As the new Academic year begins, staff and students in the College are returning to some new changes. Fiona O’Brien has been seconded by JCT in a Leadership capacity and Stella Loughnane who has been Deputy Principal for 8 years is now taking over as Principal of the College. The college now welcomes Eilish O’Leary as the New Deputy Principal. Eilish has worked in the College and students young and old will remember her as the Business teacher and PLC tutor. The college is pleased to be taking on 6 new teachers in a variety of teaching capacities.
Currently due to growing numbers in the college we were granted four new class rooms by the department of education and skills. These rooms will be fully equipped with wifi, data projectors. The Parents council fund-raised to create a foyer / meeting space between the rooms along with a corridor out into the new wing. We have a beautiful tree on the property that was important to us to preserve so we took this into account when planning, and also designed a walled window so that the tree is now a focal point of the foyer. As the college now moves to one hour classes (first in the town to do this!!) room for teachers and students to participate in active classroom methodologies and instructional strategies is now paramount. The building was also designed to be 'future proofed' so that if we are ever fortunate enough to receive more funding in the future we will be in a position to continue this style of modern build. The college has also just completed a comprehensive renovation of all bathrooms, all are now brand new !
Following lengthy research and whole staff discussion the college has decided to move to one-hour classes starting this academic year. There are many reasons for this change, but it is primarily to improve the teaching and learning experience for all of our students. By introducing one-hour classes we aim to:
• Facilitate a more active learning environment for all students
• Create more interactive classrooms that are student centred
• Improve group work, and embed peer learning
• Increase inquiry based learning
• Solidify varied teaching methodologies
• Facilitate the implementation of good formative assessment practices.
• Meanwhile, this new structure falls in line with the requirements of the revised Junior Certificate Curriculum.
Over the past number of years staff of Killarney Community College have attended a wide variety of professional development courses aimed at introducing innovative and active learning methodologies, working with the likes of Professor Barrie Bennet, the late Paul Ginnis, and most recently Graham Powell. Over this time one of the largest constraints to developing this strategies was the short class time of 35 and 40 minutes.
Killarney Community College is the first school in the Killarney area to take on this progressive challenge. It is our hope that students will take more responsibility for their learning as they will be more active participants. Students should become more focused but less stressed as they are now preparing for six classes (instead of 9) a day. Bags should be lighter, and students more organised. There will be time now for positive student/teacher collaboration in the class. There should also be evidence of an improved atmosphere in the school building as there will be less disruption and time lost when changing over of classes.
The time allocation and class contact time of each subject has been carefully calculated, and adjusted where necessary so that over the course of study students receive the correct amount of time. As with any major change in our college we will monitor and review this progressive new initiative at the end of the year with teachers, parents, and students. Sample 1 Hour Timetable below:
"Excellence in Learning for Life, through Respect, Responsibility and Inclusion".