Category Archives: Newsletters

Newsletter November 2022

Dear Parents,

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

Carpark

Thank you for your co-operation with regard to implementation of carpark rules.  It is imperative that you continue to observe the rules ALL of the time in order to ensure the safety of all. Please do not walk through staff carpark when picking up children as this area must be kept free for school buses. For pedestrians using the side gate opposite Bannon’s shop the path here has been extended so you do not need to cross in front of traffic in the loop. Instead you are asked to remain on the path all the way around the loop to the steps.  Parents have a responsibility to ensure these rules are observed.  Pedestrians are requested to use the pedestrian gate at the front of the school and the ramp from the carpark. Pedestrians should not use the main school entrance under any circumstances. As we approach the winter season it is important to be mindful of the carpark/front entrance yard and paths on frosty mornings.  The path will be salted but extreme care should be exercised.  I am aware that the traffic situation around the school is very dangerous.  The BOM and the Parents’ Association have made submissions to Roscommon County Council in relation to the proposed traffic management plan for the area. 

Dates for your Diary

Parent-Teacher Meetings

Parent – Teacher meetings will be held on the following dates:

Monday & Tuesday Nov 21st/22nd for Junior Infants – 2nd Class 

Wednesday & Thursday Nov 23rd/24th for 3rd– 6th class.

Class teachers will be in contact with you via Aladdin Connect.

Should you wish to speak with me at any time please ring the school office and Maria will arrange a suitable time.

First Communion/Confirmation

Sacrament of Confirmation: Thursday, 30th March 2023 @11am

First Holy Communion:  Saturday, 13th May 2023 @ 11am

Enrolment forms for both sacraments have been submitted to the parish office.

Maths Week

All classes took part in Maths Week which took place from 16th-24th October.  We all recognise that Maths promotes the ability to think rationally and to analyse and solve problems. Throughout the week children were encouraged to solve a “Problem of the Day”.  All classes took part in Maths trails using the school environment as a Maths tool. During this week children were actively encouraged to use their “Maths Eyes” at home and in school. Support teachers conducted maths activities in all classes placing special emphasis on “Maths for fun”.

Science Week

This week we are taking part in Science Week.  The children have been exploring, experimenting and investigating the infinite possibilities science can offer.  Science is an important part of our future, helping us to explore and understand the world around us.  The children also had the opportunity to experiment at home and they were encouraged to use

the environment around them to broaden their minds and update their skills.  A science display was held in the hall on Friday where all classes had an opportunity to display their experiments and to view the experiments conducted by other classes.

STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics)

STEAM Education’s Introduction to Engineering is a hands-on teacher led programme designed to introduce the children to engineering in a fun, relatable way and to inspire them to think about engineering in their lives, as well as future careers. This initiative is being incorporated into a select number of primary schools. Cloonakilla N.S. is delighted to have been nominated again to participate in this initiative Ms. Connaughton’s & Mrs. Cronolly’s 6th Classes have been taking part in the ‘Energise’ STEAM programme with expert engineer Esdras Alves-Passos. This programme will run for a further 2 weeks. Mr O’hÓgain’s 6th class will also have the opportunity to participate in the programme in the coming weeks.

Internet Safety workshops

ZEEKO (Internet Safety Education) based in University College Dublin will conduct a series of workshops in our school on Monday 28th November.  We are all aware of the growing challenges young people and their parents face around online gaming, inappropriate content, cyberbullying and fake news. Zeeko’s resources equip children, teachers and parents with the knowledge to ensure their online behaviours protect them from the negative impacts of the internet and technology, allowing them to benefit from the advantages. The workshops will be presented to 3rd-6th classes and will be age appropriate. There will be a workshop for teachers after school and one for parents online from 7pm-8.00pm.  Parents can access the talk through the following linkhttps://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEuce2uqDsiE9XM-GPhHb6PhwVADT_VH32o.  This is open to all parents and I would strongly urge you to attend as this is an area that poses a huge challenge to all parents at different stages of your child’s development.

Student Council

A new Student Council has been set up in our school comprising of elected representatives from the 6th class pupils. They meet to discuss ideas to improve school life and to give a voice to the student body. Meetings are held monthly with Ms Kelly and myself. So far the Student Council have organised nets for the goalposts and a Halloween Bake Sale which was a huge success and raised €1600.  The committee is currently organising a Christmas raffle.  They have also distributed suggestion boxes in all classes and are currently assessing some of the more viable suggestions made.

I look forward to working with the Student Council throughout the year.

Student Council Members: Mya O’Toole, Abbie Duignan, Chloe O’Callaghan, Carley Quain, Sean Collins, Evan Mimnagh-Reilly & Aoife Noone.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

The SEN team are working with class teachers and pupils to support literacy throughout the school through a number of initiatives.  Guided Reading is supported from 1st class to 6th class.  Literacy Lift Off is being delivered to 1st Class in

Term 1.  It will move to Senior Infants in Term 2 and 3.  Mrs McCabe is our Reading Recovery Teacher.  We appreciate the ongoing support of parents which adds to the success of all these initiatives.  Under The National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) Dr Cathal Duffy continues to work with us to support teaching and learning in our school.

Teaching & Learning

As part of School Self Evaluation we are continuing to focus on literacy. This year we are focussing on Spelling. A number of classes are using an alternative spelling programme and we continue to focus on spelling in all classes using

the learning outcomes of the New Primary Language Curriculum. In order to improve reading levels throughout the school we continue to use Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants & 1st class) and Guided Reading in all classes.

Guided Reading is conducted in smaller reading groups where children read at their own instructional level. Once more I would urge you to please take the time to read with your child at home and discuss what you have just read in

order to ensure your child understands what they have just read. It is our experience that often comprehension levels

are significantly below the actual reading level.  We will also be working on the development of a Wellbeing Policy Statement for our school in term 2.

