ETSS WICKLOW
 

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In loving memory of Colm Kehoe, school principal.

The school community has experienced the sudden death of Colm Kehoe, the founding principal of Educate Together Secondary School Wicklow, who died suddenly at his home in Gorey on Saturday 4th June. As a school community we are deeply saddened by his passing and our thoughts are with the Kehoe family at this time. 

Colm was appointed principal of ETSS Wicklow in May 2019, when the new school was announced. He brought a wealth of experience from his work in education in Ireland and abroad and invested huge time, skill and hard work to build a wonderful team of staff and a strong school community.

Educate Together CEO Emer Nowlan said:

“We were all shocked and deeply saddened to hear this terrible news. Colm was an outstanding school leader – his dedication to young people and passion for student-centred learning were clearly visible to all who knew him. In three short years, Colm has built a vibrant, happy school community in ETSS Wicklow, where students are at the centre of everything, and educational innovation and creativity are the norm. And every step of the way, Colm put students first – his quiet modesty was in contrast to his enormous achievements as an educator and school principal.”

Chair of the Board of Management of Wicklow ETSS, Danny Haskins, expressed the profound sadness of the whole school community on the loss of Colm:

“As the leader of our new school community, Colm built strong relationships with students, parents, staff and board members over the past three years, and we are devastated at his loss. He was a committed professional, a highly-valued colleague and a much-loved teacher who brought Educate Together’s student-centred and democratic ethos to life in ETSS Wicklow over the past three years.”

Colm’s achievements during his career as a teacher and school leader were many. Just in the past three years, he established the Wicklow Model United Nations within months of opening a brand new secondary school, inviting students from around the region to ETSS Wicklow to discuss global issues and develop leadership and other important skills. He then successfully moved this initiative online, providing important engagement and connections for students during the pandemic and ensuring continuity of learning. He also created the first all-Ireland Educate Together debating competition and engaged the whole national Educate Together second-level school network in this uplifting and educational online event.

Colm Kehoe returned to Ireland from Belgium in 2019 to take up the role of school principal in ETSS Wicklow, having spent ten years as a teacher of English with the European Schools and two years as coordinator of Model United Nations conferences in Brussels. He had worked in education in five countries – Ireland, England, Spain, Belgium and Guatemala – and held Bachelors Degrees in Arts and Law and Masters Degrees in International Law and Educational Leadership and Management.

Emer Nowlan again:

“Colm’s contribution to education is immeasurable and we will all miss his quiet passion for education, his creative ideas and his commitment to equality and student-centred learning. That he has left us at such a young age is tragic, and all of us in the Educate Together network join with his family and the ETSS Wicklow community in mourning his terrible loss. His impact has been huge in the lives of students, staff and volunteers he worked with, and in setting ETSS Wicklow on the right course, he leaves a lasting and tangible legacy.”



INTRODUCING OUR SCHOOL

MODEL UNITED NATIONS EVENT A HUGE SUCCESS


After months of preparation, the day finally arrived for our second Model United Nations Conference which took place on Friday 29 April and with sixteen schools, seven committees and almost two-hundred delegates, it was a huge conference. Well done to the chair team who led this conference brilliantly - Hannah, Lenna, Chloe, Caoimhe, Aoife, Deirdre, Katie - and well done to the brilliant press team who produced a fantastic newsletter which you can read to the right - every delegate deserves great praise for going through a long process of producing an opening speech, creating a resolution, developing a policy statement and researching the issues on the agenda from the points of view of their countries so that they could properly represent their countries at the conference. All of this led to great debates and super amendments as countries tried to work out differences and find compromises that could help the discussions move forward. It was a real example of what diplomatic life is all about and the quality of the work was noted by Minister Stephen Donnelly, Susana Nunez (Education Officer for Educate Together) and Steven Matthews TD, who all joined our conference yesterday and were hugely impressed by the knowledge and the passion of the students taking part in the discussions of many of the world's greatest challenges at present and in the future. So thank you to the chair team, the press team, the delegates the guest speakers and also to all the teachers in all sixteen schools who promoted this conference and spent a huge amount of time helping students prepare. We're already looking forward to the third conference next year!

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED

We've just experienced two years of digital revolution as the Covid-19 crisis unfolded. Now the question is whether it is time to reimagine organisational culture - what can we take from this experience back into our practice in education? Is it time for a change audit for schools?

