Abbey Vocational School Newspaper 15th March to 21st March 2021
Return to School
We were delighted to welcome our 6th, 5th, LCA and Special Class students back to school and all are doing very well in terms of managing the increased measures that are now in place for their safety. We wish to acknowledge their compliance and cooperation with the many challenges that are in place.
We also wish to congratulate all of those students on their high level of engagement in online learning while they remain at home. We are looking forward to having these students back with us soon
In order to ensure the safety of all the school community we would ask everyone to please adhere to the following protocols;
- If feeling unwell, do not come to school
- It is imperative that students wear a cloth face covering when a physical distance of 2m from staff or students cannot be maintained. Masks MUST be worn correctly, ie. Cover nose and mouth. Put this on before coming into the school grounds please. It is now necessary to wear your mask in the school grounds also where you cannot maintain a distance of 2M from others.
- Cloth face coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face covering coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Cloth face coverings are therefore intended to prevent transmission of the virus from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to those with whom they come into close contact.
- Students should go straight to their assigned base room, if before 9:00, otherwise go straight to class
- Students should not congregate in groups
- All students should follow the usual hygiene protocols in classrooms
- use hand sanitiser
- wipe desks and chairs with the wipes provided
- do not move the desks from their set position
- Wash your hands correctly and often
The canteen is now exclusively cashless. All orders for the canteen must now be done through www.getfresh.ie. Click on the AVS school crest picture at the bottom of the page and this will take you to the menu that you can order from. The cashless card will then be used to identify the student and you pay by your regular debit/credit card at the moment. The order is then delivered to the students’ base room. Do not top up the cashless card at the moment. The cards can be purchased from the staff at the canteen.
If your son/daughter is absent from school then an explanation for the date of the absence is required for school records. Please log into the attendance screen for your son/daughter and in this section the dates that require an explanation are there. Please record the reason for the absence and these will be recorded by the attendance officer. The parental app is also available to download and attendance can also be recorded by this means. Please ensure that the absence reason is recorded/inputted by the parent/guardian only so that it does not lead to any confusion.
At the moment we are only recording full day absence on the app. If your son/daughter needs to sign out (eg, for a dental/medical appointment) then they must continue to use the diary for this as is the procedure at the moment where the note is signed by the Deputy Principal and then the student signs out at the office.
After School Study
Dependent on public health advice we may be in a position to offer this facility to 6th year students after Easter. We will let your son/daughter know of this decision towards the end of the term.
BTYS/Scifest Science competitions
The Abbey Vocational School has an amazing work ethic and enthusiasm for the BT Young Scientist & Technology Competition and the Scifest Science Competitions! Establishing a testable hypothesis is often the hardest part of any Science investigation but for those among you who have an interesting idea that could be investigated as a Scientific project you should strongly consider entering it into national competitions like the regional Scifest competition in LYIT and the BTYS selection process which could provide you with the opportunity to showcase your project at the national exhibition in the RDS.
Pictured are Jane Faulkner, Ciara Friel, Erin Britton, Shane Harvey, Ella Doherty, Ailbhe Loughney and Eadaoin Murphy at BTYS 2020 in the RDS.
After School Science Club
The school runs an after school club that helps you to research your science project and to write a project proposal so that you can enter both competitions, with the selection process for BTYS is very rigorous.
Sometimes the hardest part of your BTYS application is deciding on a good idea. Slants on topical scientific or social issues are usually well represented at the exhibition but the best projects are often based on the simplest ideas.
You can visit https://btyoungscientist.com/past-projects/ to gain an insight into the type of project that is accepted into each category and to see if your idea has already been showcased at the exhibition before. This is an important consideration as we have had projects declined on these grounds in previous years. Also, it is important to note that the project category often plays a role in the likelihood of a project being accepted to showcase at the exhibition. Generally it is hardest to be accepted into the group intermediate biological and ecological categories. If your project falls within either of these two categories, perhaps you should consider entering the project as an individual or modifying your project so that it can be entered into another category where there are less project entries and consequently less competition. All submitted projects are assessed by a team of BTYS judges and on average only one in four projects are usually invited to attend the exhibition. Should this be the case, it is not a cause for disappointment as all projects will attend Scifest. In either event, a strong commitment is required of all entrants to attend Science club after school and there may be occasions when it will be necessary to come in to school at other times perhaps at weekends or during holiday periods especially in the run up to the competition events.
