Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

A very warm welcome to our new students Flynn Gardiner, Lucy Hertnon, John Clarke, Brayden Nix, Ella Madams, Mitchell Parry, Jessica Cha, Clover Palairet, Hunter Signal, Olivia Lilly, Samantha Bint, Coen Bint, Kale Bint and Thomas Woo. 

First Holy Communion
On behalf of our school community I would like to congratulate all students who received their first Holy Communion over the last two weeks.  This completes your recent sacramental journey and significant step in your young lives as Catholic.  I must also thank and congratulate all who prepared our candidates from when the programme began last year through until now.  As a school we had many teachers involved in the preparation of students for the receipt of the three sacraments but key leadership came in the form of Mrs Donna Vincent, Mrs Elizabeth Driver and Mrs Teresa Rush.

Personalised Learning at St Mary’s
Like many educators I sat eagerly waiting to watch Seven Sharp’s story on Modern Learning Environments.  I won’t say I was disappointed in the story but it was a shame that the focus was on the physical environment as opposed to the pedagogy (way of learning) that is the feature of an effective innovative learning environment.

The key area of focus that I would encourage you as parents to continue to connect with is that change from a structured, teacher dominated, industrial model (factory) to a less formal student led or centred environment.  This approach brings aspects of learning that sit alongside the traditional content based approach.  A key goal for us at St Mary’s is ‘skilling’ the students to be independent and self managing learners.  For this to occur it is paramount that students understand their role and responsibilities as the learner and also the learning process.  This is of course not an ‘overnight’ process, it requires a process of learning to learn integrated into the classroom programme.

I am sure you will agree that everything is hard before it gets easy.  We therefore want our students to develop skills to cope with the ‘hard’.  They need to be able to persist, think flexibly, be creative, and take responsible risks.  The space does have a role in enabling students to test new ideas, make mistakes and use what they know.  Hence the flexible nature of our developing learning environments where students can adapt to a setting that gives them confidence.  This is why you will find many settings within the setting of an innovative learning environment … including desks!

Community Information Evening
We are delighted to host a Community Evening with Andrew Jones (Melbourne University).  Andrew will talk about what the very best learning organisations are focussing on; the skills and competencies learners will need for the future and how this fits with our focus on collaboration. 

When:  Monday 14 August 2017; 6:00pm

Where:  Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey Centre

Come along and enjoy some light refreshments, and hear the future direction of education. 
So we can gauge numbers for catering please indicate your attendance via this link to the online form

Student Led Conferences
It was great to see so many parents embrace the opportunity to share in their children’s learning journey through our Student Led Conferences last week.  As a form of student led reporting, our student led conferences are now an integral part of our reporting to parents process as they provide authentic examples of progress in learning through the sharing of and interaction with actual examples of learning.  As always, should you have anything you wish to discuss with your child’s teacher in relation to the conference, examples of learning shared or current achievement information please do not hesitate to make contact with them.

New Learning Environment
Our new learning environment is now ready for final council internal inspections and sign off, however, there are a few external areas needing to be completed before it can be effectively occupied by students.  

Prior to this we will be blessing the building (Kawanga Whare) in conjunction with local iwi at 6.15am on Tuesday morning (15 August) before holding the official opening on Friday 25 August at 9.30am.  You are all welcome to attend both events. 

The liturgy on Friday 25 August will be led by Bishop Steven Lowe who will be dedicating the building to a significant member of our school community.  As with an event of such a nature we welcome all current and former members of our school community.

75th Jubilee Reunion of our School 
You will be aware our school is celebrating its 75th Jubilee on the 22 - 24 September his year.
This is a very significant milestone in our school’s history and we are marking the occasion with various activities over the weekend.

Friday 22 September 2017

4.30pm:   Registrations
              Tours of the school

6.00pm:  ‘Mix and Mingle
              Kapa Haka 
              School Students Performance
6.30pm:  Bar Open and light nibbles will be served 

Saturday 23 September 2017 - St Mary's School

On Saturday there will be various activities in the school grounds (bouncy castle for the children) with the day finishing with a jubilee dinner at the ASB Arena BayPark.

11.00am:  Roll Call
                Decade photographs
                Tours of the school

1.00pm:  Picnic lunch (you can supply your own lunch or use the option available on the registration form)

Saturday (Evening) 23 September 2017 – Baypark ASB Arena Stadium Lounge

6.30pm:  Drinks
7.00pm:  Dinner

Our MC for the evening is ex pupil Sam Kelway. You may know him as the popular TVNZ news reporter. Sam was born in Tauranga and moved to Wellington before being lured by the bright lights of Auckland.

Sam’s a passionate story teller, with immaculate hair, who doesn’t mind getting his suit dirty for a good story.  A TVNZ-er since 2012, he’s game for anything and will stop at almost nothing in telling the stories that matter.  We look forward to hearing some of Sam’s stories.

Sunday 24 September 2017

The celebrations will conclude with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Steve Lowe at St Mary Immaculate at 10.30am on the Sunday.  Full details of all activities are available on the school’s website, facebook and a hard copy of the registration form is available from the school’s office.

We are encouraging ALL members of our past and present community (pupils, parents, teachers, anyone who has had a connection to St Mary's) to join us in the celebrations of this weekend.

We look forward to a wonderful and memorable celebration.

New Gold Group Sponsor - Harveys Rural Property

Richard Greaves offers a focused, results - based real estate service across theBay of Plenty and in particular Tauranga Central and Rural Bay of Plenty.

A proven property deal maker, Richard easily forms trusted working relationships with his clients and leverage off the market advantages that the respected

Harveys brand offers to streamline the sale of your property. With strong family values, a well-developed sense of community spirit and extensive networks,

Richard is making his mark in the Bay.

Through Harveys in Schools, we can offer a range of skill sets and resources to extend the reach you have in your community and to bolster fundraising initiatives.

• The Harveys Photo Booth – a great attraction at school galas, fun days, quiz night, school dances/ socials (subject to availability)

• A Harveys Master of Ceremonies

• Our charity Auctions bring fun and a touch of theatre to your school event; we know what works, how to source items for the auction and how to coordinate a memorable experience.

• Individual agents with specialist sports knowledge/ interest could sponsor school teams and assist with branded gear.

• We pledge to donate $1000 from each successful sale of a property referred to us via the schools parents, neighbours and supporters network.

A little about myself..... I moved to Tauranga at the beginning of 2017 with my wife Joanna and our three children who attend St Mary’s School, Hannah, Jack and Lucy.  We have enjoyed our first six months at St Mary’s and look forward to getting to know the St Mary’s School Community better.

Ben Fuller