Local History

3rd-6th classes have been studying the history of our local area as part of the History Curriculum with heritage expert Martin Curley. Martin led them on historical trails of the local area which included fieldtrips to significant historical features such as Meehambee Dolmen, Cloonakilla Graveyard and St Ruth’s Castle.

1st & 2nd class completed a nature trail within their immediate school environment. Study of local history enables pupils to investigate and learn about the past and to form connections between past and present.

Buddy Programme

Cloonakilla operates a Buddy Programme for the first term each year.   A rota is formed so that 6th class children can assist our new junior infants in managing the playground.  They ensure that the younger children learn to play with their classmates and join in games.  Each 6th class volunteer follows the Buddy Guidelines which are outlined clearly at the start of the term.

Green Schools

The Green Schools Committee has been working very hard over the past two months, reminding all the classes about our themes and activities ensuring our school is a green space. Our Greens Schools Noticeboard displays activities and events for the coming month.

Litter & Waste/Water: Litter picking has commenced in 2nd class. They are doing a fantastic job keeping our yard litter free! We encourage all pupils to bring rubbish home from their lunches to keep our waste in our school at a minimum. All classes are encouraged to be mindful about recycling, reducing waste and saving water by turning off taps not only in school but at home too.

Biodiversity: Our “Bee Garden” was beautiful over the summer months. All the wildflowers bloomed and these flowers provided food for bees which helped them survive. In November, our caretaker and the Green Schools Committee will cut and spread the seeds of the wildflowers over the area before clearing up the garden in preparation for next year.

Travel: Our local community Garda visited our school in October and talked to all the children about road safety under our green school’s travel theme.

Energy: In October our focus for the month was on saving energy. This is a hot topic at present!  We had a “Switch it Off” month in our school. Children not only learned about saving energy in school but also saving energy at home! Classes learnt about energy and the importance of turning off appliances. Each class teacher picked power savers to turn off all power when leaving the classroom. The Green Schools Committee ran energy competitions in the senior classes to promote saving energy in our school. 5th classes entered the saving energy mascot competition and 6th classes entered the saving energy rap/poem competition. Ciaran Hussey from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) visited 1st and 2nd classes and conducted energy workshops. Please see the Winter Ready table below to know the average cost of popular household appliances on your electricity bill. By reducing use you are not only lowering your utility bill but also protecting the environment.

The Green Schools Committee will be applying for our new Green Flag, Global Citizenship and Marine Environment in November.

Christmas

At present it appears that we will be able to celebrate Christmas without too many Covid 19 restrictions this year.

Consequently, we plan to hold a Christmas concert for all classes. Each class year will combine for this event.

4th, 5th& & 6th classes will hold a Carol service. 6th class will have some input in this carol service but they will hold a separate performance at the end of the school year. All concerts will be held during the school day.

Concerts will be held on the following dates:

Wednesday Dec 14th: 3rd class @ 11.30am

Thursday Dec 15th: 1st class @ 11.30am and 2nd class @ 1.30pm

Friday Dec 16th: Senior Infants @ 10.00am and Junior Infants @ 11.30am

Monday Dec 19th: 4th, 5th & 6th classes Carol Service @ 11.30am

Christmas Show for Senior Infants

Senior Infants will attend a Christmas Show “Rudolph Saves Christmas” in Dean Crowe Theatre on Wednesday, December 7th.  Class teachers will furnish you with exact details.

Christmas Cards

As a fundraiser The Parents Association have organised for children to design their own Christmas cards.  The sample cards will be distributed early next week and we would request that you order online by Friday 25th November. Orders must be made by logging on to logon.designacard.ie/ordernow or by scanning the QR code on the back of sample card.  LATE ORDERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Musicals for 5th & 6th classes

6th class attended a fantastic production of “Grease” in the Dean Crowe Hall last week produced by Athlone Community College.  5th class will attend Colaiste Chiarain’s production of “The Pirates of Golden Island” next week.

Non-Uniform Day

Thank you for your response to Non-Uniform Day which raised €574. This money, combined with monies raised from the cake sale, will enable us to purchase 2 new laptops for the middle/senior classes. All fundraising this year will focus

on upgrading laptops.  If you are aware of any local companies who may be in a position to donate second hand laptops to our school we would be more than grateful to hear from them.  We would like to thank Alkermes, Sidero and a family donor for the donation of IT equipment.

Hoodies

In keeping with Cloonakilla N.S tradition, our 6th class students will receive their new personalised school hoodies in the next few weeks which they can wear in lieu of their school uniform jumpers.

Active Schools News

European Sports Day was held in September this year. We joined together as a whole school to participate in a “Take on the Teachers Challenge”. Various pupils from 6th class took on a group of teachers in a “Basketball Hoop Challenge”. The teachers were victorious on this occasion. However, the students, after a long battle, managed to redeem themselves during a “Penalty Shootout” to claim victory! It meant the whole school got a night off homework so there was great excitement!

3rd-6th classes have been busy training for cross country competitions. We were very successful in the local derby hosted by Summerhill NS. We then proceeded to Roscommon Racecourse for the county gathering to take home many medals. We were especially touched by the warm welcome and guard of honour provided by the whole school body on our arrival back to school. It was a moment to treasure for all athletes. A large group of children qualified for the Cross Country Connaught Final in Moyne, Longford. It was a challenging course but the pupils performed well and did their school proud. Following on from the athletic competitions we have now signed up to the daily mile challenge. We, as a school, have committed to run at least three times a week. We encourage all pupils to be active and to move as much as possible.

Gaelic Coaching with Clann na nGael has commenced on Wednesdays for 1st & 2nd classes until Christmas.

Senior classes enjoyed a taster session of tag rugby during October with Charlie and Conor from the Buccaneers Rugby Club.

