Nga mihi nui ki a koutou
Great to write to you at this time of celebration for our school. The planning and preparation for our Jubilee provided a time to reflect on the very special place our school holds within the wider community of Tauranga Moana. We are not just a Catholic School, we are one of the first schools established in our area. However, the fact that we are indeed a Catholic School, commissioned by Bishop Liston and established by our Cluny Sisters richens this. The place we hold in Tauranga Moana is significant for the growth of our Church and our city. It is therefore fitting that we celebrated it as we have.
A very big thank you to all those who attended our Jubilee and a special thank you to all those who worked so hard and assisted in making it such a memorable weekend.
We had many past pupils return to the school from all parts of New Zealand and from overseas. All attendees appreciated the school’s hospitality, especially the students participation in the Kapa Haka welcome, the performances on Saturday and the Sursum Corda and Pasfika Group at Sunday’s Jubilee Mass. Our Year 6 students who offered to conduct tours of the school did an amazing job.
It was great to see so many of our families and pupils taking part in the peformances and old fashioned games at the Saturday picnic.
One of the highlights at the Saturday night dinner was having two past pupils Kevin Farrelly and Jeremy Redmore entertain us with their singing. Jeremy, a former member of the band Midnight Youth.
Michael Cooney spoke about the origins of the school paying tribute to the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny and proposed a toast of thanks to the Sisters for establishing the school.
In her reply Sister Allison said how the Sisters were delighted that the charism of their foundress Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey is still being kept alive and how all members of the school community strive to live by her motto “To do a little good each day”.
The Jubilee Mass celebrated by Bishop Steve, Fathers Mark and Danny and Father John Joliffe was a wonderful and very fitting conclusion to our weekend.
In the words of Pope John Paul the second our Jubilee did express our gratitude for the past, our enthusiasm for the present and we pray that God will continue to abundantly bless St Mary’s School community in the future.
This week I have been visiting the Cluny Mother House in Paris. A trip I have been looking forward to and anticipating for a long time. When I first started at St Mary’s I was introduced to the history of our school and quickly made a connection with our origins and the success of today. One of the key ingredients of this is our Cluny Charism.
I had initially thought of Charism as a gift, and it is, but it is a gift that we need to develop, enhance and in turn pass on to those that will follow into our community. We have an obligation to add to the amazing work of those who have made St Mary’s what it is today. To contribute to the many qualities our school is so proud of and for whom our students benefit.
It is my intention to therefore better understand the Cluny Charism on which our school was built and has prospered and hopefully return with an enhanced ability to continue the work our Cluny Sisters started so passionately 75 years ago.
Start of Term 4
In starting the new term the expectation is to see a major focus on personal uniform standards. A slight transition to summer footwear and the retirement of any visible under garments should take place by Monday 16 October.
If your child is absent from school, please notify the school office by phone or text before 9.00am on the morning of the absence. The school absentee mobile number is: 021 2969437. When a child returns to school after an absence please give a written explanation to his/her classroom teacher.
Late arrivals to school
We have noticed a growth in the number of students who are arriving late to school. I realise that, on occasion, this cannot be avoided but unfortunately we have a number of students who arrive regularly after 9.00am. The start of the school day is 8.50am. It is important that students are here before this to ensure that they are ready for learning and do not disrupt a functioning class on their arrival.
An alarming statistic at St Mary’s is that of all students who are late or absent for more than 15% of the school year, over 50% have achievement concerns. Something that I believe is easily addressed. Please make a big commitment next term to be at school on time.
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou
A very warm welcome to our new students Flynn Gardiner, Lucy Hertnon, John Clarke, Brayden Nix, Ella Madams, Mitchell Parry, Jessica Cha, Clover Palairet, Hunter Signal, Olivia Lilly, Samantha Bint, Coen Bint, Kale Bint and Thomas Woo.
First Holy Communion
On behalf of our school community I would like to congratulate all students who received their first Holy Communion over the last two weeks. This completes your recent sacramental journey and significant step in your young lives as Catholic. I must also thank and congratulate all who prepared our candidates from when the programme began last year through until now. As a school we had many teachers involved in the preparation of students for the receipt of the three sacraments but key leadership came in the form of Mrs Donna Vincent, Mrs Elizabeth Driver and Mrs Teresa Rush.
Personalised Learning at St Mary’s
Like many educators I sat eagerly waiting to watch Seven Sharp’s story on Modern Learning Environments. I won’t say I was disappointed in the story but it was a shame that the focus was on the physical environment as opposed to the pedagogy (way of learning) that is the feature of an effective innovative learning environment.
The key area of focus that I would encourage you as parents to continue to connect with is that change from a structured, teacher dominated, industrial model (factory) to a less formal student led or centred environment. This approach brings aspects of learning that sit alongside the traditional content based approach. A key goal for us at St Mary’s is ‘skilling’ the students to be independent and self managing learners. For this to occur it is paramount that students understand their role and responsibilities as the learner and also the learning process. This is of course not an ‘overnight’ process, it requires a process of learning to learn integrated into the classroom programme.
