AVS Notes 21st-27th September 2020
Irish Offshore Rowing Championships
The Abbey Vocational School is very proud of two of its students who were to compete in the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships at the weekend with their club Donegal Bay, Cian MacSuibhne and Michael O Boyle.
Unfortunately, the Championships have had to be postponed but will be held in the near future. The Championships were originally due to be held at Portnoo Beach hosted by Loughros Point Rowing Club. As a result of Covid-19, Loughros Point had to withdraw as hosts, the Irish Offshore Rowing Committee confirmed that the Championship would be hosted in Kerry by Portmagee Rowing Club. We wish our students the very best of luck in their future challenge!
The Student Council has had two meetings in September. The council that was elected last year will remain on to continue their work as their year was cut short. They did however take on several support activities during lockdown in the final term of the last school year including messages of support and encouragement to the student body and the AVS Active Globe Walk/Run. New First year members will be elected from Class Captains through an online election next week.
The council is very pleased to congratulate its members India Kennedy and Frank Duffy on their appointments over the summer.
India was appointed Donegal Regional Officer for the Irish Secondary Students’ Union. She produced a wonderful guide to positive Mental Health, ‘How’s Your Head’ with the assistance of the ISSU, West Cork Mental Health Services, DETB (Geoffrey Browne), Ombudsman and Office for Children. This has been taken up by Spun Out, Secondary Schools and other groups.
Frank was appointed to the DETB Youth Work Committee.
He and Aodhán McCrudden are on the Donegal Youth Council as well as others who have completed their leaving cert. Elections will be held in the first term for new representatives from our school, who will serve a two year term. The Council has decided on Positive Mental Health in light of Covid as their theme for this year. They will work on several initiatives and events throughout the year to support our students.
There have been many new changes this year understandably, many of which have already become the normal day to day procedures. The council wishes to thank management for working these things out to protect all of us and also to congratulate students for doing their best. Finally we would like to remind all of the Students that the Student Voice Box in the assembly area is there to be used to voice any concerns.
We congratulate our team of Prefects for 2020/2021 and our Head Boy Frank Duffy, Deputy Head Boy Thomas White, Head Girl Rosin Feeney and Deputy Head Girl Niamh Moohan. Prefects: Katelyn Duffy, India Kennedy, Shane Meehan, Tom Daly, Chris Darby, Emily Gallagher, Caitlin Ward, Aoife Green, Ella Ford, Mikaela Mc Connon, Cathleen Gallagher, Marie Mc Girr, Annie Mc Groary, Joe Campbell, Gavin Browne, Aodhan Mc Crudden, Gwenaelle Ni Dhonnabhain, Shona O’Brien and Hannah Crawford.
If Unwell, Stay at Home
The AVS are operating an ‘If Unwell Stay at Home’ policy. Should a member of our community experience any of the symptoms of Covid-19 – High temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, that member of our community must stay at home and seek appropriate medical intervention.
Students will have monthly tests and all students will have Christmas Exams as well as Summer Exams. Third year and Leaving cert students will also have Mock Exams as usual. Should we ever be in the unfortunate situation of facing school closure again, students have their google classroom codes set up, and are up and running.
If a student is absent from school then a note for the dates of the absence must be submitted to the office upon the students return. Alternatively we will accept an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This email must clearly state the name of the student, the year group and it has to state clearly the dates that the email is referring to. The attendance record of the student can then be updated with this information.
Evening study has started for the first term of school at a reduced capacity, and in line with regulations. Study started on Monday the 14th of September for 6th years only for the time being.
New Homework App!
The Abbey Vocational School is delighted to announce the introduction of the New Homework App. For the safe handling of written work, all students will be trained how to download the app and then use it to upload their scanned homework to their google classroom assignments. This will mean staff receive a pdf of written work/evidence that they can annotate/give feedback on thereafter. A short tutorial to support this has been recorded from the students perspective for both android and iOS phones.
Leaving Certs: 1-1 appointments are available throughout the week; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction.
Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to http://www.AVSDonegal.com – click on the Guidance button on the far right of the screen.
Trócaire and Poetry Ireland’s poetry competition
Ms O’Donnell will be running the Trócaire and Poetry Ireland’s poetry competition in the coming weeks. Ireland is renowned for its literary and cultural heritage, as well as for its generosity in supporting those in need around the world. Trócaire and Poetry Ireland’s annual poetry competition brings these two elements together in a creative way, using the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues of our time. This competition is unique, because poets are invited to explore a different global development theme each year. The competition is also free to enter.
Great Reads Award
This year students from the Abbey Vocational School will participate in the ‘Great Reads Award (GRA)’. The ‘Great Reads Award’ is an Award judged by students for debut writing for Young Adults. Presented by the School Library in Association in the Republic of Ireland and short listed by librarians and teacher-librarians. The short list titles offer a range of reading levels and interests, by authors from a variety of backgrounds, including an Irish language title for which a glossary is available.
AVS Maths Teacher Mr Russell is running the CSO maths competition in the coming weeks. The goal of the competition is to improve students’ abilities to describe their environment with the help of statistics and to use statistics as a tool for making sense of daily life.