Amber Flag at Cloonakilla NS

The Amber Flag is a nationwide programme that promotes awareness around mental health in educational institutions across the country. This is the 5th year that Cloonakilla N.S. will participate in the programme. It runs from November to April, and the Amber Flag will be awarded to successful schools in June. Children from 4th, 5th and 6th classes were

invited to submit applications if they would like to be on this year’s Amber Flag Committee to Mrs Cronolly at cloonakillans6th@gmail.com before Friday the 18th  November. The committee will be chosen the following week and the committee will meet regularly to plan this year’s Amber Flag events. 

Children’s Nasal Flu Vaccine

The Monksland Pharmacies have offered to come into our school and administer the Nasal Flu vaccine which is free for all children.  This is totally optional and is a service that has been made available to us.  You will be furnished with more details in the coming days.

Parents’ Association

Following this year’s AGM the PA committee is:

Chairperson: Clare Lennon, Vice Chairperson: Jenny Sherlock

Secretary: Lisa Byrne, Vice Secretary: Christina Melican

Treasurer: Laura Carroll, Vice Treasurer: Catherine Hogan

I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all the wonderful work throughout the year.

Yours sincerely,

Mary O’Rourke, Principal

Newsletter, November 2021

Newsletter, November 2021

Dear Parents,

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

Covid-19 Response Plan

As Covid-19 is still a very real threat in our communities we continue to abide by the restrictions as outlined in our revised Covid-19 Response Plan. Please continue to wear masks on school grounds and be aware of social distancing. Our Covid-19 Response Plan will be updated regularly and all changes will be placed on the school website. Our biggest challenge as we head into winter is to find the balance between sufficient ventilation and a level of comfort in our classrooms. School is quite cold so I would suggest we all wear an extra layer of clothing to combat the winter chills. The Department of Education has provided us with 9 CO2 monitors for the school. The BOM have purchased additional monitors so that each classroom is equipped with a monitor. These have proved to be very useful.  We must continue to be vigilant at all times and continue our efforts to suppress this virus both in school and at home. I would like to thank you for your continued co-operation in this regard.

Carpark

Thank you for your co-operation with regard to implementation of carpark rules.  It is imperative that you continue to observe the rules ALL of the time in order to ensure the safety of all. Please do not walk through staff carpark when picking up children as this area must be kept free for school buses. Parents have a responsibility to ensure these rules are observed.  Pedestrians are requested to use the pedestrian gate at the front of the school and ramp from the carpark. Pedestrians should not use the main school entrance under any circumstances. As we approach the winter season it is important to be mindful of the carpark/front entrance yard and paths on frosty mornings.  The path will be salted but extreme care should be exercised.  I am aware that the traffic situation around the school is very dangerous at present.  The BOM and the Parents’ Association have both held meetings with representatives from Roscommon County Council with regard to alleviating the traffic congestion in the area. 

Parent-Teacher Meetings

Due to Covid-19 restrictions face-to-face Parent Teacher Meetings will not be held this year.   The following arrangements will apply to facilitate Parent-Teacher communication.

Junior & Senior Infants:

Junior/Senior Infant teachers will arrange phone calls for weeks beginning Nov 8th& 15th after 2.10pm

1st-6th classes:

Parents will have the following choice:

1. Phone call with class teacher week beginning 22nd & 29th November

or

2. A written report on Monday, November 22nd

Teachers will be in contact with all parents via Seesaw to establish your preference.

SEN Pupils:

SEN teachers will be in contact to arrange a suitable time for phone consultation.

Should you wish to speak with me at any time please ring the school office and Maria will arrange a suitable time.

Maths Week

All classes took part in Maths Week which took place from 14th-19th October.  We all recognise that Maths promotes the ability to think rationally and to analyse and solve problems. With this in mind throughout the week children were encouraged to solve a “Problem of the Day”.  All classes took part in Maths trails using the school environment as a Maths tool. During this week children were actively encouraged to use their “Maths Eyes” at home and in school. Support teachers conducted maths activities in all classes placing special emphasis on “Maths for fun”. Maths Week activities can be viewed on the school website.

Science Week

We celebrated Science Week from Nov 8th-12th. All classes enjoyed conducting experiments and participating in other science activities. All pupils used their science skills to enhance their learning. 6th class pupils completed a project on climate change. They also shared their learning with other classes. It is important that all children learn about climate change in a measured and responsible way as they are the adults of the future.  Ultimately it is their behaviour that will shape our planet. All pupils enjoyed taking part in Science Week.  We hope this will encourage them to develop a scientific interest in the world around them.

Student Council

A Student Council has been set up in our school comprising of elected representatives from both 6th classes. They meet to discuss ideas to improve school life and to give a voice to the student body. Meetings are held monthly with Ms Kelly and myself. So far the Student Council have conducted a bullying survey in all classes and arising from that they will monitor lunchtime break to ensure all children are happy in the playground. They have also distributed a suggestions box and we are currently assessing some of the more viable suggestions made. We have discussed the possibility of having a “treat day“ on Fridays so from this Friday onwards all children will be allowed bring a small treat to school. Nuts, fizzy drinks and large sharing bags will not be permitted.

I look forward to working with the Student Council throughout the year as they are a very enthusiastic and committed group who keep me on my toes!

Student Council Members: Abigail Cooney, Aoife Cummins, Grace Meares, Christina Waldron, Zac Mullally and Sean O’Hara

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

The SEN team are working with class teachers and pupils to support literacy throughout the school through a number of initiatives.  Guided Reading is supported from 1st class to 6th class.  Literacy Lift Off is being delivered to 1st Class in

Term 1.  It will move to Senior Infants in Term 2 and 3.Ms McCullagh and  Mrs McCabe are now both trained as  Reading Recovery Teachers.  This means that more pupils in Senior Infants and First Class can be offered support with literacy through the Reading Recovery Programme.  We appreciate the ongoing support of parents which adds to the success of all these initiatives.

National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)

Under The National Educational Psychological Services Dr Cathal Duffy continues to work with us to support teaching and learning in our school.

Teaching & Learning

As part of School Self Evaluation we are continuing to focus on literacy. As per last year we are focussing again on Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants & 1st Class) and Guided Reading throughout the school.

