OLM Transition Year Information & Guidelines 2016 – 2017

Contents
1.  What is Transition Year?
2.  OLM Aims
3.  Teaching Methodologies
4.  The Transition Year Calendar
5.  Induction of Transition Year students
6.  Weekly Reflections
7. Discipline
8. Homework
9. Significant Learning Experiences
10. Work Experience and Community Care
11. Opportunities
12. Expenses and Support
13. Optional Extras
14. Website
15. Assessment
16. Reports
17.  Portfolio Interviews
18.  Evaluation
19.  End of Year Awards
20. Certification
21. Graduation & Exhibition

 What is Transition Year?
Transition Year is a one year school based programme between Junior and Senior cycle. It is designed to act as a bridge between the two by facilitating the smooth transition from the more dependent learning of the Junior Cycle to the more independent self-directed learning required for the Senior Cycle.

OLM Transition Year Aims

Maturity: To give students the opportunity to grow and mature.

Key Skills:  To equip students with information and skills, to enable them to make well informed decisions regarding progress to LC, third level, further education or the world of work.

Ownership: To help students to be more responsible for and to take ownership of their learning

Self Confidence: To develop confident, competent and independent thinking young people.

Purpose, direction and Motivation: To create enthusiasm for learning and a greater autonomy in students own learning.

Teaching Methodologies
As Transition Year is learning led not exam driven there will be an opportunity for teachers to use a much wider variety of methodologies that are conscious of the Multiple Intelligences Theory.
The Transition Year Calendar
Transition Year is made up of Four Layers

1.Core subject layer
2. Subject sampling layer
3.Transition Year specific modules
4. Calendar ‘once off’ layer

The calendar shows the ‘shape ‘of the Transition Year programme.
Students will receive a new timetable every semester to show changes in subject sampling and TY specific modules. The Transition Year calendar will be posted on the Transition Year notice board in the Staffroom, on the student Transition Year notice board and in the Transition Year section of the school website. As new opportunities become available during the year the calendar will be regularly updated on the website and the noticeboard. Students will also be made aware of new opportunities during coordination classes.

Induction of Transition Year Students
All students have been given the initial information about the programme and its demands and opportunities. The students have also given their opinions on what kind of programme they envisage.

Students will be fully inducted into the programme on the first day of Transition Year. They will be given practical information and engage in group work. The students will also go on an overnight team building trip at the end of September.

Weekly Reflections
Each student must write a weekly reflection on their learning experiences. Students will be guided in this task with a series of prompt questions. These reflections will be checked each week. It must be included for review during both Portfolio Interviews.

Discipline
As with all students in Our Lady of Mercy, Transition Year Students will be  expected to abide by the school code of conduct. Transition Year is part of the senior cycle and a thorough discipline code will apply, excellent behaviour and attendance is essential. Each student will receive credits based on their behaviour which will go towards their overall certified grade.

Homework
As with other year groups throughout the school, Transition Year students have a Transition Year journal to record their homework.  As different methodologies are often employed when teaching Transition Year Programmes the form homework takes may vary, for example the use of information technology may be necessary. However, each student is expected to complete homework on time and to an appropriate standard. Should the student fail to attempt or complete homework, sanctions will be applied as per school rules.

Significant Learning Experiences
There will be Significant Learning Experiences during the Transition Year Programme. These can be off-site activities or special workshops organised for the students in school. Students may experience the Significant Learning Experiences as a class group or a year group depending on the suitability of the activity. These experiences will act as practical aid to what is being taught in the classroom. Details of these experiences will be posted on the Calendar on the Transition Year Notice board and on the TY page on the website. Students will be asked to complete an evaluation form after each Significant Learning Experience.

Work Experience and Community Care
All students will undertake two Work Experience placements. The students may opt to use one of the work experience placements as a Community Care placement. The students can gain work experience placements by researching websites such as http://www.careersportal.ie/school/transition_year and http://www.transitionyearhelp.com. We encourage parents to make contact with business acquaintances where a work placement may be provided for their son/daughter. The school has also developed a bank of work experience placements with reputable and progressive companies and businesses, which the student can also gain placements from.

Students are asked to reflect carefully on the career options they wish to pursue and use this opportunity to get valuable insights into possible future careers. Students will be asked to apply for their own work experience placements. Students will be assisted in their preparation for their placement during careers and coordination classes. During the Work Experience weeks’ teachers will telephone the contact person and may visit their assigned students to enquire about their progress and thank the employer for accommodating the student. Work Providers will send evaluation forms detailing the student’s progress and their recommendations. These evaluations will count towards the student’s overall certified grade.

Opportunities
A wide variety of opportunities will be available to Transition Year students throughout the year. Students will be encouraged to participate as much as possible. Descriptions of these opportunities will be posted on the Transition Year notice board and on the TY pages on the school website, this will be updated frequently.

Expenses and Support
Due to the often practical nature of learning in the Transition Year Programme costs are incurred; we ask €200 per student. This covers the overnight team bonding trip, state recognised awards, significant learning experiences, speakers, and external tuition charges on the planned programme.

As Transition Year is a compulsory element within Our Lady of Mercy all students are expected to pay these expenses. Application forms for a planned budget payment are available from the school office and are treated in a strictly confidential manner. Applicants will be given an appointment with the school principal during which the application is discussed. Applicants will be informed in writing of the decision made by the school principal regarding the application.

The transition year journal, copy books and stationary must be purchased by all students. The fee is not intended to cover the cost of luas or bus tickets.  All books and classroom materials will be covered within the fee.

