From the Principal - 24 June 2015

Hi Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

Hello, Greetings to you all.  This will be the last newsletter of term two, an 11 week term that seems to have now preceded us with some haste.  We are now essentially half way through the 2015 academic year and I trust your children are able to both look back on some great achievements and look forward to opportunities to come.

Student Led Conferences

Our first reporting event of next 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.  Details in regard to date and time will follow early next term.

Mathematics Learning Story

Further to reporting, you should all now be in receipt of your child’s mathematics learning story.  This being in a similar format to the reading learning story received last term.  If you haven’t already, please take time to access your child’s eportfolio site, view the learning exemplar, read the comment in relation to achievement against National Standards and place feedback in regard to the learning you witness.

No doubt you are starting to see your child’s eportfolio take shape and able to visually understand how each individual aspect of reporting will combine to form a real record of learning and achievement during their time at St Mary’s.  The teacher comment is of course still an integral part of reporting to parents and our legislative obligations but the real actual exemplar of student achievement is recorded in the form of the critical conversation.  These are then combined with illustrated standards, progressions, expectations and progress in learning to form the students learning story.

Traffic Management

Unfortunately we stil see parents parking on yellow lines, driving into the school grounds, driving on grass verges, parking in the bus bay and parking in the school driveways over the yellow lines.  Please parents, for the SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN, use common sense when parking around the school.

Sporting Success

This term has been a great one for sporting success, gymnastics, cross country and a multitude of team sport achievements.  I would like to congratulate all students who have taken the opportunity to participate in a sport or sporting event irrespective of what it is or the level of success.  Winter sports will, of course, continue into term three so there will be plenty more smiles to come.

Musical Opportunity

We also have the opportunity to recognise the musical achievement of Lily Richards, Lily Hodgson and Cullan Fuller who have been selected as soloists for the upcoming Tauranga Music Festival.  The festival this year will be celebrating 50 years of student performance over four nights. All of our Year 5 and 6 students will be a part of the opening night.  Much preparation will occur next term in the lead up to this event in week 7.

Senior Leadership Team

The last week of term will be one of learning for members of our senior leadership team.  While Anna MacKinnon and myself will attend the New Zealand Principals Federation Conference, Janet McCarroll and Jana Benson will be attending the International Conference on Thinking.  We wish Janet and Jana safe travels.

Gold Sponsors

As a school we are extremely fortunate to have a number of Gold Sponsors who support our Vision and contribute to the many opportunities we aim to offer our children.   

Should you or someone you know require any further information in regard to becoming a Gold Sponsor of St Mary’s Catholic School please do not hesitate to make contact with either myself or Theresa in our front office.

Happy Holidays!

In closing I would like to wish all members of our community a blessed and safe holiday in what ever shape or form this may take.  I look forward to welcoming back our students in mid July and hopefully spring in the not too distant future.

Nga Mihi Nui

Ben Fuller

Principal

From the Principal - 10 June 2015

Hi Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

To start on a sporting note, it is great to see so many St Mary’s students involved in a range of sporting activities this term.  These, of course, include our traditional winter codes but also many individual pursuits.  We are half way through our cross country events this term, the weather playing it’s part in allowing the South Cluster Cross Country to be completed last Thursday and now thirteen St Mary’s students look forward to running at Western Bay level.

We will be completing our interim reporting on mathematics this term through a learning story and interim reported comment against progress towards national standards.  As with the reading learning story in term one, this will be distributed in digital form.  I have been able to sample a variety of learning stories completed to date and must applaud both students and teachers for the quality of the exemplar’s and related learning conversations.

Samoan Assembly

I am sure for all that were present at our last school assembly you would have been extremely impressed by the performance of our Samoan Cultural Group.  This group is a collection of people from within our school community, led by one of our parents, Ati Aaifou-Olive.  The inclusion of this performance was a great way for us as a school to recognise Samoan Language week and further reinforce the importance of growing culturally responsive practice at St Mary’s.

Catholic Conference

This week a representation of our school’s leaders will be travelling to Wellington to attend the 2015 Catholic Education Convention.  This convention is held every three years and is focused on the advancement of educational practice and enrichment of faith.  It will showcase good practice in our schools and other educational activities.  While a number of us are away at this conference Mrs Sally Washer will be acting Principal.

Pastoral Care Survey

Many thanks to all who completed the Pastoral Care Survey.  It is great to see the many people from within our community who both recognise the importance of this as a school and are prepared to support it.  We are currently working across our school, including the PTA, Board of Trustee members and members of staff to review and refine systems of support with the aim of providing help where it is most needed and that is sustainable.

