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Student Council News

The Student Council has had a busy term thus far.

In September they played a vital role at our Open Day. Both Isobel our Head Girl and Jolene our Deputy Head Girl spoke to parents and students about life as a Louis Girl, while the rest of the team acted as guides for our visitors, answering questions about the everyday life of a Louis Girl.

 

 

In October the leaders of our student body along with their mentor Ms P Kelly for a St Louis Schools Network leadership workshop where they met with other Louis Schools and engaged in leadership training. A great day was had by all and many new skills were developed.

The day was called “Team Building,Leadership and Ethos”. The students from many different Louis Schools learned and developed skills in working together in order to make a difference in their respective schools in the year ahead. Each school had their story and needs honoured and our girls benefitted through sharing with and learning from other schools. Sr.Finola Cunnane, who has many links with our school, was the coordinator.

 

TY student Caoimhe Nic Chormaic headed to Dublin in her final act as a member of Louth’s Comhairle na nÓg where she met Minister Katherine Zappone at the launch of a national report on young people’s opinions on how to improve what happens in the classroom. It’s called “So, how was school today?” Well done to Caoimhe!

 

In November the student council decided to get on board with Team Hope’s annual Christmas shoebox appeal. They decided that it would be a great project to organise within the school to help give to the less fortunate this Christmas.
To get the idea up and running they placed a cardboard box in each classroom and encouraged students to donate anything they could to help the council fill as many shoe boxes as possible.
Students were asked to bring in small items under the 4W guidelines which are: write, wash, wear and wow. The items that fall under these guidelines are pens, pencils, copy books, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a hat, gloves and a small treat such as sweets or a cuddly toy.
After a couple of weeks the boxes which were placed in each room were full to the brim. Our students were so generous and thanks to them the girls were able to make up and donate lots of shoe boxes. The council also held  a cake sale to donate cash along with the boxes. This really showed the true generosity of St.Louis students and allowed the school community to offer the gift of giving this Christmas.

The girls are also spreading a positive message about being inclusive and caring of each other – check out the hidden messages on the stairs in the school and on the wall on the Council noticeboard and elsewhere.

We look forward to seeing what the girls will do next.

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Embedding the New Junior Cycle in our School

St Louis Secondary school Dundalk recently held an information evening for parents on the changes involved in assessment and reporting in the new Junior Cycle including the role of Wellbeing. Parents/Guardians of 1st, 2nd and 3rd were invited to attend to receive clarification around the changes and how exactly it will affect their daughters depending on their stage in the ongoing process.

The event was hosted by the school’s parents’ committee who arrange an annual talk for parents based on issues raised at their monthly meetings. The relevance of Junior Cycle reform as an issue for parents was underlined by the large number of families represented and their engagement on the night, asking questions about the vision underpinning the new curriculum and how they can actively support their daughters.

The new Junior Cycle has been up and running since September 2014 when the first cohort of 1St Year started on the new English subject specification. In June 2017 these students sat the new Junior Cycle Final Assessment in English heralding the beginning of the new and end of the old in state examinations for Junior Cycle students. These students will be the first to receive the new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement later this year which will also report on examples of other learning experiences students have been involved with throughout their three years of Junior Cycle. Since then other subjects have come on board and these include Business and Science for current 2nd Years and Art, Irish, Modern Foreign Languages (to include French, Spanish, German and Italian) for current 1st years. The process continues until 2022 when all subject specifications in the new Junior Cycle will finally replace the old Junior Certificate.  Wellbeing has also been introduced as a compulsory component for Junior Cycle students from this year also. Students also do Classroom Based Assessments in all subjects in Junior Cycle which are school based and which will in time replace traditional end of term assessments, the results of which will also appear on The Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement

 

Ms Gilmore, Acting Deputy Principal and Ms Dolan, Acting Principal outlined the planned changes, the motivation for change and how positive encouragement from parents across the country could make the change more effective. They explained how formative assessment would point out to students exactly what they needed to do to improve rather than just reporting a grade or level without effective feedback. They linked the relevance of this style of learning to the key skills required in the 21st Century and to third level study, demonstrating how new methods of imparting knowledge and skill would be excellent preparation for work and life-long learning.  Inclusive education was also explored and the central role of developing high levels of wellbeing in all students under the knowledge that: ” happy students learn better”

To further the concept of Wellbeing, an area with a lot of emphasis in the new Junior Cycle, Parents were given specific feedback from data gathered by Ms J Spain of the PE Dept. around levels of activity and nutrition among our students. A whole school survey at the start of the year enabled important data to be collected about students’ well-being including what they are eating and how often they are participating in the recommended 60 mins of physical activity every day. Ms Spain outlined the role parents play in promoting activities and supporting students to make healthy food and treat choices. Parents in the audience suggested closer links with local sporting clubs and organisations and agreed that exercising with their daughters would be a great way to promote healthy living and keep the lines of communication open during teenage years.