This year the Abbey Vocational School has introduced the new pre-order system with the school canteen in collaboration with ‘Get Fresh’. ‘Get Fresh’ is a new cardless system which will see a cashless system in place. An email has been sent to all parents with the leaflet attached explaining the setup process. The menu shown online is currently what is available in school for the students. Do not top these cards up as you are still paying by debit/credit card currently.
Step by Step Instructions for Pre-Order
- On your PC, laptop. Smartphone or tablet, go to website https://touchtopup.net
- Click [sign up] – fill in required details
- Click [create account]
- Enter account key – from your card
- Click continue – your account is now set up
- Logout of https://touchtop.net
- On your PC, laptop , smartphone or tablet go to website https://getfresh.touchtakeaway.net or go to website https://getfresh.ie and click on your school crest and it will take you direct to your school pre-order page
- Select the name of the school your child attends (you do not need to do this if you used the link from https://getfresh.ie)
- Select the morning break or lunch menu for the day you would like to order for. You can order for both at same time
- Select the products you would like to order
- When you have selected all the items you require proceed to checkout
- Confirm all is correct and hit next
- Complete all fields on the order details screen including ticking the box to indicate if your order is for morning break, lunch or both and hit next
- On order summary check again all is correct, tick the box to confirm acceptance of terms and conditions then hit pre-order 15. On the billing screen insert the card details for the debit/credit card you are paying with, then hit pay & pre-order to complete the payment
- You will receive an email confirming your order and order will be ready for collection at the agreed date and time.
Teaching & Learning
As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, during 2020-2021 we will continue to focus on developing our school improvement targets in developing Learning Intentions, Success Criteria and provide time for students to reflect on their learning. However, to support students in the progression of their learning in socially distanced classrooms and unusual circumstances, we are adapting some further strategies. Our teachers and SNAs are exploring and using a range of digital technologies to create new opportunities for learning, teaching and assessment.
Our students are already familiar with Google Classroom and they will be further encouraged to use a variety of digital technologies for building their knowledge, to source, critique, and manage information and to reflect on their learning. Examples include using Google Sites to create e-portfolios, digital mind-mapping and working in virtual groups. For further information, please see ‘Learning & Teaching’ on our school website.
Staff from the AVS enjoyed a surfing session this week organised by the schools wellbeing committee. The weather may have cooled but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Abbey Vocational School Staff!
Positive Wellbeing Week
Preparation for the Abbey Vocational School’s positive wellbeing week has begun. The students’ wellbeing committee have started putting plans in place of the week which will take place from the 5th-9th October 2020.
Last Thursday, 39 Transition Year students attended induction training for Peer Mentoring with Jim Sheehy in the Parish Hall. The programme is run by Ms. Kelly and will involve the mentors meeting with 1st year students during lunchtimes to support them in their transition into the secondary school environment.
Peer Mentoring has a valuable impact on both the lives of the mentee and the mentor. It allows the mentor to be a positive role model, to improve on their own personal skills and feel a sense of pride helping others. Peer Mentoring allows the mentee to grow in confidence, become more content in their new school environment and know that they have someone to talk to if they need any support.
The main benefit of the Peer Mentoring Programme is that the TY students themselves have already lived through the transition experience from primary to secondary school. They can give students their advice and guidance to allow these students to adapt and feel content in their first year at the AVS.
As always, with the busy Transition Year Calendar, students have been engaging in Drama Workshops. These have been taking place in the Parish Hall with the guidance of Theatre Thespian Rachel O’Connor. Drama and Play helps build confidence, helps concentration, aids the development of language and communication skills. It encourages children to cooperate, supports numeracy skills and helps students to understand the world around them. Drama also develops emotional intelligence and assists physical development and it enhances students’ artistic and creative abilities and gives them a better understanding of themselves and their world. Drama further fosters self-discipline, confidence and team work and develops skills in interpreting, researching, negotiating, problem solving and decision making.
Every Tuesday TY Students take part in the exciting activity of Surfing. Held at Rossnowlagh Beach Transition Year Students get to enjoy the natural beauty of Rossnowlagh Beach and engage in an exhilarating pastime! Surfing provides many health benefits including: cardiovascular fitness – from paddling; shoulder and back strength – these muscles will strengthen from the paddling; leg and core strength – once you’re standing up on the board, strong legs and a strong core will keep you up.
The Bluestack Walk 2020
A number of our Transition Year Students took part in a 16km Bluestack mountain walk this week in the lead up to national walking day. It was a lovely day out where the students got to appreciate the beauty of our local area and also got to see some of the history surrounding the area such as the Carnaween Mountain, ancient graveyard at Disert, Greg Mare’s Tale and much more. Well done to our students.
