Principal's Blog 2018 - Whitecross NS

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Principal's Blog 2018

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11th June 2018

28th May 2018

21st May2018

14th May2018

30th April 2018

23rd April 2018

16th April 2018

9th April 2018

19th March 2018

12th March 2018

5th March 2018

26th February 2018

SPANISH TEACHERS: Four Spanish teachers have joined us for a 3 month internship until the beginning of May. Two, Marta and Amaia will be working with the infant classes and the other two, Julen and Ane will be working with classes between 1st and 6th. It will be an opportunity for our pupils and teachers to pick up a little Spanish, learn a little about Spain and also the these teachers will provide valuable support and help in our classrooms.
The students themselves have completed 4 years at the University of Navarre which is located in Pamplona, Spain. The internship is their last assignment on their qualification process.

STUDENT TEACHERS: This term and next term several classes will host student teachers from 3 teacher training colleges; DCU (St. Patricks); Marino and Mary Immaculate. These students teach a number of very well-planned lessons each day, help smaller groups in the class and provide their host teacher with valuable preparation time. All of them report on how well behaved and interested our pupils are in comparison to other teaching practice modules they have undertaken.

SUBSTITUTE COVER: The big educational issue for Whitecross, and most Irish primary schools this year, is the lack of substitute teachers. It is very difficult to find a substitute if a teacher is out sick, or attending a course, simply because they are not there. There is a teacher shortage in Ireland. I am not sure of the reasons, but I can speculate that some of the issues are related to the reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio, last year; teachers going on career break (often to work in more lucrative teaching positions in the Middle East) and some qualified teachers opting out of teaching to be employed in our growing economy. The result of this, for Whitecross is that we have to split classes more regularly and pull teachers from our Learning Support section from time to time. These are not ideal solutions, but there are no other workable options.

SCHOOL CONCERT:  Three years ago, Whitecross held a concert in the City North Hotel. Given that our school hall is not a suitable venue, we opted for the City North then and we are doing so again on March 15th. Sinead Dowd is producing a concert, at least equal to that occasion, which was then, quite memorable. Both Sinead and Emma Grufferty are doing the hard work and preparing the children from 1st to 6th class for the occasion. This concert serves two purposes. First of all it showcases the talents of our students and secondly, it is sharing that talent with 24 teachers and 8 students who are visiting Whitecross from 5 European countries; Bulgaria, Italy, Norway, Spain and Czech Republic. They are all part of the European team that is working on a joint local history project across all these European schools.

TEXTAPARENT: Please ensure that your mobile number is current with the school textaparent database. It would also be important to download the textaparent app to your smartphone as, apart from text messages, you will be able to keep track of school events on the online calendar.

March 14: European teachers and pupils come to Whitecross
March 15: School concert at 7pm in City North
March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
March 19: Bank Holiday
March 23: School closed for Easter Holidays; noon finish
April 9: Term 3 begins

19th February 2018

12th February 2018

5th February 2018

29th January 2018

22nd January 2018

In a roundabout way last week it came to my attention that one of our pupils may have unrestricted access to the Internet. This could lead to a whole lot of problems for this child, parents etc. It can also expose children to the unwanted attention of online predators. I do not believe anyone is truly aware of the potential repercussions of not monitoring underage internet access. We do our bit (supported by PA) in keeping tabs on children in school, and to some extent children outside school. However, there is some poor parenting and lack of monitoring going on in this community, and indeed in all Irish communities. Personally I would say that the majority of children are not mature enough to have and to manage a smart phone. The majority also need very close online monitoring. Even then children can be exposed to online issues, if in the care of less engaged adults or in the company of children with unrestricted access. Here is one simple suggestion for parents: Family Link. It is an app that supports monitoring of children’s internet access and rather than describe myself I am quoting from an article on the RTE website:
Parents and guardians will be able to control children's smartphone and tablet use more closely from today following the launch of Google's Family Link service in Ireland. Family Link enables a parent to connect their Android phone or iPhone to their children's Android phone or tablet and manage remotely what the child can then do. Among the functions is the ability to allow or prevent a child from downloading and using specific apps and visiting particular websites. The parent can also monitor the amount of screen time that the young person is getting and set a bedtime for the device. The smartphone or tablet can also be locked remotely when the parent wants their child to focus on studying, playing, sleeping or some other task. The location of the device can also be tracked and certain settings governing the child's access to Google and the Android operating system can be changed using the app. Although it is possible for a parent to manage what social media and messaging app a child is using via Family Link, they cannot see what messages the child is posting or sending. To use the service the child must have a device that is running Android Nougat 7.0 or later. The parent then downloads the Family Link app to their Android or iOS device and creates a Google Account for their child. From there the parent can then link to the child's device and take control. Family Link was launched in the US earlier this year and is also available in New Zealand. "Our goal with Family Link is to help parents and children explore technology and the digital world together, while making it easier for them to discover, create and share as a family," said Fionnuala Meehan, Head of Google Ireland.

The Family Link app is free to download but with a charge of 30c on registration for verification purposes in order to force the parent to explicitly give their consent to using it.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt

15th January 2018


8th January 2018

  • BUILDING: December email from Architect’s Office re progress: 

As you know BMP have moved offices and the personnel deployed on this project have left their Practice. BMP advised today that  they will complete their work in mid Jan 2018. Our programmed date for completion of QS work was 21.12.2017. The changes caused by the instruction to update to comply with latest TGD guidance is not insubstantial and required the production of additional drawings and revision to many .We will keep you informed of  QS Progress . 
Many thanks  

The delay indicated above by the architect, hopefully will not set back the project too far. However, the TGD (technical guidance documents) referred to by her are another example of the layers of bureaucracy that hold up building projects (especially this) in Ireland!

  • FLU VIRUS: Children with any symptoms of flu virus are to be kept at home. Equally we will be sending children home immediately if they display any flu symptoms. Schools have been instructed by HSE to ensure the virus does not become an issue within individual schools. One telling line in the advice is as follows: If you have suspected flu, you should remain at home for 5 days from when symptoms began.   The advice applies both to teachers and students!

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