There was a wonderful sense of community and partnership with all the adults present taking ownership of the work to be done to support and nurture the students on their journey through Junior Cycle and beyond.

With this level of teamwork and support, the girls in St Louis can achieve the highest possible levels of happiness and academic success.

Click on the link below for a copy of the presentation given on the night.

Junior Cycle Parents Presentation St Louis Dundalk

 

 

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The Diary of a Running Girl- TY 5K Challenge

As part of TY each student is expected to do a report on every activity undertaken. Here is one student’s report on their Couch to 5K challenge, which culminated in a run on Saturday October 28th in DkIT at the weekly Parkrun. Congrats to all the girls who participated and to Janne whose time of 24 minutes was the fastest.

 

“As part of Transition Year, in our PE classes, we had to partake in a 5km run. To do this, we downloaded a training program on our phones. We also had to ensure we had appropriate and suitable clothing for this activity. I had already amassed a formidable collection of sports leggings but was in need of some t-shirts, so I went to my favourite shop TK Maxx. I paid for the app on my phone, downloaded some motivational music and I was finally ready to start running.

Before this I didn’t think very highly of running in general. It was for athletic crazy people, certainly not me. While I always made sure my fitness was of an acceptable standard, I resented having to push myself much further than necessary. In my first bleep test, I got a score of 6.0 of which I was fairly proud. This could be attributed to the fact that over the summer I had participated in a gymnastics course. This course was led by possibly the most tyrannical person in existence, who seemed to be under the impression that we were training for the Olympics, not for fun. Although I was barely able to walk after the course each day, I was very happy with the increase in my level of fitness. It was for this reason that I believed running would be okay. I mean, how hard could it possibly be?

On the first day of our running program, we were cheerily informed that we would only be running for a total of 6 minutes, in 1 minute bursts. We began running with hope and joy in our little hearts. When we finished running we realised that this was not going to be easy. We also realised that in order to run, you have to consume enough food that you don’t pass out; too much food would lead to painful cramps and stitches. I was a victim of the latter.

We went home and had to do a run by ourselves. Out I headed into the pitch blackness with one loyal sister-supporter at my side. I played a random selection of music that could be heard from miles away as I had not yet discovered the joy of earphones. Tired but exhilarated, I finished my run, satisfied with my newfound level of commitment.

The next class, we had to run again (surprise surprise) This time, the duration increased to a whopping 1 minute but 8 times instead of six. I was pretty exhausted after this run and looking back now, that’s slightly shocking. The next PE class was basically the same but we had to run for fractionally longer. I felt quite good about this run because I didn’t feel too overexerted afterwards. At this stage I had figured out how to eat lunch on Wednesdays and Fridays without feeling like I had been sliced in half with a samurai sword.

Every day we went running the program got progressively harder. I started needing water while I was exercising, not just after. When we had shorter times to run we all sprinted. As running times got longer though, our speed slowly decreased to a moderate jog/run. As we ran, some people found running harder than others. We all tried to encourage each other as we all felt absolutely exhausted. Around this point in the program, my memory seems to have blended the whole experience into one giant mess of exercise and running. I felt like I had peaked around the 3 minute mark. One week it was hard for me to run for 4 minutes which is amazing looking back on it now. At this stage we were missing PE left, right and centre for various TY trips. It was up to us to run at home to make up for the missed classes. Being totally frank, I skipped some of the duplicate runs because of other commitments and laziness. However I soon realised that this would not be a viable option because the runs were getting much harder.

At the start of this program, running for 5 minutes was absolutely shocking. However, towards the end of the program, when there were five minutes left, everyone let out a sigh of relief. For the longer runs, the last minute was the hardest. You knew you were so close to finishing but you felt dead.

As the weeks progressed, fewer people used their phones, which I felt was a tremendous mistake on their part. Without my phone and my music I actually wouldn’t have been able to run. My taste in music quickly changed from pop hits to a bit of Tchaikovsky for several reasons. Personally, I like classical music anyway and when I listen to pop I always have to sing along. However, when you’re running you are obviously unable to sing because your precious oxygen is going towards keeping you alive. Classical music distracted me because I listened to the music instead of thinking about how awful I felt whilst running. Running releases endorphins which are supposed to make you happier. Unfortunately, you only really feel their full effect when you finish running, so it’s up to you to persevere.