Guided Reading is conducted in smaller reading groups where children read at their own instructional level. Once more, I would urge you to please take the time to read with your child at home and discuss what you have just read in

 order to ensure your child understands what they have just read. It is our experience that often comprehension levels

are significantly below the actual reading level. We are also focussing on spelling this year and are in the process of

gathering evidence to see how we can improve spelling throughout the school. We will be conducting a Parental Survey on spelling later this year and would be grateful for your feedback.  As part of SSE the New Primary Language Curriculum is being implemented in all classes in English and Irish.

Local History

3rd-6th classes have been studying the history of our local area as part of the History Curriculum with heritage expert Martin Curley. Martin led them on historical trails of the local area which included fieldtrips to significant historical features such as Meehambee Dolmen, Cloonakilla Graveyard and St Ruth’s Castle.

2nd class completed a nature trail within their immediate school environment. Study of local history enables pupils to investigate and learn about the past and to form connections between past and present.

Green Schools

In the absence of Ms Gately, Ms O’Keeffe and Ms Shine have kindly taken over our Green Schools Committee which is made up of 5th class pupils as per last year’s committee. 

Our Green Schools Committee continues to focus on litter and waste in and around our school. To eliminate litter on our school grounds, a new litter picking rota is now in operation until Christmas. Children will monitor rubbish and litter on the yard during break and lunch times to ensure Cloonkilla N.S is a litter free zone. 

On the 7th October we celebrated National Tree Day at Cloonakilla N.S. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Trees are Good Neighbours” and it emphasises the fact that trees have an incredibly positive, good neighbourly effect on all biodiversity and that includes ourselves! As part of National Tree Day, SPAR sent out a native Wild Cherry sapling for us to plant. With the help of Gerry our school caretaker, Junior and Senior Infants planted the tree beside our outdoor classroom. One child from each of the Infant classes helped to water the tree. The Green School Committee members continue to water the tree each week.  Climate change has been a topic for discussion in many classes.  In the New Year the Green Schools Committee will examine ways in which we, in Cloonakilla, can make a positive contribution to climate change.

Christmas

It appears that Christmas in school will be restricted again this year. However, please be assured that we will do our best to provide an alternative experience for our pupils within these confines. Further details will be provided closer to the time.

Non-Uniform Day

Thank you for your response to Non-Uniform Day which raised €665.  All funds raised will go towards purchase of new laptop for senior classes. All fundraising this year will focus on upgrading laptops for senior classes. If you are aware of any local companies who may be in a position to donate second hand laptops to our school we would be more than grateful to hear from them.

Hoodies

In keeping with Cloonakilla N.S tradition, our 6th class students have received their new personalised school hoodies which they can wear in lieu of their school uniform jumpers.

Active Schools News

Last month saw us raise our first ever Active Schools Flag at Cloonakilla NS. We were delighted to do so after working on it since September 2018. It was a great occasion with Aoife O’Rourke, our Roscommon Olympian joining us to raise the flag. Every pupil had the opportunity to run with an Olympian on our Active Schools Walkway. Afterwards, children from the senior classes held a very interesting questions and answers session with Aoife. She is an inspirational role

model for us all. We thank her most sincerely for giving up her afternoon to be with us.  Ms Cunniffe will establish a new Active Schools Committee this month. All children from 1st-5th (inclusive) can put pen to paper to tell us why they deserve to be members of the next committee. The chosen children will be announced on Friday November 19th. If there are any parents interested in Active Flag activities in our school, please contact Ms Cunniffe by emailing cloonakillans5th@gmail.com.

Gaelic Coaching

Gaelic coaching commenced in September with Ollie Lennon.  5th & 6th classes are taking part and learning lots of new skills.

Tennis Coaching

Josh Mc Dermott and his co-partner Jeremy have been sharing their tennis skills with us in the last few weeks. Each class grouping received 4 weeks coaching. A sincere word of thanks to both the Parents’ Association and the BOM for funding the project. It was a most enjoyable experience for all students.

Galway Hurler to Visit Cloonakilla

Cloonakilla will welcome renowned Galway hurler Joe Canning to our school later this term! We were lucky enough to win a coaching session with Joe through a competition. We look forward to this memorable event.

The Amber Flag

Last month also saw us raise our 2nd Amber flag. We were delighted to welcome Gerard Tiernan from Pieta House to help us raise this flag. The Amber Flag programme in the school promotes positive mental health and wellbeing. A new committee of senior pupils (5th and 6th classes) will be elected in November and the programme will run until April.  

Children will soon be asked to nominate classmates they feel would be suitable for this year’s committee. Mrs Cronolly will give the classes details on this in the coming weeks.  Last year’s Amber Flag activities can be viewed on the school website.

Lunch Bag Company

The Lunch Bag Company are interested in resuming their service to our school.  For those of you not familiar with service provided please click link   www.lunchbag.ie While I have reservations about resuming this service during the current pandemic I feel parents should ultimately make this decision.  To that end you will be balloted by the class teacher via SeeSaw at the end of the month to determine your interest in the project.

Parents’ Association

Following this year’s AGM the PA committee is:

Chairperson: Clare Lennon, Vice Chairperson: Kevin Murray

Secretary: Jolene Cummins, Vice Secretary: Christina Melican

Treasurer: Laura Carroll, Vice Treasurer: Catherine Hogan

I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all the wonderful work throughout the year.

Yours sincerely,

Mary O’Rourke,

Principal

Newsletter, May 2021

Newsletter, May 2021

Dear Parents,

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

Sacrament of Confirmation

We have been informed by the Parish Office that the Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated for 6th class on Monday 16th & Tuesday 17th August.  You will be informed of exact day and time when this information is available to us.

First Holy Communion

The Sacrament of First Holy Communion has been postponed until autumn when children return to school.  2nd class pupils will however celebrate First Confession in the school on Wednesday, May 26th.

