Autumn Newsletter

September 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Welcome to the beginning of the new school year.  I hope everyone has settled back and I welcome to St Mary’s our new Junior Infants and those other children who have joined the school in other classes.  I also welcome families who are ‘new’ to the school and I hope that you greatly enjoy your child’s time in St Mary’s.

I look forward to meeting and working with all of you throughout the year as we continue to ensure that we all make St Mary’s a happy, safe and enjoyable place to be, where children develop both academically and personally.

Some important points to note:

New staff: I wish to extend a warm welcome to our staff to Ms Moriarty who is teaching 5th class, Ms Dardis who is teaching 6th class and Ms Egan who is teaching in Learning Support while Ms O’Connor and Ms McGuone are on Maternity Leave.  We also welcome back Ms Ivie from Career Break. We currently have 27 teachers, 5 Special Needs Assistants, 1 Secretary, 1 Housekeeping staff and 2 caretakers as part of our school team.

Caretaker: Joe O’Connor, one of our two caretakers, will be retiring on Friday 4th October.  On behalf of the whole school community I wish to thank Joe for his hard work and dedication to the job throughout his time here. We wish him a long, healthy and active retirement.

Start of School Year Mass: to mark the beginning of the new school year, 2nd to 6th classes will attend mass in our parish church at 11am on Tuesday 24th September.  Family members are welcome and encouraged to join us in the church for this mass.

Office: Please note – The school office is closed from 11am to 11.15 am and 1pm to 1.30 pm every day.

Siopa: pupils are able to purchase stationary such as pencils, pens, erasers, sharpeners etc in our ‘school shop’.  Details and prices in pupils’ journals and on website.

Jersey Day: to mark the Meath Ladies Football team competing in this year’s All Ireland Intermediate Football Final next Sunday 15th September, children will be allowed wear a county or club jersey to school this Friday 13th September. Alternatively they can wear their county colours.

Morning Routine: When the bell rings at 9.20 a.m. Parents/Guardians should leave the “line” immediately and exit the school.  Should you need to stay after the bell, it is necessary that any remaining adult “observers” remain quiet in order that the children may hear greetings or instructions from the teachers on supervision duty.  On wet mornings children will be brought indoors at 9.10am.

 

Car-Park: There are restrictions on cars entering the car park during the busy times of reception and dismissal of pupils.  I ask for your cooperation with this so please do not drive into the car park before 10am or after 1.30pm and please do not park in the ‘Yellow Box”.  This is to aid the safety of both children and adults.  Please do not park in our neighbours’ driveways or restrict the movement of cars.

 

Dogs: In the interest of Health and Safety the Board of Management has stated that dogs (excluding service dogs) are not allowed on the school premises.

Parents’ Association: Our PA play an integral role in St Mary’s and I wish to thank them all for their time, positivity and effort in enabling our school provide a wide range of resources for all our students.  The Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th September at 7.30pm in the hall. I encourage every family to be represented at this.  I look forward to working with them throughout the year and I ask all parents/guardians to continue to support their tireless work in any way you can.

Parent/Teacher Meetings: These will be held on Tuesday 19th and Thursday 21st November for classes from 1st to 6th.   Dates and times for your allotted slot will be sent home in early November.  Junior and Senior Infants meetings will be held in February 2020.

 

Parental Concerns: If you have any concern about your child, please firstly make an appointment with the class teacher by contacting the school secretary, letting the teacher know your area of concern – this way both parties can sit down and give the item for discussion its full attention.  This is where issues can best be dealt with and discussing a concern with the class teacher usually leads to the concern being allayed or any confusion clarified.  A note in the journal is also a good means of communication.  Similarly, should the need arise after speaking with the class teacher, an appointment must be made through the school secretary to meet with the school principal.

Children’s Wellbeing: the programmes, Zippy’s Friends and Weaving Wellbeing will continue to be taught from our infant to senior classes as part of St Mary’s overall approach to promoting positive mental health in our school.  Details of our Wellness/Mental Health week to follow.

Hospice Coffee Morning: will be held on Thursday 19th September. I encourage and welcome you to attend as it is a good way to meet with other parents.

Labelling of clothes: to avoid the loss of items of clothing, please label your child’s jumper, coat etc with their name.

Mobiles Phones: Children are not permitted to have mobile phones turned on or visible in school or within school grounds.

