From the Principal - 20 June 2016

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to all members of our St Mary’s community and particularly a warm welcome to Ian Yun, Lorenzo Goldstone, Tyla Beck, Venice Abasolo, Tom Lee and Rina Lee.

May I first convey my thanks for the contribution all made towards the success of our Trek to the Top musical production.  In reflecting on the week of performances there is possibly no better way to bring a school community together in celebration of student achievement. 

The focus of education in New Zealand is very much centred on academic achievement and in the primary sector, achievement specifically in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.  You will not hear me say that this is not important.   However, after witnessing the artistic expression portrayed by our amazing students during Trek to the Top journey, I will definitely continue to advocate for the incorporation of a range of opportunities for children to experience success.

A special mention must go to the outstanding husband and wife Gobsmacked team of Patrice and Dion Williamson.  Congratulations to you both.  My heartfelt thanks to my staff for your passion and support of the production. In particular a special thank you to Pip Berquist for your fantastic leadership in our Trek to the Top.

Samoan Language Week
We were lucky to have the opportunity as a school to move from an amazing show week straight into a celebration of Samoan language and culture thanks to the work of the parents in our recently formed Pasifika group.  It was great to have parents come into our classes to teach our children some Samoan language and expose us all to aspects of Samoan culture.  The week culminated in a fantastic celebration assembly led by the Pasifika group.  My thanks on behalf of our community for all the work that went into the many facets of the week.

School / Parish Mass
It was great to see so many students and families at our recently held school parish Mass.  This is a termly event that all should look forward to and make themselves available for.  My thanks to Fr Edwin for saying Mass for us and to all who contributed to the liturgy.  I was heard to say that I think our Susum Chorda Choir is sounding as good if not better than they ever have!  Well done Mrs Washer and Mrs Driver for the way these children are prepared for each occasion.

Board of Trustee Elections
My thanks to all who took the time to make an informed voting selection in our recent Board of Trustee elections.  Those elected members now have the challenge of continuing to guide and govern the strategic direction of our school.  Again my thanks to departing trustees of Kelly Quin, Scott Brodie, Shirley-Marie Whata-Coffin, Amy Rogers, Steve Curtis and Gavin Hesqua, and my congratulations to those who have been duly elected.  I look forward to working with you all for the betterment of educational opportunities at St Mary’s Catholic School.

Those elected trustees being:

Shem Banbury; Antoine Coffin; Shay Hulsebosch; Claire Stott; Anne Young; Donna Vincent (staff representative).

Science Extravaganza 
At the conclusion of our show week we were privileged to witness a Science Extravaganza Show presented by renowned biologist Siouxsie Wiles.  We were also privileged to host both Merivale and Bellevue Schools who joined us for a morning tea provided by Taylor Bros.  The extravaganza was a great insight into the potential of science for our children, with the time spent with tamariki from other kura equally as valuable.

Traffic Safety
The safety or our students  on and around our school grounds is paramount. I therefore request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to parking around our school. Please do not park in the bus stop and if required to park opposite the school on 13th Avenue, I ask that you meet your child/ren on the school side first before escorting them over the road. Do NOT drive your car into the school grounds to drop off or pick up a child unless special permission has been granted.

I also ask that you are courteous of residents who are essentially the schools neighbours.  Parking on grass verges or across driveways is definitely not appropriate and should be avoided.

Ben Fuller
Principal

From the Principal - 10 May 2016

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to all family and whanau of our school community and welcome to what has started as an extremely busy term.  A very warm welcome to Benjamin Wilson, Cora Barrett-Hodgson, Sienna Smart, Sam Lock, Samuel Farrelly, Zachary Good-Vitali, Saoirse Williamson, Chloe Evans, Mackenzie Jury, Emma Fulton, Henry Fulton, Carys Parry and Sophie Ferguson who have joined St Mary’s since our last newsletter

We are one week into our ‘Trek to the Top’ journey and no doubt your children have shared with you how preparations have been progressing.  Below is more information regarding ticket sales for this upcoming event.

