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Parents’ Council

  • Parents Council 2015-16Parents’ Council

    At Mercy Mounthawk, we have an active, committed and vibrant Parents Council.  The Committee is elected annually in October from the general committee.  The Parents Council meet in the school on a monthly basis and the Deputy Principal attends these meetings as an invited guest.
    Aims of the Parents’ Council

    • act as a voice for parents / guardians,
    • encourage active parent participation in promoting the well-being and interest of all pupils in the school,
    • promote parent networking and participation in educational and extra-curricular activities,
    • ensure the rights of parents to consultation with school management and
    • ensure that parents/guardians are informed of developments and changes in the school

    Members

    All parents/guardians of pupils enrolled in the school are automatically members of the Parents’ Council .  We actively encourage participation in our events and attendance at our meetings and are delighted to see new faces and to hear new perspectives at any stage of the school year.

    Meetings

    Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month in the school.  Meetings commence at 8pm in Room 35 and last for approximately one hour.   Our meetings are preceded from 7.30pm by an informal cup of tea/coffee and this is a wonderful opportunity to meet other parents in a casual and informal setting.  Join us at any one of our meetings.  You will receive a warm welcome.

    The Constitution of the Mercy Mounthawk Parents’ Council can be seen here:

    Mercy Secondary School Mounthawk Parents Council Constitution

    2017-2018  CouncilUseful-Links-Button

    Chairperson:     Kathleen Holmes

    Secretary:    

    Treasurer:          Caroline O’ Carroll

    PRO:                       Elaine Clancy

    Parent Representatives on Board Of Management: Louis Byrne, Angela Ryan

    Contact us

    If you would like to make contact with us on any matter, email us at mmparentscouncil@gmail.com.

    Please note that Mercy Mounthawk Parents Council does not use social media accounts.

     

    • Parents’ Council News

      Report 2018 -2019

      We commenced our year in September with our AGM, at which we explained our activities and accounted for monies raised and spent. Principal, John O’Roarke, also delivered a report, addressing the recent changes in curriculum, the use of new active learning methodologies in junior cycle, literacy and numeracy academic achievements and aims for the coming year. Elections were held for Parent Representative positions on the Board of Management.
      In October, we organised our Third Annual Career’s Night for senior-cycle students. This event complements the work done by the Career Guidance Department by offering students the chance to learn about the reality of a particular career – the unique skills required, the career challenges, pay structures and also gives the students the opportunity to meet specialists living in their own community. Almost thirty different careers were highlighted and we are very grateful to the many local people in industry and the professions who give so willingly of their time and expertise to interact with our young people at this event. We would be delighted to hear from any parent who would be willing to talk about their own career at our next careers event in October 2019 – perhaps this could be your way of offering your skills and encouraging the work of the Parents Council??
      Parents play a very important role in supporting their young people as they make decisions about third level education. Recognising this, we invited Catherine O’Connor (author and Education Consultant at Trinity College Dublin) to deliver a talk to parents on “Cracking the College Code”. She advised parents to allow and encourage our children to take personal responsibility for their own lives and decisions. Students likewise were advised to research their course ideas in great detail, to openly discuss at home how it is proposed to pay the costs of college (grants, parttime work, bank of mum & dad??), and to be well-prepared for the challenges of independent learning and living at third level.
      In November, we invited Stella O’Malley (psychotherapist and author of ‘Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong’) to speak to parents and, separately, with our second year students on how to stand with strength against bullying. Stella encouraged the students to be ‘upstanders’ rather than bystanders to bullying and to be patient in finding ‘their tribe’ of like-minded friends. Over one hundred parents attended her evening talk which indicates the level of concern on this issue. In March, we availed of further free training by the DCUbased National Anti-Bullying Research Centre. This training was provided to parents and to all junior-cycle students and was supported by the school and by the National Parents Council to which we are affiliated.
      This year, school management invited parents to offer feedback on the revised Child Safeguarding Policy, and separately, to take part in a focus group on “Assessment & Reporting”. This followed changes in the new Junior Certificate and allowed parents to provide input and feedback on the assessment and reporting process at Mounthawk.

