Bealtaine shona daoibh go léir! Happy 1st day of summer to all! Another busy week is in full flight here at DSPNS. On Monday we made a recording of five well-loved songs that will remain part of our song anthology at school for many a year to come. Many thanks to choir teacher Karen, and parent Nic for helping us with this achievement. We’ll let you know when CDs are available!
Dance teacher Catherine reported that children in classes Jun Infants – 2nd are making very remarkable progress. Dance, like other aspects of PE, helps enhance children’s motor skills and ability to participate in team projects.
5th class had a busy morning cooking and emailing Spanish pen-pals as part of their activities sessions today. 4th class was rewarded for getting Tidy Classroom of the Week by being taken to Sallynoggin play area for over an hour of splendid sunshine yesterday. 1st class was rewarded for their good learning first thing in the morning by going out to look for signs of Samhraidh in the patio and in the garden. They noticed scent of rosemary, sounds of children playing in the sunshine, tulip bulbs, birds singing – and they got to see the beginnings of a bug hotel that is under construction in the back garden!
We are carrying out punctuality spot checks in classrooms also. Yesterday, 1st class learning early in the morning looked something like this:
8.35 – 8.50 handwriting of ‘oi’ words and paired reading
8.50 – 9.00 tidy up and oral spellings check
9.00 – 9.10 Gaeilge conversation
During this time, children who completed handwriting, had the choice of silent reading or story writing as additional learning. They were very proud of their work, as they should be! Other classes have various learning tasks on-going in the mornings also. It is important that punctuality remains good for this term and that children are in class ready to learn first thing in the morning.
We have a good number of students walking or cycling to school. That’s a very healthy habit to develop. Encouragement of independence skills will add to your child’s resilience and ability to deal with the many situations life gives to us. Managing their own belongings is a simple but worthwhile skill for children. If children are in school before 8.30am, they are welcome to assemble in the yard. Our school insurance begins at 8.30am. Only staff are due in school before 8.30am unless an arrangement has been made for a meeting with a staff member.
Congratulations to the Student Council who raised €492 for the Irish Cancer Society through their Day at the Movies last Friday!
Thanks to all staff who supported them in organizing this event. And thanks to parents/guardians for generosity of contributions!
Board of Management
The Board of Management regularly reviews the school budget. As you may be aware, our expenditure has exceeded our income for the last 4-5 years but, as the school has been lucky to have a small cash reserve saved during earlier years, we have met the funding deficit by drawing from this reserve. The Department of Education and Skills withdrew Minor Works grants to primary schools in 2011 which was worth approximately €10K in annual income to the school. This has led to the situation where we are currently running a deficit of €15K per year on an annual budget of roughly €190K. We have and will continue to look at where we can reduce costs – the staff and students have been supportive by reducing electricity and photocopying/printing costs, recycling and composting through the Green initiative. We have installed new windows and tap restrictors to reduce heat and water charges. The annual Book Lists are currently being reviewed to see where it may be possible to save.
We appreciate that these are not easy times financially for families but, unfortunately, we will not be able to balance up the school budget through cost savings alone. We have identified two areas where we need to generate more income. Starting in the next school year 2013/14, you will see two changes to the list of expenses included on the Book List. An additional €15 “IT maintenance” item will help to cover the expenses associated with the school IT equipment, for example, photocopiers, printers and laptop computers. Secondly, as a member of Educate Together, the school contributes an annual subscription to ET per child which was €13 for 2012 and will likely rise to €15 next year. We have been requesting only €9 per child annually, and funding the difference from the school reserves. In future, you will see the full subscription amount appear on your child’s list.
Thank you to all in the school who have helped us with reducing our costs – and please keep thinking about and let us know other areas where we might save. We would also like to say a huge “Thank You!” to everyone involved in the many fantastic fundraising efforts, particularly those on the PTA committee.
Scott Jungmann Chairperson, Board of Management