Junior Infant Enrolment Evening

Our traditional Junior Infant Evening will not go ahead again this year. Instead 1 parent will be invited to bring their child to the school for a 15 minute session in small groups week beginning June 14th.  An information video will be emailed in advance of this meeting with all relevant school information.     Parents will be informed of the exact day/time in advance.

RSE Programme

4th/5th/6th classes attended a “Growing Up” presentation by Laura Kiely on Thursday 6th May.  The talk dealt with the sensitive areas of the RSE Programme. Class teachers will have covered the relevant sections of the RSE Programme dealing with body names/changes/ growing up etc. by the end of May. Parents are always notified in advance of these classes so that you have an opportunity to address those issues at home with your child.

School Self Evaluation

Our School Improvement Plan for literacy (2018-2021) concludes this term.  This plan focussed mainly on the Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants & 1st Class), Reading Recovery Programme (Senior Infants & 1st) and Guided Reading throughout the school.  We aim to develop reading skills with particular emphasis on comprehension.  It is our experience that while often pupils can be fluent readers they do not always comprehend the content.  Standardised Tests in English and Maths will be administered week beginning May 31st and June 9th.  We will analyse our Standardised Test Results in June but will be very mindful that these results are not fully reflective of our efforts as a result of prolonged closures.  These results will be used in conjunction with teacher observations, teacher assigned tests, tasks and feedback from the SEN team to inform curriculum planning for 2021/22.

Teaching and Learning

Due to school closures we have had to prioritise certain curricular areas in order to ensure that all children could proceed with learning in a meaningful way.  Irish, English, Maths, P.E., and S.P.H.E. were the subjects we have prioritised since our return to school.  Other subject areas have been integrated where possible.  We fully acknowledge the importance of exercise, mindfulness, activities, movement breaks etc. in promoting good mental health in our students and staff.

STEAM Education

This year our two 6th classes are participating in the STEAM Engineering-in-a-Box programme via Zoom.  The lessons are delivered by two engineers from Teleflex, Katy and Cathal.  Every week they present the pupils with interesting lessons and set various challenges and tasks for the children to solve.  The programme introduces the children to the various disciplines of engineering and the engineering design process.

History

As part of our History Curriculum 1st and 2nd classes will visit Derryglad Museum, Brideswell this week.  Here they will have an opportunity to enjoy many artefacts from the past giving them a glimpse of what life was like long ago.  In June, all classes will engage in Geography fieldtrips through the Green Schools Outdoor Learning Initiative. 

Sport:  Sports Day

A Sports Day will be held for the following class groupings on separate days:

1. Junior & Senior Infants

2. 1st & 2nd classes

3. 3rd & 4th classes

4. 5th & 6th classes

Each class will remain within their class bubble and there will be no mixing between classes.  You will be informed of the exact dates when the weather improves.

Active Schools Week

Our school reinforces the message that children require 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. We, have just completed Active School’s Week May 10th-15th. There were activities scheduled each day. A hoop challenge, a skipathon, yoga & mindfulness, running and a penalty shootout were in this year’s line-up. All children participated with finals taking place in the afternoons for various events. To coincide with this, all pupils tracked their daily efforts.  Active style homework was assigned. This was monitored and recorded by each child to emphasise their daily activity during the week. Children who return their forms will be entered in a lucky dip for their efforts.

A special word of thanks to Emmet Mullally, Mark Hollmann, Jackie Moran, Edel Conway & Johnny Dunning who all volunteered their services to share their expertise in various sporting disciplines.

Ollie Lennon from Clann na nGael continues Gaelic training on Wednesdays with a new block beginning on May 19th. He is focussing on fundamental movement skills this term and his sessions are always most enjoyable.

The children ran a collective 3,983km to Lapland in December of 2020.

In February of this year the children of Cloonakilla NS walked/ran an astonishing 10,516km around Europe. This was as part of our “Every Step Counts” campaign whilst on lockdown. We the ASF committee, are so proud of the enthusiasm shown during initiatives. It shows what a super group of pupils we have to reach such milestones over short periods of time.

Ms Cunniffe is in the process of submitting our application for our Active Flag. A Powerpoint of our ASF endeavours will be posted later this week on our school website. Please take a look to see our journey over the last few years.

Amber Flag

The children from the Amber Flag Committee have been very busy since Christmas! The members of this year’s committee are Kyle Behan, Katelyn Dolan, Emma Byrne, Orla O’Donoghue, Adam Rafferty, Grace Meares, Isabelle O’Toole and Margarita Zubgova. 

During school closures we held our Amber Flag meetings on Zoom with Mrs Cronolly.  We met on Fridays and discussed our plans for promoting mental health and wellbeing at Cloonakilla NS and each week we finished off with a Guided Mindfulness activity.   

We held a whole-school wellbeing “Change Your Perspective” photography competition on SeeSaw. The winners were Ava Cooney (3rd Class) Conor and Holly Burke (1st & 4th classes), Davy Ward (3rd class), Mary Kate and Aoife Kinneavy (2nd & 6th classes). Well done to all who entered and congratulations to the winners. 

The Board of Management has bought us a new Buddy Bench so we now have two fabulous Buddy Benches in the junior yards. The Amber Flag Committee recorded a video to show children from Junior Infants to 2nd class how to use the Buddy Benches appropriately. We have put a poster in each junior classroom about the Buddy Benches.  

We took part in the Walk in My Shoes Awards organised by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and progressed to the final round.  

We received our Amber Flag Completion Certificate this week, along with our 3rd Amber Flag which will be raised along with the Active Flag when Covid-19 Restrictions allow for a joint celebratory event.  

Green Schools

Litter Picking has commenced three mornings a week to ensure our schools grounds are kept litter free. A big thank you to the Green Schools Committee (4th Class), for their tremendous work.

3rd, 4th and 5th classes took part in An Taisce`s National Spring Clean on the week of the 26th of April. Normally, this is a whole school event. Due to current restrictions, this year’s Spring Clean had to be limited to a small number of classes. Well done and a big thank you, to all the teachers and all the pupils who were involved.

