Mary Immaculate Secondary School

Update on our Continuity of Learning and Teaching

20-April-20
Update on our Continuity of Learning and Teaching

April 20th 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Welcome back again to you and your family after the Easter break. It is a difficult time and I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well. We are all continuing to adapt to this new reality and the many unknowns.

For all involved in education, this is a challenging period as we strive to support the learning and wellbeing of students while out of the school environment and where teaching and learning approaches have had to change. This is not an easy time for teachers, students and their families. It is particularly difficult for students who are marginalised, students with special educational needs, students whose families are experiencing stress and uncertainty, and students preparing for this year’s state examinations.

Maintaining the wellbeing of students, supported by families, is of the utmost importance at this exceptional time. Some students may be coping well with staying at home, social/physical distancing and completing schoolwork at home whereas others may be struggling with these changes. There will be continuing challenges in the weeks ahead as students miss their friends, school and their extra-curricular and social activities.

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) has developed guidance and advice for schools, students and parents in relation to managing and staying well when schools are closed. This guidance, and further guidance that will follow, can be accessed at the following link:

  • NEPS – Advice and resources for keeping children and young people well during Covid-19

At this moment in time the Department of Education requires teachers to continue to support their classes remotely between now and the official end of the school year.

To date, since March 13th, 2020, our teachers at Mary Immaculate have been supporting students through a combination of sharing work on office 365 and providing live and pre-recording online video classes using TEAMS.

The management of Mary Immaculate would like to acknowledge and thank you and your child/ren for your engagement with our Continuity of Learning through Online Learning and Teaching on Office 365/Teams and One Note. One thing we do know for certain is that your continued support and co-operation is ensuring the success of this continuity of learning for your child.

We are striving to maintain a sense of normality for students to ensure that they continue to progress in their learning, despite being outside the classroom. Daily routine for students, is particularly important. This is critical to ensure that the momentum of learning is not lost.

We fully appreciate that not all families have the facilities to engage with online learning and it is very unfortunate that this issue is replicated all over the country. Issues with internet service and computer access are a problem for some and this may be affecting some student engagement in every school. We will do our best to support all our students in a range of alternative ways throughout this time. Please contact the school and communicate to us if you have such concerns.

Regarding the current unfolding situation, I hope to clarify the Department of Education’s position in relation to the following:

  • School Closure
  • Rescheduling of State Examinations
  • Mary Immaculate Secondary School Contingency Plan for Continuity of Teaching and Learning

  • School Closure

It is the current position that all schools will remain closed until the 5th of May 2020. We await further information from the Department of Health/Department of Education in relation to a possible return to school beyond this date.

  • Rescheduling of State Examinations

Here is the official up to date information from the Department of Education in relation to the State Examinations 2020

(a) Plans were being put in place for the postponed Leaving Certificate examinations to begin in the last week of July or early August, subject to public health advice.

(b) The Junior Cycle final examinations due to take place in June will be replaced by school-based exams and assessments held early in the new school year.

The practicalities of how both the Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate will be completed still need to be agreed between the Department of Education, Management Bodies and the State Exams Commission. That information be released over the coming weeks.

The following link https://examinations.ie/misc-doc/EN-EX-94224992.pdf may assist you in any further questions you may have in relation to the State Examinations.

  • Mary Immaculate Secondary School Contingency Plan for Continuity of Teaching and Learning

Management and staff urge that all students both exam and non-exam classes continue to engage on the online teaching platforms with the same renewed enthusiasm for the last term of school.

This morning, Monday 20th of April we held our weekly online management meeting where management agreed on and put together a plan for all year groups between now and the end of May. This plan of action is contingent on schools remaining closed for the remainder of the school year. Our plan, as follows outlines how we plan to continue engaging with your child over the coming weeks:

  • Firstly, in the case of 1st, 2nd, TY and 5th Year students, their online Summer Tests/Assignments will take place over the next few weeks. Each subject teacher will be clarifying the specifics of these tests as the week progresses.

  • Teachers will inform their students of such plans and of the importance of any upcoming assignments as they will be graded and put forward towards their end of year grade. Teachers may contact you if work is not submitted.

  • If your son/ daughter is unwell or not able to complete their assignments at any stage during this period of school closure can I ask that you email the school on info@maryimmaculate.ie, as the engagement of our students is constantly being monitored and recorded by all our staff.

  • Regarding the Junior Cycle students, (the official exam is cancelled and replaced by school-based exams and assessments), it is the case however that some CBA’s will be scheduled for early September. It is vital that Junior Cycle students remain fully committed to their original programme of work.

  • We recommend that students pace themselves accordingly, and subject teachers will advise students on how best to organise this extended time frame.

If there are any other matters, please feel free to email the school. We are here, as always to help and support you and ensure continuity of your child’s education and holistic wellbeing and development throughout these unprecedented times. I conclude and wish you well and good health.

Kind Regards and Stay Safe,

Mona Hynes

Principal.

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Mary Immaculate Secondary School,
Lisdoonvarna,
Co. Clare,
Ireland

065 707 4266


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