Supporters of St Francis (SOS)

The PA launched their SOS scheme (Supporters of St Francis) in December 2015.

Together with the school Prncipal and staff, the PA examined some strategies and methods for reducing costs in our school and came up with the SOS initiative, inviting parents to take an active role in supporting the school in a non financial way. The SOS scheme allows parents to become more involved with your school community.

All too often we ask for financial support and fundraising and we know what a burden this can present to many. The SOS initiative therefore asks every parent, grandparent and friend of St Francis NS, if they are able to give of their time or talents in a variety of areas.

Maintenance
As many of you know, we have only a part time caretaker for the entire school building and grounds. Therefore, there are many small jobs etc. that are in need of completion.
We would like to establish a small maintenance team of parents who are skilled and available to complete small jobs such as putting up hooks, mending broken equipment etc. These people may be available either during school hours or at weekends and would save on paying ‘Handy Men’ to fix small problems. If you are an electrician, plumber, builder, handy man, etc. and are free to assist us, please indicate it on the attached form.

Cleaning
We would like to establish a cleaning team to come in once a term, possibly on a Saturday, to spring clean the entire school, thus saving on contract cleaners. This includes window cleaning, table cleaning etc. The idea would be to “Clean for Cake!”: come in to the school, play a bit of music while we work and enjoy a well deserved coffee and cake at the end!

Gardening
We have an active Green Schools committee of pupils who help with weeding and turning the soil, especially in the children’s vegetable plots in the School Garden. However, we would like to establish a gardening team to oversee the work and possibly devise strategies for collection of leaves in Autumn and recycling waste on the grounds.

Examining Policy Proposals
Throughout the year we review or introduce various policies depending on the schools needs. It is important for parents to offer their particular perspective on certain policies when at the draft stage. If you would be willing to read, analyse and discuss a policy, please let us know.

Traffic Management
The traffic problems at drop off and pick up times continues to be a nightmare for parents, staff and pupils. Despite pleas for more consideration in every newsletter, and regular discussions on Facebook, we need to find a solution to the problem and we are therefore looking at establishing a Traffic committee of parents to look in to the problems and maybe
• wear hi-vis vests and marshal the cars at drop off and pick up
• set up “walking bus” routes (training available)
• organise car pooling amongst parents

IT Expertise
We have an excellent IT facilities in the school, including a bank of computers in every classroom and in the library. We have our own server in school, wireless internet connection and we are about to become connected to the Eir fibre optic broadband. We have an outside IT company who look after much of our needs as regards tech support and maintenance. However, we are always looking for further expertise in any area including hardware, software, tutoring, tech support, maintenance, web design, etc. In particular any parent wishing to run classes after school or at the weekend in basic programming (e.g. Scratch).

List of local businesses
We try to create a list of local businesses that parents are involved in. We could thus contact these businesses when looking for a quote for a particular item or job therefore supporting local business development. Parents may also be in a position to negotiate a discount or deal for us. Please include your business details on the form to be added to the list. We want to support local businesses.

Other Skills & Talents
We know many of our parents have wonderful skills & talents. One of our parents assists with escorting the pupils to athletics events, another (a professional photographer) takes photographs at several special events in school, and another parent (with a web design company) was instrumental in helping us set up our wonderful new school website, while a number of parents assist with our very strong morning reading scheme in each class. We are always looking for additional talents that we can call upon for expert advice in curricular planning or providing resources for our children. Such people may include musicians, singers, artists, actors, dramatists, scientists, engineers, geologists, historians, mathematicians, Gaeilgoirs, authors, librarians, poets, sports men/women to name but a few. Thematic events such as Seachtain na Gaeilge, World Book Day, My Job Day and Sports Day etc would all be enriched by the talents and skills of particular parents. Therefore if you have a talent or skill we could call upon please indicate it on the form.
There are classrooms and the school hall available for rent outside school hours so please feel free to ask if you are thinking of organising some classes or workshops and looking for a facility.

Please download the form SOS Questionnaire, complete and return to the school office, or to one of the Parent’s Association members. Further copies are available from the school office. The PA collates all the responses and when the need arises we will send out an SOS message to volunteers to see who is available to help. There is no pressure on you to say yes, and we are grateful for any support, no matter how small or infrequent.

If you have any further ideas how parents can support our school in a non financial manner, please send your suggestions to stfrancisnsblackrock@gmail.com