Optional Extra Trip
We will offer an optional extra trip on our Transition Year programme. As the holistic education of our students is of the highest priority at Our Lady of Mercy, the trip will have a clear educational value for our students.

The trip we have selected for this cohort is an Immersion Programme to Zambia in Southern Africa, taking place in May 2017. This trip is in addition to the standard programme and as such incurs an additional cost to the standard expenses. Students will be given the opportunity to assist with the delivery of educational programmes in Primary & Secondary schools. This project can only happen if the required funding is met. We are holding a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ event in early December to help alleviate these costs. Students have already submitted expression of interest forms and have taken part in their own fundraisers throughout the summer. A group of 16 students and 3 teachers will travel to Zambia.

We will also offer a trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre in the spring term. Submission of a deposit will be considered to be an expression of interest in availing of the trip. In order for a student to be invited on the Carlingford trip the following criteria must be met. All Transition Year Expenses must be paid in full by the deposit due date. Those who have not paid expenses in full may not avail of an optional extra.

Past and present behaviour must be appropriate to that expected by school rules. Student records regarding behaviour from first to fourth year will be considered. Upon acceptance of a non-refundable deposit, students will be expected to continue to behave in a manner appropriate to school rules. If a student does not maintain these standards they will not be allowed travel, further money will not be accepted and their deposit will be lost. Student behaviour must be of the highest standard while on the trip thus ensuring the health and safety of all those travelling. Should a student fail to maintain appropriate behaviour they will be sent home at full cost to their parents.

Both trips will require lots of energy and enthusiasm. There will be more information regarding these trips during in September 2016.

Website
Our Lady of Mercy has recently launched a website www.olmdrimnagh.com. Teachers will be encouraged to submit any stories, achievements or outings concerning the Transition Year Programme to the Programme Coordinator for inclusion on the website TY blog.

The website will be a major source of contact between the coordinator and parents. All parents are asked to check the website weekly. Please ask you son or daughter to help you if you have any difficulty navigating the website. All Transition Year students will be inducted on the use of the website during their IT class.


Assessment

Students are graded on their coursework, participation & attitude, and attendance in class on a continuous assessment basis.

All subjects will be worth 5 credits per session*. The 5 credits should be awarded for the following:

  • 1 = 90% attendance
  • 1= positive attitude and participation in class
  • 3 = all coursework completed

The students will sit Christmas & Summer Exams in English, Irish, Maths, IT and Continental Language. Each exam is worth 10 credits, e.g. 67%  in the exam = 6.7 credits.

The students receive credits 30 credits for both the Christmas & Summer portfolio interviews. The students all receive 10 credits for each of the two work experience placements.

Success criteria will be given to each student for each of the elements of the assessment procedure. All students should aim to receive top credits in all elements of the assessment. Students will receive a certificate after each session so they have a total of how many credits they have gained and what grade they are on track for i.e Distinction, Merit, Pass.

*Session refers to how the timetable is structured. There are three sessions per year. The sessions allow for the rotation of subjects throughout the year and the inclusion of work experience placements.

Session 1: 30th August – 28th October 2016

Session 2: 14th November – 10th February 2017

Session 3: 27th February – 26th May 2017

Reports
Reports will be completed by subject teachers twice yearly. The reports are posted to parents.

Portfolio Interviews
Portfolio Interviews will take place twice yearly at Christmas and summer. Dates of these interviews will be on the calendar posted on the Transition Year notice board and on the TY pages of the school website. Students must present a Portfolio of Work including signed pieces of work, accompanied by an official Portfolio Sheet, from specified areas of the programme. Students must also present their weekly reflections. The Portfolio Interviews form a high percentage of the overall certified grade.

Evaluation
Evaluation forms will be an important part of the programme. Teachers, students and parents will be asked to evaluate the programme  midyear and at the end of the year so positive elements may be maintained and less positive aspects changed. Work providers will be asked to evaluate the students work and the systems employed by Our Lady of Mercy. Teachers will also evaluate their individual course or subject area. The Our Lady of Mercy Transition Year Programme is subject to evaluation by The Department of Education.

End of Year Awards
Students will be recognised for the hard work and dedication they have applied throughout the year. Teachers will vote for the students who excelled in the following areas: Leadership, Work Experience and Community Spirit. The TY teachers will also vote for the Class Student of the year and the TY student of the year who will receive the TAP sterling silver award.

Students will vote for the person they believe embodies the spirit of Transition Year. This person will have developed personally, socially, vocationally and educationally.

Students will also receive certificates that they have been awarded throughout the year such as Gaisce, TAP and many more.

Certification

The three categories of award are
Distinction     85-100%,
Merit              65-84%,
Pass                40-64%.

There are Four elements within the certification system

Subjects; this includes attendance, positive attitude and coursework completed

Exams

Portfolio Interviews

Work Experience Placements

Students will receive a certificate indicating their results in each area and their overall award. Each student that passes the year will also receive a Department of Education Certificate. Students will also receive a wide variety of certificates acknowledging their participation and achievements in various activities such as John Paull II award, First Aid, Junior Achievement, Faith Friends etc during the year. Should a student not achieve 40%, the student and their parents will be interviewed by the Principal before the student will be allowed to continue their studies on a Leaving Certificate Programme in Our Lady of Mercy.

Graduation & Exhibition
At the end of Transition Year students will participate in a graduation ceremony. This will be a celebration and acknowledgement of the work carried out during the year. Students will display their individual and group work. Teachers assist students in creating displays of the work carried out in each subject and course. Students will put together a short film showing all the highlights of their year and will perform some songs. Students will receive their awards and certificates will be presented. The Student of the Year award will also be announced.