For the remainder of the term, all classes will take part in the Green Schools Outdoor Learning Initiative. This involves Nature Trails and Nature Activities which revises our past theme; Biodiversity.

The Green Schools Outdoor Nature Initiative promotes learning about all different types of nature in our school environment in a fun and safe way. Outdoor education not only is COVID-friendly (respecting social distancing), it is also proven to be of vital importance in the promotion of health and well-being in children – both mental and physical.

6th Class Graduation

6th Class Graduation will be held in the school on Wednesday, June 23rd.  Unfortunately we are unable to invite parents to attend due to Covid-19 restrictions.  I realise that it is most regrettable. I acknowledge that they have missed out on many traditional milestones enjoyed in 6th class.  As a Special concession to our 6th class pupils a tour to Baysports has been arranged for Tuesday, June 22nd.  I would like to thank 6th class for being the best they could possibly be during the year and throughout their time in Cloonakilla NS.  

Non-Uniform Day

Non-uniform day was held on Friday, April 30th for Temple Street Children’s Hospital in memory of Laura Carroll R.I.P. Total raised was €1360.  The Carroll family really appreciate your generosity.

Book Rental Scheme

The Book Rental Scheme will continue for 3rd to 6th classes.  The Book Rental Scheme represents a saving for parents.  You have received an email outlining the scheme. If you wish to be included in the scheme please enclose money in an envelope with your child’s name clearly marked on the outside.  This should be forwarded to the class teacher by June 11th.  No late application will be accepted this year.

Photographs

School photographs have been distributed and we request that you please order online as per information on the proof.  If you are not in a position to order on line, return order to the school. Late orders are subject to a late order fee and postage costs.  Closing date for all orders is Friday, 21st May.  

Outdoor classroom/ Sensory area

We have recently installed an outdoor environmentally friendly classroom which is made from recycled plastic.  It will be used as part of every child’s learning at school.  It is about getting the children outside and providing them with a

different learning experience.  Over the next few weeks we will install a flower fence beside the outdoor classroom as part of our efforts to build a sensory garden area.  Continuing on our biodiversity theme, our wild flower garden area

has been planted and we hope to see some flowers in bloom attracting bees and insects before our summer holidays.

We have already installed an indoor sensory path upstairs.  It will be used for movement breaks.  The path provides time for children to engage with their senses in a focused way and it has been proven to improve learning, memory and concentration, while helping children to manage stress, hyperactivity and anxiety.

Covid-19

We are all only too well aware of the impact Covid-19 restrictions have had on our lives.  We hope there are brighter days ahead.  For now we will continue to implement and observe our Covid-19 response plan.  It is very important for us all to remain vigilant as the virus is still very transmissible in our communities.  On behalf of the Board of Management I would like to express my thanks to our entire school community for your adherence to our plan.  Through your efforts we managed to stay safe so far so please keep up the good work.

Regards,

Mary O’Rourke, Principal

February Newsletter 2020

February Newsletter 2020

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 27th-31st. Mrs Cronolly introduced the programme each morning with a thought for the day and all classes partook in various activities which focussed on the Catholic ethos which permeates our school. During assembly 2nd-6th class children were afforded an opportunity to reflect on the theme for this week which was “Living in harmony with God’s creation”. A prayer service was also held during assembly. Fr John visited 2nd and 6th classes. They are preparing to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation so we remember them in a special way in our thoughts and prayers this year. 4th class made St Brigid’s crosses to mark St Brigid’s Day on Feb 1st.

Dates for your Diary

Non Uniform Day: March 13th

Do This in Memory Masses: Wednesday, 12th February @ 7.30pm & Wednesday, March 11th @7.30pm, Wednesday 1st April @ 7.30pm & Saturday 13th June @ 6.30pm.

Enrolment Ceremony for Confirmation: Tuesday 18th February at 7.30pm,

First Confessions: Wednesday, 25th March @ 6pm in Ss Peter & Pauls Church

The Sacrament of Confirmation: Thursday, April 23rd @ 11am

New Infants Induction Evening: Thursday, April 2nd @ 6 -7.30 pm

First Holy Communion: Saturday, May 9th @11am

School Closures

Midterm break: Thursday & Friday 20th & 21st   February

St Patricks: Monday & Tuesday 16th & 17th March

Easter Holidays: Monday, 6th April to Friday, 17th April

N.B.  Cloonakilla N.S. will close at @ 12.30 on Friday, 28th February for teachers’ in-service training in the New Primary Language Curriculum.

Sacramental Preparations

First Holy Communion

The children have been attending Mass as part of the “Do This in Memory Programme”. This is a very important part of your child’s preparation for the sacraments and attendance is required. Preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion will commence in school after the midterm break. We thank you for your support and participation.

Confirmation

6th class have been invited to attend the Confirmation Programme “Exploring our Faith” in Ss Peter & Paul’s Church on Tuesday, 18th February @7.30pm.  The programme will continue on Thursday February 27th, Thursday March 5th, Thursday March 12th at 7.00pm to 8pm.

School Self Evaluation

Year 2 of Our School Improvement Plan (2018-2020) is being implemented throughout the school. As already outlined we hope to increase our literacy levels with particular emphasis on Guided Reading and Comprehension Strategies. Please continue to read with your children at home and try to establish it as part of your daily routine. While improving your children’s reading skills it also helps instil a love of reading which is something your children can take with them into their adult lives.

Mrs McCabe is currently being trained as a Reading Recovery teacher. Mrs McCullagh presently implements the Reading Recovery Programme in our school. This programme is a literacy programme designed for children aged approx. 6 years who are struggling with reading. It involves a 20 week programme of daily one-to-one lessons for 30 minutes. It aims to reach age appropriate levels at the end of this 20 week period. We are fortunate to have 2 Reading Recovery teachers in our school as early intervention increases a child’s success in reading.

