Taekwondo Success

Joshua (Room 7) and Jazmine Oficial (Room 10)  began Taekwondo in 2016 and are now yellow belts. They have entered two competitions and been successful already. Josh has won one gold and two silver medals and Jazmine has won two gold and one silver medal. They practise twice a week and are training hard for the Nationals later in the year.  Congraulations Joshua and Jazimine.  

From the Principal - 14 May 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

A special welcome to our new families and new children; Elia Szulakowski, Sara Szulakowski, Jooyeon Kim, Hugo Kolless, Bryley Raass, Manaia Brazendale, Regan Dobbs, Mali Lawrence, George McKinnon, Oriel Olvina, Oliver Reid, Delilah Smith and Solomin Smith. 

It is great to be into Term 2 and with you look forward to the many opportunities and events within our school community as winter approaches.  It has been great to see some of our winter sports codes starting to prepare for the season.  I wish all players, coaches, managers and parents all the best for your first games and congratulations to Mr Finlayson for the work he has done in getting approximately 300 children involved in sport.

As with any term there are many events and activities on our busy calendar so please take time to look either online or on our website for what’s coming up.  I was in Korea at the same time as our PTA Quiz night last year but looking forward to joining in with you this time.  Make sure you have a table together as it is always a fun night.

Innovative Learning Environments

As you may be aware we have a new Minister of Education, The Honorable Nikki Kaye.  Nikki Kaye comes from and academic background that covers both the sciences and law and is therefore a big supporter of Innovative Learning Environments.  It is important to note that the word innovative refers to what happens within the learning environment, not what the environment looks like.  It is very much learner centred with the learner in control as opposed to the teacher.  The teacher obviously has a role different to that which has been more traditional in nature.

Father Santi gave a great homily on Sunday with a focus on leadership.  He looked at the words efficient vs effective.  Efficient being related to managing and effective being related to leadership.  My view is that the New Zealand Education system and teaching practice developed high levels of efficiency since the time of tomorrow’s schools but is now realising the need to be effective in leading learning.

Those parents who attended the Aroha open afternoons last week and those who regularly help or are in attendance in Room 13 will no doubt make some connections with how we are working towards being effective as a school.  We have some further times to share scheduled with other learning teams this term.  Maramatanga parents are invited to share in the focus on their new learning environment at either 2.20pm or 6pm next Tuesday.

The OECD has published many reports that are guiding educational practice globally a recent one, “Schooling redesigned towards innovative learning systems focuses on 7 ILE learning principles.  The first being ‘Make learning central, encourage engagement and be where learners come to discover themselves as learners’.  This statement indicating that children need the scope to explore and connect with what successful learning looks like for them.  We are examining all 7 ILE principles as a staff and will continue to share them with our community.

Before School Procedures and Punctuality

Thank you to all who have been making an effort with ensuring children are at school on time.  It definitely makes a difference when a child is set up and ready to learn at the start of the day.  Equally, in moving forward to our colder months it is not ideal to have children waiting in the cold for classrooms to open.  All classrooms will be open and supervised from 8.30am which means children who arrive before this will need to wait in an outside area.   Ideally any time from 8.15 - 8.45 is a good time to get to school.

New Build Progress

With a run of recent good weather we have seen some great progress with the construction of our new learning environment.  Early next week we should start to see a roof go on which will of course signal the end of potential weather delays.  The time frame for completion is therefore still the end of the term meaning we will be in a position to welcome our Year 2 students into their new learning space at the beginning of Term 3.

Nga mihi nui

Ben Fuller

Principal

Sports Wrap Up - 27 March 2017

After completing our Aroha Swimming Sports we moved onto South Cluster.  St Mary’s had twenty two students competing against the five other schools in our cluster.  Not only did we win all three relays,  but from the twenty two students who competed, seventeen have qualified for the Western Bay of Plenty Swimming Championships.  Giving St Mary’s by far the largest contribution to the South Cluster Team.

The student lead mini-triathlon was great fun.  It was fantastic to see so many students giving it a go.  A massive thank you to Chris Willett and his team who helped organise the morning.  Chris’ teams encouragement of the students to enjoy themselves on the day, went a long way towards making the day a great experience for everyone.  I am looking forward to expanding the event next year to incorporate more year groups.

I am very excited to announce Courtney Smith will be helping me for the remainder of the year.  Courtney is in the third year of her Bachelor of Sport and Recreation at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology (formerly Bay of Plenty Polytechnic).  In order to gain her degree Courtney will be undertaking a research project.  This will be to establish an evidence based (scientific research) best practice fundamental skills programme with our year 3 and 4 students, focussing on catching, throwing and passing.

