Deputy Principal Mary Gilmore (Co-ordinator of Step Up Project) and Principal Michelle Dolan - St Louis Dundalk
St Louis Secondary School in Dundalk in County Louth is one of 9 schools nationwide who were chosen to participate in a Department of Education initiative called Step Up in 2018.
A report on the results of the work of St Louis Secondary School to develop their practice in relation to the implementation of the new Junior Cycle curriculum to a highly effective level, was launched on Wednesday, 9th March, at an online event that was attended by members of the wider education community nationally, with closing comments by the Chief Inspector of the Department of Education, Harold Hislop.
A number of teachers along with Principal, Michelle Dolan and Deputy Principal and Co-ordinator of the project Mary Gilmore, they described in the report the results of the efforts in their school to promote the use of digital skills in the classroom to support teaching, learning and assessment.
This was especially topical given the closures to schools in 2020, when digital skills were of huge importance for online learning which took place.
The teachers in St Louis reported that participating in the project was of immense value to both the students and staff in moving from effective to highly effective teaching, learning and assessment using digital technologies and that both staff and students had grown in confidence and skills in the area of digital technology with a lasting impact on the school going forward.
A School Excellence fund project called Step Up was launched by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) in 2018.
The goals identified for the Step Up project were to achieve higher quality learning experiences and outcomes for students through more effective implementation of aspects of the Framework for Junior Cycle (2015).
St Louis was supported to develop highly effective practices of teacher collaboration and reflection, guided by the School Self-Evaluation process and standards, while simultaneously developing student-centred innovation in relation to aspects of the new curriculum.
Cross-subject groups of teachers whose subjects (English, Business Studies and Science) had been the first three to undergo specification change under the Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) were invited to participate in Step Up, creating the opportunity for their learning to influence the practice of other subject areas within their schools.
Deputy principal Mary Gilmore commented:
"It was wonderful to be chosen as one of only 9 schools to benefit from the expertise on offer from the Dept.
"With Covid hitting in March 2020 we were in a very good position to ensure that the highest quality teaching and learning happened during the lockdowns when school went online.
"Our students found the project enhanced their digital skills and confidence which made online learning far more successful as a result."
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