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A chairde,
We are more than halfway through the school year and time has flown. We have had a very successful year so far and hope that this continues as the weather improves.
There are a few things that I would like to bring to the attention of the parents.
The first is internet safety. This week we had our Friendship and Internet Safety week and the children have learned lots about being safe online. As part of the workshops the children from 2nd to 6th classes did a survey on their internet use and I will share some of the data in this newsletter. Some of the data is shocking and it is essential that parents take an active role with ensuring children are responsible online, are mature enough to access apps or websites and limit the time and content that their children can access.
Le gach ghuí

Data on Internet Use in Four Masters NS
I have attached a trend report to this email which goes through the survey which the children from 2nd to 6th class completed. Some of the statistics are shocking:
• 24% of children in our school have spoken to or chatted to a stranger online.
• 16% of children in our school have been cyberbullied
• 31% of children use TikTok which is a social media app for which you must be over 13
• 24% of children in our school use the app Snap Chat which is for people 13 years and older
• 22 % of children in our school have played an over 18 game
• 18% of children think that it’s not serious at all to talk to a stranger online.
• 17% of children spend four or more hours on screen time during weekdays
Taking this into consideration I would ask all parents to talk to their children to establish:
• Who their chatbuddi is?
• Explain what Stop, Block and Tell is?
• What to do if they experience cyberbullying or witness someone else being cyberbullying.
It is through discussion and education of children that we can help our pupils become responsible internet users.

School Closure for Staff Development:
The school will be closed for a half day on Friday the 13th of March for staff training on the new Primary Language Curriculum. This half-day is sanctioned by the Department of Education with the idea of providing support for staff on the new curriculum. The school will close at 12 noon on this day.

Enrolment for 2020/2021:
Parents wishing to enrol children for the 2020/2021 school year should do so on or before Friday 6th March.  If a child has special needs, please let us know and submit all relevant documents and reports along with enrolment form.  Before a child is enrolled his/her parents must complete an enrolment form and submit his/her original birth certificate.   If a family is new to the school, the parents must meet with the Principal prior to enrolment.  Enrolment forms are available from the school.

Road Safety
Over the past couple of months there have been several potentially serious incidents at the front of the school involving children crossing the road without looking. Children are crossing the road from Charlie’s Petrol Station without looking and several parents have contacted the school about children who ran out in front of their cars. This is especially problematic on wet days. Can all parents please have a conversation with their children about road safety and all drivers to continue to be vigilant when they are arriving or leaving the school for drop offs or pick-ups.

Parent Association:
I would like to thank the Parent Association for organising the parental talk on Internet Safety last Tuesday. It was well attended and Seamus from Zeeko gave some very insightful thoughts and ideas to parents.   There will be a table quiz and a cash for clobber clothes collection after Easter.

Seachtain na Gaeilge:
The period of the 9th to the 13th of March is designated as “Seachtain na Gaeilge”, although it is in fact “Coicís na Gaeilge!”  Staff and pupils will be making a special effort to speak as much as possible in Irish and pupils will learn extra songs and poems in their native tongue. We will be having a whole school assembly at the end of the period to celebrate our native tongue and nationality. Encourage your child in his/her efforts to use the “cúpla focal”.

Football Training:
Football Training for boys and girls from 4th, 5th and 6th classes will begin on Mondays from 3-4 p.m.  All pupils are welcome from these classes.  The first matches in the North Leitrim/South Donegal Cup will be taking place after the Easter holidays and the finals on the 5th of June.

Sports Hall Athletics 2020:
48 pupils from Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth
Classes competed in the North Leitrim section of the Sports Hall Athletics competition in the gym of Saint Clare’s Comprehensive School on February 18th, 2020. Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth boys and girls came in first place on the day.   All teams now advance to the County finals of the competition which will take place in
Ballinamore on the 18th of March. They will be
accompanied by Mr. Britton and Ms Rooney. We wish them well on the day.

School Nurse:
The school nurse will be visiting the school on the 2nd to the 6th of March for all Junior Infants and new enrolments to the school.
Cara Run
The Sixth Class are taking part in the Cara run on Friday 13th of March.  They will be training with their teacher over the coming weeks.

James Mc Dowell will be coaching the junior classes on Mondays for the next six weeks. He will be concentrating on Fundamental Movements.
GAA training from Stephen Mc Gurrin at Leitrim GAA will be provided to the senior classes on Tuesdays for the next 6 weeks. Please wear track suits on appropriate days.

The next Pre- Confirmation Mass is in St.  Aidan’s Church, Kinlough on Sunday 8th March 2020. This mass will incorporate the Service of Light and the Pledge regarding alcohol and drugs.

Lent and Trócaire:
We are starting the Lenten period and this year we will be raising money for Trócaire. This is an extremely worthy charity and we would ask children to bring in loose change to their class Trócaire Box. These will be collected every week by 5th class. I would especially encourage children to bring in money on a Friday which could be instead of their Friday treat.

Jersey Day
Niamh Carolan, a past pupil of Four Masters NS, is embarking on an immersion programme to a rural school in Kenya as part of her Transition Year studies at secondary school. She will be spending ten days immersed in life in a Kenyan community and helping out at the local school which provides young females in the village an education. As part of this programme we will be having a jersey day on Friday the 13th of March and the money raised will be used to buy school resources for the school in Kenya. Therefore, I would ask all students to wear a jersey/t-shirt on the 13th of March and bring in €2 for this charity.

There will also be a wear Yellow Day on the 1st of May for the RNLI. The local coastguard station in Bundoran provide a vital service to our local community and 6th Class Teacher Paul Gallagher as well as several parents is actively involved members of this worthwhile organisation.

Active School Flag
As part of our ‘Active Flag’, we will be having an ‘Active School week’ from the 23rd – 27th of March.  All pupils will participate in a variety of games, activities and events that week.  The aim of the active week is to give the pupils a taste of sporting activities that they may not normally participate in; for example, rugby, hurling, dance etc.  We are busy putting the active flag application together for April.

ASF Co-ordinator Kathleen O’Reilly

School Closure
As already marked on the school’s annual calendar, which was issued last September, the school will be closed on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th March.

Pupil Council News
Thanks to all the children who brought in old shoes and runners, 142 pairs of shoes in total were collected and these went to a Sligo based charity which sends them to a township in Cape Town, South Africa.  Over the coming weeks we will be collecting money for Trócaire and we ask children to bring in money for this worthy cause.  We are also organising a Jersey day on the 13th of March.

Email address:
Can all parents please provide the school with e-mail address if you haven’t already done so.   In the future all newsletters will be distributed by email.  If you would still like to receive a paper copy or have no email access please contact Bernadette in the office.

Best Kept Classroom for February 2020:
The winners in the “Best Kept Classrooms” competition for the month of February were:
Junior Award:  Second Class – Ms Fallon

Senior Award: Fifth Class – Ms Curneen

Well done to the pupils and teachers involved.

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