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 and Mary O’ Riordan are the teachers of the Rowan class. They are currently job sharing. Mary O’ Riordan started working at St. Francis in 2007. She previously taught in Charleville Holy Family School for six years. Mary loves to teach music, and she set up the school choir with Breda Courtney in September 2016. Mary is so proud of the school choir. It has been a huge benefit for the pupils and brings the whole school together. Mary also loves doing art and sensory programmes with the children. Maeve O’ Donoghue has been at SFSS for over thirteen years. She previously taught in Charleville Holy Family 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 assistants 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.
Elaine Kelliher is currently substituting in the Oak class for class teacher Cora Evans. This is her third year teaching. She has previously worked in a special school for two years in Dublin. She has a great interest in Special Education. Elaine enjoys teaching a variety of subjects throughout the school week. She loves teaching S.P.H.E. and maths. 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 Elaine’s fun and calm approach. The TEACCH system is used in this class with independence encouraged, and the pupils are supported in every area of their learning. The assistants are Ann Marie Mc Carthy and Aoife O’ Conner. They both assist Ciara with her classroom activities. Ann Marie enjoys working on the school Facebook page and the school website. She also loves equipping the students with daily living skills such as kitchen skills and personal care skills. Aoife started working as a substitute SNA in the classroom this year. Aoife loves encouraging the children to be independent and confident throughout their school day. She enjoys doing art with the children, as well as group work and outdoor activities. Both Ann Marie and Aoife 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 also enjoy participating in the school choir. The assistants in the Chestnut class are Mary Slattery and Fiona Carroll. Fiona Carroll is a bus driver and a swim teacher. She loves swimming, driving the bus on outings and doing art with the children. Fiona has been working in SFSS for over eight years. This is Mary Slattery’s first year in the Chestnut class. Mary has worked in many different classes in the school and is looking forward to a fun filled year with the Chestnut class.
Joan Ward is currently substituting for two teachers who are currently job sharing. 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, Marita deLacy and Shane Riordan. Marita and Phil are currently job sharing. The assistants are gentle, caring, kind and always have lots of fun with the pupils of the Ash class.
Caitriona Healy is the class teacher of the Hawthorn class. Catriona has worked in SFSS for over twenty years, and she has worked in many different classrooms throughout the school. The students in Hawthorn require a high level of adult support to access the curriculum and also to meet their medical needs and look after their personal care. The students also need a lot of sensory stimulation, and the work in the classroom is focused on developing students’ communication, engagement, and experiences. Caitriona is very interested in using interactive technology with students to learn to communicate. There are three assistants in Hawthorn. Denise Myres and Lisa McCannon are job sharing in the class this year Jane Mc Monagle is our other assistant.She is currently substituting. Catriona and the assistants at Hawthorn aim to create a happy, caring, safe and stimulating environment for all students. With staff support, we hope our students will achieve their potential, develop an intrinsic desire to learn and make a positive contribution to school and home life.
Olivia Goggin is the class teacher of Hazel class. This year is her 4th year in SFSS, but she has been teaching for 15 years prior to this. The children in Hazel are always out and about around the school. They love meeting everyone and do lots of jobs like the roll. The children love swimming, cookery, visiting the church, walking, and hands-on activities. The Hazel class has three assistants, one full time and two job sharing. Nora Ahern is the full-time assistant in the class while Mary O’ Shea and Ann Foley are job sharing. 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. The assistants 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 fourth 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 enjoys gardening. Her class are always busy with hands-on, sensory activities. Social interaction is very important, as well as visual and aural stimulation. Her assistants are Betty Moriarty and Bernie Coppinger. Bernie has worked in SFSS since 2004. It is her second year working in the Alder class. Betty has worked in SFSS for seventeen years and has worked in the Alder class for the past four years. The assistants 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 activities. 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 O’ Sullivan has a wonderful talent in the artistic area and brings wonderful ideas to complement each season. Robert Hunt 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. The Holly class has three SNA’s. 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 week at school. 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. Shirley Fisher is the third assistant. She loves to go on social outings with the students which help the students to become independent as possible.
Noelle Jameson is teaching in the Willow room. She is currently substituting. 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 loves art, history, English, and geography. The children in Willow go on regular outdoor trips and do lots of experiments and projects. The children follow the Reading Eggs communication and language programme. The Willow class has three assistants. Deborah O’ Conner, Eibhlis Blackwell and Elaine O’Grady. Sharon Lynch is currently substituting for Elaine. Sharon has been working as a substitute assistant since 2017. Theresa Breen is currently substituting for Deboraha. Eibhlis Blackwell has been working at SFSS for twenty three years. Eibhlis enjoys teaching yoga class, and all the assistants have a big interest in SPHE lessons and helping the children learn about independent living skills and self care.