St. Francis Special School currently has 10 main classrooms, each with a class teacher. There are 24 SNAs working in the school at present, as well as 4 part time secondary teachers who assist in the delivery of music, art, home economics and P.E. There are specific classes for children with autism and severe/profound learning difficulties as well as mixed classes.
The 10 classes are:
Maeve O’ Donoghue is the teacher of the Rowan class. She has been at SFSS for over ten years. Maeve previously taught in Charleville Holy Family Special School. Maeve loves to teach music and cookery. The children are very busy in the Rowan class. The timetable changes each day and the children follow their visual schedules. The children always enjoy working on the interactive whiteboard. They are very musical, and Maeve always gets them singing and dancing. Triona O’ Neil and Emma Cremin are the Special Needs Assistance in the Rowan classroom. Triona is a very creative person and enjoys art and music. Emma has a keen interest in all sports in particular basketball and swimming. Both Emma and Triona are very enthusiastic and love working with all the pupils in the Rowan classroom.
Ciara Kennedy is currently substituting in this class for class teacher Cora Evans. Her favourite subjects to teach are communication/language and art. The children use Lámh and PECS as well as spoken language to communicate. The oak class is full of lovely artwork, and the children benefit from Ciara’s fun and calm approach. The TEACCH system is used in this class with independence encouraged and supported in every area. The assistants are Ann Marie Mc Carthy and Nora Ahern. They both assist Ciara with her classroom activities. Nora is one of the longest-serving SNAs in the school. She loves equipping the students with daily living skills such as personal care and kitchen skills. Ann Marie enjoys working on the school Facebook and the school website. Both Nora and Ann Marie are very enthusiastic and love working with all the children in the oak classroom.
Breda Courtney teaches this senior class. Breda has worked in SFSS for over eight years. She has worked in different classes and is now in her 4th year with the seniors. This class is always on the go! They might be found doing yoga or out cycling the grounds. Breda’s favourite subjects to teach are art and science. The chestnut class does lots of work on language, writing, reading, and maths. They love P.E, and they exercise every day. The Chestnut class enjoy participating in the school choir. The assistants in the Chestnut class are Eibhlis Blackwell, Marita Dunne, and Denise Myres. Marita and Denise are job-sharing in the class. Eibhlis enjoys teaching yoga class. Denise is very artistic, and Marita is a qualified lifeguard.
Joan Ward is currently substituting for class teacher Mary O’ Riordan. She teaches the 2nd senior class. This class is always busy. They go on trips every week and love visiting the library and Bunkers restaurant in Killorglin. Joan and her class are always doing lots of work, and they help with jobs around the school. The ash class loves practical work, and they learn how to generalise their skills in different settings. Joan loves teaching music, art, communication, and cookery. The SNA’s in the Ash class are Debra O’ Sullivan, Phil O’Shea and Shane Riordan. They are gentle, caring, kind and always have lots of fun with the pupils of the Ash class.
Olivia Goggins the class teacher of Hawthorn. This is her 3rd year in SFSS, but she has been teaching for 15 years prior to this. The children in Hawthorn are always out and about around the school. They love meeting everyone and do lots of jobs like the roll. The children love swimming, going to mass and hands-on activities with sensory aspects. Deborah O’Connor and Shirley Fisher are the SNA’s in the classroom. Jane is currently substituting for Debora. Both Shirley and Jane have set up a lovely pampering morning where students can enjoy having their hair and nails done.
Catriona Healy has worked in SFSS for over 20 years. She has worked in lots of classrooms over the years. Her class are an active bunch! They are always on the go and have lots of fun while learning. Catriona loves using interactive computer technology in her lessons. The children use the whiteboard and iPads to enhance their learning experience. There is a big emphasis on movement and interaction in the Hazel class. They love their P.E sessions. The Hazel classroom has 3 SNA’s, one full time and two who are job sharing this year. Mary Slattery is the full-time assistant in the class while Mary O’ Shea and Ann Foley are job sharing. The SNAs help the students in many areas of their development. They assist with toileting, feeding, and self-care and through their work, develop strong and positive relationships with the students.
Louise Keating is the Alder class teacher. This is her third year teaching in SFSS, but she has been teaching for the past five years. Louise loves teaching SESS subjects especially (Science and Geography), Visual Arts and Music. She also loves gardening. Her class are always busy with hands-on, sensory activities. Social interaction is very important, as well as visual and aural stimulation. Her SNA’s are Betty Moriarty and Bernie Coppinger. Bernie has worked in SFSS since 2004. It is her first year working in the Alder class. Betty has worked in SFSS for 17 years and has worked in the Alder class for the past three years. The S.N.A.’s give incredible care and attention to all students in the Alder class attending to their every need and assist Louise in her classroom activities.
Kathleen Cronin teaches this busy class. She has been teaching in SFSS for almost 35 years. She is the Deputy Principal of SFSS and is the longest-serving teacher in the school. The boys in Kathleen’s class are always on the go. They love making their breakfast in the kitchen and do lots of physical activity. The class does lots of fun activities with Kathleen. She uses the TEACCH system in her class. Each child has their own timetable and colour. The cherry class does sensory integration activities every day. They enjoy being active and doing hands-on work. Kathleen is lucky to have three hardworking assistants with her each bringing a wide arena of talents to the mix. Breda Daly excels in the kitchen giving wonderful variety to our diet and driving us to various places on our school outings. Agata has a wonderful talent in the artistic area and brings wonderful ideas to complement each season. Robert is the go-to man to help in all daily activities and has a great insight into IT. So we can get appropriate songs/ideas at a moment’s notice!
Colin McGillicuddy teaches this class. The children enjoy active learning opportunities with independence being the goal. The children use the TEACCH system in their class. The class is very structured, and the children love the organisation. Each child has their own timetable and colour. They are always busy making beautiful art and are often found making yummy treats in the kitchen. Typing and communication (with PECS and I Pad) are very important. Amanda O’Shea is an SNA in the Holly class. The students love doing lots of fun activities with her. She teaches a yoga session every Wednesday. Emer Curran is the second SNA in the Holly class. She loves to read with the students in the class. She is also very sporty. She loves doing swimming and outdoor activities with children. Aoife started working as an SNA in the classroom this year. The children love to work with her, especially for music and art.
Noelle Jameson is teaching in the Willow room. She has taught in both mainstream and special schools since qualifying as a primary school teacher. The children in Noelle’s class use the TEACCH system. Each child has their own timetable and colour. Visual prompts are very important for the willow class. Noelle really loves art, history, English, and geography. The children in Willow go on regular outdoor trips and do lots of experiments and projects. The children in the willow class follow the Reading Eggs communication and language programme.The Willow class has three SNA’s. Fiona Carroll is a bus driver and a swim teacher. She loves swimming, going on outings and doing art with the children. Fiona has been working in SFSS for over seven years. Lisa McCannon has been in SFSS for 19 years. She loves sign language and going on social outings with the Willow class. Lisa and the children go to choir, yoga, and cookery together. Elaine O’Grady is a bus driver and has been working in SFSS for fourteen years. Elaine has a big interest in SPHE lessons and helping the children learn about hygiene.