Taking part in one or both competitions will be a fantastic learning opportunity and the skills you will gain by taking part in developing a project for scientific competition will help you both in and beyond the classroom!
Plant Cell Model
AVS Science Students were asked to make a plant or animal cell model using any materials they wanted. Emma Kee’s cross-curricular linkage to Home Economics is so creative, we love it!
Unity in the Community
A Transition Year, Young Social Innovators initiative has been Unity in the Community!
As a result of Covid-19, our world has dramatically changed. Social distancing has become our ‘new normal’ and unfortunately, it has had a major impact on the older generation. Due to government restrictions, many old people do not get to interact with family and friends. This is leading to isolation and loneliness which is a major issue of concern among elderly people.
This year, as part of the Young Social Innovators initiative, TY’s have decided to focus on attempting to reduce the isolation and loneliness felt by the elderly in our community. We have already begun writing letters to elderly people as a ‘pen pal’ activity to establish connections. We also hope to arrange various zoom activities as a way of interacting with the older generation and reduce the loneliness and anxiety they may feel due to the current pandemic.
We have decided that the current lockdown would be an excellent opportunity to carry out a virtual fundraiser which has been launched through our Instagram page @unityinthecommunity2020. It is an online fundraiser of run/walk 5km, donate €5 and nominate 5 more people to get involved. We want to promote the walk or run being carried out around their own community to link in with the title of the project Unity in the Community.
All funds raised will be given to two charities – Age Action Ireland and Friends of the Elderly.
We would be so grateful if you would be willing to get involved in our initiative – every little helps!
As classes continue online for some students, below is an amazing Spring Collage made for SPHE by AVS student Grace Masterson (2C)!
Online Talk with Evan Costigan
This week 1st Year, 2nd Year & 5th Year AVS Students enjoyed an online talk with Psychologist Evan Costigan. Each presentation was designed and tailored for each individual year group.
Evan Costigan is an experienced and innovative educator with a background in psychology, he has worked with thousands of students in over 300 schools and colleges at all levels of the education system.
From the beginning of his career as a physical education teacher to his work as a career guidance counsellor and psychologist, Evan has always had a keen interest in student health and mental well-being. With over 20 years’ teaching experience, he understands how issues in young people’s lives can impact negatively on their motivation, academic performance and relationships.
Evan believes in the capacity of young people to deal with the demands of the modern world and is passionate about equipping them with the knowledge and skills to respond to adversity and enhance the quality of their school lives. He incorporates only the best evidence-based research and strategies in his high-energy, interactive workshops.
Evan is a registered member of The Teaching Council, the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, The Psychological Society of Ireland and the American Psychological Association
The AVS student Council held a meeting on Tuesday 16/03/21..both live for 5th and 6th years in the building and virtual for students from home).
Sarah Canny addressed the meeting on behalf of Donegal Youth Council. The DYC have decided on 3 main focus points – Social Media and Body Image, Climate Action and Mental Health. They have divided into many subcommittees and have attended workshops and presentations for example with Crinniu na nÓg and Sipsi. She has been very busy and is very keen to forge strong links between the DYC and AVS. She would like to be the facilitator in positive steps towards the goals of the DYC and in helping to improve student life in our school and the municipal district.
Suggestions from our council for Sarah and the DYC included
- Areas around recycling including Recycling bins, which our committee had worked on last year. We had collected and begun plans to implement cardboard boxes in classrooms for waste paper. Research was done with Co Council and Aodhan was happy to communicate with Sarah in this area.
- Positive Mental Health – Several school projects including India’s ‘Mind your Head’ publication and links with other groups were discussed at the meeting. India and Sarah arranged to communicate further in this area.
Geography: First Year Models
Students from 1A were very busy over the last few weeks making Geography models. They produced some fantastic pieces made from a variety of resources and materials. Above is a sample of the great work they did. Thanks to Freya McCaffrey, Aideen Thomas, Jamie Sheeran, Annie O Gorman and Cian Gavigan for creating the above pieces. We are looking forward to their next project. Well done to all the students in 1A.