      As members of the National Parents Council Post Primary, we also responded to a variety of national surveys and, in this way, we made our contribution to the development of national policy on a number of educational issues.
      Parents’ Council activities are funded from voluntary fund-raising efforts – our bag-pack events in local supermarkets, our family table quiz and from the sale of second chance uniforms. Sincere thanks to all in our community who supported us at these events – all funds raised at these events are re-invested in parent and student initiatives at the school.
      Our primary goal as a Parents Council is to act as a voice for parents/guardians and, throughout the year, we successfully represented the concerns of parents on a number of issues which were raised in our meetings. We ran a very successful Parenting Course for junior-cycle parents (facilitated by our local KETB), we organised travel identity cards for students, assisted in book rentals and in 6th year photograph sales, and we were visible offering a welcoming cup of tea to parents at a selection of meetings and events at Mounthawk. We are a busy and energetic crew!
      Unfortunately, as students move on from Mercy Mounthawk to new adventures elsewhere, we lose the involvement of their parents. We would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of those parents who leave our school community this year and to wish them and their families joy and success into the future. We would be delighted to welcome some new faces to our events and are actively appealing for parents/guardians (in particular from junior cycle) to participate with us, to join our meetings, to assist at an event, to offer your skills and talents in any way…. it’s a wonderful way to support your child’s education and to meet and to gain the support of other parents. Our meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month and are preceded by light refreshments, where you can meet our existing members in a relaxed and informal setting. Contact us by email at mmparentscouncil@ gmail.com, visit our page on the school website http:// www.mercymounthawk.ie/parents-council/ or come to our next meeting (check the school calendar).
      Kathleen Holmes Chairperson – Mercy Mounthawk Parents Council

      Parents Council Christmas Bag Pack: Sincere thanks to the parents who generously gave of their time to help out at our recent Christmas bag pack, and who were ably assisted by our Transition Year students.  We greatly appreciate the support offered by all who donated to our fund-raiser.  Thanks also to Garvey’s Supervalu Tralee.  All funds raised go to parent and student initiatives at the school.

      Information Talk:  Stella O’Malley is a mental health professional, public speaker and bestselling author of Cotton Wool Kids, and ‘Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong‘.  Much of Stella’s counselling with parents and young people, and her writing, focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being, and she is a regular contributor to the Irish Independent and the Sunday Independent.  We were delighted to continue our on-going support for the Well-Being Curriculum in the school by inviting Stella to speak with our second year students in early November.  Later on the same day, over one hundred parents attended the Centenary Hall for a similar talk given by Stella.   She described how difficult it is sometimes for young people to find a group they feel comfortable in – to find their ‘tribe’, as she described it.  She focused on how our young people can tap into their inner strength to be deflect judgement and negative attention from peers.  She invited the students to not be silent participants in bullying situations, to find their own voice in clever ways and to “Be an Upstander, not a Bystander” in such situations.  The feedback on both talks was tremendously positive and both students and parents reported being encouraged and inspired by this talk.

      Careers Night for Senior Students: Making the transition to third level education is a challenging but rewarding time in a students life.  Making the wrong choice of college course is the single biggest reason for students subsequently dropping out of College.   In recent years, the Parents Council has placed a special focus on the needs of senior cycle students, as they examine the third level courses on offer and make decisions which will affect their futures.

      We were delighted to host our annual Careers Night for senior students on Thursday 4th October, with an attendance of almost 200 students from the 5th and 6th year classes. This event was established in 2015 and has grown in strength and success year-on-year.   It offers a unique opportunity for the students to gain real insight into a variety of careers.  We are very grateful to the many local people in industry and the professions who give so willingly of their time and expertise to explain their careers and to interact with our young people.  Almost thirty career specialists volunteered to speak with the students about educational pathways, skills requirements, career challenges, pay structures and much more.  Thank you also to the Transition year students and parent volunteers who facilitate this event.

      Guest Speaker – Cracking the College Code: We are also conscious of the important role parents play in supporting their children as they navigate these third level course decisions.  We invited Catherine O’Connor to deliver a talk to parents on Careers Night.  A renowned author, and Education Consultant at Trinity College Dublin, Catherine travelled from Dublin to deliver a very worthwhile and well-received talk on “Cracking the College Code”.  This involves parents encouraging the student to take personal responsibility for their own lives and decisions, the student adequately researching course ideas, discussing openly with their son/daughter how it is proposed to finance college fees and maintenance costs, understanding the change to independent learning at third level, informing themselves in detail of all course requirements, taking on basic household chores, developing budgeting skills and much more.  The parents challenge is to take a step back and encourage this independence.  This is integral to the student not just surviving but thriving in college life.

      Parents’ Council AGM 2018: We commenced our year with the Annual General Meeting, which was held on Wednesday 26th September in the school’s Centenary Hall.   At this meeting, we explain our involvement in the school through our activities, and we account for our finances for the previous year.  This meeting is a great opportunity to hear about the many ways in which we carry out work on behalf of parents and students.

      The Principal, John O’Roarke, also gave a report at the AGM.  This addressed recent changes in curriculum, use of new active learning methodologies in junior cycle, literacy and numeracy SIPs, academic achievements and aims for the coming year.  Elections were held for Parent Representative positions on the Board of Management.

