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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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