From the Principal - 17 November 2016

Kia ora Koutou Katoa

Greetings whanau, parents and friends of our St Mary’s community.   A very special welcome to Noah Askin and Shadow Yue who have started school recently. 
This is a dynamic time for our school with many events and activities of importance, significance and value apparent.  The end of the year is always a busy time and one for celebration but the month of November 2016 is currently taking this notion to the extreme.  From my perspective such factors epitomises what makes our school such a great community to be apart of.
On Sunday we celebrated our termly Parish School Mass.  My thanks to Father Stuart for his enthusiasm and commitment to our school and our Parish while Father Mark is away.  It was great to see so many families and students attending Mass as a community.

This week has marked two events of significance.  At time of writing we are in the concluding stages of our Education Office Review.  As Principal I am extremely proud of the efforts, from teachers, support staff, students, board members and parents, that have gone into presenting St Mary’s as the special learning institution that we all know it is.  Feedback to date has been extremely affirming and I look forward to being able to celebrate the final report with our school community.
My thanks to those parents and whanau who attended the special liturgy we held for our visiting Cluny Sisters on Monday.  This week a number of Cluny Religious from around the world have been meeting to discuss key aspects of leadership and governance in their own Cluny Retreat Centre.  Having them present in our school has reinforced the place St Mary’s holds in the wider Cluny family and has again made us extremely thankful of the Charism we have been both gifted and get to utilise for the benefit of our students.

In looking ahead to next week we are of course excited at the prospects of hosting the 2016 Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival.  A notice was sent home last night and there is more information within this Newsletter re: the Festival and the encouragement for all to attend during the course of the two days if you are able.  It may be a little early for celebration but I would like to thank the many volunteers and whanau who have been contributing to the leadership and organisation of the event and those who are making themselves available to help in a variety of roles over the two days.  Our combined efforts will no doubt make for a memorable Festival.  Mauri Ora!

Traffic Next Week
Traffic in and around our area over the two days will of course require careful consideration of all.  To help manage the traffic around our school we are operating a park and ride service from Memorial Park, however, it would be advisable to take extra care when collecting and dropping off students.  The eastern end of Harvey Street will also be closed to traffic from 8am until 3pm so please make sure you allow plenty of time to park appropriately and accompany students to and from your cars.

2017 Enrolments
A reminder to all who have children turning 5 next year or know of families whose intention it is to attend St Mary’s at any time during 2017 please ensure enrolment procedures are started as soon as possible.

End of Year change of date
Our last day of school will now be Thursday 15 December, with our End of Year School Prizegiving being held on Wednesday 14 December.

Pacifika Festival
I was very proud and privileged to witness the St Mary’s Samoan Group perform at the Pacifika Festival held recently at Arataki School.  I congratulate you for practising every week for most of the year to perform at the Festival.  Thank you to Charlie and Ati Aaifou-Olive for sharing your Samoan culture with us and keeping it alive in our school community.

Jump Jam
In conclusion I would like to congratulate our three Jump Jam teams who performed recently at the North Island Championships at Baycourt.  A first and two seconds!  You were wonderful ambassadors and outstanding performers for St Mary’s.  We all know that you have worked so hard perfecting your routines with your many practices, giving up your weekends and sometimes even coming to school very early in the morrning.  That’s great dedication and commitment! Congratulations to you all! 
Of course a very BIG thank you must go to Kim Artus, coach extroadinaire, for his passion and enthusiasm for Jump Jam and for our school.  Thank you Kim.

Nga Mihi Nui Kia Koutou
Ben Fuller

Aroha Team Camp

Aroha Team have had an exciting start to Term 4, by spending three days at Totara Springs Camp, near Matamata.  Blessed with fine weather, the students were able to enjoy the challenges of Education Outside the Classroom ( EOTC) through rock climbing, crate-climbing, abseiling and raft-building to name just a few!  Our students were suitably challenged with the activities on offer to develop their leadership skills, as well as build perseverance when faced with completing the many outdoor challenges. 
We had an enthusiastic and capable group of parents that joined us, and with the impressive facilities on offer at Totara Springs and the beautiful weather meant the experience was positive for all. We are already looking forward to returning next year with our current Year 4 and 5 students.

Thank you to all our supportive parents for the various ways you contributed to our camp being so successful through fundraising and those who were able to join us.  Your time and effort is much appreciated by all the students and teachers in the Aroha team. 
Jacq Price, Senior Team Leader

Here is piece of writing from Amy Trott who just came back from camp.

It is a ‘Moment in Time’ during her experience at rafting.

The cold water envelops me, grabbing me with its icy fingers and pulling me down. My life jacket gently lifts me to the surface its straps bobbing around my head. I latch onto the float like a leech, pulling myself over. I fall back under the cold, cold water.
As I reach the surface something snags against my foot. The creeping feeling of excitement bubbling through my veins. I start kicking, just as determined as my team members to get the raft started. The twirling water dances around me as I begin to slide down the slippery plastic of the float.
The squeals and giggles of my team members fill my ears and completely drown out the sound of the rushing river. There is a chorus of screams as our raft glides underneath a branch. I duck my head underwater and my mouth is instantly overcome with the musty, dirty taste of the murky fast-moving water. As my head breaks out of the water the stench of cow manure hits me, yuck!
The sinister rhythm of  the water changes as a large, bulky, grey rock forms a small waterfall. We all scream as our raft bumps over the drop. We fall instantly into a whirlpool. Despite our frustration we glide around for a few seconds until we finally break free. 
Amy Trott Room 8

e-Learning Open Afternoon

On Thursday 27 October, you are all warmly invited to an e-Learning open afternoon here at St Mary’s.  During this time you are welcome to visit your child’s classroom to see how they are using digital technologies to enhance and support learning.  Following this, there will be a presentation in the BAMJC lead by Mary Jamieson, an e-learning expert from Waikato University.  After this presentation, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions about any observations you have made during your visits in the classrooms, and any other wonderings you have around how we are using technology in our school.
Date: Thursday 27 October
Time : 1.30pm- 3.00pm all classrooms will be open for you to wander through.
          : 3.15pm- Mary Jamieson presentation in the BAMJC. Team Leaders will also be present.
We look forward to seeing you on this date and having the opportunity to share how we are utilising digital tools in our school.

Attendance Matters

At St Mary’s we take attendance seriously and monitor it frequently.  Research states that student attendance, along with effective teaching, has the greatest influence on student engagement and achievement. All students must be present at school so they can participate and engage in learning.
If a student misses five school days each term, or one day a fortnight (10%), they will miss the equivalent of one year of school over 10 years.
Currently this year, 16% of our students have absences of 10% or more.  This is concerning for us and we will be monitoring attendance closely this term to check for improvements. 
We are lucky at St Mary’s that we don’t have a high percentage of students who are late to school.  Being on time means that all instructions for the day are heard, the child is more settled and no learning is missed. 
We look forward to a full term of learning ahead with all students at school regularly and on time. 

Anna MacKinnon, Deputy Principal

Special Character - 19 October 2016

The month of October is the month of the Rosary. On our first day back to school this term students prayed a decade of the rosary for our intentions in our liturgy. Classes have been learning about the rosary and how to use rosary beads. 
This week our liturgy focused on Mission Sunday which is this coming Sunday.  Students learnt about life in Cambodia and how missionaries help children receive an education.  Students have been encouraged to act with mercy and to pray for those in need and for the missionaries who do such good work around the world.

New children and new families liturgy
On Tuesday 25 October we welcome 17 new students to St Mary’s since our Term 3 liturgy.  All families are very welcome to attend this very special litury to help make our new families feel welcome.

Sacramental Programme 2016-17 (for students Y4 and above)
Enrolments for the Sacramental Programme will take place on Sunday 30 October, after 9am Mass at St Joseph’s Te Puna; and after the 10.30am Mass at St Mary Immaculate. You can also enrol your child (or grandchild) on-line, through the Parish website. 
You must register by Monday 31 October – no late registrations will be accepted.
There will be some changes to the organisation of the programme and celebration of the Sacraments this year:
There will be one programme for the whole parish. Those students attending St Mary’s School will complete much of the learning in school time (you will still need to register through the Parish), students from other kura and schools will gather at St Mary Immaculate Church on Monday afternoons after school.
Volunteers will be needed for this programme. The first lesson will be Monday 14 November 3.30pm - 5.00pm.
Sacrament of Reconciliation - Friday 2 December 4pm - 6pm
There will be a separate Liturgy of Confirmation on Sunday 21 May at 2pm, possibly at Holy Trinity Church. Following this, there will be a social time with Bishop Steve.
The Celebration of First Communion will be more flexible, and can take place at a number of Masses in St Joseph’s, St Therese Chapel and at St Mary Immaculate during July and August.
An information booklet with all the information and details can be collected at the time of enrolment or found on the parish website.
Any inquiries please contact the Parish Office: (07) 578 6209 or alternatively email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Praise to the God of All Comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”

Prayers for Fr Mark
Please keep Father Mark in your prayers as he prepares for his surgery for prostate cancer and his recovery.  Father Stuart Young will be acting parish priest until Father Mark returns.

Prayer Intentions
If you have an intention that you would like prayers for please let me know. The staff pray together weekly and would be honoured to pray for your intentions.  It could be for a sick family member, it could be for someone to find God, it could be for strength in trying times; etc.  Please email me and we will happily pray for your intention. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
We pray that all students and their families of St Mary’s Tauranga have a very blessed and wonderful Term 4.
God bless,
Teresa Rush , DRS

Sursum Corda's visit to St Patrick's School and Church in Taupo

On Friday 2 September Sursum Corda visited St Patrick’s School and Church in Taupo and sang at the midday Mass. We were warmly welcomed by the school and also by Monsignor Trevor Murray, St Patrick’s Parish Priest. The Mass was attended by four classes from the school and parishioners.  Sursum Corda did us proud - they sang like angels and their behaviour for the entire day was exemplary!  Monsignor commented not only on their singing but how he thought Sursum Corda in their robes were even better dressed than he was in his vestments! At the end of Mass Monsignor asked the students what Sursum Corda meant. (Lift up your heart) The students were able to tell him and he reminded them that we must always lift our hearts and voices to praise God!

Following Mass we visited the Huka Park Prawn Farm which Sursum Corda really enjoyed. Most students were able to take home a freshly caught prawn!

It was a very beneficial and worthwhile day! A special thank you to our wonderful parents who joined us for the day.  Thanks also to our PTA for their generous contribution and all families for supporting our fundraising bake stall and ice block day.We are very grateful. 

With kind regards and God bless

Sally Washer

2016 St Mary's Speech Finals

At St Mary’s School we recognise that oral language (both listening and speaking) is vital for students to be able to communicate effectively.  In the Junior School we use poetry as a basis to recite and read aloud. We talk about voice projection, good expression, modulation and pace. With the students we identify ‘what good listeners do’ and discuss eye contact and the use of body language. 

As the students progress through to the Middle School, they are encouraged to take on more challenging types of public speaking with the main aim of writing a simple speech to present at Year 3 and 4. The Year 4’s are also invited to attend the Year 5 and 6 speech finals in the centre which is a great example of how high they should be aiming by Year 5. 

All students in Years 5 and 6 are supported to prepare and deliver a 3-5 minute formal speech around a topic of their choice. This process includes defining the purpose of the speech and constructing an effective introduction, body and a sound conclusion. Original and thought-provoking ideas are encouraged. All students deliver their speech to their own class and 4 finalists are selected to go on to the semi-finals. Winners from the semi-finals then go through to the school finals. 

This year’s judges were Mrs Camilla May (the Principal of Helen O’Grady school of Drama), Miss Millie Burton and Miss Millie Elliott (Year 12 students from Aquinas College). The judges used set criteria that are also used in the South Cluster Finals at the next level. This ensures consistency across the board for all.

We are extremely proud of the standard of speeches this year.  Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists. Our place getters were:

Year 1
1st - Matthew Rogers
2nd - Oliver Bradley
3rd - Tommy Mason

Year 2
1st - Maria Tustin
2nd - Jack Mear
3rd - Leo Gray

Year 3
1st - Sophia Mason
2nd - Otis Jones
3rd equal - Eli Banbury and Georgia Abernethy

Year 4
1st - Finn Richards
2nd - Roman Rejthar
3rd - Emma Rogers

Year 5
1st - Mila Laurie
2nd - Holly Van den Borst
3rd - Madison Smith

Year 6
1st - Nina Rejthar
2nd - Conrad Grace
3rd - Rupert Carter

Good luck to Mila Laurie, Holly Van den Borst, Nina Rejthar and Conrad Grace who are representing St Mary’s at the South Cluster finals on Wednesday 14 September. 

Anna MacKinnon, 
Deputy Principal

Special Character 13 September 2016

We welcome Father Santy to our parish and school community, we look forward to meeeting Father Santy and getting to know him. 

Thank you to the families who attended the Parish/School Mass. As a Catholic school we are fortunate to be able to be thankful to our previous Board of Trustees and to commission our new Board of Trustees as part of our parish community. 

Sursum Corda sang beautifully and the students who read did so very well. 

Social Justice Week: 11 – 17 September 2016
We all have a migration story: Fostering a culture of encounter “Welcoming others means welcoming God in person! Do not let yourselves be robbed of the hope and joy of life born of your experience of God’s mercy, as manifested in the people you meet on your journey!” – Pope Francis. 

Each year in September, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference give us Social Justice Week to consider Catholic social teaching on an issue of social justice in New Zealand. This year the theme for parishes is We all have a migration story: Fostering a culture of encounter. Let us take this time to reflect on our own migration journey and consider how we can foster a culture of encounter in our own life and in the life of the parish and the life of the school. 

For resources and more information visit

St Mary Immaculate Church - Saturday 17 September, 10am Father Gerard Aynsley 
Father Gerard is a priest of the Diocese of Dunedin, and will be with us here in Tauranga Moana next weekend, and will speak on The Year of Mercy / An Encounter with the Living God. 

There will be a shared lunch after this presentation.

Teresa Rush

Paid Union Stop Work Meeting Wednesday 14 September

Friday 26 August

Dear Parents and Caregivers

On Wednesday 14 September, Saint Mary’s Staff will be attending a Paid Union Stop Work Meeting from 9am to 10.30am. Therefore it will not be possible to run normal classroom programmes during this time. We ask that you keep your children at home (or arrange alternate supervision) until 11am when children will be
welcome at school.
Should you be unable to organise supervision for your child / children please complete the online form via the following link so that we can make appropriate arrangements for the supervision of your child at school.

Holding meetings during hours of school instruction is unusual, however, this meeting has been called due to concerns related to Government's proposed changes to the way schools are funded. This will result in Principals and Boards of Trustees having to make trade-offs between teaching staff and other costs schools face. Possible consequences may include:

● fewer teachers and larger class sizes
● less job security for teachers
● lower quality teaching
● fewer hours for teacher aides and support staff
● more complex financial work for Boards of Trustees

We thank you for your cooperation in regard to this matter and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind Regards
Ben Fuller