As the running got harder and longer, my leggings went from full length to cropped. I didn’t even bother bringing a jacket any week, no matter the weather, because I knew I’d be warm anyway. The strange thing about running was although it got harder each time, it also got easier in an unusual way. I still felt like I was dying but it felt easier and harder simultaneously. The point at which I remember the running taking a step up was Week 6, Day 1. We had to run for 10 minutes, walk for 5 and then run for another 10. I remember the feeling of outrage and dread in our year group. It was a very hard run but I felt really proud that I had run for 20 minutes. Throughout the entire 8 weeks, I never let myself stop running. I felt that if I stopped once, I would be setting an unconscious precedent in my mind which I felt was very important not to do. Running is as much about the physical as it is the mental.

The last few weeks of running were daunting. Whenever I ran, all I could see in the back of my mind was 35 minutes. I felt incapable of such a thing. When the runs began to hit the 15 minute mark, I began to experience shin splints. These were worse than stitches because there was nothing I could do to stop them. When I came home after runs my shins would ache when I walked or put weight on them. However, I persevered because I was so close to actually running 5km. I told myself I could do it and I continued to run.

In the last 2 weeks, Ms. Spain informed us we would be running outside. This sounded like a great idea except for one thing. It was absolutely lashing. We headed outside and began running. Rain covered my glasses and I needed windscreen wipers to see. I tried wiping my glasses on my t-shirt, which was also soaking. I just continued running half blind. When I returned to the hall I still had 5 minutes left. It was a very hard run inside the hall after running outside. Strangely enough, I much preferred running outside because it gave me a sense of purpose. There was a tangible route and it was easy to mark your progress internally, whereas in the hall, it just blended into a big mess of circuits and circles. I found when running in the hall again, it helped me when I followed the lines. Cutting the corners did not please me for some unknown reason and I felt that the lines gave me some purpose because I focused on going corner to corner.

We ran outside several times after this. Thankfully the weather was getting cooler as the term progressed because running in warm weather is not a particularly pleasant experience. I enjoyed running outside because it fuelled the competitive beast inside me. I liked starting at the back and slowly making my way to the front.

Our last run at school approached. We only did a short run the day before our 5k. We also redid the bleep test. I was very pleased to have improved my score by 11 runs, bringing it up to 7.1, which was in the “very good” category. I was glad to see a tangible increase in my fitness level after putting in all that hard work.

To prepare for our Parkrun we had to register online. I signed up and received my barcode, which I forgot to print until the morning of the run. I also had to persuade one of my parents to take me to DkIT on Saturday morning because this was our one weekend off from orchestra in the same place, at that time. We all went home on the Friday evening feeling slightly nervous and possibly terrified that we actually had to do this.

I woke up on that Saturday morning feeling very tired. My muscles ached and I wondered why. It was then I realised my mistake of playing dodgeball and running, the day before my first 5k. Not very wise of me. I decided a good breakfast would consist of some high energy, non-stodgy food. So logically, I turned to sugar. I wore cropped leggings and a t-shirt because this combination had served me well before and I printed out my barcode.

When I arrived at the Parkrun site, I realised my choice of clothing was probably not the wisest. Freezing is an understatement. I knew that I would be warm when I started running, but what I hadn’t counted on was the wind turbine right beside us and the temperature that morning. We all huddled like penguins and complained about the cold. We were shown where to run and our mouths dropped open when we saw how long the course was. We had to run all of it 3 times. 3 times. We all lined up and prepared to run. We started running. It instantly became clear that we were the middle of the pack runners. The sprinters took off and were all well ahead of us. My first lap was okay. I developed a steady pace. I had lost all of my friends but I continued the way I had been running. I abandoned my jacket after the first lap. The second lap was pretty hard. The fun was wearing off and I was beginning to feel tired. I was also slightly peeved that people were sprinting then walking and kept appearing in front of me and then behind me. The third lap was the hardest. I have no idea how I kept going. Towards the end of the race, the sprint then walk people were just ahead of me. With a sudden vicious competitive streak showing, I sprinted past one of the perpetrators. 10 metres from the end I flew by a poor lady who just let out a sigh of disappointment as I crushed her hopes and dreams. I finished running the 5k in a time of 31:46, much better than a previous time of 48 minutes walking. I was 8th in my age category and was delighted with my achievement. I really enjoyed running even though it killed me every time. It was satisfying to work hard at something and achieve my goal.

I am very proud of my achievements so far in TY and this is one of them. I would like to continue running in the future as I feel that it really improved my health and wellbeing.”

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You can get involved too! Active Healthy Living Week 2017

step challenge

Step challenge

Tomorrow we start our Active Healthy Living Week.
Being active has been proven to improve cognitive function – have a look at some of the following findings –

* Cognitive function improves from small bouts of exercise

* Children with reading difficulties benefit from physical activity including balance,timing & co-ordination

* Physical activity in child-hood may optimize cortical development promoting lasting changes in brain structure and function

* Physical activity such as balancing on one leg, juggling, throwing & catching stimulates the proliferation of neurogenesis (new brain cells) and can improve a child’s IQ. Cognitive benefits are maintained months after exercise cease.