R.S.E. Programme

4th/5th/6th classes will attend a “Growing Up” talk presented by Fiona Fallon on March 23rd and 24th. You will be furnished with details nearer to the time.  The talk will deal with the sensitive areas of the R.S.E. Programme. It is important that parents communicate openly with their children about these issues as it is a challenging time in their lives and we all need to support them as best we can.  Class teachers will cover the relevant sections of the RSE Programme dealing with body names/changes/growing up etc. Parents are notified in advance of these classes so it gives you an opportunity to address those issues with your child.

Stay Safe Programme

The Stay Safe Programme is currently being taught in Jun Infants, 1st, 3rd and 5th 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, and the dangers of communicating with strangers. It is very important to encourage your child to discuss the content of these lessons at home. Parents can learn more about this programme at www.staysafe.ie. 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.

STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics)

STEAM, from an educational perspective is concerned with the aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics in the school environment. This initiative is being incorporated into a select number of primary schools. Cloonakilla N.S is thrilled to have been nominated again to participate in this initiative alongside local company Teleflex. The focus once again will be on ‘Engineering-in-a-Box’. The aim of this programme is to create a fun and challenging environment for children to both enhance and develop a knowledge of engineering. Both 5th classes will participate in the programme commencing Tuesday, February  11th  for a ten week period.

Maths Games at Cloonakilla

Children from Ms Ryan’s 1st class and Ms Connaughton’s 6th class have been taking part in our school Maths Games initiative. Every Monday, for a six week block, the 6th class pupils teach the 1st class a simple fun maths game, based on the maths curriculum for 1st class. The 1st class pupils then take the new game home to play with their families instead of maths homework for two nights during that week. The pupils from 1st class and their families have shown great engagement and enjoyment during the project. The 6th class have shown their leadership qualities and have been very patient while teaching the younger pupils – they are a credit to their families! Thank you and well done to all involved. Pupils from Ms Kilmartin’s 1st class and Ms Kiely’s 6th class will take part in this initiative after the midterm break.

Debating at Cloonakilla NS:

This year, our 6th class pupils are taking part in the Athlone Primary Schools Debating Competition run by Cllr Aengus O’Rourke and Athlone Drama Festival.  Aengus visited our 6th classes in January to speak to the children about the importance of public speaking to develop their confidence and to help them in their day to day lives as well as when they progress to second level education.

There are 13 schools participating in the competition. Each school will hold its own internal debating trials, a team will be chosen and that team will then go on and compete against other schools in a knockout format.

Our internal knockout was held on 30th Jan and the successful team comprised of Jay Maloney, Craig Kilmartin, Matthew Keegan and Jacob Kilmartin – well done boys! They were competing against a very eloquent team comprised of Rachel Murphy, Roqibat Idris, Abi O’Meara Fox and Ruby Rose O’Leary. The girls provided stiff competition and it was a close result.

For the next phase of the competition, our school team will debate against Scoil na gCeithre Maistri, here in Cloonakilla NS, on Wednesday 19th of February at 10am. The winning team will go onto the next phase of the league.

Parents are welcome to attend and support the team. 

World Book Day

World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday, March 5th. Special activities will be held in all classes to mark this event and to promote further interest in reading. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedules at home to mark this occasion with your children. Book tokens will be distributed to all classes so this is an opportunity for the children to purchase a book of their own choosing.

Library Visit

3rd Classes will visit the Aidan Heavey public library on March 20th for a reading by illustrator / storyteller Alan Nolan.  Alan is the author of Death by Chocolate and other very amusing and illustrated titles.  Children will have the opportunity to join the library if they so wish.

Poetry Competition

Children from 5th / 6th classes are busy writing poems to enter in this year’s Strokestown Poetry Festival.  The competition is open to all students attending a primary school in Roscommon.  We wish them well in their endeavours.

Spelling Bee

The annual Eason’s Spelling Bee county final took place on Monday February 10th in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.  Following a very competitive in- school competition Lauren O’Brien from Ms Kiely’s 6th class emerged as our school representative.  Lauren competed at the county final on Feb 10th     and came 4th.   Well done Lauren!

Art/Texaco Art Competition

Congratulations to all the winners of our in-school Art Competition.  We now have 24 new pieces of art work framed and on display brightening up our corridors.  So well done to all our artists!

4th classes have taken part in the Texaco Art Competition.  Their art works are currently on display in the school library.

Sport

Basketball

Basketball training for 5th & 6th class boys and girls has been on-going with Ms Kiely and Ms Connaughton at lunch time. Well done to all who participated in basketball training. A panel of players has now been selected and we are training for upcoming games.  On Monday, 2nd March, our basketball panels will travel to The Hub in Castlerea to compete in the Roscommon Primary School blitz. Our group includes Cloontuskert N.S, Castlerea N.S, Creggs N.S. and Boyle N.S.  We are also entering the Athlone Basketball League. On a monthly basis we will play local Westmeath schools, including Coosan, Moate, Cornamaddy and the Gaelscoil.  Participation in these basketball competitions promises to be fun and enjoyable, as well as promoting social interaction and a healthy lifestyle through team sports.

Soccer

The Spar 5 a-side will take place after the Easter holidays.  Training for the 5th and 6th class boys and girls has been ongoing since December.  Mr Kilbride is coaching the boys and Ms Martin and Ms Kilmartin have been training the girls.

Cumann na mBunscol

The training for the Cumann na mBunscol boys and girls will commence shortly with the competition taking place in May, initially against Ballybay, Summerhill and Cornafulla.  Mr Kilbride and Ms Fallon will be coaching the respective teams. The Cumann na mBunscol Sports Table Quiz will take place in March.  Also, a few lucky boys and girls will be selected to represent Cloonakilla in the mini 7’s in April, where they will be in with a chance of playing at half-time in a Roscommon Championship game in the summer.