Term two also signals the start of our winter sporting codes.  Many thanks on behalf of all involved to those parent volunteers who have put their hands up to help coach, manage or assist a team.  Sport at St Mary’s focuses on providing as many opportunities for as many children as possible in the sporting domain.  To further refine how we achieve this I will be focusing on the development of a new Sports Policy in the coming weeks so look forward to sharing this with parents later in the term.

The past weeks have seen a focus on education in our country with reference to OECD findings and comparisons with other OECD countries.  It is of course unfortunate to see our achievement slip against other countries and not something the sector as a whole takes lightly.  However, a recent OECD report ranked New Zealand teachers fourth out of 35 countries in terms of professionalism and primary teachers among those who complete the highest number of contact teaching hours per week.

Parent Trustee Elections
As you are aware this year we are holding our triennial Board of Trustee Elections.  Nomination forms have been posted to all parents current mailing address.  If you have not received nomination forms please notify our front office.  Nominations close on Friday 20 May at 12pm. 

Being a trustee is a vital role within our school community.  The board is the employer of all staff in the school and is responsible for setting the school’s strategic direction in consultation with parents, staff and students, and for ensuring that it’s school provides a safe environment and quality education for all its students.  Boards are also responsible for overseeing the management of personnel, curriculum, property, finance and administration.  http://www.trustee-election.co.nz/

To provide you with more information regarding being a trustee at St Mary’s Catholic School we will be holding two short information sessions on Wednesday 11 May in our school staff room.  The first session will start at 2.15pm and the second at 6pm with all interested parties welcome.

If you are unable to make either of the sessions but would like to know more information regarding standing for election to our board then please make contact with me.

Trek to the Top Ticket Sales
It is with great delight that we announce that tickets for this year’s 2016 St Mary’s School Musical are now on sale! Ladies and Gentlemen hold on tightly to your warm furry hats as we prepare to launch up Mt Everest for the very first time on stage. This is the story of Sir Edmund Hillary and his climb to the top of the world and it is coming live, to a stage near you, in a flurry of song, dance and drama! ‘Trek to the Top’ will be showing on Wednesday and Thursday the 1st & 2nd June, 2016 at 7pm in the Bethlehem College Performing Arts Centre, 37 Elder Lane Tauranga. This highly anticipated event is one not to be missed. Tickets are now on sale at the school office and can only be purchased using eftpos.

Term Two Reporting
This term we will be completing interim reports against National Standards.  This will occur in the form of a written report with a comment, suggested next steps in learning and a interim overall teacher judgement in regard to progress against National Standards in the Core Curriculum Areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

New Trophy Cabinet
A trip through our front office will highlight a new trophy cabinet that has recently been installed.   This item has been crafted to demonstrate and showcase aspects of success at St Mary’s. On behalf of our school community I would like to thank the PTA for their generosity in funding this.

Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016
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 a Kura we have participated in the festival in the last three years and we now have the privilege to host it.  This is an event that provides primary age school children with the opportunity to participate in Kapa Haka performance in a non competitive atmosphere.  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.

We anticipate over 40 schools participating, with up to 5000 spectators and performers visiting our school over the two days of the festival.  How can we help I hear you say?  Stand by for information from our Whanau group regarding invitations to attend related meetings and to be a part of working parties.

Traffic Safety
The safety of our students on and around our school grounds is paramount. We therefore request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to parking around our school. Please do not park in the bus stop and if required to park opposite the school on 13th Avenue, we ask that you meet your child/ren on the school side first before escorting them over the road. Do NOT drive your car into the school grounds to drop off a child unless special permission has been granted.

Uniform
By the end of this week all children should have made  the transition to our winter uniform expectations.  With our new multi season uniform this is quite simple with the only change being footwear.  Black leather shoes with white socks for girls and black leather shoes with school socks for boys.  Shoes must be leather lace up for boys, leather lace up or with a buckle for girls and have no other colour than black visible.  