At ETSS Wicklow, right from the beginning, we embraced the opportunity to work online. We were well placed for this transition because all the students had iPads. The teachers upskilled significantly quickly and now find there are many opportunities to bring those new skills back into mainstream school life. Firstly, screencasts have become the norm - teachers have great expertise in putting together tutorials and webinars which are interesting and engaging. Secondly, we have developed a parent-teacher meeting model which most parents and guardians believe is better than the events we used to run at the school. A majority have requested we stay with this new model where families can meet teachers for ten minutes from the comfort of their own homes - the added positive impacts are less traffic on the road and more time saved. Thirdly, we developed an online Model United Nations template that replaced our planned hotel event and now find ourselves ready to run high quality international virtual events. This is a new way to connect with many other schools at home and abroad. School exchanges have never been easier - during lockdown we were connected with schools in France and Spain for lunch time exchanges. Fourthly, staff meetings have worked out very successfully online - teachers leave the school, drive home and then attend the meetings online - is this something that should be continued in the future? There are strong arguments that such meetings are more time efficient and facilitate greater collaboration with breakaway rooms so easy to organise. Fifthly, online school assemblies have been very successful - teachers are now experts in setting everything up quickly and students like participating from the comfort of their own classrooms. Sixthly, livestreaming classes to students in social isolation or with Covid-19 has created the possibility of livestreaming to students who are out of school for some reason but can still attend classes. This is very valuable service schools can now provide in the future. Seventhly, electronic surveys have become the norm - evaluation of service has never been easier and feedback has been enhanced significantly.

The above points are just the start of the conversation really, and are a fair indication that we may find the post Covid-19 world a very different one indeed to the world we knew before.

SCHOOL DAY PROFILE

 Starting Times              Finishing Times         Notes                                             
 08.3008.45 Tutor Time
 08.4509.45  Class 1
 09.4510.45  Class 2
 10.4511.00  Break
 11.0012.00  Class 3
 12.0013.00  Class 4 
 13.0013.45  Lunch
 13.4514.45  Class 5
 14.4515.45  Class 6
 16.0018.00 Study Option

 

Each school day begins at 08.30 with a fifteen minute tutorial. Classes are one hour in length and the first two classes begin at 08.45 and 09.45; There is a fifteen minute break before the next part of the day starts with the third and fourth classes starting at 11.00 and 12.00 respectively. Lunch is from 13.00 to 13.45. 

On Wednesdays, the school closes at 13.00. Every other week day, classes five and six in the afternoon start at 13.45 and 14.45 respectively. After school study is an option for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 16.00 to 18.00 - students have fifteen minutes after the last class to get ready for this two hours of study time. To see the calendar for this year, please follow this link: School Calendar

FASTEST GROWING SCHOOL IN WICKLOW

As ETSS Wicklow moves into its third year, we now have 157 students and 25 staff. ETSS Wicklow embraces technology and is ambitious to lead. We are happy to offer the Educate Together model for education to Wicklow Town. 

ETSS Wicklow is a place where a lot of interesting projects are happening - as a school, we have created  a high tech online Model United Nations event for Junior Certificate students all over Ireland and a national debating competition for all 23 schools in the growing Educate Together Secondary School network. We are also involved in the Creative Schools Project, the Young Scientist Competition, the Green School's Programme and many other top initiatives in modern education.

We hope as you explore this website you will see our forward-thinking approach and find our way of looking at education refreshing. 

MODEL UNITED NATIONS PROJECT

We're really proud of this event because we started it ourselves and it's fast developing into a first-class active learning experience. We responded to the challenge of Covid-19 by turning a planned live conference into an online event. The outcome was so successful, we decided to keep the format and now we have a futuristic, environmentally-friendly, high-tech experience on offer for schools around the country. It's a huge team effort to make it happen. In its first year in 2021,  around 50 people from ETSS Wicklow were involved and our school linked up with schools in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Wicklow. This year, we have more than doubled the number of schools to seventeen and there are over 200 student delegates preparing to represent thirty-one countries at this year's conference. It's great for integrated learning because this role play joins so many subjects together in this simulated real life experience (history, geography, English, mathematics, science, business). An added benefit is that it's great for public speaking because everyone has to practice their persuasive skills throughout the conference. We even managed to develop an online format for a declamation competition as an additional opportunity to develop great public speaking skills. To help everyone get ready for the conference, we organise two training days for delegates in March before the conference itself takes place in April. It's a real highlight in the calendar for all those involved.

INNOVATION AT ETSS WICKLOW

We have developed a national debating competition. This competition is a first of its kind in Ireland and we are happy that our school created it - the idea was to connect Educate Together Secondary Schools throughout the country with the great art of debating. Now all Educate Together Secondary Schools are involved and its turning out to be a high quality debating experience for students across the network of schools. 

This debating Competition is a modern way for schools across the country to connect. Debaters work through league stages and into knockout rounds until two teams remain in the competition ready to battle it out in the Ireland final - in its first year, Galway ETSS won the final against Cork ETSS - the motion was 'Free Speech does more harm than good!' and it was a great demonstration of the art of debating.  

The competition is now in its second year with great debates going on all over the country. It is developing student leadership by involving students not only as chairpersons and timekeepers, but also in the judging - that's a first in Ireland! Students from Malahide Portmarnock ETSS and ETSS Wicklow. Also the structure promotes fairness and inclusivity with every school volunteering to judge a debate between other teams with one teacher, one parent and one student on the judging team ideally. 

FINDING THE BEST WAY TO WORK!

This short film was created by three second year students from the SPHE class on the importance of finding the best way to work for you!


ENJOYING SCHOOL LIFE