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Remote Learning Plan for Scoil Bhríde, Straffan

Dear parents,

I hope you are all keeping well, and healthy these days and that you have settled into a new routine which includes home-schooling that suits your household. Nothing is ideal about this situation but we would like to acknowledge and thank you for the fantastic engagement and support with the school work throughout the school over the last 3 weeks. We know that this would not be possible without your support at home, and we very much appreciate it. Lots of you are working from home, or going out to work, and are juggling this with home-schooling. This is no easy task. We fully understand what households are like right now, and we know the efforts you are going to so that your children engage with their teachers and continue with their teaching and learning. Thank you.
I am sharing our updated Remote learning Plan which was ratified by our Board of Management this week with you today. Over the last few weeks, we have received some queries over our direct teaching approach. I would like to explain the background to our plan and how we came to our whole school approach. There are three models of Direct teaching Approaches that can be used as defined on the PDST website and recommended by the DES (see https://sites.google.com/pdst.ie/primary/digital-platforms?authuser=0):

1. Synchronous Learning Approach
2. Asynchronous Learning Approach using the Flipped Classroom Model
3. Asynchronous Learning Approach using the Enhanced Virtual Model
Schools have the latitude to choose the best learning approach that best fits their school community. Our staff at Scoil Bhríde has chosen the “Asynchronous Learning Approach using the Flipped Classroom Model” as the model that suits our school community. We are using Seesaw as our educational digital platform to support this approach. This model involves Asynchronous online learning experiences are not in real time. The children complete learning activities at time, place, path or pace that suits them. This usually entails teachers creating content such as video lessons, voice notes and links along with independent tasks that the children can watch or work through at home at a time or pace that suits your family. We have chosen to use Zoom as a video conferencing tool with the middle and senior classes only for check-ins and our Special Education Teachers are using Zoom to interact with our children with additional needs. As a staff we feel our younger children are very young and parents would have to be beside their children for any zoom interaction in line with our child safeguarding policy. Our teachers are happy with the current plan and are able to assess the children’s work through the robust interactions and engagements they have daily.
As a staff, we reassured that our approach is suitably applicable to our school community and we have had affirmation of our remote learning plan this week from the Department of Education Inspectorate. They were very complimentary of our approach and agreed that we had a balanced and engaging approach for our children at this time. We are very appreciative of the kind messages and support we have received over the last 3 weeks also.

I have reviewed our engagements of the children over the last 3 weeks and I would like to share some statistics with you. We have had 99.7% engagement with the school of our pupils working which is amazing from a school community of 393 pupils. The inspectorate has informed me that there are some schools with less than 60% engagement. It would indicate that what we are doing is working for the majority of our school community.
It is clear from our Seesaw analytics that there has been fantastic engagement over the last three weeks since we commenced remote learning. (picture attached)
There have been 41,940 posts added to Seesaw, 30,624 comments by teachers to children’s work, 35,535 likes on children’s work and 1964 visits by family members. Wow, this is absolutely amazing and everyone should be very proud of this outcome.
I have personally been in contact with many families offering support and guidance to help with the transition to this new platform for some. This has really helped getting families to feel comfortable with the use of digital technology
These statistics demonstrates the absolutely amazing work and commitment by our teachers and children and it’s clear that the homes in Straffan are very busy places these days. I would like to extend a huge thanks to everyone, our teachers, SNAs, the children and parents for the collaborative work that is being done to ensure that the children are getting a broad and varied remote learning experience. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and support over the last 3 weeks. Home-schooling is not the same as being in school every day. We do not expect any of the children, even the older children, to engage in schoolwork for the full school day. Our aim during this remote learning is to focus on the areas where children can quickly regress, namely Maths, English and Gaeilge. All teachers expect every child to complete these lessons every day. Teachers are also providing some lessons in other subjects, and there are links to lots of extra work for those that want more. Class teachers are in daily contact with the children and / or parents. They are giving clear instructions on what their expectations are in relation to work, and in relation to what needs to be submitted. If you are struggling to engage with the work for any reason, it is really important that you contact the teacher to discuss. We need to account for all children during the school closure.
Thank you for your ongoing support in this matter
We recognise that we cannot replicate the classroom via remote teaching and there is nothing ideal about the current situation. It is difficult for everyone and it’s important that we continue to work together. The teachers are available each day to answer any queries, concerns or questions you may have. Each class have their own bespoke email so you can contact them directly. You can email secreatry@straffanschool.com also and Mandy can share your query with the teacher directly. If for any reason you wish to lodge a complaint, we would urge that you use our “parental complaints procedure” just as we would follow if the school building was open to the children.
I encourage everyone to stay positive as this will end soon. The news from the DES is positive and we hope we will be back in February. Please keep in touch and let us know if we can help you. If you need a device on loan we can help families and if you need resources to support your child we are available daily and can help families out. What is most important is that we realise we are in this together and despite the pressures we feel, this was not of our making. Let’s keep strong and support each other. We are a community and look out for one another. No-one knows what is going on in each other’s personal lives even though they may be smiling!! If we can be anything, let’s be kind. Thank you.
Please keep in touch and keep safe.

Mise le meas,
Mrs. Colleran

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