In addition to this we also allow a white under garment to be worn under girls dresses should an additional layer be required and a black undergarment that boys can wear under the polo.  Both are available from NZ Uniforms. It is expected that the under garment be an additional layer to the fleece or jacket if required and should not be visible above the collar.

Swimming Presentations
As a result of an extremely full rehearsal schedule for Trek to the Top we are not holding our normal Friday afternoon assemblies.  We would however like to recognise swimming success from last term after our Monday Liturgy on 16 May.  This will include the recognition of all School, South Cluster and WBoP achievements. 

Zero Lunchbox Litter at St Mary’s School
Pope Francis has a very clear message about looking after God’s Creation and the need to recycle and reduce the rubbish we create.  We all need to take action and be responsible for our own beautiful environment here at St Mary’s School. Therefore, we want  a rubbish free school for everyone to enjoy. 

Our existing Zero Lunchbox Litter Programme requires all packaging and fruit/vegetable waste that is used in lunchboxes to be taken home to be disposed of.  

Initiated in Term 3 of 2015, this one action alone has had an immediate impact on the amount of rubbish on the school site, and  Reusing and Recycling at St Mary’s School continues to be a big part of our daily lives.  

We encourage you to continue with the commitment you place on teaching children to be responsible and take action for caring for our immediate environment and the world around us.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Ben Fuller
Principal

Message from Principal - 17 March 2016

Kiaora Koutou

A very warm welcome to Eva Phizacklea, Finn Phizacklea, Areta Kahura, Kiwa Kahura, Maia Kahura, Phoebe Kirk and Tom Mason who have joined St Mary’s since our last newsletter.

We are over half way through our first term of 2016 an have ticked off a couple of great events and are eagerly looking forward to more. The Outdoor advernture day of last week was a great example of us as a community. My thanks on behalf of our all to the PTA for running such an amazing event.

This week we completed auditions for our school production ‘Trek to the Top’. Congratulations to all who have won lead parts in this production which will involve all year 2-6 students. To those who put themselves forward but were not successful again my congratulations for getting involved. I look forward to seeing you in action in your respective class parts.

Next week is Holy Week the most significan week in our Church’s year. There is further information in regard to how we will be celebrating Holy Week within this newsletter and I encourage you all to join us at the liturgies.

Our school week will conclude with the praying of the stations of the cross on Thursday followed by the Easter Vigil Mass on Thursday evening at St Mary Immaculate.

We would like to welcome and congratulate Mrs Sandi Valentine who will be joining us in a full time capacity next term. Sandi will be joining Lisa Broadmore in Room 13 and teaching our Term 2 new entrant children.

We would also like to congratulate Anna MacKinnon who has won a position as a lead teacher across our Community of Learning (COL). Anna will still be our Deputy Principal but released for time to complete her COL resposibilities. Our COL is lucky to be able to benefit from her skills and attributes.

Emergency Procedures
I would just like to repeat the message I sent home via email last week.

As you may be aware schools are required to be prepared for many potential emergencies and be able to maintain the safety of students should an unforeseen event occur.  Traditionally we have practiced and prepared for the unlikely event of earthquake or fire. We also have plans in place in the event of a Tsunami and if required to go into lock down.

Recently schools throughout New Zealand have been the subject of bomb threats. Evacuation for such an occurrence would involve students being evacuated to a non- disclosed site adjacent to our school grounds unless advised otherwise.

We practice one emergency procedure each term and as there are a range of emergencies we are required to prepare for, we carry out a different drill each term. Emergencies we prepare for include:

*Evacuation Procedure: Fire and Post Earthquake

*Earthquakes

*Reverse Evacuation (Lockdown)

*Tsunami

*Determined threats to safety

If you would like to examine our Emergency Planning and Procedures in more detail please look at our school doc’s policy site


http://stmarystga.schooldocs.co.nz/

Enter the user name (stmarystga) and password (1959)

In the event of an emergency a key aspect of responsibility we take very seriously as a school is the need to communicate with our parent community. Within our current communication systems is the ability to contact parents by email, alert (via our St Mary’s app) and text alert. In the event of an actual emergency we would enact communication via all such means.