This week the Transition Year Students engaged in the Foróige Workshop in the Parish Hall. Foróige is a youth development organisation engaging over 50,000 young people and 5,500 volunteers. Foróige is a force for good in communities across the country. The Foróige approach to youth work is underpinned by a strong philosophy which states: Each person has unique qualities and attributes. Foróige believes that creativity applies to many aspects of life: solving problems, organizing, the arts, communicating, caring for others. The ethos for Foróige Team in taking responsibility – we always have a choice: in what we think, do and become. Foróige also believes in being interdependent with others – we develop through relations with other people. We achieve more by working together. In making a difference to the world, each person has something important to contribute to making the world a better place.
BT Young Scientist
Hoping to replicate the amazing success of last year, AVS Science Teacher Ms Furey will be working again with Transition Year Students in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition.
In 1963 two physics researchers from the University College Dublin, Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott, came across the concept of ‘Science Fairs’ while conducting research in New Mexico, USA. The pair decided that this type of hands-on science was something that students in Ireland could benefit from. And so the Young Scientist Exhibition was born.
The TY Leadership Team for the year is TY Coordinator – Mr C Hegarty, TY Year Head -Mr Plunkett. TY Core Team – Ms P Rooney, Ms L Kelly, Ms L O’Donnell & Ms E O’Mahony. The Mission of TY is to promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and to prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative, and responsible members of society. During the year the students will take responsibility for their learning and will develop strategies in active and experiential learning which will help them to become better students. There are many aspects to the AVS Transition Year Programme:
- Teaching and Learning; It is our intention to make every effort to bridge the gap in learning for students in TY this year due to the COVID period and a strong emphasis on academic work will also be very much part of the programme this year.
- Work Experience: During Transition Year, the students will gain some valuable insights into the world of work through our work placement programme. The work placements take place over two separate one week slots. Each student is expected to find his or her own placements with an employer in a suitable area of work. This should be done in consultation with their parents and the Career Guidance team. Every effort should be made to find work placements which are relevant to any plans for a future career. Students are encouraged to start planning for their work placements and have an idea of where they might like to apply to when they return in September.
- Workshops: There are many workshops in the TY Calendar such as Zeeko, CSI, Architecture, Law and Online Safety. The many workshops, events, projects and other associated aspects will go ahead as usual under the present guidelines. In order to allow many of these events and activities to go ahead under the present regulations the Bosco Centre and the Parish Hall are booked for use when the need arises.
- Trips: Students will take part in a number of trips throughout the year where it is possible under the current guidelines. The first trip to Gartan Outdoor Education Centre took place on 10th of September for TY D, the 11th September for TY C, the 16th September for TY B and the 24th September for TY A.
- Parallel Project Groups: As part of our TY Programme we will continue to ensure that all of our students take part in the many projects and competitions that are on offer such as The Young Scientist and the Social Innovators as well as the many local research projects. All students will be assigned to a specific project group under the supervision of an allocated teacher. The students will be part of the research class on a rotational basis to ensure that they all take part in various aspects of the programme in this format.
- Calendar: TY Work Experience: Dec 7th to 11th December inclusive and Feb 3rd to Feb 12th inclusive. These dates are provisional pending Covid matters. The Bonding Trip: 10th,11th,16th and 24th September. (Class Groups) and our TY Performance Event: January 2021
- ePortfolio: An eportfolio is an electronic portfolio, which the students will use to keep a record of all their work from the year. They will design their own web page containing all their work and then summit it to their tutor at the end of the year.
- Assessment: Students will be assessed on an ongoing basis throughout the year by their class teachers. Assessments in line with best practice will be blended and may consist of project work, practical assessments or class tests. Students will receive a report from their subject teachers as part of their Christmas assessment. The final TY assessment will include an interview and a presentation of each student’s ePortfolio. Students will receive details of expectations and success criteria for this assessment in due course.
TY Bonding Trip to Gartan
This week saw our final TY class head on their bonding experience at Gartan. Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre has been providing courses and training in adventure activities since 1988.
Set in the heart of the ‘coolest place on the planet’ on the shores of Lough Gartan in County Donegal and a stone’s throw from Glenveagh National Park. Transition Year Students enjoyed the tranquil surroundings and relaxing ambience. AVS Students had an amazing experience and made memories to last a lifetime!
Lunchtime Activities September 2020
Students in the Junior years who remain on the premises at lunchtime in addition to their walks will have the activities at lunchtime. Thank you to all the teachers who have volunteered to help run such a large programme.
Our activities programme will run for all junior years from Tuesday, 29th September. All activities will be non-contact and following current guidelines. Our main priority is the health and safety of everyone involved.
- Activities will last 20 minutes in total.
- Monday to Thursday: 1.02pm – 1.22pm
- Friday: 12:24pm – 12.44pm
This allows for students to have 10 minutes to eat at the beginning of lunchtime in their base room and 10 minutes at the end of lunch to return to their base room and get organised for the next lesson.
We have tried as much as possible to assign students to their chosen activity. However, due to guidelines and limitations for space, students will not get all their choices straight away.
All other students will have the opportunity to go outside and walk during this time with their base room teacher. Each base room has a list of where students are to go each day.
Please note, students can participate in all activities in their school uniform but are advised to wear/bring appropriate footwear.
Please see Mrs. Gallagher if you have any questions!