Letter from the Principal to 1st Year Parents

27-January-21
Letter from the Principal to 1st Year Parents

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is now clear from the statement of the Taoiseach last evening that we will not be returning to in-class teaching on Monday next and our date of return will be determined by the numbers with the virus in society. We can only but hope that the transmission rates continue to decrease and that we will gather again as a school community in the coming weeks. In the interim, we will continue with our programme of remote teaching and learning.

We are aware of how difficult the transition to secondary school has been for our First Year students as they embraced new subjects, found new friends and became affiliated to a new learning community. The current lockdown has not come at a good time as friendships need presence to cement and thrive and virtual presence is never a substitute. There are ongoing efforts, however, to ensure that the girls keep connected to the school.

  • Our morning prayer is podcast and the Dalkey Digest is published daily.
  • Weekly videos are circulated and the Fittest Friend Group challenge has taken off.
  • The TY students will be working with small groups of 1st Years on Zoom on particular projects with an overall aim of strengthening bonds and friendships.

All First Years will attend three Virtual Mental Health workshops on the 4th, 9th and 10th February. Please access an information letter . Students will be helped in an age appropriate way to understand the mind and emotions and develop skills to manage mental health.

To help parents support their daughters at this time, The National Educational Psychological Service has developed resources in the area of positive mental health which I attach for your information. These are:

I wish to remind you that the student support structures within the school are operating as usual and I would encourage any parent concerned about their daughter to contact any of the following and support can be arranged:

Principal: robert.dunne@loretoabbeydalkey.ie

Deputy Principal: marie.breen@loretoabbeydalkey.ie

Year Head: colette.gallagher@loretoabbeydalkey.ie

Chaplain: mary.delahunty@loretoabbeydalkey.ie

Guidance Counsellor: guidance@loretoabbeydalkey.ie


Following evaluations with focus groups of students, we are generally happy with the system in place. We are aware, however, from communication with parents and students of some difficulties and are working to address them. There are many positives to following a virtual school timetable but there are also negatives, one of which is the intensity of the experience. Students are coping with a significant amount of screen time during the day and then can spend more time completing homework. It is not easy to find time to exercise in daylight given the early evenings. In an effort to address some of the difficulties:

  • We are reminding staff that classes should be of 30 minutes duration which allows for a turnaround time for the next session. As much work should be completed within that time as possible and as little homework given as is practical to allow progress in a subject. If you judge the time spent on homework to be excessive, please excuse your daughter from completing the assignments and email Ms Gallagher.
  • We are having a zoom free afternoon on Monday next from 12.30. This free time is there to be enjoyed and may relieve some of the pressure on students.
  • We have cancelled our February examinations. While we have a facility to complete them online, we consider the stress caused by taking assessments would be disproportionate to the benefits of them at this time. A Spring report will be issued to parents in February and Summer examinations will take place in May.

We look forward to our return to school in the coming weeks and I assure you of our continued support for your daughter at this time.

Below is the link to a beautiful reflection entitled "You do not walk alone" by Elaine Hagenberg which you might enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNCj2KW-JFk

With kind regards,

Robert Dunne,

Principal.

Mar 15
2021
5th Years Return
Mar 17
2021
St Patrick's Day - School closed
Mar 26
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Easter Holidays 29 March - 9 April
Apr 12
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