Included in the information would be brief details regarding the nature of the emergency, actions taken and further actions required by parents which may include the need to collect children from a detailed location. In doing so it is important that all parents / caregivers follow communicated instructions to ensure the safety of our children as they are likely to be based on the advice of authorities.

Extra Curricular Activities

Next week registration forms for Term 2 winter sports codes will be sent home with your child.

Please note we will be enforcing changes to our processess made last year.

As you are aware, sport and other activities outside the classroom are “optional extras” and as such, will be treated as pay before you play!

This means, payment must be made at the time of registering your child, by eftpos at the school office, (no cash please) or by our preferred method of payment, which is internet banking. Please do not tick the internet payment option on the form until you have made the deposit into our school bank account. The bank account number is displayed on the registration forms. Your cooperation with this process would be much appreciated.

Payment must be received BEFORE your child will be registered into the sport of their choice.

Should you have any questions in relation to payment of either your school or sports account, please do not hesitate to contact Karen at the school office on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ben Fuller
Principal

From the Principal - 6 April 2016

Kiaora Koutou

A very warm welcome to Jack Cunningham and Helena Caunter who have joined St Mary’s since our last newsletter and greetings to all family and whanau of our school community.  We are approaching the end of our first term of learning here at St Mary’s Catholic School.  An eleven week term that has had a much deserved and celebrated Easter Break within it.  

Last month we both recognised and celebrated Holy Week as a school.  In recognising and participating in the week, children were immersed in learning associated with the events of Easter.  I must thank all staff, children and members of our community who contributed in many ways to such a successful and faith filled week, especially our acting DRS Mr Gavin Hesqua who, assisted by our RE team, planned and implemented a memorable week of Our Lord’s journey to the Cross.

Board of Trustee Elections
This year is our triennial Board of Trustee Election where as a community parent trustees are nominated and elected to roles of Governance.  At St Mary’s our Board of Trustees has five positions for parent trustees and a range of skills and experiences are needed in order to perform effective governance of our school.  

There is more information in regard to being a trustee and the process of nomination and election to be distributed as we progress towards our Election on Friday 3 June.  If you have any questions in regard to becoming a board member I would be happy to speak further with you or alternatively the link below has information in regard to the role of a school board trustee.  ‘A parents’ guide to the role of the board ot trustee’ booklets are also available from the school office.  www.trustee-election.co.nz

Term 2 Reporting
Next term we will be completing interim reports against National Standards.  This will occur in the form of a written report with a comment, suggested next steps in learning and a interim overall teacher judgement in regard to progress against National Standards in the core curriculum areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics. 

Uniform
Next term we will make the transition to winter and our winter uniform expectations.  With our new multi season uniform this is quite simple with the only change being footwear.  Black leather shoes with white socks for girls and black leather shoes with grey St Mary’s school socks for boys.  Shoes must be leather lace up for boys, leather lace up or with a buckle for girls and have no other colour than black visible.  

In addition to this we also allow a white under garment to be worn under girls dresses should an additional layer be required and a black undergarment that boys can wear under the polo.  These are available from NZ Uniforms.

Fees
A reminder to Parents, that all remaining amounts on your term one school account should be paid in full no later than Thursday next week.  This does not include the optional donation portion of the account, which can be paid over the remaining school terms. Should you need to discuss this or anything else in relation to your school account, please contact Karen at the school office.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Trek to the Top
As you may be aware earlier this term auditions were held for our lead roles in Trek to the Top.  These children are already working hard learning their parts and honing their acting skills.  From the start of next term each class involved, from year 2 - 6, will start to learn songs and parts pertinent to their role in our production.  It will be an exciting time and will ensure parents are well informed of progress towards our final performances in the first week of June.

