Greetings to our amazing St Mary’s community. It is great to see that we are well into spring with summer not too far away. This of course signals a change in sporting codes and it is great to see so many children taking advantage of the amazing opportunities St Mary’s has to offer. Please join me in thanking our new Sports Coordinator Steve Finlayson for the remarkable job he is doing.
New season also signals a change of uniform. From the beginning of next week all children need to be in the summer variation of our uniform. The main change being foot wear (black roman sandals). It is of course, essential that all children have a sun hat from Tuesday.
Sun block will be available in classes but I would suggest applying sunblock to your child in the morning before school as an additional precaution. As I am sure you do as parents we encourage children to manage themselves when it comes to sunscreen. Our teachers will always give reminders but are unable to apply sun block to their entire class.
We will be reviewing our sun smart policy this term. Look out for details so that you can contribute.
Year 5 and 6 Camp
I thouroughly enjoyed my opportunity to visit our Year 5 and 6 campers in week one of this term. Totora Springs is an amazing facility filled with many challenges and opportunities for kids to make the most of. Thank you to Aroha teachers for their organisation and leadership of such a successful EOTC activity and to the many parents who gave up time from work and family to support the team.
You may have noticed an increased presence from both Tauranga City Council and our local Police before and after school. I have been working with both Angela Joyce of TCC and Emma Buxton of the New Zealand Police to refine traffic management proceedures around our school. However, the onus sits with parents to ensure they are taking the utmost care when driving around our school. It has been extremely disturbing to see parents dropping children on the oppostie side of 13th Avenue and expecting them to cross the street unsupervised. This is an extremely dangerous practise and one that should be avoided at all times.
Please ensure you have plenty of time to park your vehicle appropriately and accompany your child to our school gate.
St Mary’s Pasifika Group
On behalf of our school community I would like to wish the students and parents of our Pasifika group all the best for their upcoming performance at the Bay of Plenty Schools Pasifika Festival being held at Te Aku Ki Papamoa next Wednesday. Congratulations to all involved for the work you have done leading up to this festival.
No Fireworks Gala in 2016
As previously communicated we are not holding our Fireworks Gala this year. The reasons, as explained at an earlier date, relate to a variety of factors including work required around meeting new health and safety requirements. It is my understanding that our PTA hope to do more work in regard to this and stage our Fireworks Gala once again in 2017.
Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016
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 enrollment 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.
New Families to St Mary’s
In closing I would like to personally welcome the following students to St Mary’s since my last newsletter;
Alexis Cardey, Leah Cunningham, Evie Dumbleton, Coco Jacobs, Aaniya Jithu, Connor Kenny, Rex Lu, Elliot Olsen, Johann Shijo, Bethany Stowers, Palmy Townsend, Lola Verran, Zara Willers.
I look forward to welcoming you officially at our New Families liturgy next week.
Nga Mihi Nui Kia Koutou
It was great to welcome new families and children to our school this week. As Principal it is always a thrill to enrol new students knowing what a great environment we are able to provide to learn in. Our school is based on honouring the individual, be it spiritually, academically or in reference to special abilities and it is this tenet that makes our kids grow. We particularly welcome the following new students to our school; Salesa Aaifou-Olive, Baxter Carlin, David Chen, Ian Cho, Andy Chwi, Jane Hartman, Anna Hartman, Logan Kerr, Harin Kum, Caleb Lim, Caden Lowe, Mia Lowe, Madeline Mear, Lauren Osterman, Sarah Rush, Adam Rush, Caique Santos, Hunter Strahan, Leo Tian, Madelene van Vliet and Brielle Verzosa.
As a senior leadership team we have been focusing on the analysis of student progress over this half year.
The efforts that teachers, parents and students have applied to learning has provided us with some pleasing results. Congratulations to all those students who have made notable academic gains in learning.
On a community note, it has been great to welcome Mr Piceno back to Room 4, albeit on a part time basis. As you are no doubt aware, Randy suffered an unfortunate and serious fall late in term one which resulted in the need for back surgery. It is great to have him back and we look forward to seeing the amount of hours he is able to give to Room 4 grow as the term progresses.
This is often a reminder I make further in my section of the newsletter, however, due to a number of recent notifications made to me in regard to student and traffic safety I would like to reiterate the following. It is not acceptable to expect your child to cross any road unaccompanied before or after school. With limited visibility created as a result of condensed car volumes and buses it is very hard for drivers to spot children running out from behind cars.
I am prompted to make this reminder as a result of a number of witnessed close calls. A further complication in regard to safety is the speed cars are currently travelling down 13th Avenue, which I am aware are often not St Mary’s parents but I would ask that St Mary’s parents dropping children off are extra vigilant when pulling in and out of parks and turning into and out of driveways.
Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016
As previously announced, this year Hato Maria (St Mary’s) will be hosting the 2016 Tauranga Moana Kapa Haka Festival on the 24th and 25th of November. As the first Catholic School to host this event we will be looking to work with our other Catholic Schools and wider Whanau to impart Kaupau o Katorika (aspects Catholic) throughout the festival.
There has been a number of recent media commentators making reference to the number of families who are taking time away from school during term time for holidays. There is no argument that this is a cheaper time to travel financially but it can have consequences educationally for children. Our Ministry of Education now sees absence from school for this reason as Unjustified and we are therefore required to record it as such. The ministries view being that, while as parents you are able to explain why your child is absent from school it is not viewed as a justifiable reason for which to remove your child from school.
Of interest in our recent analysis of student achievement was that 87% of students who are currently below National Standard at St Mary’s also have an attendance record of less that 90% or are away from school more than 1 day in 10.
A further related issue is the number of children who are turning up late to school. Our bell to signal the start of the day goes at 8.50am. All children should therefore be at school in advance of this, ideally at 8.30am so as to ensure they have time to prepare themselves for the day. Children who are late to class often disrupt beginning of day prayer and organisation meaning learning of all is affected.
St Mary’s Catholic School 75th Jubilee
2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the commencement of St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga.
St Mary’s Catholic School began in September 1942 managed and staffed entirely by the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, many of whom came to New Zealand from Ireland. To celebrate this significant event in the life of the school a Jubilee weekend is planned to take place on September 22, 23 and 24 September 2017.
To make the jubilee a success we would be grateful if you would pass on the above information to past pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school.