A short newsletter from Dominican College
View this email in your browser

A Message from the Principal

I would like to welcome all students back to school this year but especially to all the new students who joined our school for the first time. It has been a great start to the year for us. We had excellent results from both state exams and our students continue to experience achievements in all aspects of their life. Furthermore we had a very successful science inspection where the inspector praised the department with its highest rating on the inspectorate’s quality continuum – “Teaching and learning are of a very high standard”. All in all, the school is, as it should be, a very busy place.

Friendship Week was once again a huge success and helped with the process of building positive relationships as well as educating ourselves around the area of safe and responsible use of online technologies. Having recently graduated from their two-year Instructional Leadership programme, we are very proud that three members of our staff (Mr. J. Curry, Ms. S. Grogan and Ms. L. McCool) were asked to host a workshop at the recent International Instructional Leadership Conference in Carlow where they showcased the evolution of our Friendship Week. Our opening school Mass was also held during Friendship Week and great thanks is due to all involved: Ms Doyle, Ms Goggins, Ms N. Murray, Ms. M. Murray, Ms Savage and Mr McCartney.  First Year parents had an opportunity to have breakfast in school and have a guided tour from their daughters and meet some of their new friends! It is wonderful to see that everyone is settling in well. Highlights from some of the other year group activities during Friendship Week included bubble soccer and sand sculpting.

6th Year and Transition Year students have already enjoyed their retreats, thanks to our school chaplain, Mr. McCartney, and also some of their teachers who accompanied them to Howth. 2nd Year students had a trip to Dunsink Observatory for a lecture on ‘Time and the Calendar’ while senior students had a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) outing to name but a few events this term. As usual, as part of their jam-packed programme, Transition Year students are again helping with Age Action which offers our more senior community members an opportunity to learn IT skills. I encourage all parents to tune into RTE on October 31st at 7.30 to view last year Transition Year students in “Making Ireland Click”. We have been told that Eimear Maher’s performance is exceptional.

At this time of year, mornings are darker and evenings are shorter so it is even more important that all students are reminded to use pedestrian crossings and are visible on their journey; school jackets and reflective clothing are essential over the next few months. It is essential that your daughters remain safe and are visible as they travel to and from school. We also need to remind parents that we restrict cars entering the carpark between 8:15 – 9:00 am and again between 3:15 – 4:00 pm for the safety of your children. The number of cars driving into the carpark during these times has increased hugely this year and it is of great concern to us, so we ask you to refrain from driving into the school at these busy times.

We hope you enjoy reading these school newsletters. If you have an item that is suitable for inclusion and that you would like to share with others, please email it, along with an accompanying photograph if possible, to We like to celebrate all achievements of our students, but occasionally we are unaware of all events that our students are engaged in and you can help us to bring that news to a wider audience.
As educators, the staff are committed to delivering the curriculum to the very highest standard so that every child reaches her full potential. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all our teachers and wish them an enjoyable and well-earned break. We look forward to your continued support as parent and partners in your child’s education. REMEMBER WE ARE OPEN ON MONDAY 7th NOVEMBER.
Dr. O. Laffoy

Age Action 2016 - 'Instructional Leadership' spreads to the next generation!

Every year Transition Year students take part in a voluntary organisation called Age Action Ireland. This year many of the TY students are helping senior members of the community become more comfortable with the technology today and the ways in which to use it.

Every Wednesday before lunch, students take on the role of teachers to assist their elders for two hours. We help setting up Gmail accounts, book flights or train tickets, use Word Documents and set up Skype profiles to help them to keep in contact with their family and friends. As much as it helps the learners develop their skills with the internet, it also benefits the students in becoming more patient and understanding. (Inés Devlin 4.1)

Dominican College Friendship Week has reached an international audience!

Three members of our staff (Mr. J. Curry, Ms. S. Grogan and Ms. L. McCool) were asked to host a workshop at the recent International Instructional Leadership Conference in Carlow.  The title of the workshop was ‘An exploration of how Dominican College developed an annual Friendship/Anti-Bullying activity using Instructional Leadership’. A lot of searching through photos and analysis of our annual programme was undertaken to ensure that the eleven year history of our Friendship Week programme was compiled in a way that did it justice.