The CIF (Construction Industry Federation) Challenge
Throughout the course of the online teaching period the TY’s have been working hard preparing project work for the CIF challenge. This competition looks at the area of universal design and encourages students to learn about the built environment around them. Students are tasked with designing a house from the initial planning stage to completion in the form of a virtual or physical model. The winning team will present their home design to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), the Minister for Housing and win prizes for their school and themselves in the form of scholarships and apprenticeships. Best of luck to Molly Boyd, Luke Given, Sarah Foy, Amir Mavlyutov and Matthew Byrne in the competition as they have done a fantastic job of representing our school.
Caring For Animals; Short Course
Pictured this week is Alannah, as AVS Students taking part in the Level 2 Learning Programme delved into the Short Course; Caring For Animals.
This short course builds on and promotes the development of a range of personal, social and practical skills in the context of learning about an animal of special interest to the student. As well as content knowledge, students develop essential skills such as those of communication and language; thinking and reasoning; labelling; classifying; comparison and inferring. Knowledge, skills and attitudes for life are developed through links with the community, creative projects, numeracy, communication and literacy.
Leaving Certificate 2021
Orals: Orals will go ahead for students who wish to sit written exams. Teachers will conduct the exam with students, but the State Examination Commission (SEC) will arrange for a recording of this to be externally assessed.
Music Practical’s will take place during the second week of Easter holidays. Students will be examined by a Dept. of Education examiner and exams will be live, not recorded.
Registering: Students have been asked to register online via the student portal this week. Students have the choice to register for written exams, assessed grades, or both here.
Written exams: Exams will run from June 9, and conducted in line with public health advice. Modifications to the exams were made last September, and it looks unlikely these will be modified any further.
All examinations for 2021 must be arranged in accordance with public health requirements. To ensure that the final examinations for LCVP and Computer Science, both of which are held in May, can be fully compliant with public health guidance the dates for these examinations are confirmed as follows;
LCVP Links modules on the morning of Saturday 8 May
LC Computer Science on the morning of Saturday 22 May
Results: Students will receive results from both written exams and accredited grades at the same time. However, students will only receive one set of results that day; whichever is better. Students who opted for both processes will not know if their result is from the written exams or an accredited grade. At a later point they will be able to access this information in case they wish to appeal.
Appeals: There will be an appeals process for both the written exams and accredited grades. As with calculated grades, students will not be able to appeal the assessed grades their school gives them, and appeals will be limited only to checking if there has been an administrative error.
Download the LC timetables HERE
Assessment and Reporting of Junior Cycle 2021
The Junior Certificate examinations will not proceed this year in the usual format. This decision was taken by the Government upon advice provided by the health authorities. That advice made it clear that it was not possible to run the Leaving Certificate Examinations and the Junior Cycle Examinations concurrently. Students will receive a State Certificate of completion of Junior Cycle from the Department of Education. The State Certificate provided by the Department of Education will state that the student has completed three years of Junior Cycle education and will list all subjects and/or priority learning units undertaken by students. The certificate will be provided in the school year 2021/22. Students will receive a written School Report on the broad range of learning that they have achieved in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit at the end of Junior Cycle.
The report will detail separately the descriptors awarded to classroom-based assessments (CBAs) and/or priority learning units (PLU). The report will report on other aspects of achievement including engagement with CSPE, SPHE, PE and other aspects of the Wellbeing programme. The school will adopt a whole-school approach to the assessment and reporting on student achievement.
We will issue information to all students on the breakdown of assessment in the coming week
The Leaving Certificate Applied is a single award based on a unified programme, rather than a set of grades achieved in discrete subjects. LCA is designed as a two-year programme that is divided into four sessions. Over those four sessions, students accumulate credits through three different routes:
∙ Satisfactory completion of forty-four modules
∙ Completion of seven student tasks
∙ Final examinations.