School Requisite payments: you will have received a reminder text in relation to the school requisites amount on your child’s book-list. Thank you to those parents who have paid and I ask that remaining payments be paid by 30th September. Should any family be experiencing financial difficulty in the payment of this or for other school related items (for example, swimming, school tour) please contact the principal whereby the matter will be handled with the utmost discretion.

Attendance: it is of huge academic importance that children miss as few days as possible of school.  However, if a child is unwell they should be kept at home.  Please inform the school as soon as possible if your child is coming in late.  (S)He will be marked absent after 10am unless school is notified. A note from parents/guardians is required to explain any absence. This can be done through the Aladdin Connect app or by writing a note. Such notes will be retained by the class teacher and kept in the child’s class file. These notes are dated and kept until the end of the school year. If a child is absent for more than twenty days in a year, that child will be reported to TUSLA during that school year.

Healthy Eating: St Mary’s has a Healthy Eating Policy. In line with this a ‘treat’ is only allowed on Friday.  No Fizzy drinks, crisps, peanuts, popcorn are allowed in school.

Aladdin Connect: Thank you to those parents who have downloaded the Aladdin Connect App. I encourage all parents to do so. This App, as detailed in last week’s letter has many advantages.  Please note it is essential that the school has an emergency contact number in case we cannot contact either parent. If necessary, please submit this as soon as possible. Please contact myself or the secretary if you have any queries about Aladdin Connect.

In-Service Day: students will remain at home on Tuesday 1st October as teachers will be attending a training day in relation to the Revised Primary Language Curriculum.

Ipads: we are delighted with the arrival of our new Ipads for our school which will enable us to further enhance the Digital Learning skills of all our pupils.

Football: Our boys’ footballers are competing in the Meath Cumann na mBunscol competition.  The girls’ footballers will commence training over the coming weeks.

Chess:  will be commencing over the coming weeks for students in 5th and 6th classes.

Cycling:  Training and safety skills has commenced for 5th class.  It is essential to always wear a helmet when cycling.

GAA Skills: Our 3rd/4th/5th and 6th classes will be learning and developing their hurling skills over the next few weeks thanks to Martin, Máire and Donaghmore/Ashbourne GAA.

Irish Dancing: Aedín Uí Mhaoiléidigh will continue Irish Dancing lessons for St Mary’s pupils from 1st to 5th classes.

Swimming Classes: 2nd and 4th classes will commence lessons at Gym Plus next week.  All other classes from 1st to 6th will have the opportunity to attend these lessons before the end of the school year.  Thanks again to our Parents’ Association for coordinating this initiative.

Rugby, soccer, Scratch Programming, French Classes, quiz-time, Daily Mile plus other during and after school activities will be announced during the school year.  If interested in an afterschool class in St Mary’s for Zumba Kids/Music&Theatre/DanceFit& Games contact Saran on 0861627868.

School Self-Evaluation (SSE):  As part of our commitment to school improvement the school is continuing our SSE process.  We are currently focusing on 2 particular areas within Literacy and Numeracy.  We will be consulting with parents throughout the school year.

Garda Vetting:  We are looking for extra parents to accompany and assist us in bringing children to matches, swimming and so on. It is a requirement that parents who wish to help out have Garda Vetting.  We are grateful to all who have already been vetted and would encourage others to come forward.  We especially ask for more men to get Garda Vetting in order for pupils to be able continue attending swimming lessons as we need supervision in the male changing rooms.  The vetting forms are available from the office.

Child Safeguarding: Mr Paul O’Connor is the Designated Liaison Person and Mrs Brid Kavanagh is the Deputy Designated Liaison Person for Child Safeguarding Purposes.

AED/Defibrillator: A reminder that we have a defibrillator on site and it is located on the wall beside the staff-room door.  In case of emergency, our school EirCode is A84 X762.

Please save the dates:

Christmas Bazaar: Thursday 5th December at 7pm in the school

Christmas Carol Concert:  Tuesday 17th December at 7.30pm in the church.

First Holy Communion: Saturday 9th May at 10am

Confirmation: Saturday 16th May 2020 at 11am

This Newsletter is available to read on our website: www.smash.ie   From now on, newsletters will not be sent by hard copy but will be available through our website, email and Aladdin Connect.   Follow us on Twitter: @marysashbourne

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter.  I thank our pupils, staff, parents and wider school community for what has been a very positive start to the new school year and I look forward to all that is yet to come in 2019/20.

Le meas,

_Paul O’Connor_

Paul O’Connor – Principal