Mid-term Break
A reminder that the school will be closed for one week for mid-term break, from Monday, 21st through Friday, 25th February. Afterschool @ KETNS will host a camp. Please contact Jenni if you are interested in having your child participate.

We are working on a school improvement plan related to maths teaching. There are several different aspects of this plan, some of which are to improve the links between home and school. The first one involves some play-at-home maths games for children from Junior Infants to 3rd Class. Games will be sent home for the week on Mondays, and we would encourage you to play them with your child over the course of the week. They should be returned to school on Thursday morning, and you will receive a new game the following week. Also, we are looking for parents to speak to classes about how they use maths in their daily lives. While we are happy to have mathematicians, engineers and scientists speak to classes, we also would love to
hear from parents on how maths is used in all types of jobs or their daily lives. For now, these “visits” would be virtual and would last about 10-15 minutes. If you would be willing to participate, please contact the school.

Parent-Teacher Association AGM
The Parent-Teacher Association will hold their AGM online on Wednesday, 9th February at 19.30. In addition to having an election for officers, we will make plans for upcoming events as well as discuss the school’s Homework Policy, which is below

If you are unable to attend the meeting but have any feedback regarding the Homework Policy, please contact the school.

Information Letter regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations
The Department of Education has asked schools to share a letter addressed to school principals with all parents regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programme for children. The letter can be found at this link.

Knocknacarra Educate Together NS
School Plan Mid-Year Review – 2021-22

It has been an extremely unusual two years for everyone in our learning community. The 12th March 2020 began an unprecedented time for our school and schools across Ireland and the world. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of the school shifted dramatically. Staff members pivoted to address the need to provide
continuity of education in the most unexpected of circumstances. This is now the third academic year affected by the pandemic. Sincere gratitude is owed to the staff, the parents and the children who have weathered the challenges
well and found new ways to thrive and adapt. In some ways, that last two years have been a holding pattern as we have had to pause so many ordinary aspects of the life of our school. This has included the annual review of the School Plan, which has not formally happened since 2019. Yet, there are great things that have happened over the past two years and continued progress is evident. As we appear to be entering a new phase, both related to the pandemic and related to our transition from being a developing to an established school, we hope that we can resume many of the
activities and imagine new ones. This is also the end of the 5-year School Plan, which means the school community will engage in a process of review, reflection and planning prior to the writing of our next School Plan.

Curriculum Plans
Since the last review, the following curriculum plans were written: SESE (History, Geography and Science), Arts (Music, Visual Arts and Drama) and Learn Together. A review of the Plean Curaclam na Gaeilge was completed. In addition, the Maths Curriculum Plan is undergoing significant review as part of the school’s School Self-Improvement Plan. Before the end of the academic year, the English Curriculum Plan will be reviewed and updated.

Several core policies have been reviewed on an annual basis including: Child Safeguarding Statement, Code of Behaviour and Anti-bullying and Health and Safety.
The following policies have been reviewed by the Board of Management since the last review of the School Plan:

Additional Education Needs (2021), Afterschool Clubs (2019), Assessment (2022), Attendance (2019), Communication (2020), Critical Incidents (2019), Data Management and Data Protection (2020), Equality of Access and Participation
(2021), Exceptional Closures (2019), Extra Personal Vacation Days (2020), Garda Vetting Policy (2021), Healthy Eating (2021), In-school Management Team (2019), Internet Acceptable Usage (2020), Mobile Phone and Electronic Devices
(2019), Off-site Learning Experiences (2021), Retention (2021), Social Media and School Website (2020), Staffing Allocation (2021), Substance Use (2019) and Work Experience/Student Teachers (2020).

New policies have been drafted and ratified by the Board of Management including Admissions (2021), Continuing Professional Development (2019), COVID-19 Response Plan (2020), COVID-19 Risk Assessment (2020), Distance Learning Policy (2020), Financial Procedures and Protocols (2020), Parental Involvement (2021), Relationships and Sexuality Education (2021), Staff Induction (2019).

Before the end of the academic year, one new policy will be drafted and ratified, Pupil Committees. We hope that once we can return to mixing pupils from different bubbles we can reform the pupil committees and write the policy.
Other policies that will be reviewed are Homework, Health and Safety, Attendance, Co-Location, Dignity in the Workplace, Exceptional Closures and Mobile Phone and Electronic Devices.

Goal 1: To nurture the pupils by developing infrastructure including buildings, technology, and communication structures.

We are now in our fourth academic year in our premises. For the first time, all classrooms are occupied and we are using the remaining prefab for support teaching. Over the past two years, we have been successful in applying for three Emergency Works Scheme grants. These were for the replacement of all external doors, repairs to the heating system and a current project to repair the roof surrounding the internal courtyards. Work has been done to improve the courtyards recently by a group of volunteer parents. Another parent also regularly works on the outdoor spaces to keep trees trimmed. There are plans to consider a potential application for additional accommodation for support teaching. We have also researched plans to create a permanent space for the Afterschool @ KETNS. It is planned to
add signage to the front of the school.

We now have two full sets of laptops (30 each) to be used by classes. In addition, there are 15 Ipads also available. All classrooms have an interactive whiteboard or projector. The period of distance learning necessitated teachers upskilling themselves related to online platforms. As the school returns to a more normal experience, we look forward to actively implementing the Digital Strategy that was written 2 years ago.

Communication Structures
The school Facebook page, the website and the private parents’ Facebook group are all active. A regular newsletter continues to be sent out to all parents. While student committees have had limited opportunities to meet, the projects have continued, and we hope to resume them soon. The Board of Management and the staff have met through online channels since March 2020. The Parent-Teacher Association has also had an occasional online meeting. The school is now using Aladdin Connect, which has been a beneficial platform for communication between parents and the school.

Goal 2: To create a school community which takes an active role in the wider community by creating opportunities for pupils, parents and the community to interact.

Unfortunately, the current situation has limited the various activities in the school for parents and the wider community. It is hoped that in the future we can return to having parents more actively involved. On a positive note, the school was awarded its first Green Flag. A big thank you to Matt, Sarah-Jane and the children and parents who helped achieve this result, especially the committee members. Work is now underway towards our second flag with the theme of Water.
Matt will work with staff to develop a transition programme for the 6th Class and work with them to celebrate their time in our learning community and to mark their departure.

Goal 3: To create an atmosphere where pupils, staff, parents and the community feel safe, respected and valued and which develops a love of learning.

In addition to being awarded the Green Flag, the school also was awarded an Active Flag. In fact, we are in the process of renewal this year. A big thank you to Vivienne and the pupils on the committee. We are also working towards the Gaelbhratach, with Áine leading the campaign. While we anticipated participating in other flag programmes, it has become clear that it is better to do a few projects well and perhaps consider participation in the future. Due to the current situation, the number of extracurricular activities has been extremely limited. Some activities have continued that could take place outdoors, and we hope more can resume soon. Once it is possible to do so, we hope to once again have a wide menu of afterschool activities in place. We have continued to work to address mental well-being, particularly in the context of the unusual experiences of the last two years. Classes are using the Weaving Well-being programme. An online session for parents on safe internet
use was delivered by Carrie, a parent in the school.

Goal 4: To support the patron body in setting up a secondary school to enable pupils to complete their education in the ethos of Educate Together.
Galway Educate Together Second-Level School is now in its 3 rd year. For the first time, a number of our pupils will attend the school as well as the many other secondary schools in the area. While the process of finding a school place
has been challenging for a few families, the process of securing a place in a secondary school for our 6th Class pupils will be completed soon.