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 - 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

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 - 23 March 2015

E Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

As we approach Easter there are a number of events and occasions that will signify the end of term.  This week we will complete two reporting to parent related procedures including, teacher, parent learning conversations and our first learning story of the year in reading.

If you have not made an appointment for your learning conversation please ensure you do, so as not to miss out on the opportunity to speak with your child’s teacher in relation to their learning.  How to book is detailed later in this newsletter.  

Your child’s learning story in reading will include evidence of their learning, in addition to an interim reporting comment in relating to achievement against National Standards.  Both forming a record of achievement in reading to date.  Any questions in relation to your child’s learning story should be directed to the classroom teacher.

Playground Development

As a result of an agreement reached by the Hamilton Diocese and our 13th Avenue neighbours we have completed the move of our 2012 Playground Structure.  It has been re-constructed in it’s original form including a climbing wall and sky bridge.  It was great to see many of our children utilise this on Friday last week.  Thanks on behalf of our children and community to Bruce Stockman for his management of the project.

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.

Before School Care

Thank you to the many who have indicated an interest in a ‘Before School Care Service’.  I am currently working with our After School Care Coordinator, Shelley Rose, to establish a outline of the proposed service and hope to contact parents with details of this before the end of term.  If you would utilize a before school care service, if available, please complete the following form by going to this link http://goo.gl/forms/uLLXUxrTzw

Uniform

New Zealand Uniforms have informed me that uniform items they have been waiting for have either arrived or will be in stock prior to the end of term.  They have apologized for the delays experienced and inform me that they are currently communicating with those families affected.

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.  This year we are seeking new ways to encourage your support and would like to offer the following to our loyal sponsors, and to any new sponsors who would like to contribute as a Gold Group Sponsor;

  • School signage
  • Advertising on the back of our school newsletter
  • An opportunity to feature an article about your business in one newsletter during the year (new)
  • Feature on the Gold Group Sponsor page of our school website with your logo, contact information and an article about your business
  • Advertise in the Trade Directory free of charge
  • 2 school magazines
  • 2 family tickets to the PTA Fireworks, Term 4
  • Winter mix and mingle (new)

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 office. 

Nga Mihi Nui

Ben Fuller
Principal