Parish School Mass

This Sunday will be celebrating this term’s Parish School Mass and at this Mass our Sursum Corda Choir will be singing.  It will be great to have as many parents, students and families at Mass this Sunday as possible, 10.30am at St Mary Immaculate.

Knowledge-A-Thon

A big thanks to our PTA and their army of volunteers for the work that has been put into this year’s Knowledge-A-Thon.  Congratulations to all students who worked hard gaining sponsors and collecting donations.  While it is still a bit early to know exactly how much money our PTA has earned we are starting to see the classes and individuals who have made a big fundraising effort.  We are hoping to recognise these people at our assembly.

Uniform

As the weather gets colder a reminder that acceptable additional layers include our fleece and soft shell jacket.  Both these items have been designed to be worn in class if required.  Should a further layer be required this can be worn under either the girls dress or boys polo.  However, if this becomes visible it must be coloured white for the girls and black for boys and must not be visible above the neck line.

Shoes are required to be black leather with no additional colour or noticeable markings.  Shoes of canvas construction or boots are not acceptable footwear.  However, if your child currently has no other option then please provide a written note alerting to this fact with the time frame indicated.

Traffic Management

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

Ben Fuller

Principal

From The Principal - 11 May 2015

Hi Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

My greetings to you our parent community.  Great to be into the (first) autumn / winter term and seeing and hearing of the great opportunities our children are involved in.  This term signals the start of winter sports and, as always, St Mary’s is well represented across a number of codes.  I would like to wish all children involved in sport at St Mary’s an enjoyable season.  

I am, of course, proud of all children who get involved in the extracurricular activities offered through our school and know same can be said for the many children who wear St Mary’s colours while participating in competitive sport.

Term two is also an important term for learning.  The diagnostic and observational activities of term one mean teachers now have a clear understanding of students needs and next steps in learning.  This information is then translated into clear and scaffolded learning goals for each child that in turn each teacher focuses on supporting them to attain.  Please take time to talk with your child in regard to their present focus or priority for learning in each of the core subject areas.

Last Friday, along with Kelly Quin our Board Chair, I attended a cross sector seminar facilitated and hosted by the Ministry of Education.  A key message from the ministry was the effect being late or non attendance has on student achievement.  This is, of course, not new to educators  but what was significant for me was the effect poor attendance in Primary had statistically on the attainment of key Secondary based qualifications such as NCEA Level 2 and 3.

I accept that each individual case is different and the information presented was data, not a case by case basis.  However, we often think days off and holidays during term time are not such an issue at the primary level but ministry based research indicates that a 10% absence rate (one day a fortnight) in years 4 - 8 correlates to a reduction in the likelihood of a student achieving NCEA Level 2 qualifications.

Other items for discussion included the benefits of parental involvement in the education process.  This is, of course, something we continue to promote at St Mary’s  but I am reflecting on ways we can better support and scaffold parent involvement in your child’s learning.  The object is for parents to progress from going to schools and being shown what children do to actually knowing what the child is learning and why.

Great challenges for us all.

Book Fair

Congratulations to all children who took time to dress up for our Book Character Day last week.  This was but one aspect of the week that was well supported by our wider community.  Throughout the week we sold over $4000 worth of childrens books and, as a result, raised nearly $1,000 for our library.  

Many thanks to Debbie Nowell, our librarian, for the work undertaken in staging the fair this year.

Uniform

I was notified last week that the soft shell jackets have arrived at NZ Uniforms meaning all uniform items are now in stock.  Tracy from NZ Uniforms has asked me to pass on her apologies for recent supply issues and the inconvenience it has caused.

Trade directory

A reminder to all those who would like to benefit from being included in the second edition of our community trade directory.  Being included is a great way to ensure the families of St Mary’s are able to utilise the skills and services provided by members of our community.  To ensure you are a part of our 2015 Trade Directory please attach $20 to your business card and drop it in to the school office.  Please also email a copy of your business card with some text (less than 50 words) describing your business to; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Traffic Management

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

Ben Fuller

Principal

From The Principal - 26 May 2015

Hi Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

Visit of Bishop Steve

The highlight of our week, last, was no doubt the visit of Bishop Steve.  After being formally welcomed to Tauranga through a Powhiri at Aquinas College on Wednesday, we were lucky enough to host Bishop for the day on Friday.  As a community we were extremely impressed with the way he interacted with our children and shared information in regard to how he became the Bishop of Hamilton.  We look forward to a continued relationship with Bishop Steve and the community of St Mary’s Catholic School.

