Kiaora Koutou e te Whanau o Hato Maria
Greetings to all St Mary’s families. I am writing to you at the later half of a very busy and exciting term at St Mary’s and there is more to come! I was immensely proud of our senior students last Monday night as they took to the stage at Bay Court and presented as a group and in some cases individually the standard to which we can reach in Music and the Arts.
I know many parents and members of our community who witnessed our Tauranga Music Festival Performance will agree with me when I speak of the high level to which our students performed. My thanks on behalf of our school community to Sally Washer and members of our Aroha team who prepared our students so well.
Two weeks ago we had a great day of sport and fun with our visitng Selwyn Ridge staff and students who were splendid guests. The day took me back to times when school sporting exchanges were common place. With this in mind it is something we hope to do again.
It was also great to be able to spend two days at camp last week, again with our Aroha team. Though the weather was not what you would classify as perfect, attitudes and application to the varied activities was not thwarted. I was again impressed to witness the many challenges and opportunities undertaken by our senior students.
Moving forward to the term end we have one last event to be enjoyed and celebrated in the area of visual arts. Week 10 will be Arts Week at St Mary’s, and though this will be a week of celebration, what we will in effect be doing is recognising work that has occurred in classes over the last two terms.
As a school we have once again enlisted the expertise of Laura Grace as we plan, prepare and present a celebration of the visual arts. As in 2013 our Arts Week will again conclude with a presentation evening on Thursday 24 September. More details in regard to this are communicated later in this newsletter.
Communication to Teachers
At St Mary’s we definitely encourage active communication between caregivers and our classroom teachers. However, it is important to note that teachers may not be able to read or respond to messages during the school day due to teaching responsibilities. Therefore, any information or communication that may be urgent in regard to your child should be made by phone through our front office.
We have had some instances lately of parents attempting to convey changes in afterschool organisation through the teacher via email with short notice.
With a little under two months before our annual Taylor Brothers Fireworks Gala our PTA are deep into the final planning. One of the key objectives being, gaining enough volunteers to ensure the event’s success.
As you may well be aware, community raised income is a key component of a successful school. It gives us the ability to turn good into great by the provision of high end resources and key personnel.
Our St Mary’s PTA has an outstanding record of consistently raising in excess of $60,000 a year, a major component of this being provided by our Fireworks Gala.
In the next few weeks our PTA will be asking for your commitment to this year’s event which could involve as little as one hour of your time, on or leading up to the night.
I therefore ask, if at all possible, to support the continued growth and development of our school by supporting our PTA. Keep an eye for the information and when it appears please consider carefully a role that will suit you.
Looking forward to another outstanding Fireworks Gala at St Mary’s!
It is important that we remain aware of our obligations as road users when driving and parking around our school neighbourhood. As previously communicated please ensure your vehicle is parked appropriately in a designated space before stopping to pick up or drop off children. Unfortunately complaints from neighbours have increased recently due to parents once again parking on grass verges and across driveways.
Nga Mihi Nui
Kiaora Koutou e te Whanau o Hato Maria
Greetings to all St Mary’s Families. Welcome to term 3 - one that poses much excitement, activity and opportunities in a range of areas. Information in regard to some of these I will expand on later. Last Monday we welcomed ten new students and their families to our school, some for the first time.
I personally look forward to sharing in the many activities and experiences that will make your time at St Mary’s rewarding and successful.
New Board of Trustee Member
It is my pleasure to welcome and congratulate Mr Vincente (Vic) Villegas to our St Mary’s Board of Trustees. Vic will join us as a representative of Bishop Steve (the proprietor). I am sure you will join me in welcoming Vic to this governance role and the future contributions of leadership to our school.
Assessment and Reporting
Our first reporting event of this term will be our Student Led Conferences in week 4. Student Led Conferences are now an established part of how we report to parents and one where students take a lead role. This is a process that we continue to refine and grow as a student centred reporting tool.
I mentioned last term that you are no doubt starting to see your child’s eportfolio take shape and able to visually understand how each individual aspect will combine to form a record of learning, achievement and progress over their time at St Mary’s. This term we will add a writing Learning Story and progress towards a National Standards comment to e portfolios which will complete both the provision of a learning exemplar in each core curriculum area and our interim reporting for 2015.
Student Led Conferences will be held on Wednesday 12 August and will be 45 minutes long.
Times available will include:
1.00 - 1.45 pm
1.45 - 2.30 pm
3.00 - 3.45 pm
3.45 - 4.30 pm
5.15 - 6.00 pm
Room 16J will have 10 minute Parent Teacher Interview times.
Please note that as in previous years, school will finish at 12.00 pm on this day and students will need to be collected from this time. Should students require supervision until 3.00pm this will be provided in the Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey Centre from 1.30 pm.
Students who have Student Led Conferences at either 1.00 pm or 1.45 pm will need to be collected 15 minutes prior to their conference time.
To book your conference time please go to;
Event code: U5CDD
Event code: KSVCX (Room 16J only)
Investing in Educational Success (IES)
You may well have seen two recent media articles in relation to our school and the Government’s current IES initiative. IES being the $359 million investment the Government promoted as means to raising educational achievement in New Zealand. As a school we are focused on gaining as much benefit as possible for our school community inline with the initiative. We have done this through the following:
Faith Based Community of Schools: The premise behind Community of Schools is schools working together to raise student achievement by sharing expertise in teaching and learning and by supporting each other. We are currently working with eight other Catholic Schools in the Bay of Plenty and South Waikato area in the formation of this Faith Based Community, including St Thomas More and Aquinas College.
Teacher Led Innovation Fund: As a school we have been successful in gaining funding from an associated IES initiative. We are one of 72 schools nationally who have been provided with funding to undertake a specific innovation in regard to student learning.
The purpose of our innovative practice will be to further enhance the value of a ‘Student Centered’ approach to assessment and reporting in the online environment, with a particular focus on priority learners.
The objectives of the community are supported by the Government by way of various funding streams including additional teacher time and provision for professional learning development. The focus of the community is centered around key data driven achievement objectives pertinent to all schools.
At present we are working with the Ministry of Education to have our achievement challenges endorsed prior to progressing to the resourcing stage. Exploration will occur across curriculum with a focus on creativity, communication, collaboration and spirituality. These are key dispositions of learning to be valued and enhance the child as a lifelong 21st century learner. I would personally like to congratulate and thank Mrs Janet McCarroll, Mrs Anna MacKinnon and Miss Jana Benson on the work they collectively put into the design and completion of the proposal.
After School Transport Arrangements
Thank you to those who are continuing to be both conscious and considerate of our community and its residents before and after school. However, following an incident last week I must also ask that you are vigilant in regard to your own children and have a clear understanding with them in regard to any arrangements that are made. Parents of junior students may wish to ensure teachers are also informed should there be a change of routine or arrangements, particularly in regard to children getting home from school.
Aroha Events and Activities
Our Aroha team has a number of events and activities this term that are sure to be exciting for all involved.
- In week 7 this term they will attend a camp at Totara Springs that I am sure will challenge all students and maybe some parents and teachers too!
- On the evening of Monday 31 August they will all be participating in the Tauranga Music Festival’s opening night.
- Our annual South Cluster Winter Sports tournament is scheduled for later in the term followed by further opportunity for those teams that go on to Western Bay of Plenty level.
I am certainly looking forward to sharing in the success of our senior students this term.
Nga Mihi Nui