Newsletter February 2018


Newsletter, February 2018

Dear Parents,

Please find below details of forth coming events in our school and events we took part in.


Catholic Schools Week

We celebrated Catholic Schools Week from Jan 29th to Feb 2nd. All classes partook in various activities which focussed on the importance of the Catholic ethos which permeates our school life. A prayer service, conducted by Deacon Willie Gacquin, was held on Tuesday, Jan 30th for 2nd-6th classes. On Feb 1st we celebrated St. Brigid’s Day and 4th class (Ms. Gately’s) made St Brigid’s crosses to mark the occasion. 2nd & 5th class (Ms Cunniffe’s) marked Grandparents Day by inviting some of our grandparents to the school. It was a very enjoyable occasion for all with lots of music, song, dance and memories shared. We would like to express our thanks to all who attended for sharing their life experiences and wisdom with us.


School Self-Evaluation

Literacy Lift Off Programme

First Class has now completed the Literacy Lift Off Programme.  This early intervention programme has been very successful in raising literacy and writing levels in the class.  Please continue to support your child by reading stories and books on a daily basis and continuing to supervise homework.  Literacy Lift Off has commenced in Mr O’Leocháin’s class and will continue for six weeks, starting each morning at 9.20 am so please ensure the children are in school promptly each day.  Please ensure their writing copies are kept in their Literacy Folders.


Year 3 of our Numeracy Plan is on-going in all classes. It focuses mainly on improving problem solving skills across all strands of the curriculum. If children are working on problem solving for homework they should be able to illustrate to you how they move from the concrete to pictorial to the abstract. Please encourage your children to use Maths in their everyday lives in a variety of ways as it is important that they understand the relationship between Maths and the real world.

A School Improvement Plan for a 3rd Curricular area will commence in Sept 2018. We are currently evaluating all areas of the curriculum in order to identify our area of greatest need. We will be distributing a student/parent questionnaire shortly and would be grateful for your feedback in this regard.

Dates for your diary

First Confessions:                                            March 6th at 6pm

Non-Uniform day:                                           March 16th

New Infants Induction:                                 Thursday 19th April at 6pm

The Sacrament of Confirmation:                April 25th at 11am

Do This in Memory Masses:                        4th March, 25th March & 15th April

First Holy Communion:                                  19th May at 11am

Easter Holidays:                                                Friday 23rd March April and returning to school on Monday 9th April

Discover Primary Science Showcase day: Thurs, April 12th


Sacramental Preparation

Preparations for the sacrament of Confirmation have commenced in 6th class with our Confirmation candidates attending the “Exploring Our Faith” parish programme. The “Do This in Memory” Masses will run until April 15th. We thank you for your attendance and participation.

Non-Uniform Day

A non-uniform day will be held on Friday, March 16th. All monies raised will go towards the stocking of our new school library.

Full school uniform must be worn on all other days, except P.E. days.  Again please note that earrings/ jewellery must be removed for P.E. as a matter of Health & Safety.  I understand that earrings cannot be removed for the first 6-8 weeks after the piercing.  However, it is not acceptable for children to miss out on P.E. class after this initial period due to piercing.


School Closures

Cloonakilla N.S. will close for midterm on Thurs & Friday February 15th & 16th.

School will close at 12.30pm on Friday, March 2nd for staff training on new Child Protection Guidelines and March 19th  for Bank Holiday. The Easter holidays are : Friday March 23rd @ 12 noon to Mon April 9th.


Junior Infant Enrolment

Our Junior Infant Enrolment Procedure has been completed this week and all successful applicants will be notified next week.   An open evening for new Junior Infants will be held in the school on Thurs, April 19th at 6pm.

World Book Day

World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday, March 1st.  Special activities will be held in all classes to commemorate this event and to foster a love of reading. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedules to mark this occasion at home with your children. Children will receive book tokens so this is a chance for them to purchase a book of their choosing. Dolores Keaveney (author) will conduct a workshop with Junior & Senior Infants and 1st classes on Friday, March 2nd. Senior Infants visited Athlone library in preparation for World Book day. All children have an option to join the library and we would really encourage you to use this resource.


Book Fair

We held a very successful Book Fair in our school library last week.  Over €3,000 worth of books were sold and the school received €1,500 worth of free books to help stock our new library.  If you have any unwanted children’s books at home, in good condition, we would be delighted if you would please donate them to the school.

School Choir

The school choir will sing at the” Do This in Memory” Mass on April 15th in SS Peter & Paul Church. They will also sing for Confirmation and First Communion ceremonies.

Stay Safe Programme

The Stay Safe Programme is currently being taught in all classes. This is a personal safety skills programme which seeks to enhance children’s self-protective skills by participation in lessons on safe and unsafe situations, bullying, inappropriate touch, secrets, stranger danger and telling a trusted adult their fears. It is important to encourage your child to discuss this content if possible. Parents can learn more about this programme at

Our children’s safety both in the real and virtual world is a priority for us all. Please check your child’s online activity at regular intervals to ensure their safety.

School Photographs

County Photos visited the school on Feb 13th. Proofs will be distributed shortly and all monies should be returned to the class teacher promptly.  The photographer will revisit the school on Friday, 27th April for Confirmation photograph for 6th class.



As part of our “Get Active” campaign at Cloonakilla all classes recently participated in the 10@ 10 activity programme. The children (and teachers) thoroughly enjoyed it and an increased level of energy and enthusiasm was evident afterwards. It is a well known fact that sport enhances mental health and wellbeing. We would encourage all of our students in Cloonakilla to become active as much as possible both in and out of school.


Soccer training continues on Fridays for 4th – 6th classes with Gerry in preparation for the upcoming SPAR 5-a-side tournament. We will also be taking part in a local schools soccer blitz.