Holy Communion and Confirmation

Congratulations to all students and families who were involved in the receipt of their First Holy Communion and Sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday.  As a school we are extremely proud of you all.  On behalf of our school community I would like to thank the many people who contributed to the journey being such a success.  The way candidates were prepared and presented is a testament to you all.  Bishop Steve, Father Mark and Edwin were extremely impressed.

St Mary’s Cross Country and PTA Sausage Sizzle

Many thanks to our army of volunteers who turned out to help marshal for our school cross country and to those who hung around to help cook and distribute sausages to our hungry children.  I am sure you will agree that the cross country organisation was up to it’s usual high standard and many thanks to all those who adapted to the new money collection system for sausage ordering.

Knowledge-a-thon

This Friday is our annual Knowledge-a-thon.  I am sure your children have been busy gaining sponsors and studying the questions applicable to their year level.  It is a great opportunity to learn new and exciting facts, as well as raise some additional funding for our school.

Uniform

As the weather gets colder a reminder that acceptable additional layers include our fleece and soft shell jacket.  Both these items have been designed to be worn in class if required.  Should a further layer be required this can be worn under either the girls dress or boys polo.  However, if this becomes visible it must be coloured white for the girls and black for boys and must not be visible above the neck line.

Shoes are required to be black leather with no additional colour or noticeable markings.  Shoes of canvas construction or boots are not acceptable footwear.  However, if your child currently has no other option then please provide a written note alerting to this fact with the time frame indicated.

1st June - Queen’s Birthday weekend 

A reminder that this weekend is our final public holiday of the term.  No school on Monday!  Enjoy!

Traffic Management

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.

Trade directory

A reminder to all those who would like to benefit from being included in the second edition of our community community trade directory.  Being included is a great way to ensure the families of St Mary’s are able to utilise the skills and services provided by members of our community.  To ensure you are a part of our 2015 Trade Directory please attach $20 to your business card and drop it in to the school office.  Please also email a copy of your business card with some text (less than 50 words) describing your business to; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From The Principal - 28 April 2015

E Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

Greetings and welcome back to term two.  It is great to have just enjoyed a long weekend but, as I am sure is the case, the significance of the holiday was not lost.  I am proud of the way classes have focused on ANZAC day and the significant respect we have dedicated to the recognition of our returned service men.  In our foyer you will see a wall of remembrance where children  have had the opportunity to either remember relatives or simply pay respect to those fallen soldiers to whom we owe so much.

I was lucky enough to work with some of our year 6 students as we constructed a field of remembrance, a visual representation of a military cemetery with the names of 30 New Zealand soldiers killed during World War I represented on crosses.  Many of you will have noticed this on our field.

Today we concluded our ANZAC remembrance with a special liturgy.

Enrolment visit Aquinas College

On Wednesday 6 May Mr Ray Scott, Principal of Aquinas College, will be visiting our school at 1.30 pm.  The purpose of the visit is to speak to students about Aquinas and the ensuing enrolment process.  Should parents wish to be present for this meeting, you are extremely welcome.

PTA AGM

I was privileged enough to attend or St Mary’s Parent Teacher Association Annual General Meeting last week.  At the meeting the resignation of Jason Croad as President, Maria Trott as Secretary and Cathy Kerr as Treasurer were accepted.  On behalf of our school community I would like to thank each of these individuals for the service they have made to the main community fundraising body of our school.

Please also join me in congratulating Tammy McGrory, elected President; Kim Sherlock, elected Secretary and Leanne Mackay, elected Treasurer.  Knowing the quality of these individuals, I am sure they will make a significant contribution to the strategic direction of our school.

Buses

I hope the transition to the paid bus service has been relatively smooth for the majority of users.  I am aware that this has not been the case for all but hopefully, after some reflection and fine tuning, we will all enjoy an extremely efficient service.  A reminder for all bus users to check the School Hopper website for updates www.baybus.co.nz/schoolhopper.

Alpha 

Alpha express is coming to St Mary’s School.  The course will run from Friday 15 May until 17 July.  For more information see our newsletter.

Gold Group Sponsor - Bay Radiology

Welcome to Guy Mason from Bay Radiology, who has joined our Gold Group Sponsor team.

Gold Group Sponsor - Page Transport

Welcome also to Steven and Rebecca Page from Page Earthworks Ltd.  We look forward to learning more about both businesses in later issues of the newsletter.

Nga Mihi Nui

Ben Fuller

Principal