Students who successfully complete the Leaving Certificate Applied programme are awarded a certificate at one of three levels based on the number of credits they have accumulated as set out below.
|Pass 120-139 credits (60%-69%)||Merit 140-169 credits (70%-84%)||Distinction 170-200 credits (85%-100%)|
|Students who acquire less than 120 credits or who leave the programme early will receive a record of experience.|
LCA 2 candidates have registered on the SEC online portal and similar to the Leaving Certificate students they selected to pursue either the Accredited Grades or Written exams option. Further subject specific information will be issued from the Dept. shortly.
Bridge Beyond – Music Project
Bridge Beyond is a Music project that involves a number of Donegal schools working online to produce a piece of music.
A small group of our TY students are continuing to collaborate online each Friday morning, under the guidance of Ms McCarthy and Wall2Wall music, to create a collaborative music track. The group was introduced to the project by legendary drummer Ralph Rolle (Chic) who gave a great insight into his life and career in the music industry starting out in Brooklyn, NY. The group are writing and composing their track using digital online software. The piece is coming on really well and we are all excited to hear the final product.
Online Course Days
Our TY students are currently taking part in online course days each week. These self-directed courses include, Computer Skills, Personal Skills, Careers Skills and Driving Skills. The courses are provided by the Irish Academy of Computer Training and students will receive a certificate for each module completed.
Environmental Project – THE HEAT IS ON
The Environmental Committee have been participating in ECO-UNESCO’s ‘THE HEAT IS ON’ programme and we have attended Youth Summit zoom meetings with young people from across Ireland, Scotland and Catalonia. The students representing the AVS at the Youth Summit are Anna Mitchell, Bree Hanna, Conor Gallagher, Danielle Greene, Emma Kee and Erin Ryder. Mr Clarke is the teacher involved with the committee. These Youth Summits focus on the importance of young people using their voice to speak out on issues and voice our concerns surrounding climate change and ultimately, have their opinions and solutions heard by politicians and policy makers. I really enjoyed attending these Youth Summit calls as it was a great way to share our collective passion for the environment with other like-minded young people and gain inspiration and knowledge from guest speakers. For the last few months we have been working on our action project which we are going to present to politicians on the 23rd of March 2021. Our action project is called ‘Carbon Footprint: Eradicating the Stigma’ in which we emphasize the importance of educating our nation on issues regarding our collective carbon footprint and the stigma that comes along with it. We have included statistics and results from a recent survey we asked the students at the AVS to carry out, this really aided our presentation so on behalf of the Environmental Committee I want to thank you all for completing the survey. Our project will be entered into the Young Environmentalist Awards 2021 which will occur in a few months. This is a really exciting opportunity and we are delighted to have a chance to represent our school at this event.
- Leaving Cert AND 5th Year 1:1 Guidance Meetings continue to be available. Speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction.
- The SUSI (grant) application process for eligible Leaving Cert students is due to open for 2021 application in mid-April 2021. Students will be provided with further detail during Guidance Class and via Google Classroom.
- Our Guidance website is updated regularly. Go to http://www.AVSDonegal.com – click on the Guidance button on the far right of the screen.
Keep an eye out on all our social media sites for our many different social media challenges:
‘Stay at Home’ Cupcake TikTok Challenge –
The HE department set a challenge for all students to make cupcakes and video the process on tik tok. Thanks to everyone who entered their own fabulous Cupcake TikTok creations – we have lots of talented bakers here at the AVS. . Huge congratulations to the winners of our ‘Stay at Home’ Cupcake TikTok Challenge Winners which are as follows; Overall winner: Molly Boyd (4C), 1st Runner-up: Kayleigh Boyle (3G) and 2nd Runner-up: Amy Mc Gettigan (1F)
AVS Photography Challenge
Well done to all our budding photographers who entered the ‘AVS Photography Challenge’. Congratulations to our winner Amy Carr and runners-up Elise O’Reilly and Lauren Mc Nulty. See some of off the stunning shots captured by all:
Beat the AVS Staff Challenge –
Our staff have set a number of different challenges displaying different skills. Have a look at the video on our social media pages and see if you can beat any of them. Feel free to share your videos with us by emailing them to email@example.com
Positive Quotes –
Keep an eye on our social media pages where we post positive messages regularly. Please see this week’s messages:
Rayse the Game: Talk for Parents
-Ray Langan from Rayse the Game hosted an online talk for parents. The title of the talk was “Parents Pep Talk” – Helping Your Child Raise Their Game.
