SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2018-2020
Limerick ETSS opened its doors to its first intake of first year students in August 2018. As a start-up school, we recognise the exciting opportunity the school community has to create a relevant learning environment that is real-world, connected, meaningful, global, interdisciplinary and project-based. We are developing rigorous learning opportunities that are challenging, outcome-focused, skills-based, open-ended and creative. We want our students to develop and grow to become critical thinkers and build relationships that are collaborative, compassionate, sensitive, culturally inclusive, personal, respectful, trusting and develop self-management and emotional intelligence.
Our School Development Strategy outlines our focus for 2018-2020. Our strategy sets out five strands for development as follows:Policy Development
⦁ Policy Development
⦁ Learner Experience
⦁ Teacher Collective/Collaborative Practice
⦁ Focus on Wellbeing
⦁ Blended E-Portfolio – A Cohesive Approach
Teacher Collective/Collaborative Practice
Focus on Wellbeing
Blended E-Portfolio – A Cohesive Approach
Stand 2 (Learner Experience) and Strand 3 (Teacher Collective/Collaborative Practice) are underpinned by the Looking at Our School 2016: A Quality Framework for Post-Primary Schools which sets out guidelines for School Self-Evaluation and school inspections.
Furthermore, Strand 4 (Focus on Wellbeing) is aligned with the DES’ Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice 2018-2023 and the Guidelines for Wellbeing in Junior Cycle 2017.
The Board of Management and the Principal are aware of their statutory obligations, and work to ensure that all legislative and policy requirements are met; in consultation with staff, students and parents, they fulfil their responsibility to create and maintain a climate of security and wellbeing in Limerick ETSS. They develop and implement clear policies to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff.
The Board of Management and the Principal fully understand the school’s responsibilities for child protection and health and safety matters and communicate these to the whole school community. They work constructively with the relevant statutory bodies.
The following polices have been developed and are reviewed annually:
⦁ Admissions Policy
⦁ Anti-bullying Policy
⦁ Code of Positive Behaviour
⦁ Child Safe-guarding Statement
⦁ Child Safe-guarding Risk Assessment
⦁ Suspension and Expulsion Policy
⦁ Safety and Health Policy
⦁ GDPR Policy
⦁ Cyber-bullying Policy
⦁ Assessment Policy
⦁ ICT Acceptable Usage Policy
⦁ iPads Acceptable Usage Policy
⦁ Classroom Charter
⦁ Homework Policy
⦁ Single-Use Plastic Free School Policy
⦁ Dress Code
⦁ School Tour Policy
⦁ Healthy Eating Policy
⦁ Engage purposely in meaningful learning activities
⦁ Grow as learners through respectful interactions and experiences that are challenging and supportive
⦁ Reflect on their progress as learners and develop a sense of ownership of and responsibility for their learning
⦁ Experience opportunities to develop the skills and attitudes necessary for lifelong learning
TEACHER COLLECTIVE/ COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE
⦁ Value and engage in professional development and professional collaboration
⦁ Work together to devise learning opportunities for students across and beyond the curriculum
⦁ Collectively develop and implement consistent and dependable formative and summative assessment practices
⦁ Contribute to building whole-staff capacity by sharing their expertise
FOCUS ON WELLBEING
The Looking at Our School 2016 framework takes a holistic view of learning and of the learner. Students’ wellbeing is intrinsic to this holistic view of learning, both as an outcome of learning and as an enabler of learning. It recognises the crucial role of schools in promoting and nurturing students’ wellbeing though their practices in key areas of school environment, curriculum, policies and partnerships. Support of our students wellbeing is therefore integrated into Stand 2 (Learner Experience) and Strand 3 (Teacher Collective/Collaborative Practice) of our School Development Strategy 2018-2020.
The Wellbeing Guidelines provide practical guidance on how schools can promote mental health and wellbeing. In Limerick ETSS we recognise that the mental health and wellbeing of our students is critical to success in school and life. The needs and wellbeing of staff are also of paramount importance. The DES in consultation with NEPS (National Education Psychological Service) recommend ten strategic actions for positive mental health promotion in our school community:
⦁ Facilitating access to continuing professional development for school staff on the promotion of the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
⦁ Developing and maintaining a safe and caring environment within the school where a sense of belonging and connectedness is fostered
⦁ Building positive teacher-student and student-student relationships to promote participation, social interaction and pro-social behaviour.
⦁ Actively involving young people and their parents/carers in developing and implementing school policies to support mental health and health promotion
⦁ Adopting a whole-school approach to health promotion, where health is promoted by all and not just by a few members of staff
⦁ Supporting and implementing a well-planned, consistent
and integrated SPHE/ RSE curriculum to enable young people enhance their coping, resilience, communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills
⦁ Developing whole-school systems and structures to support the early identification of young people experiencing social, emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties
⦁ Actively involving, supporting and encouraging young people’s participation in extra-curricular activities
⦁ Fostering a whole-school ethos that accepts and values diversity within the student and staff population
⦁ Providing easy access to information for students and staff on supports available to them within the school and wider community
In Limerick ETSS we place significant value on embedding mental health and well-being as an integral part of our school curriculum. We ensure that our school provides a safe and supportive environment for building life skills and resilience and a strong sense of connectedness to school for our students. We place student voice at the centre of all we do so that students foster healthy relationships with peers, teachers and school staff, all of which are essential to our students’ positive experience of school and their cognitive and emotional development. We are taking a coordinated whole-school approach to promoting wellbeing and mental health in Limerick ETSS. As part of our School Development Strategy, we are building and integrating school self-evaluation processes, implementing all elements of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum, adopting the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) Continuum of Support, and building effective inter-agency relationships.
BLENDED PORTFOLIO – A COHESIVE APPROACH
WHAT IS A BLENDED PORTFOLIO?
“Testing gives you a snapshot. Portfolios give you a movie.”
DR HELEN BARRATT, INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH AND CONSULTANT
A blended portfolio is a purposeful selection of evidence by the student at a point in time, with a particular audience in mind. It is part of a personal online space where students can store their work over the course of the year. In Limerick ETSS, students use Google Suite as the platform for developing their blended portfolios. Blended portfolios are authentic digital collections of student work. They are different from tests which measure where a student is at through one experience, i.e. summative assessment. Blended portfolios showcase a variety of evidence and show how much a student has grown and developed over an extended period of time.
Blended portfolios benefit learning most effectively when considered as part of a system, rather than a discrete entity. In other words, the blended portfolio is the learning and not just an end product. In Limerick ETSS, students’ blended portfolios are ongoing and developing throughout the academic year. Students curate a portfolio of their work across all subject areas as evidence that they have achieved specific learning outcomes.
PORTFOLIO DEFENCE AND DEFENCE OF LEARNING (DOL)
In 2021 we hope to roll out our ‘Portfolio Defence’ programme where students will use their portfolios to tell the story of their learning journey in front of a panel of assessors.
A ‘Defence of Learning’ (DoL) is an integral part of the Portfolio Defence. A Defence of Learning, at its core, involves the following elements:
⦁ Students are asked to defend skills that align explicitly with the learning outcomes outlined in the relevant subject specifications. Students present their academic work curated in their e-portfolios as evidence to support their claims about their skills.
⦁ Students publicly present evidence of learning and growth to a panel of assessors.