As we researched this topic, which is very close to our hearts, we saw the full extent of how far we have travelled over those eleven years. What started out in 2006 as a set of anti-bullying lessons for all year groups has developed into a sophisticated programme of activities and events tailored to the varying ages and stages of our students. Of course, we have not abandoned our anti-bullying lessons as they form a vital reminder of how vulnerable we are if we are not equipped with the knowledge, skills or resources to be resilient in the face of adversity.

The reaction of those attending our workshop brought home to us that our Friendship Week is not typical of what other schools do at all. The sheer scale of what we undertake here is not replicated elsewhere and yet we accept it as just part of what we do. The cooperative learning that takes place and the relationships that are built during Friendship Week benefit all of our school community long, long after the week itself has finished. We recognise that feeling happy and safe in school allows learning to take place much more easily and our Friendship Week programme is an integral part of our learning philosophy here in Dominican College.

Teachers and managers from various parts of the country have asked to visit our school to see first-hand how we organise our programme and we particularly look forward to a visit early next year from Professor Barrie Bennett, an associate professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT) who is an expert in the fields of teacher learning, instructional intelligence, and pedagogy. A simple google search will give you a flavour of his level of involvement in Instructional Leadership programmes around the world. He is also listed as Guru number 15 on the list of the World's Top 30 Education Professionals for 2016

We would like to thank the staff for the energy and enthusiasm that they bring every year to all that they do, but particularly Friendship Week. Of course, without the involvement of our students, of whom we are very proud, it wouldn’t happen at all so our gratitude is obviously extended to them. We also thank the parents who help to engage their children in important conversations around the area of respect for themselves and for others. We look forward to next year’s whole-school event which always provides a fantastic opportunity for all to gather together to celebrate our community in a uniquely creative way each year.

To close Friendship Week 2016, all of our students engaged with the cooperative learning model, Team Games Tournament in the school gym. Professor Bennett has told us that it may well be the largest group of people to do it in the world!

Safer to School and Safer Home
The autumn and winter seasons bring darker mornings and evenings and Dominican College students need to be more careful than ever when walking and cycling to and from school. We are concerned about a number of issues.
Students are very vulnerable when they:
  • Cross at the top of the Drumcondra road junction of Griffith Avenue which has no pedestrian crossing and is VERY VERY DANGEROUS
  • Spill off the islands into the centre of the lanes at busy junctions
  • Cross at the gates without looking, often on a mobile phone
  • Walk off the path and onto the driveway as cars are leaving the school at 3.40
Here are some cautions and gentle reminders.
  • Always stop, look and listen
  • Be safe, Be seen
  • Cyclists need reflective wear
  • Eyes and ears on the road, NOT on your mobile
  • Obey all traffic signs, including traffic lights.
  • Pedestrians must ALWAYS use the pedestrian crossing
Wishing all of our students and staff a happy and safe midterm break.
For more details on how to stay safe visit

Prism Competition

Congratulations to Ruth Devins and Caoilinn Devins who came first in the Dominican College Prism maths competition. Prism is a maths aptitude and problem solving competition run nationally by NUI, Galway. Well done to Ruth and Caoilinn on their excellent results.

Education for All Fair

On the 13th October, our TY students, along with over 1,000 students from fifteen post-primary schools in north Dublin attended Northside Partnership’s Education for All Fair in Parnell’s GAA Club, Coolock Village. This annual event brings all of the major further and higher education providers to Dublin’s Northside and gives students the opportunity to meet with college personnel in order to obtain information about courses and college facilities that will help them to make choices about their future education options. It was the perfect opportunity to explore students’ interests and for them to start to think about matriculation and special entry requirements for future studies.

The girls had the chance to seek out more information on the DARE and HEAR scheme. There was also a SUSI stand outlining how the grant system in Ireland operates. Most importantly, the careers fair highlighted that there is a course to suit every student in Dominican College.

Students arrived back to school, well informed and managed to take back many prospectuses for further reading at home. (Ms. Moran – Career Guidance)

Peer Teaching in German

Thursday 6th October saw the Transition Year German students come into our classroom to teach us songs in German. For the last two weeks they had worked in class on creating lyrics to melodies which we would know like “YMCA”, “Can’t stop the feeling” and “Breaking Free” (High School Musical). The songs included useful classroom and everyday phrases, numbers, the alphabet and colours.

Each song was performed firstly by a small group from Transition Year, then by the whole class and then everyone together. There were lots of smiles and laughter as we learned the new songs and even more when Ms Quinn ended the class with no homework!