I am sure you will agree that everything is hard before it gets easy. We therefore want our students to develop skills to cope with the ‘hard’. They need to be able to persist, think flexibly, be creative, and take responsible risks. The space does have a role in enabling students to test new ideas, make mistakes and use what they know. Hence the flexible nature of our developing learning environments where students can adapt to a setting that gives them confidence. This is why you will find many settings within the setting of an innovative learning environment … including desks!
Community Information Evening
We are delighted to host a Community Evening with Andrew Jones (Melbourne University). Andrew will talk about what the very best learning organisations are focussing on; the skills and competencies learners will need for the future and how this fits with our focus on collaboration.
When: Monday 14 August 2017; 6:00pm
Where: Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey Centre
Come along and enjoy some light refreshments, and hear the future direction of education.
So we can gauge numbers for catering please indicate your attendance via this link to the online form https://goo.gl/forms/6GZ2bRNZCsRCgwNh2
Student Led Conferences
It was great to see so many parents embrace the opportunity to share in their children’s learning journey through our Student Led Conferences last week. As a form of student led reporting, our student led conferences are now an integral part of our reporting to parents process as they provide authentic examples of progress in learning through the sharing of and interaction with actual examples of learning. As always, should you have anything you wish to discuss with your child’s teacher in relation to the conference, examples of learning shared or current achievement information please do not hesitate to make contact with them.
New Learning Environment
Our new learning environment is now ready for final council internal inspections and sign off, however, there are a few external areas needing to be completed before it can be effectively occupied by students.
Prior to this we will be blessing the building (Kawanga Whare) in conjunction with local iwi at 6.15am on Tuesday morning (15 August) before holding the official opening on Friday 25 August at 9.30am. You are all welcome to attend both events.
The liturgy on Friday 25 August will be led by Bishop Steven Lowe who will be dedicating the building to a significant member of our school community. As with an event of such a nature we welcome all current and former members of our school community.
75th Jubilee Reunion of our School
You will be aware our school is celebrating its 75th Jubilee on the 22 - 24 September his year.
This is a very significant milestone in our school’s history and we are marking the occasion with various activities over the weekend.
Friday 22 September 2017
Tours of the school
6.00pm: ‘Mix and Mingle
School Students Performance
6.30pm: Bar Open and light nibbles will be served
Saturday 23 September 2017 - St Mary's School
On Saturday there will be various activities in the school grounds (bouncy castle for the children) with the day finishing with a jubilee dinner at the ASB Arena BayPark.
11.00am: Roll Call
Tours of the school
1.00pm: Picnic lunch (you can supply your own lunch or use the option available on the registration form)
Saturday (Evening) 23 September 2017 – Baypark ASB Arena Stadium Lounge
Our MC for the evening is ex pupil Sam Kelway. You may know him as the popular TVNZ news reporter. Sam was born in Tauranga and moved to Wellington before being lured by the bright lights of Auckland.
Sam’s a passionate story teller, with immaculate hair, who doesn’t mind getting his suit dirty for a good story. A TVNZ-er since 2012, he’s game for anything and will stop at almost nothing in telling the stories that matter. We look forward to hearing some of Sam’s stories.
Sunday 24 September 2017
The celebrations will conclude with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Steve Lowe at St Mary Immaculate at 10.30am on the Sunday. Full details of all activities are available on the school’s website, facebook and a hard copy of the registration form is available from the school’s office.
We are encouraging ALL members of our past and present community (pupils, parents, teachers, anyone who has had a connection to St Mary's) to join us in the celebrations of this weekend.
We look forward to a wonderful and memorable celebration.
New Gold Group Sponsor - Harveys Rural Property
Richard Greaves offers a focused, results - based real estate service across theBay of Plenty and in particular Tauranga Central and Rural Bay of Plenty.
A proven property deal maker, Richard easily forms trusted working relationships with his clients and leverage off the market advantages that the respected
Harveys brand offers to streamline the sale of your property. With strong family values, a well-developed sense of community spirit and extensive networks,
Richard is making his mark in the Bay.
Through Harveys in Schools, we can offer a range of skill sets and resources to extend the reach you have in your community and to bolster fundraising initiatives.
• The Harveys Photo Booth – a great attraction at school galas, fun days, quiz night, school dances/ socials (subject to availability)
• A Harveys Master of Ceremonies
• Our charity Auctions bring fun and a touch of theatre to your school event; we know what works, how to source items for the auction and how to coordinate a memorable experience.
• Individual agents with specialist sports knowledge/ interest could sponsor school teams and assist with branded gear.
• We pledge to donate $1000 from each successful sale of a property referred to us via the schools parents, neighbours and supporters network.
A little about myself..... I moved to Tauranga at the beginning of 2017 with my wife Joanna and our three children who attend St Mary’s School, Hannah, Jack and Lucy. We have enjoyed our first six months at St Mary’s and look forward to getting to know the St Mary’s School Community better.