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 https://goo.gl/forms/6GZ2bRNZCsRCgwNh2
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
Tours of the school
6.00pm: ‘Mix and Mingle
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
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
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.
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou
A very warm welcome to our new students Mollie Gleaves, Rohan Lijo, Adam Alasad, Liam Du Toit, Maddy Wheeler, Josh Binny, Ella Younger, Arielle Duytshoff and Kimberly Dobbie. Winter is upon us and learning is ramping up at St Mary’s with all of our teams focused on some great learning inquiries. It is a good time of year to check in on your children as learners with the aim of gaining an understanding of where they are presently at in their learning journey. It is important that you make contact with your child’s teacher should you have any questions or queries related to their learning.
Reports will be circulated later this term and as the first stakeholder in their learning students will have a significant role in evaluating their learning. This is a further step toward enhanced student agency (students in control of their own learning pathway) at our school and though it will mean progress is communicated in a slightly different way it is still related to learning progress. Again if you have any questions regarding progress please let your child’s teacher know.
PTA Quiz Night
On behalf of our school community my thanks to all who supported our annual Quiz Night again run by our tireless PTA and in particular Michelle Pine who headed the Quiz Committee. It was great to see the number of parents participating in the fun and digging deep to support our PTA and our school. I am sure you will all join me in congratulating our PTA on running another magnificent event.
New Build Progress - Creating Conditions for Powerful Learning
As a community we are sharing in the excitement of seeing our new learning environment nearing completion, anticipated to occur within the next 4 weeks. It has been great watching the experts bring our design to life within the heart of our school. However, it is the potential for educational outcomes from within this design that I would invite parents to explore as our objective as a school is to create conditions for powerful learning.
To further explore this concept it may be helpful to compare our time at school (as students). You may recall as I do an underlying narrative similar to this; a story that many of us bought into in order to achieve the best we could within our respective schools. It may have gone similar to this.
“If you wanted to learn something, like quadratic equations or French, then you needed to be in the right spot at the right time (your desk), with this teacher (the expert), with these kids (your class) who you had to learn the same things as at the same time. And … at the end, when the expert had shared their knowledge, then your success would be measured by their test”.
Are you able to make connections with this? Did it work for you? Did it work for everyone? Learning today asks the question “How can we create conditions for powerful learning?” Answers include concepts such as the following:
- Make environments safe and secure
- Grow personal connections
- Make learning fun
- Make learning real and relevant to life
- It should be future focused
- It should be positive and include opportunities for social interaction
- Adapt learning so it is personalised and so that students can demonstrate their passions
- There needs to opportunities for autonomy and self agency.
- Don’t constrain it to a time
If these are indeed conditions for powerful learning and these are the conditions we need to create to support our learners, then it makes sense that the way we design learning and the environment we design to support learning has to evolve.
At St Mary’s sitting in desks and waiting to be told what to do is no longer the norm. Where previously students were told to be quiet while they worked independently is now a collaborative space where learning related dialogue is encouraged. Where there were worksheets to fill time for those who finished their work early, now there areare open ended learning opportunities where children can continue to build their understanding, and there are teachers continuing to feed rather than determine the journey.
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 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.