Aroha Team News

The Aroha Team have already had many experiences this term.  A trip to Waimarino, Swimming Sports, a Triathlon, to name a few. Lachlan has shared his Triathlon experience with us.

Aroha Team Triathlon

Mr Finlayson came up with an idea to have a school triathlon. He asked the House Captains and Chris from Sports Bay of Plenty to help. I am a house captain so I helped. We had a meeting to discuss who did the jobs. Jacob and I made the posters and put them up so people knew that the triathlon was happening. All the house captains had to move the rocks in the estuary so they didn’t get in the way of the swimmers. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to go on the footpaths because there would be too many cars, so we arranged to do the bike and the run on the field. We planned to do the swim in the estuary. 

This is how the event unfolded for me...

As I stood at the start line in the estuary, I was excited to swim in the surprisingly warm water. The current was pushing me backwards. After the swim, I quickly hopped out of the estuary and sped off on my bike, zooming around the field. I felt nervous for the running because I am not a very good runner. I just tried to run my fastest because it was only a lap of the field. I was most excited to go on the slippery slide at the end and slide on my bum as quick as a cheetah. I layed down at the finish because I was pooped and watched the last races of the day. Then we all got together and had first, second and third prizes. The winners got a chocolate bar. Henry came first, Callum came second, and Isaiah came third. This was our first school triathlon. I enjoyed it and everyone seemed to have fun. I am looking forward to doing a triathlon in the future.

By Lachlan Aubrey

Tracking Success

Will there be data compiled to track the success rates of students within the collaborative learning environment?  

This is a very timely question from our community.  Our latest ERO Report stated that: “The important next step is for the board and senior leaders to continue to evaluate the impact of current initiatives, such as innovative teaching environments, on various groups of children, especially those at risk of underachievement.” 

One way that St Mary’s School tracks the success rates of learners is our commitment to internal evaluation.  “Evaluation is the engine that drives improvement and innovation.  Internal evaluation is undertaken to assess what is and is not working, and for whom, and then to determine what changes are needed.” (ERO - Effective Internal Evaluation For Improvement).

Another way that St Mary’s School tracks the success rates of learners is through monitoring cohorts and in particular individual students.  Senior leaders, team leaders and teachers meet regularly to discuss, monitor and track individual students who are causing concern and all students to ensure that sufficient, and in some cases accelerated, progress is being made.  It is important to track not just academic progress, but progress in areas like the Key Competencies.  

As part of our research project for the Teacher Led Innovation Fund, we are also collecting data from teachers, students and parents to track improvements in teacher practice and student agency.  

Research can confirm that collaboration between teachers improves teacher quality, and in turn quality teaching has a significant effect on student learning and achievement.  “Collaborative learning, team teaching, using ICT in learning and peer teaching are all recognized as effective methods with strong research about each of these areas.” Professor David Mitchell.

Anna MacKinnon

Deputy Principal

Special Character - 27 March 2017

The Monday liturgies during lent have focused on Caritas, Our inspiring Saints and People, World Water day and the Annunciation. Students in classes have started focused learning activities from the Caritas Lent Unit: Your face Lord, do I seek.  With a  special focus: JUST WATER: Climate Change in the Pacific. The Aroha hub students are organising a fundraiser for Caritas, details will be out soon.

We celebrated our first whole school Mass at Church on Friday to celebrate St Joseph’s Day.  Student participation at Mass was excellent, it was a very special mass where we thanked the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny for all they have done for our school and for others. 

Baptism

If you are interested in having your child baptised, please phone Margie at the Church office, 07-578 6209.  If you have any questions please feel free to see me or email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

Lent timetable

Over the next few weeks we have a busy Lent timetable. Please take note of these times.  

Thursday 30 March: Benediction - 2pm BAMJC. The Eucharist will be present in the chapel after Mass from 10am if you would like to take time to come, reflect and pray with our Lord. Classes will be visiting throughout the day, all Whanau are welcome.

Holy Week

Friday 7 April: 11am Palm Sunday liturgy followed by a Donkey procession - students are encouraged to bring “Jesus Clothes” to dress in.

Monday 10 April: 10am Washing of the Feet and Last Supper Liturgy

Tuesday 11 April: 10am Garden of Gethsemane Liturgy

Wednesday 12 April: 10am Good Friday Liturgy

Thursday 13 April: Way of the Cross - times to be confirmed

Lent Prayer

E te Ariki, we pray for Your guidance during our Lenten journey. May these times of reflection and prayer help us to more clearly see your face – the face of mercy. Provide us with the strength to be Your voice and to make good choices. Help us to help others face the tests that challenge them. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Teresa Rush

Director of Religious Studies