      Second Chance Uniform: Before the new school year began, we were busy working on behalf of parents – in mid-August, we hosted a sale of second chance uniforms.  This is made possible by the generous donations of no longer needed items of uniform, which we wash and offer for sale at very affordable prices.  This is also a significant fund-raiser for the Parents Council so we appreciate your support for this initiative.

      Our next sale will take place in January, but if you need a replacement or spare sweater / trousers / tie at any time, contact us at mmparentscouncil@gmail.com and we will arrange to meet you.

      Family Table Quiz: Our Table Quiz fund-raiser was held  in the  Centenary Hall on the evening of Thursday 8th March and was a resounding success in many ways.  With a phenomenal turnout of students, parents and guardians, it was a fitting tribute to the celebration of Family Week in the school, where students and parents were encouraged to set aside mobile phones and technology and to engage in spending quality-time together.  MC Sean Lyons brought his own inimitable brand of humour to the proceedings and we are grateful to Sean and also to the many local businesses which generously donated spot prizes.  Proceeds from the event will be used to support the development of the new computer science facilities.

       Information Talk – Substance Abuse, a Parents Guide: Each year the Parents Council do our best to host an educational talk on a topic of interest to our parents.  This term, we decided to shine the light on substance abuse, exploring the local experience of misuse of items which commonly exist in homes – alcohol, tobacco, prescription medication – and also the misuse of substances such as cannabis, solvents and class A drugs.  We were delighted to welcome a member of the Kerry Drugs Unit of An Garda Siochana for a Parents Guide to Substance Abuse.  A substantial number of parents braved the elements to join us on a wet and cold November evening, an indication perhaps of the  concern of the challenges facing our young people, their parents and our community.  We are extremely grateful to our local Gardai for facilitating this event.

      Drug and Alcohol helpline number 1800 459 459 or email helpline@hse.ie

       

       

       

       

      Jigsaw Kerry (see above)

       

    • Agreed Reports from the Board of Management

       

      ANNUAL REPORT ON SCHOOL PLANNING AND IMPROVEMENT

      delivered by the Principal to the Parents’ Council AGM on 27.09.2017

      parents Council AGM 2017 27.10.17

       

    • Current Consultations

      This section will carry links to any current consultations being undertaken with parents in the school regarding policies or procedures.

      Parent Consultation on RSE(coming in September – October 2019). Please Click here for some resources.

      Parent Consultation on Assessment and Reporting December 2018

      Wellbeing Policy draft 2 December 2016

  • Upcoming Activities 2019 – 2020

    UPCOMING PARENTS’ COUNCIL EVENTS ALL ARE WELCOME!
    Next meeting of the Parents’ Council 9th October 2019 (Room 35)

    Parents’ Council AGM 25th September 2019 (Centenary Hall)

    Parents’ Council Careers Night for 5th & 6th years 3rd October 2019 (Centenary Hall)

     

    While one of the primary aims of the Council is to inform parents/guardians about our childrens’ education, we also encourage parental engagement through involvement in some (not all!) of the following activities which we have initiated over the course of recent years.  These activities have been integral to the development of a positive and rewarding relationship with the school. 

    • Member of the National Parents Council (Post Primary)
    • Forum for parents to support each other
    • Forum for new parents to integrate with the school and other parents
    • Forum for parents to engage with their child’s education
    • Participate in Department of Education Whole School Evaluations
    • Educational Courses and Talks for parents.
    • Educational talks for students
    • Student ID cards
    • Second Chance Uniform Scheme
    • Fund raisers – bag-packing and table quizzes.
    • Graduation Gifts for 6th Year students
    • Debs Committee supporting 6th year students
    • Book Scheme which makes second-hand books available to some students.
    • Liaison with the Student Council
    • Careers Night for Senior Students
    • Support Active Leisure Group
    • Funding to support Spanish debating, athletics equipment, basketball trips
    • Supporting public speaking sessions for students.
    • Assisting with school outings and sports events
    • Maths for Fun Programme
    • 121 Digital Programme

     

    2nd Chance Uniform Scheme:

    New items of uniform are readily available from Gemma’s Uniforms, who attend the school regularly.  They are also available from Fitzgerald’s store, located on The Mall in the centre of Tralee town.

    Recognising that new uniforms can be expensive, we have setup this scheme to offer previously owned items of uniform for sale at affordable prices.  We hold two sales of Second Chance Uniforms each year – in late August and in early January.  However, if your son/daughter needs to replace an item of uniform during the year, contact us as we may have a suitable replacement in our stock.

    Donations of good quality, previously-owned uniforms can be left into the school office for the attention of the Parents’ Council.

    For further details contact the Parents’ Council at mmparentscouncil@gmail.com