The songs were great fun to sing and we now have some really useful phrases. Thanks a million to all involved. We had loads of fun. (Ellen Quigley & Grace Mc Glinchey, 1.4)


Recess 2016

I think I can speak for most people when I say complete anxiety surrounded our trip to Recess this year. Parents were snapped at, bags were snatched at and sixty nervous girls shuffled onto the bus clutching portable chargers and as much food as we could carry.

However, once we pulled out of the school’s driveway, our nerves disappeared completely. It’s like the whole world disappeared around us and unlikely friendships formed behind squashed pillows and melting snacks. I know what put me most at ease was that upon our arrival we were greeted by a donkey named Jill.

I like to believe we formed friendships in the most authentic way possible. Not to bash the internet, but it can sometimes create the illusion that we can get to know people without actually knowing people. By taking us out of our comfort zones, I suppose we became each other’s security blankets. We had to keep each other safe, be the big sisters, the ones you could go to when you ran out of Pringles on the second night, a surprisingly common problem.

We complained together but that made us stay together. We forgot completely that there was a world outside that hostel as we sat in our sleeping bags by the cosy fire. We trekked all night, in wellies we never needed before. We pushed the city out of our heads when we all made fools of ourselves at the talent show which dissolved into everlasting giggles.

However, the most important lesson we learnt, was that we forgot how to feel alone. (Kerry O’Sullivan, 4.1)

The Christmas Shoebox Appeal

This year, like every other year, Dominican College is inviting you to take part in The Christmas Shoe Box Appeal, a very worthwhile cause in which to invest your time. The Shoe Box Appeal, which is run by Team Hope, is a box of excitement sent around the world to deprived children in poor countries for some Christmas joy.

Here is a guide to what you should be putting in your box. Remember the Four W’s!
Write: Items for school – such as a pen, pencil, copy book, paper, colouring book, felt pens, sharpener, eraser, solar calculator.
Wash: Some hygiene items – toothbrush and toothpaste, soap (wrapped please), facecloth, hairbrush, comb.
Wear: Small clothing items – a hat, scarf, gloves, socks.
Wow: A treat – sunglasses, games, small Irish gift, a photo of yourself, sweets (must be in date until at least March 2017), make up, a small musical instrument, toys such as a doll, a car, cuddly toy, skipping rope or a yo-yo.

If you would like to participate, the due date is the 11th of November.  The committee will be collecting them in front of the hall after the mid-term! For more information see: (Elisa Popovici 4.1)

Second Year Friendship Week

Psychologist John Wills spoke to the whole of 2nd Year about cyberbullying and safety online. Mr. Wills was clearly very informed on this topic and he gladly shared his knowledge. He spoke to us about the importance of strong passwords and privacy settings. He also told us how social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram really work.

It was very clear that Mr. Wills had given similar talks in many different schools. He had a few horror stories about hacking and the dangers of going online. He was very amiable and you could sense the respect for Mr. Wills emanating from the students. I think I can speak for the whole of Second Year when I say he has made us all much more conscious about some of the horrific things that go on behind a screen. The internet is a very scary place; so just remember to think and try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. A bit of fun can cause a lot of harm. (Alice Cosgrave 2.4)

Beauty and the Beast

For Amy Canavan, being on stage as a cast member of “Beauty and the Beast” is a dream come true. Amy plays Mrs. Potts who she says is a great character and a pleasure to play. While it’s certainly a challenge, she is really enjoying this wonderful opportunity. The message of the show - that a person’s inner beauty is much more important than the outer - resonates with Amy.

Rehearsals for the musical began in September and have been going very well. The show’s performances will be on November 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Other cast members include: Sarah Anderson (Belle), Jeonah Roperos (Maurice), Julia Kaulsay (Beast) and Kelly Kaulsay (Gaston). Tickets are selling fast again this year and as always we can expect a great spectacle. Mo cheol sibh, a chailiní!

Senior Camogie

The senior camogie championship is fast approaching and the team is wasting no time preparing for it. Under the management of Mr Ryan and Mr Lahert the team has been training, with great numbers from 2nd to 6th Year every Monday.

The team played its first championship match against local rivals Maryfield College. As usual with Maryfield it was a tough match, but Dominican College came out on top. The next fixtures for the team will be against Our Lady’s School Templeogue and Loreto High School Beaufort. 