Ben Fuller
Principal

From the Principal - 23 February 2016

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to all family and whanau of our school and a very warm welcome to the following 42 new students who have started school this year.

Milli Banbury, Isaiah Barry, Nieve Barry, Alexander Bayliss, Niamh Byrne, JayJay Carter, Ella Chea, Kristy Chennoth Smithesh, Minhee Choi, Adam Dillon, Tara Dillon, Mason Francis, Satsuki Fujimoto, Greta Gilbert, Cuinn Harrop, Milla Harrop, Lola Hertnon, Esme Holmberg, Henry Hopkins, Aaniya Jithu, Haeun Kim, Henry Kirk, Maebh Manning, Mia Martin, Gabriel Olvina, Matilda Parry, Madeleine Parry, William Pepers, Lucy Rabbidge, Callum Roberson, Matthew Robinson, Addison Sands, Hazra Syed, William Taylor, Janelle Tustin, Karlah Wadley-Freemantle, Hunter Waites, Amelia Winders, Willem Winders, Liae Yang, Yewon Yue and Yejin Yue.

Summer just seems to keep on happening with some warms days to continue.  It is great to see our children wearing their hats and ensuring they are protected from the sun and with the odd bit of rain they have plenty of grass to play on.  Hopefully there is more of this fine weather still to come particularly for summer sport.It has been great to hear of the many students taking the opportunity to play one of the codes on offer this term.  I certainly enjoy talking with students on Monday and during the week in regard to their sporting experiences.  In celebrating our student involvement we also thank our parents and volunteers for their involvement and commitment.

Meet the Teacher

It was great to see so many parents take the opportunity to meet with teachers last week to discuss their children’s learning.  As you are aware, parents are our first educators and so make a vital contribution to learning.  It is therefore extremely important to be informed about, and involved in the learning process as it applies to your children.This was the second time this year that we finished early as a school.  The first being when our staff attended the launch of our Faith Based Community of Learning.  I would like to thank parents for the support of both these events and the changes that may have had to be made in regard to family organisation.

Community of Learning

Our Community of Learning (COL) was launched with a Mass and key addresses on Thursday 11 February.  This was a great occasion and one that highlighted how advanced we currently are as a community of learning.  For those unaware of what a COL is, it is a group of schools who combine to collaborate on the achievement of key achievement challenges.  We have been lucky to combine with eight other Catholic Schools in the formation of one of our country’s first Communities of Learning.

Board of Trustee Elections

All of New Zealand’s state and state-integrated schools have a board of trustees. The board of trustees is the Crown entity responsible for the governance, and the control of management of the school. Boards are responsible for setting the strategic direction in consultation with parents, staff and students, and ensuring that the school provides a safe environment and quality education for students.Standing for election for a board of trustees is a practical way of influencing the quality of your children’s education.  A truly successful school is reliant on a dynamic board - one that can create the kind of supportive learning environment that drives education achievement.  This year our Board of Trustee Election will be held on Friday 3 June. Interested persons are invited to contact Ben Fuller or any existing board member for more information. An election timeline is overleaf.

Parking

The safety of our students is paramount. We request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to parking at the school. Please do not park in the bus stop.  If you are parked on the other side of the road, we ask that you meet your child/ren on the school side and escort them over the road.  It is also important that you avoid grass verges when you park your car.  Last week we had a visit from a parking warden who issued several infringement notices.A reminder also not to drive your car into the school grounds to drop off a child unless special permission has been granted.

Gold Group Sponsor La Brioche Patissiere

We welcome Manish and Sushma Khot from La Brioche Patissiere as Gold Group Sponsors.  Manish and Sushma supply our very popular school lunches on Friday.  La Brioche is located at 70 St John Street, T auranga.Please ring the school office if you are interested in becoming a Gold Group Sponsor.

Ben Fuller
Principal