Tag Rugby

Buccaneers RFC in conjunction with Connacht Rugby are holding a 10 a side tag rugby blitz on Thursday 26th March for 5th and 6th class boys and girls in Buccaneers RFC from 11 to 1pm.  There will be a training session in advance of the blitz.

Active Schools Flag

Our Active School Flag Committee are:

Brian Finneran and Szymon Sckozen (6th class)

Marianne Molloy and Rachel Akahomen (5th class)

Christina Waldron and Grace Meares (4nd class)

Isla Walsh and Chloe O’Callaghan (3rd class) and

Davy Warde and Alex O’Brien (2nd class).

  • Well done to Aoibhinn Feery (3rd class), Saoirse Dunne (3rd class) and Orla Donohue (5th class) as they represented our school in the All Ireland Schools Swimming competition on Sunday, February 9th.  It was held in the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin.  The girls all got PB’s and Aoibhinn came 6th in her category.  They thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such a huge competition.  We’re very proud of you all.
  • A special word of thanks to all of the teachers who are helping out with coaching at lunchtimes.  Due to recent inclement weather conditions the pitches are not playable at the moment but hopefully they’ll be back in action very soon.
  • Cube Initiative: To kickstart the new year and to promote our Active School Walkway we held a competition to see which class could “earn” the most cubes during break-times. 1st to 6th classes took on the challenge with great gusto and Ms Finnegan’s 3rd class emerged as winners.  It was super to see everyone doing their talking as they were walking.  A total of 2849 km was walked during the 10 days of monitoring.  Well done everyone!
  • In December all children who returned their “Active Month” activity chart were entered into a lucky dip for some surprises delivered by our hardworking Active Schools Committee.  The children were required to complete physical exercise as part of their homework.  It proved very popular.
  • Cycle Right: course took place with both 6th classes during December.  The course provided practical cycle safety and skills to promote competent and confident cyclists for the future.  A word of thanks to Noel Feely of Roscommon Partnership for facilitating this worthwhile workshop.
  • Tug of War – Development Officer Cathy Sherrin will visit our school on Monday, 24th February.  3rd to 6th classes will participate in a workshop on tug of war he skills and techniques.  The children are looking forward to using these news skills on Sports Day later on this year.
  • Volunteers needed – are you involved in a career based on exercise?  We are looking for volunteers to come and share their ideas with the children during National Active Schools Week which takes place in May.  Please contact the school if you are interested in helping us out.

Yoga and Mindfulness

As part of staff wellbeing a four week yoga/ mindfulness course was organised for staff after school recently.  Avril Mullally conducted the course and it proved to be a very worthwhile exercise.

Ms Donnelly is currently running a series of yoga classes for 5th class girls.  Studies have found that this age girls tend to drop out of sports so we are encouraging them to keep as active as possible to reap the benefits in their future lives with increased confidence and self-esteem.

Green Schools

We are in the final stages of working towards our green flag, Global Citizenship and Energy.

The Green Schools committee have been very busy recently reinforcing all of our previous themes.  Litter picking has commenced daily on the yard, with all classes helping out to make our school a green space. The Green schools committee have reminded all classes to remain energy conscious and reduce their rubbish in their classrooms. Well done to the Green Schools Committee who continue to work very hard.  In March, we will have a Green School Awareness day. All classes will view an Energy PowerPoint, revising our theme. The Green Schools Committee will also show a PowerPoint to each class reminding everyone of all the hard work we have done over the past year and a half, working towards our green flag.   

We will have our An Taisce National Spring Clean Day on the 2nd of April in our school. This is a nationwide anti-litter campaign, which will take place during the month of April. Our whole school will get involved to clean up around our school and surrounding areas.

We will have a speaker visit our school in April from the SEAI (Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland) who will carry out a workshop with the Senior Classes. This workshop will revise our energy theme while looking at issues surrounding energy on a global scale. It will focus on Climate Change, the most serious environmental problem of our time and is intrinsically linked to our energy use.  Our WOW Days will commence at the start of the summer months.

Book Fair

Our school book fair was a huge success.  We sold €3,612 worth of books and as a result received 220 new books for the library.  We also have €500 credit for Tara Book Company which will go towards the purchasing of novels for Guided Reading.  Many thanks to all who supported the Book Fair.

Sensory Room/Garden

Our Sensory Room provides many of our children with a calming space away from their busy classrooms.  It provides the children with an opportunity to engage their senses in a safe and comfortable environment.  Visits to the Sensory Room are closely supervised by SNAs.  Work on our Sensory Garden will begin this summer.

Non-Uniform Day

A non-uniform day will be held on Friday, March 13th.  Children will be encouraged to wear green on this day as it marks Green Schools Awareness Day and it also coincides with the end of Seachtain na Gaeilge. All monies raised will go towards our new sensory garden.

Junior Infant Enrolment

Our Junior Infant Enrolment will be completed this week. All successful applicants have been notified pending return of required documents by Feb 14th.  Incomplete applications will render the application null and void.

School Photographs

County Photos visited the school on January 31st. Proofs have been distributed and all orders/monies should be returned to the class teacher by Monday 17th February. The photographer will revisit the school on Monday 27th of April for Confirmation photograph for 6th class. Communion photograph will NOT be taken of First Communicants in school this year due to lack of interest.

Hoodies

In keeping with Cloonakilla N.S tradition, our 6th class students have received their new personalised school hoodies which they can wear in lieu of their school uniform jumpers.

Delphi Adventure Centre School Tour

The 2nd instalment of monies for the school tour to Delphi is due by Wednesday, 19th February.  An alternative tour has been arranged for those not attending Delphi.

Parents Association

The Parents’ Association would like to thank all who attended and supported the Table Quiz on 7th February. Thank you also to all who helped on the night and helped to make it a success.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Parents Association for all their hard work in organising this event.  All monies raised enhance school life in Cloonakilla and for this we should all be very grateful.

Kind Regards,

Mary O’Rourke,

Principal