Kiaora Koutou

It was great to welcome new families and children to our school this week.  As Principal it is always a thrill to enrol new students knowing what a great environment we are able to provide to learn in.  Our school is based on honouring the individual, be it spiritually, academically or in reference to special abilities and it is this tenet that makes our kids grow.  We particularly welcome the following new students to our school; Salesa Aaifou-Olive, Baxter Carlin, David Chen, Ian Cho, Andy Chwi, Jane Hartman, Anna Hartman, Logan Kerr, Harin Kum, Caleb Lim, Caden Lowe, Mia Lowe, Madeline Mear, Lauren Osterman, Sarah Rush, Adam Rush, Caique Santos, Hunter Strahan, Leo Tian, Madelene van Vliet and Brielle Verzosa.

As a senior leadership team we have been focusing on the analysis of student progress over this half year.

The efforts that teachers, parents and students have applied to learning has provided us with some pleasing results.  Congratulations to all those students who have made notable academic gains in learning.

On a community note, it has been great to welcome Mr Piceno back to Room 4, albeit on a part time basis.  As you are no doubt aware, Randy suffered an unfortunate and serious fall late in term one which resulted in the need for back surgery.  It is great to have him back and we look forward to seeing the amount of hours he is able to give to Room 4 grow as the term progresses.

Traffic Safety

This is often a reminder I make further in my section of the newsletter, however, due to a number of recent notifications made to me in regard to student and traffic safety I would like to reiterate the following.  It is not acceptable to expect your child to cross any road unaccompanied before or after school.  With limited visibility created as a result of condensed car volumes and buses it is very hard for drivers to spot children running out from behind cars.

I am prompted to make this reminder as a result of a number of witnessed close calls.  A further complication in regard to safety is the speed cars are currently travelling down 13th Avenue, which I am aware are often not St Mary’s parents but I would ask that St Mary’s parents dropping children off are extra vigilant when pulling in and out of parks and turning into and out of driveways.

Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016

As previously announced, this year Hato Maria (St Mary’s) will be hosting the 2016 Tauranga Moana Kapa Haka Festival on the 24th and 25th of November.  As the first Catholic School to host this event we will be looking to work with our other Catholic Schools and wider Whanau to impart Kaupau o Katorika (aspects Catholic) throughout the festival.

In moving forward we will be looking for volunteers to form a part of the 100 plus work party required to fulfill a number of tasks and responsibilities over the two days of the festival.  If being part of Ra Whakangahau excites you please email your name and contact details (phone and email address) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be in further contact regarding specific roles and responsibilities that may interest you.

Absenteeism 

There has been a number of recent media commentators making reference to the number of families who are taking time away from school during term time for holidays.  There is no argument that this is a cheaper time to travel financially but it can have consequences educationally for children.  Our Ministry of Education now sees absence from school for this reason as Unjustified and we are therefore required to record it as such.  The ministries view being that, while as parents you are able to explain why your child is absent from school it is not viewed as a justifiable reason for which to remove your child from school.

Of interest in our recent analysis of student achievement was that 87% of students who are currently below National Standard at St Mary’s also have an attendance record of less that 90% or are away from school more than 1 day in 10.

A further related issue is the number of children who are turning up late to school.  Our bell to signal the start of the day goes at 8.50am.  All children should therefore be at school in advance of this, ideally at 8.30am so as to ensure they have time to prepare themselves for the day.  Children who are late to class often disrupt beginning of day prayer and organisation meaning learning of all is affected.

St Mary’s Catholic School 75th Jubilee

2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the commencement of St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga.

St Mary’s Catholic School began in September 1942 managed and staffed entirely by the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, many of whom came to New Zealand from Ireland.  To celebrate this significant event in the life of the school a Jubilee weekend is planned to take place on September 22, 23 and 24 September 2017.

Please register your interest by visting our school website or by following us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/stmarystga.school.nz.  or by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To make the jubilee a success we would be grateful if you would pass on the above information to past pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school.

Ben Fuller
Principal