducting spot checks on uniforms throughout the term. Please also name every item, including coats, particularly those belonging to the Junior and Senior Infants.

School Choir

The Choir will recommence, next week on 19th September and auditions have taken place. Pupils have been advised of the outcome. Choir practice begins at 8.30 a.m. sharp each Wednesday.  Please ensure that if your child is a member of the choir, he/she arrives promptly for practice each Wednesday as late comers cause a huge disruption and Mrs Lewis only has a short period of time to work with the group. Pupils are expected to remain in the Choir until they finish 6th class. Should there be a reason to leave the Choir, Mrs Lewis must be informed as a matter of courtesy, both personally and by letter.

Necessitous Pupils

For those families who may be unemployed, single parents or find themselves in difficult circumstances, please write to me to request help with school bills.

Teacher/Parent Meetings

Teachers are available for brief queries each morning. Please do not detain teachers at lunchtime or after school unless by appointment.

Mobile Phones

As usual we are appealing for your old mobile phones which we collect for charity. Please ask friends and relations for theirs also. There is a box in the Crawford Concourse to put them in or they may be left in the Office.

Children who have mobile phones should have them switched off and in their school bags during the day. If seen they will be confiscated. The taking of photos in school with mobile phones is strictly forbidden and will be dealt with severely.

Croke Park Hours

We are instructed by the Department of Education and Skills to advise you of the breakdown of the 36 additional Croke Park Hours in the 2018/19 academic year. These hours will be allocated to staff meetings, school planning, curriculum development, policy development and school arranged in service.

Healthy Eating Policy

In line with the Department of Education and Skills guidelines, our school operates a healthy eating policy. We would appreciate if you would co-operate with this by ensuring your child brings a healthy lunch to school each day. Crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks are not permitted. However we have treat days on Fridays, when you may include a small bar of chocolate in your child’s lunch box.

50 cent Day

Please remember that the first Wednesday of every month is 50 cent day, when each pupil is asked to bring in that amount which goes to the Fields of Life Ministry to help support a child’s education in Uganda, Rebecca. We also support Caleb. Thanks to all your contributions, Yunuso has now finished his 3rd Level education.

Caroline Senior, Principal,

13th September 2018

PTA Notes

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped prior to and during the Fete with the PTA stalls and games – the PTA Committee really appreciate all your efforts. Thanks also to all the children who took part in the Fancy Dress competition – your outfits were all fantastic.

PTA AGM

Edwina, Paul and Ivan will be finishing their 2 year term with the PTA at the AGM and new parents will be voted in to work on the Committee with Heidi, Kerry, Niall and Philip. The PTA function is to support the school by organising fundraisers and other social events and it is a great opportunity to get involved in school life. It is a 2 year term, the first year is very much a hands-on learning experience and in  the second year you take on a role of either chairperson, vice, treasurer or secretary.  At the AGM, besides voting for the new committee members, attendees will be given a run though of events of the past year from Caroline Senior and the PTA Committee.

On behalf of the PTA Committee