Gaelic training will continue with Marie Brady (Clann na nGael) for 2nd, 4th & 5th classes.  Gaelic training has also commenced on Thursday afternoons for 5th & 6th classes.  Mr Kilbride and Mr O’Leocháin are coaching our boys while Ms Fallon and Ms O’Keefe are coaching the girls.


A number of classes recently enjoyed a short workshop with Charlie Cooper from Buccaneers Rugby Club.  Pupils got a taste of the game and maybe the next Robbie Henshaw could be from Cloonakilla!!

Healthy Tip

Try using the local Greenway track for a walk or a cycle or even a “scoot” with your children.

Green Schools

Fourth classes took part in a project to promote recycling as part of our Green Flag Global Citizenship -Litter and Waste.  Pupils collected recycled materials for the month of January and they constructed a range of items from the recycled materials. Their constructions are on display in the library. Well done to all!

Green Schools Co-Ordinator Ray Foley visited the school on January 12th and he completed a carbon footprint workshop with 4th and 5th classes.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.

WOW days (Walk on Wednesday) will commence after Easter and your participation would be greatly appreciated.  We will shortly be applying for our 6th Green Schools Flag for Global Citizenship.  If our application is successful we will have the flag raising ceremony at the end of May.

Discover Primary Science & Maths

All classes are participating in the Discover Primary Science& Maths  Programme and are working on experiments which cover a variety of strands within the Science Curriculum.  As part of the programme, 3rd class will visit Galway Atlantaquaria. Here they will attend a workshop on animal anatomy and squid dissection.  4th class will visit Lisbrock Pumping Station where an engineer will explain where our water supply comes from.  They will also have an opportunity to see how the pumping process works. Parents will have an opportunity to learn more about Science in Cloonakilla at our show case afternoon on Thursday, April 12th.



Cinema Visit

Recently 6th class read the novel “Wonder” by R.J Palacio. It told the story of a boy, named August, who was born with facial abnormalities. This novel taught many important life lessons, such as to be true to yourself and not to judge others by their appearance.  To consolidate work completed on  the novel 6th class went to the IMC cinema in Athlone to watch the movie.


Coláiste Chiaráin Musical

6th class attended the musical “The Fiddler on the Roof” which was performed by the TY students from Colaiste Chiaráin. The students presented us with an amazing show of music, song and dance.  After the show, the children enjoyed lunch in their canteen.  We thank them for their hospitality.


Credit Union School’s Quiz

The annual Credit Union School’s Quiz was held on Sun, Jan 30th in the AIT. Unfortunately we had no winners on this occasion but I would like to commend all who took part. A special word of thanks to their teachers for preparing them for the quiz and to Ms Cunniffe, Ms. Connaughton and Mr Kilbride who accompanied them on the day.

Child Protection

The Children First Act 2015 was fully enacted on Dec 11th 2017 and consequently our existing Child Protection Policy must be replaced with a new Child Safeguarding Statement and a Risk Assessment Policy.  All staff must undergo training in line with the new legislation. In order to facilitate this Cloonakilla NS will close at 12.30pm for all students on Friday, March 2nd.



As some of you will be aware we have an Automated External Defibrillator on site. It is stored in the main hallway of our school. The AED Response Team has recently undertaken additional training and the team has been expanded to include 9 staff members. In the event of cardiac arrest in a child or adult on school property or in the immediate vicinity a member of the AED Response Team will be summoned and CPR will commence followed by the AED until medical help arrives. The procedure will be used on children and adults alike unless parents indicate in writing to the Board of Management that they do not wish to avail of this service in the vent of cardiac arrest. As in the past we assume consent unless indicated otherwise.


Artist in Residence

5th class reached the end of their weaving project in December with a memorable “cutting off” ceremony (photographs can be viewed on the school website).  This project was run in conjunction with the Artist in Residence Scheme sponsored by Roscommon County Council.  Frances Crowe, a local textile artist, worked alongside the children to create and produce a stunning eight piece tapestry.  Each wall hanging is based on iconic images of our local area.  The end result speaks for itself and it is no wonder that the children are so proud of their work!  We hope that their work will adorn our school hallway for many years to come. Congratulations and well done to all of the pupils.


After school activities

Lego Club

Lego Club has continued to be a great success this year.  Children from 1st to 4th classes have enjoyed working in groups to create intricate lego buildings, vehicles and much more.  They have also used their problem-solving skills and imaginations to complete complicated lego challenges!  There will be a final lego club for 1st and 2nd classes after the Easter break.




Spanish lessons

Spanish lessons will continue for 4th-6th classes on Monday Feb 19th or Thursday Feb 22nd depending on demand. The course will run for 6 weeks. Cost:  €30 per child or  €25 for 2 children from same family.

Note from Parents Association

As you are aware the Parents’ Association will hold the Cube fundraiser event on Sunday 18th March in the Athlone Springs Hotel. The Event will see 48 contestants entering The Cube and competing against each other in a series of seemingly easy tasks, the winner on the night will win €1500. Some of these contestants have already pledged that if they win they will donate prize money to various local charities. Our contestants have come mostly from clubs, societies and businesses in our local area.

Parents are encouraged to support by coming along to the event on the night. It promises to be a great night’s entertainment for you, your family and friends, where we can promote local clubs, societies, charities and businesses as well as promoting our school. Tickets are available for €10 each at the school office, Bannon’s Service Station, Super Valu, Kennedy’s Monksland Service Station and the Athlone Springs Hotel. Your support will help us reach our fundraising target, allowing for the purchase of a stage for the new school hall.


Yours sincerely,



Mary O’Rourke