Student Led Conferences Wednesday 2 August

We warmly invite and encourage you to actively participate in your child’s learning journey at our ‘Student Led Conferences’ on Wednesday 2nd August.

Student Led Conferences are:

  • A celebration of Individual Learning
  • A dialogue about learning
  • 40 minutes long (max.)
  • Student driven shared learning with /Parent/Family
  • 6-7 going on at the same time in one classroom

Student Led Conferences differ from traditional Teacher Parent Interviews and Three Way Conferences by empowering the child to talk about their own learning. Our ‘Student Led Conferences’ are designed to promote learning autonomy so that students can reflect on where they are and where they need to go.
Parents will be supported by the class teacher as they inquire further into their child’s learning through dialogue with their child.

Times have been set to cater for parents with multiple students at school and are able to be booked online by following this link: and enter code yxdgd

Session 1: 1:00 - 1:40 pm
Session 2: 1:40 - 2:20 pm
Session 3: 2:20 - 3:00pm
Session 4: 3:30 - 4:10 pm
Session 5: 4:10 - 4:50 pm
Session 6: 4:50 - 5.30 pm

We appreciate that the format and objectives of a Student Led Conference do not make provision for individual parent discussions with the teacher. Therefore if there is a relevant need please make contact with your child’s teacher for a suitable time.

To protect the integrity of the Student Led Conference and ensure its value as a key reporting process, we ask that, if able, siblings not accompany students.

School Closure
School will close at 12:30pm on Wednesday 2nd August for our Student Led Conferences and students are required to be picked up at that time.  After School Care will not be running and there will be no afternoon bus service available. 

We look forward to you continuing to be a part of your child’s learning at St Mary’s Catholic School.

Kind regards

Ben Fuller

Special Character - 7 July 2017

School Feast Day - Feast of Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey

This Friday as a school we will celebrate the feast of Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey.

We will start the day with a Liturgy with our special Cluny Sisters joining us. Students will then learn more about the needs in Fiji. The middle block students will be doing a variety of service activities, followed by fun games in the afternoon.

We would love whanau to join us for the day or part of the day. 

Mufti day to raise funds for the Cluny Sisters work in Fiji. Gold coin donation please.

Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey