14th Dec 2020 to 20th Dec 2020
I would like to wish all of our AVS parents, students, friends and community a safe and Happy Christmas.
It’s been an incredibly challenging year for everyone and I would like to acknowledge the contribution of staff, parents and students to the AVS in 2020. Without their hard work, sacrifices and efforts, we would not be where we are today.
It’s been one of the toughest school years in my memory – so many people have been affected in so many ways. Yet, I remain inspired and amazed by you, our students.
I wish to say how proud I am of each and every one of you who have successfully navigated your way through the many covid challenges that we continually encounter. Your courage and determination to learn and thrive through all of this is remarkable.
Despite all that is happening around you, there is the sound of laughter and a sense of good will emanating from you every day. It gives me happiness, hope and faith in the future.
Thank you to our staff here at the school who work tirelessly and endlessly to help and support our students in their caring and special way. You truly are the frontline staff who make a difference to so many students every day.
To you the parents who have worked so closely with us and have helped us manage this time as best as we can; thank you. We know it has been hard and your support and cooperation is invaluable.
This is truly a time where we can ground ourselves and reflect on who we are and what we do and be thankful for the people and community around us. I look at our experience of this pandemic and my fervent hope is that we have all learnt what is truly important in our lives and in our community and that, this Christmas and beyond, we treasure it and continue to appreciate it all the more.
Our student concert took place on Friday afternoon. It was streamed into our classrooms. A new way of enjoying the fun among our friends safely. There were many surprises this year in the concert including our virtual choir and words from many celebrities, from footballers to musicians to radio dj’s. Staff and students all joined Daniel in a virtual singalong of I’m dreaming of a White Christmas. The highlight for many was the staff tiktok… Where we saw our talented management and staff in a new light with many talents that we were unaware of! Well done to the many students who were recorded singing and dancing for the 2 hour concert that had us shouting for more! Thank you to management and staff for facilitating this, and especially Ms Rooney and Mr Hegarty who put it all together.
Surprise visits from Santa and his friends on Friday morning for our students: Three staff members surprised all of the students as they visited all of the classrooms looking a little different! They entertained the students with stories and songs! Thanks so much to Mr Mc Devitt, Mr Donegan and Mr Mc Fadden for entertaining the students so well!
Active Schools Flag Bike Shed Promotion
We also had our first ever ‘Gig in the bicycle shed’ as part of Active Schools where students performed at the school bike shed in order to promote cycling to school as part of our Active Schools Flag Initiative. The aim of Active Schools Flag is to enable schools to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community.
On Thursday classes took part in a fun day along the ASF walkway where they ‘Guessed the Grinch’ as part of an ASF fundraising event. They were entertained by bands and soloists at a socially distanced live performance. Our performers were safe and protected from any undesirable weather in our decorated glass bicycle shed. We hope that this will also highlight the excellent facility of the school walk and the bicycle shed and encourage as many as possible to cycle to school in the New Year.
We are in our 3rd year of the active school flag process here in AVS. The ASF walkway has proved to be very successful this year for active breaks and getting our students moving throughout the school day.
Guess the Grinch:
Students had great fun guessing who the Grinch who stole Christmas was this week as each day there were 10 cryptic clues at each control on the active school flag walkway route. The clues helped the students to solve the mystery as to which staff member was the Grinch that stole Christmas.
The winner was Ethan Mangan in 6th year who received a Christmas goodies hamper from Supervalu. The Grinch was our own Mr Cassidy!
Positive Behaviour Christmas Raffle for 1st and 2nd Year
The AVS Positive Behaviour Christmas Raffles were held this week as part of our drive to recognise and celebrate some of the positive behaviour displayed by our first and second year students. For every 3 positive behaviour points each student earned they received 1 raffle ticket entry. Prizes included vouchers for local shops and a brand new unisex mountain bike for each year group!
Congratulations to our First Year Winner Winner Maya Lenehan(1F), pictured with Ms Mohan, Ms Kane & Mr Doherty.
Congratulations to our Second Year Winner Freya Burton (2E), pictured with Mr O’Donnell, Ms Mohan & Mr Doherty.
Congratulations to our Second Year Winners of a selection box, Karl Doherty (2B), Freya Burton(2E), Molly Tysall(2C) pictured with Mr O’Donnell.
Congratulations to our winner of the Gift Voucher worth €50 Aimee Thomas (2C) pictured with Mr O’Donnell & Ms Mohan. Cormac Brogan (1C) was our First Year Gift Voucher Winner!
Congratulations to our First Year Selection Box Winner Nikodem Dominik pictured with Ms Kane & Mr Doherty. Other winners not pictured are Darragh Boyle (1A) & Cian Gavigan (1A).
A Cross-Border Christmas Collaboration
The students and staff were very excited to release their Christmas Virtual Choir video on Thursday night past. The Abbey Vocational School in association with MAPA at North West Regional College and Project Sparks have collaborated on a cross-border version of the Bob Geldof and Band Aid classic ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, and the video is already nearing 10,000 views. Lyrics of the song have been altered as a dedication to the front line staff who have worked so tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The school is delighted to be involved in this project and commends the number of young people who have put themselves forward to be involved in this. We are particularly delighted to see our three music teachers performing as well as many of our teaching staff and SNAs as well as our four member senior management team. This project has brought so much positivity to so many with its uplifting feel good spirit and it is just super to have access to a choir in this format as we all really miss this from a wellbeing perspective.
The importance of such arts groups are essential to the overall well-being of the people who engage with them so this has really been so welcomed by performers and viewers alike.
We would like to thank Farrah Bogle, our music teacher who led out on this project for us here in the AVS as the undertaking of this arrangement is no mean feat.
Christmas Reports will go out via VSWare before the Christmas period for 3rd and 6th year students. Students in all other years will be in a position to access reports via VSWare in January. Date will be communicated to you on our return to school.
Second Year Anti-bullying Talk
The AVS ran an anti-bullying talk this week to complement the excellent anti-bullying work done in SPHE, CSPE and RE as well as other classes to raise awareness and understanding about the nature and undesirability of bullying and its negative outcomes. This enables students to recognise bullying and encourages them to reject it. This underpins the Abbey Vocational School’s ethos which is dedicated to the holistic development of students in a caring environment where tolerance and respect are nurtured and valued.
Leaving Cert Geography Field Trip 2020
The Abbey Vocational School Leaving Cert Students took a trip to Bundoran in order to complete their Geography Field Trip this week. The Leaving Certificate Geography course was revised in 2006 and currently the revised syllabus has a core, elective and option structure. In fifth year the physical and regional sections are covered (core section) with an emphasis placed on the elective (economic geography) and option section (geocology) to be completed in sixth year. All students will build on and develop in greater detail the knowledge that they acquired during the Junior Cycle.
The GI or Fieldwork is an essential part of Leaving Cert Geography, representing 20% of the marks. In general, the fieldwork is done as a whole class activity when the class goes to a particular river and carries out the fieldwork. Each student then writes up their own report booklet based on the information they gathered during the fieldwork. Each year, the State Exams Commission decides the fieldwork topics. They select five different topics, ranging from physical to economic geography. Thankfully, the rain held off and the Leaving Certs were able to complete their fieldwork.
Parent Teacher Meetings:
In light of the current restrictions on face to face meetings, we are not in a position to facilitate Parent/Teacher Meetings during this time. Following direction from the DES, our plan is to send out a progress report from all subject teachers to you as parents on VSware on the following dates. The 6th year and 3rd year students have at this point received their progress report.
|Short Progress Reports in place of PTMs|
|Year Group||Released to parents on|
|5th / TY/ LCA1||29th January|
AVS Food Bible:
We are still welcoming recipes for ‘The AVS Food Bible’, we want to gather as many recipes as possible from students, parents, staff and past students, as well as some favourites from local chefs. If you have a delicious recipe you want to share please contact Ms.Mulhern for more information on this exciting project. You can email recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org Please include the recipe, method and a picture of the finished product as a separate attachment. We have already received some delicious recipes but there is room for more!
- CAO 2021 – if any Leaving Cert wishes to register for CAO and has not yet already done so in class, please contact your Guidance Counsellor to schedule a time to meet.
- HEAR & DARE is now open for application via the student’s CAO online portal. This was explained during Guidance class and 1:1 meetings. The student’s Guidance Counsellor is available to discuss further.
- UCAS applicants have been asked to complete their application ASAP. The majority of applications have been sent. The student’s Guidance Counsellor is available throughout the week to meet and discuss the student’s application.
- 1:1 appointments for Leaving Certs are available throughout the week; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction.
- Our Guidance website is updated regularly. Go to http://www.AVSDonegal.com – click on the Guidance button on the far right of the screen. The noticeboard has a number of important notices for Leaving Certs.
Virtual Open Night Video:
Please enjoy our VIRTUAL OPEN NIGHT VIDEO. This video should help you with the transition process as well as assist your son/ daughter with subject choice options. Please see the following important dates below and please ensure that you have forwarded us your email address for communication purposes. To view this video please Click Here Incoming 1st Year 2021 Virtual Open Night.
We hope that you enjoy this !
Incoming students 2021/202
The following updated form was distributed to 6th class students. Please provide us with the required information by either emailing the office at email@example.com or alternatively complete the link provided in the form (at the bottom of the following form)
Coirnéal na Gaeilge
Caint ar na Meáin Shóisialta
Ar an gcúigiú lá is fiche de mhí na Samhna tháinig Breda Canning go dtí an Halla Paróiste agus thug sé caint ar na meáin shóisialta do dhaltaí na hidirbhliana.Labhair sí faoi fholláine, instagram vs réaltacht agus scáthú coirp. Bhí an chaint go maith agus sílim go ndeachaigh sé chun leasa do go leor daoine.
Rang Ióga don idirbhliain
Ar an triú lá de Nollaig, tháinig múinteoir ióga go dtí an halla paróiste. Bhí am an-suaimhneach againn. D’fhoghlam muid cúpla searr agus bhain muid uilig sult as.
Comórtas Cártaí na Nollag
Ghlac daltaí na céad bliana páirt i gcomórtas cártaí Nollag sna ranganna Gaeilge an tseachtain seo. D’fhoghlaim siad frásaí nua agus chuir siad a scileanna ealaíne chun tairbhe.
Comhghairdeas leis na buaiteoirí i gComórtas na gCártaí Nollag agus go raibh maith ag Mr Daly a rinne breithiúnas ar na cártaí galánta uilig
Congratulations to the winners in our first year Christmas Card Competition and thanks to Mr Daly who judged the competition.
An Chéad Áit (1st place): Aimee Hughes, Rang 1B
An Dara Áit (2nd place): Lexi Janet Nesbitt Bell, Rang 1D
An Tríú Áit (3rd place): Maya Lenehan, Rang 1F
Teaching & Learning: A look at SSE.
There are many acronyms and abbreviations in the world of education and one that sometimes raises an eyebrow for parents, staff and management during school conversations is SSE. So, what is it?
School Self-Evaluation (SSE) was formally introduced into the Irish school system in 2012 as a collaborative, reflective process of internal school review, focusing on school improvement. In 2012, schools all over Ireland began to engage with the first cycle of this new process (2012 to 2016) and the various aspects that needed to be addressed. The second cycle of SSE began in September 2016 and was due to finish this year, however this has been extended to 2021, when the third SSE cycle will begin.
School self-evaluation is primarily about all of us working together to take ownership of our own whole-school development and improvement in Teaching & Learning. SSE is a six-step process to assist our school community to identify and affirm good practice, and to identify and take action on areas that may need improvement.
The SSE process begins with the identification of an area for focus and inquiry through our understanding and knowledge of our own school context. This is followed by the gathering of evidence from a range of sources with regard to the area or areas chosen. The evidence is then analysed, and judgments are made regarding the school’s current strengths and areas for improvement.
The next step involves the production of a school self-evaluation report and improvement plan. This takes place during, or at the end of the investigation phase. The resulting School Improvement Plan (SIP) describes the actions and specific targets for improvement and is shared with the school community on our school website.
The school improvement plan is then put into action and is monitored and evaluated over the course of its implementation until practice becomes embedded. The cycle can then begin again, focusing on either a new area which has been identified, or returning to the same area to seek further, deeper improvement. The School Improvement Plan is considered a live document in that it can be amended to meet ongoing needs or changes in the school community.
A key document intended to inform both school self-evaluation and external evaluation is “Looking at Our School 2016: A Quality Framework for Post-Primary Schools”. This is akin to a quality control document which outlines domains and standards for teaching and learning, and leadership and management.
During school self-evaluation the principal, deputy principals and teachers, under the direction of our Board of Management, and in consultation with our parents and students, engage in reflective enquiry and research on the work of the school. For example, from time to time we will ask students, teachers, parents and management to partake in surveys and small focus groups. As part of the monitoring process during March and April of this year, we conducted several online surveys with both staff and students and despite school-closure over 350 of our students contributed. This not only provided an extensive range of data about teaching and learning, but highlights the importance of ‘student voice’ as part of the process, and their input is greatly appreciated.
Areas for focus in our current school improvement plan include:
- Improvement in use of Learning Intentions
- Development of, sharing and co-creation of success criteria
- Increase student reflection time during or following delivery of a lesson / topic.
In summary, SSE helps us as a whole-school community to:
- to take the initiative in improving the quality of education that we provide for our students.
- to affirm and build on what is working well.
- to identify areas in need of development and to decide on actions that should be taken to bring about improvements in those areas.
- to report to the school community about the strengths in the work of the school and its priorities for improvement and development.
Background: The Instructional Leadership Programme (ILP), which we have implemented in the AVS over the past number of years, is committed to enhancing teaching, learning and assessment in Irish classrooms and exploring teacher professional identity through:
• supporting teachers to acquire the conceptual awareness and vocabulary by which they can articulate their practice and engage in meaningful professional conversations with colleagues.
• extending teachers’ instructional repertoires of tactics, skills and strategies and deepening their awareness of how and why they invoke various interventions and actions in the classroom.
In the context of the continuing implementation of Junior Cycle, the Instructional Leadership programme is collaborating with the NCCA in a project focused on Learner Voice. This project will seek to identify, support and share practices rooted in the principles of Instructional Leadership that promote students talking about learning, teaching and assessment in the classroom, and being empowered through creative and thoughtful pedagogical practices to use their voice to enhance their own learning.
In the AVS we are going to focus on exam years, 3rd & 6th, to develop students’ understanding of how best they learn. The focus for our programme came about through student surveys, both during lockdown and when they returned to school. We have 2 strands in operation with a focus group in each year and we will evaluate progress after Christmas. This programme will draw on teachers’ and students’ experiences of learning, especially of IL strategies, and will help them to devise and deliver targeted educational supports. All this is done with the impetus coming from the students in relation to what they themselves decide they need to improve on and what supports they need.
BTYS 2021- A closer look
After completing the topic Human health and learning about microorganisms and in particular bacteria, we wondered why we never saw trees with obvious bacterial infections. Just as the skin is an important barrier for infections in humans, we wondered if tree bark was a barrier to bacterial infections in trees and we were interested to see if bark was antimicrobials in the same way as sweat is an antimicrobial secretion for skin. After carrying out research on Google scholar we found out that a lot of research had been carried out on tropical tree barks but very little had been carried out on native Irish tree barks so we decided to investigate the antimicrobial properties of different native tree barks on different bacterial cultures using an aseptic laboratory technique for BTYS.
Firstly we conducted an analysis of local trees to see which barks could easily be used as our test species. To grow our different types of bacteria we contacted the microbiology department of Letterkenny hospital and they were kind enough to supply us with slope agar bacterial cultures. From these cultures we were able to create lawn plates of gram negative and gram positive bacteria using blood and nutrient agar.
In our preliminary experiments we tested the antimicrobial activity of raw bark but this showed little antimicrobial activity. Other studies used water and alcohol bark extracts and our first extract was a boiled bark extract however this also showed little antimicrobial activity. We then used steam extraction to create our final test extract and half of the barks we test showed antibacterial activity with gram positive bacteria.
To measure efficacy, we will measure the cleared area around our bark in our lawn plate bacterial cultures and we carried out replicates to reliably establish the antimicrobial value of each test bark. We compared the antimicrobial activity of each test bark using mean cleared area and we will use ‘t tests’ to see if differences in the mean cleared areas of each test bark are significant.
Christmas Hamper Draw
Pictured are Transition Year Students Syke Murrin, Anna Mitchell, Conor Gallagher and Bree Hanna, who were selling tickets this week in assembly for the Christmas Hamper! Congratulations!
Age Friendly Christmas Present Wrapping
This week classes TY A, B, C and D participated in wrapping Christmas packs for older people currently living in nursing homes near our school along with writing each of them a card. A very worthy endeavour at Christmas time!
The packs included shower gel, deodorant, a sports booklet, an activity book with colours and a chocolate bar. These packs were sent out to all the local nursing homes such as Donegal Town nursing home, Harbour Lights, Killybegs Community nursing home. The aim of these packs was to bring a smile to the elderly people’s faces. This was a great idea put together by the county council and all the TY’s had a great time participating in this event.
First Year Dancing
On Tuesday the 15th of December, all the first year classes along with some TYs participated in African Line dancing. It happened on the tennis court during period 4 and it was great fun for everyone. The TY’s encouraged the 1st years to get up and move about and also taught them the dance. Mrs.O’Mahony, Ms.Kelly, Mr.Donegan and Mrs.Kane helped organise this activity.
On Wednesday the 16th of December Transition Year Students enjoyed a trip to Bundoran Cinema to watch ‘Elf’.
‘Elf’ is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen and Ed Asner. The film centers on Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa’s elves. He learns about this and heads to New York City to meet his biological father while also spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics in the process. The Transition Year Students enjoyed popcorn, drinks and Christmas Cheer!
AVS Designed Cup
Pictured is the beautifully designed AVS Cup produced by Transition Year Student Luke Given as part of his Graphics Module. Well done Luke!
Transition Year Peer Mentoring Christmas Quiz 2020
This week TYs enjoyed the Peer Mentors Christmas Quiz 2020.
The AVS Peer Mentoring Programme is led by Ms Kelly. The identified benefits of peer mentoring include developing the skills and confidence of mentors and mentees as well as improving the general school environment.
Peer mentoring is also perceived as assisting in developing a nurturing climate both within the school generally and amongst pupils. Peer mentoring provision within schools has experienced significant growth over the last ten years. From the data, it is likely that over a third of all schools have some form of peer mentoring/ peer support provision. Participants of peer mentoring programmes and school staff feel that the programmes benefit both the young people and the pupils that they mentor and are perceived to have a wider benefit for the climate of the school.
Pictured are some of our students as they go through their paces at an exhilarating class of circuits with Ms Grennan in the Bosco. The benefits of circuit training include: Improvements in cardiovascular fitness, improvements in muscular strength. Also improvements in muscular endurance and increased social interaction during a workout.
Transition Year Students moved to the beat in an inclusive Zumba Workshop with Ms Kelly this week, in the Parish Hall. Zumba is an aerobic fitness programme featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music. It is a great way to keep fit and healthy and there was a fantastic uptake on the initiative – well done to all students involved!
TY School Digital Champion
The Programme aims to promote digital adoption and encourage the productive use of technology by students. Our school has selected a team of 5 students to act as leaders/role models in completing a project showing how technology can be used to find a solution to day to day problems. Sarah Donovan, Odhran Gallagher, Matthew McGroary, Matthew Byrne and Eoin Meehan have been selected from AVS. The students can look forward to training and workshops on video editing, web design, coding and App design, as well as on communications and presentation skills. Also included are workshops on coding with microbits and an introduction to infographics. We look forward to seeing this project develop over the next few months. Many thanks to Mr. O’Mahony on facilitating this project going forward.
TY Enterprise Christmas Market
In the run up to Christmas, Transition Year Students have put their heads together (figuratively!) and established their own mini companies! This year TYs have shown their innovation, creativity and flair producing amazing products to sell at their virtual Christmas market!
Brian’s Cool Coasters
Customised, one of a kind cool coasters can be ordered now as a wonderful Christmas present for someone special!
Clean Green is a sustainable and cruelty-free handmade soap business
We are selling high quality scented soaps for €4 each or 3 for €10
A third of our profits will also be going to a local charity – Animals In Need
Contact info: @CleanGreenSoaps on Instagram
We make handmade framed Wire Art with designs such as
- Symbols i.e coffee cups
- Words and/or phrases
All are decorated with elements of nature, watercolour and other materials
We are raising awareness of climate change through our designs. We are giving a % of our profits to a non-profitable organisation called “Start the Wave” focused on creating positive waves in communities all over the world who are in need.
For more information Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Large Frames : €22.00 Small Frames : €15.00
Irish Tweedscapes specialises in unique hand – crafted Magee Tweed frames, capturing the heritage of our country.
For more information or to place an order contact me through my email address: AV2017.email@example.com —
The BAM that Calms
€3 for one unit
Two units for €5
No one likes stress do they? Unless you’re rare.
“Calm Bam” is a panic or stress reliever.
It is made up of essential calming oils such as: rosemary, chamomile and lemon. You apply this balm to your pressure points – wrist, neck, under your nose. “Calm Bam” contains: Sweet almond, coconut oils blended with chamomile, rosemary, lavender and geranium essential oils and beeswax pellets.
Contact: AV2017.firstname.lastname@example.org for further information
G&C Sweets are selling small paper bags filled with sweets and chocolat
They are the perfect stocking filler or treat for everyone
Contact us through Instagram; @gandcsweets
€2 or 3 for €5.These delicious treats are filled with a variety of sweets!
At €2.50 these are great stocking fillers and fit the Christmas theme perfectly – filled with delicious chocolates!
Hot Chocolate Bomb
At €3.50 or 4 for €12, these are delicious and are made with quality ingredients to maximise flavour. Watch as you put them into a mug of hot milk. The marshmallows and hot chocolate powder inside burst out in an explosion like fashion. They come in a variety of flavours such as classic milk chocolate, salted caramel and more. You can find more about the prices, products and order/contact me on facebook “Bombs Away Donegal
Hello my name is Enda McGready and my company is called “Pretty Plaques.”
I make high quality wooden plaques that are customisable and environmentally friendly
Only €15 a plaque
Here is a sample product:-
False eyelashes in multiple styles. All packages put together by hand. Lashes range from natural to as big and fluffy as you’d like. They come in a goody bag with sweets and accessories 🙂
€5 per pack
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @avslashes
- Base room: 31
Bree’s Homemade Creations
Made By Bree Hanna
For my mini company I am making handmade personalised decorations and gifts
- Personalised hanging ornaments – €5 each or 5 for €20
- Let it Snow hanging ornaments – €4
- Oh Holy Night or ant personalised picture – €12
Snowman, small €3 big €5
Santa’s €3.50 each
Log with candles €15
To order contact Emma Meehan TYA
Lunchtime Activities 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 follow 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!