The future is looking bright for the Dominican College senior team. (Hannah Carty TY)

Dunsink Observatory Visit

On Thursday, the 6th of October 2016, classes 2.2 and 2.3 went on a science trip to Dunsink Observatory. The trip was organised by Mr. Moriarty to celebrate space week. We were brought there by coach and had a talk on 'Time and the Calendar' from Dr. David Malone, Maths Lecturer at Maynooth University.

At the start of the lecture he asked us questions like "How many hours are in a day?" and "During which season is the earth closest to the sun"? We learned about leap years and fascinating facts about equinoxes. We found out that many of the answers were not as straight forward as we had previously thought…You may have learned that a year really has 365.25 days thus causing a leap year every four years, but in fact it is closer to having 365.24 days. Did you know that millions went to bed on September 2nd, 1752, and woke up on September 14th? The reason… the average length of a year is 365 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes. The 11 minutes difference might not seem like all that much, but compounded over hundreds of years, it begins to add up!

After the talk, we ate lunch and went outside and walked to a smaller building which houses the oldest working telescope in the world. We didn’t get to look through it as unfortunately it was daytime!. Dunsink Observatory, opened in 1785, was the first building in Ireland specifically constructed for scientific research. It was where our greatest mathematician and arguably our greatest scientist, William Rowan Hamilton, lived and worked. It was also the place where the time standard for Ireland was set using astronomical observations until WW1. It was well worth the visit. (Celine Cryan 2.2)

Organic Chemistry Trip

On Friday October 14th, the 5th and 6th Year Chemistry classes attended a screening of Deepwater Horizon, a film based on the oil rig explosion and aftermath in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Oil Refinery and production of its many products are part of Leaving Certificate Organic Chemistry. The Deepwater Horizon had already been looked at as a case study in 6th Year and viewing of this film definitely helped consolidate the theory.

The film not only delved into the chemistry and technical set up of an oil rig, it is also an explosive disaster film that shows the extent of the environmental damage, and drilled deeply into the chain of negligence that caused the worst oil spill in history. It was a terrifying dramatisation of events in the Gulf of Mexico. (Ms. Ward)

Walton's Club - Trinity College Dublin

2nd Year students were invited and encouraged to take an entrance test into TCD’s Walton Club named after Ireland's first Nobel laureate for Science, Ernest Walton (6 October 1903 - 25 June 1995), who was awarded the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics, with John Cockcroft for ‘splitting the atom'. To our delight we have six new 2nd Year students accepted into the club along with six girls (now in TY) who are enjoying their third year there. Mr. Moriarty visited all the 2nd Year classes with current members of the club as well as uploading information on the web and the school app to ensure that everybody had the opportunity to become involved. The girls are Celine Cryan, Kathleen O’Shaughnessy, Sophie McAlpin, Christine Babu, Meadhbh Farrelly and Heather Harrington. (One of these girls has just started taking science as an academic subject!)
Trinity Walton’s Club, offers post-primary students a unique hub to connect with like-minded students and STEM role models. Each week, students partake in a range of challenging STEM sessions and activities that complement their national maths and science curricula and enrich their understanding of STEM even further. The club strives to support students to reach their potential and encourages them to one day become passionate, forward-thinking innovators.
Joining the STEM programme has been well worth the effort. It has been an amazing experience. All the mentors are very communicative and friendly and the programme is showing us that these subjects can be good fun and good for our future. Next, we will be joining the BT Young Scientists programme. We are really looking forward to the next challenge. (Christine Babu 2.4)

Geography Field Trip - 3rd Years

On Tuesday October 11th, all 3rd year students took a trip to Howth for a mini coastal fieldwork. Our trip began at Howth summit and finished on Balscadden Beach. Students started the day by recalling what they remembered about coastal processes before going on the summit walk. On the way they identified features of coastal erosion and deposition. On reaching Balscadden Beach students completed the fieldwork booklet by carrying out a number of fieldwork activities. These included a wave count as well as completing a sketch of all coastal features identified.  There was also great excitement when a curious seal made an appearance! A great day was had by all.

'Dominicans' on TV

Everyone loves a HUG!
Bunny and Pidge have learned to HUG each other. Check them and Ms. Holohan out at 43:48 at the following link. Note: This link will only work for another couple of days.