This was a highly engaging, informative and positive keynote that we felt would benefit all, especially in the current climate. The talk aimed to help parents manage extreme anxiety, communicate more effectively, and support their children during these challenging times. Ray covered topics such: The mind-set of the modern teen and the rise of anxiety in adolescence. How to help your teen with anxiety. Study skills in the age of distraction. How to deal with phone, social media and screen addiction.
Top 10 strategies to communicate with modern teens more effectively.
Head Girl Message:
I hope you are all keeping well and are taking care of yourselves.
We want to thank everyone and congratulate you all on the hard work everyone is putting into virtual learning. No one could have predicted that we would be at home for so long but we have to do what we can to protect the community.
I have been told only good things about the exemplary work, attendance and effort everyone is putting in and I couldn’t be any prouder. I would like to say a huge thank you on behalf of all the students to the teachers and staff of the school. We really appreciate everyone’s efforts and the major amounts of work being put into online teaching. All of the new IT skills we have gained will be of benefit to us in the future.
As a whole school community, we need to work together to keep up the good work, keep showing up for class and meeting all of the deadlines. Every piece of work goes towards your future so put the work in now when you have the chance. Hopefully the recent announcements have relieved some of the uncertainty especially for the Leaving and Junior Certs and given more clarity to the next few months.
Things are beginning to look up and as the weather improves, take the opportunity to get outside. As important as your education is, your mental and physical health need to be your priority. If we all stick to the HSE guidelines, we should be able to have a proper summer and meet with friends and family, free of restrictions. Mar a deir an seanfhocal, ‘ní neart go cur le chéile’, there is strength in unity.
I wish you all the best and stay safe,
Head Boy Message:
I hope you are all keeping well during this period of uncertainty. When we first entered lockdown last March, little did we know that it would be the first of three lockdowns. We have learned a lot during the past year, especially how to live during a pandemic. We managed to get back to school and will be back again amongst friends and have face to face classes soon. Although the past months have been challenging, we have supported one another in different socially distant ways. I hope that you have been keeping well and staying safe while studying from home. Striking a balance between school work, exercise and free time is important. Our teachers and all in our school community have been very supportive and have adapted to online teaching keeping us all engaged.
This is a very difficult time for everyone. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel with the roll out of the vaccines to the general population. I am sure that better days will come from this difficult situation. As we move to brighter days and the easing of restrictions we can look forward to some form of new normality. I would like to wish you all the best, take care of each other and stay safe.
Seachtain na Gaeilge
Bhí ceiliúradh sa scoil againn i rith na seachtaine seo a chuaigh thart do Sheachtain na Gaeilge. Bhí comharthaí crochta in airde ar fud na scoile i nGaeilge leis an teanga a chur chun cinn. Fuair daltaí na hArdteistiméireachta uachtar reoite agus duaiseanna do na cainteoirí Gaeilge is fearr ó thaobh iarrachta de. Bhain na daltaí sult agus tairbhe as na himeachtaí agus ba dheas an oiread Gaeilge a chloisteáil sa scoil.
Rinne daltaí na céad bliana postaeir sa bhaile do Sheachtain na Gaeilge fosta agus an chianfhoghlaim ag dul ar aghaidh go fóill dóibh. Rinne siad sárobair orthu agus seo cúpla sampla dá gcuid oibre.
Coiste na Gaeilge
Chuir coiste na Gaeilge an-obair isteach sa chlár raidió a d’ullmhaigh siad ar na mallaibh mar pháirt de Bhliain na Gaeilge atá a reachtail ag Bord Oideachais agus Oiliúna na hÉireann. Bhí an clár dírithe ar na tógraí uilig atá ar bun sa scoil a thagann faoi na spriocanna forbartha inbhuanaithe (sustainable development goals). Tá ardmholadh tuillte acu siúd uilig a bhí páirteach as an sáriarracht a chur siad uilig isteach. Fuair an clár ardmholadh ó na moltóirí