* ‘Dose-response’ relationship is not applicable, meaning even small bouts (a minute at a time) of physical activity give benefits to brain function.

* Sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to health and learning.

* Regular bouts of physical activity across the school day not only results in greater health benefits but also higher academic achievement

* Lessons integrating physical activity are perceived as more enjoyable and more interesting compared to traditional lessons.

* Empirically deduced benefits of physical activity integration into the classroom consist of getting children more on-task, more accumulated physical activity throughout the day, and improving motivation, enjoyment, and confidence

* There is a big push in America to include more Physical Activity into STEM subjects to achieve greater attainment.

* Exercise for healthy adults increases brain volume necessary for higher order processing, attentional control and memory

* Adults taking regular exercise, even in small bouts showed greater memory and cognitive function and lessened pathological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

So all this week your daughters will be more active even in non PE classes.
The whole family can get invloved too.
Try the Step challenge – try to do at least 10,000 steps a day – take a photo of your step count each day and post on Facebook and the winner will receive a voucher for Country Fresh to get a few vegetables for the weekend!

So just how far is 10,000 steps? Have alook at the table below to help!

How far is 10,000 steps?

Steps                KMs             Miles
10,000               8                    5
Drogheda         36.8              22.8
A Marathon     42.1              26.2
Dublin              86.9              54
11,000                                     5.2
12,000                                     5.7
13,000                                     6.15
14,000                                     6.62
15,000                                     7.10
20,000                                    9.46

Let us know how you get on! We will keep you updated on the staff’s progress too.

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Active Healthy Living Week 2017

Active Healthy Living Week

Here is the timetable for an incredibly busy schedule for our Active Healthy Living Week which takes place from Monday October 23rd to Friday October 27th.

The activities take place during lunch break and the students are asked to wear their sports gear every day except Wednesday, as it is a half day so there is no lunchtime activity!

 

 

Active Healthy Living week: Monday 23rd – Friday 27th October: Lunch Activities Time-Table

Important: Every day you will wear your PE tracksuit to school, except Wednesday. Lunch this week is for 1 hour from 12.15-1.15pm

All activities begin at 12.20pm and last for 30 minutes. Go to the activity at the start of lunch. After the activity you will then have 25 minutes to get your lunch and go to your locker. Classroom cleaning will be from 1.05-1.15pm each day. As you will be in your PE tracksuit all week you should change into a different t-shirt before & after each activity. This can be any t-shirt which is suitable for the activity.

Activities take place every lunch-time. Every day there’s something different for your year group.
Activity Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday
Walk

Meet outside the chapel hall at 12.20. Ms McGrath, Ms Galligan & Ms J Mallon to co-ordinate.

The walk may still go ahead in bad weather so bring rain top/umbrella just in case.

The walk will go out of the main gate and once around the block. There are no roads to cross, but you still need to be vigilant of traffic. Stay on the footpaths and be courteous to the general public. There are no bins on the walk, so please do not bring any food/drink with you.

 

6th Year

 

 

1st & 2nd Year

 

TY & 5th Year

 

3rd Year

Dodgeball

Meet in gym at 12.20 Ms Spain to co-ordinate

Come for fun and friendly competition. Extra water suggested.

 

3rd Year

 

6th Year

1st & 2nd Year TY & 5th Year
‘Strut’

Meet in chapel hall at 12.20 Ms Higgins & Ms O’Byrne to co-ordinate

Be prepared to ‘strutt’ like never before and get hot and sweaty. Extra Water suggested.

TY & 5th Year  

3rd Year

 

6th Year

1st & 2nd Year
Team Games/ Football

Meet on outside basketball courts at 12.20. Ms S McEneaney & Ms Caraher to co-ordinate.

This activity may be cancelled if the weather is bad.

 

1st & 2nd Year

 

TY & 5th Year

 

3rd Year

 

6th Year

Food Discovery Challenge & healthy lunch ideas

Meet in either room 6 or 13 at 12.20pm. Ms McDermott & Ms Brady to co-ordinate

Important: This is a ‘sign up in advance’ activity. Only 20 students maximum. €1 charge per student payable at the time of sign up. Sign up in school office.

Room 13

1st, 2nd & 3rd Years

Room 13

Ty, 5th & 6th

Room 6

1st, 2nd & 3rd Years

Room 6

Ty, 5th & 6th

Meditation/Relaxation

Meet in Oratory. Ms Mee to co-ordinate.

Important: This is a ‘sign up in advance’ activity. Only 20 students maximum. Sign up in school office. No charge.

  Oratory

Ty, 5 & 6 Yr

  Oratory

1,2,3 Yr

Please bring extra water in a suitable drinks bottle for this week. 2 Active Points awarded every time you participate in an activity.

                                                     Get involved, Get Active, Have Fun