Make sure you have learned to HUG your questions.
H - Highlight the key instruction
U - Underline the most important details
G - Glance back to ensure you have answered what you were asked.
Hugging your questions will make you feel better.
Making Ireland Click
Secondly, Making Ireland Click is a four-part documentary series, with David Puttnam, Ireland’s Digital Champion, who travels around Ireland on a mission to get citizens connected. In the first episode, on Monday 31st October, RTÉ One at 7:30pm, we meet older people and adult learners who are just starting to dip their toes into the online world and take their first click with the help of our last year’s TY students. I believe that Eimear Maher is a “natural”!

Maths Week 2016 - 5th Year

Maths Week 2016 was held in Dominican College, Griffith Avenue to coincide with Ireland’s National Maths Week. On Tuesday, October 18th, all 5th Year students enjoyed a mathematics workshop called Exploding Dots in the RDS as part of this week.

Exploding Dots was a very interactive experience where the mathematics of arithmetic that we all learned in primary school and the polynomial algebra we are currently learning was looked at from an intriguing point of view. Complex long division of cubic and quadratic equations was made simple by linking it to the maths from 4th and 5th classes and binary numbers from Transition Year.  A really interesting afternoon of mathematics!

The Rainbow Junior Arch Club

 The Rainbow Junior Arch club on St. Canice’s Road is a social club for children with special needs. It provides two hours of fun and activities every Saturday for children with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and many other disabilities.

For the past five weeks, nine TY students from Dominican College have been going to the club to help with setting up the room, playing games, doing yoga, arts and crafts and loads more. We even had a dress up day for Halloween with face paint, games, music and sweets. Everyone has enjoyed it so far and Transition Year is a great opportunity to try new things like this! (Róisín Farrelly 4.4)

Friendship Week 2016

In Dominican College we have a proud tradition of organising special lessons and activities for students as part of our annual “Friendship Week”. This is an important part of our policy on being proactive to prevent bullying within the school environment. During this week we aim to educate students about bullying and how to avoid it and/or deal with it, while also promoting the importance of building strong friendships. We hope that the effects of this week last throughout the year.

A number of guest speakers visited the school to share their specific areas of expertise. These visitors included Mr. John Wills (Barnardos), Cian Power (Union of Students of Ireland) and team members from Jigsaw Mental Health Support Facility. Along with these visiting speakers, the teachers in Dominican College facilitated meaningful discussion amongst the students on identifying and considering the impact of bullying behaviour. The theme for this year was “Connect with Respect”. Students also took part in various trips or activities to promote team building and strengthen friendships. These trips included the Botanic Gardens, First Year Breakfast in school, Collins Barracks, Dalkey Castle, Croke Park and Portmarnock Strand. Finally, a whole school activity was organised where students, mixed across the various year groups, played a team games tournament in the gym. This quiz required the students to work in teams, collaborate, communicate and test their knowledge of the school and issues around bullying. We also unveiled our photo mosaic which is made up of individual photos of all our students, teachers and staff, and the Dominican Sisters as our nearest neighbours. This mosaic represents the importance of every single person playing a key role in strengthening the school community. Feedback from the students in relation to Friendship Week 2016 was overwhelmingly positive. We hope that the effects of this week last throughout the year.

TY Horticulture Class 2016/2017

In the TY horticulture module, we have been learning about sowing seeds, planting vegetables and flowers in the school polytunnel and helping to maintain flower beds and containers around the school.

Our class also took part in Age Action week and each student showed their partner how to plant a hyacinth bulb correctly and how to care for it during the winter months.

In October we planted broad beans (suitable for winter growth) into small pots and have since transferred them into vegetable beds in the polytunnel along with radish, purple sprouting broccoli, spinach, lettuce and daffodils bulbs.
The class have been recording the air and soil temperature inside the polytunnel.  We will track the growth of our plants against the temperature over the coming months.

The class recently took hardwood cuttings of different shrubs on the school grounds as part of a class on vegetative propagation.  Vegetative propagation is a type of asexual reproduction.  We cut the stem at an angle using a pruning shears, removed all the lower leaves and cut some of the upper leaves in half to reduce transpiration. The cuttings were dipped in rooting powder and transferred into small pots covered with a zip lock bag to reduce transpiration.  This will encourage roots to start growing.   Each cutting will eventually become a new plant.   We look forward to seeing how they turn out. (Michelle Lynch 4.4)

Happy Halloween from Home Economics!

You can unsubscribe from this list by clicking here

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Dominican College · Dominican College · 204 Griffith Ave · Dublin 9, D 0 · Ireland

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp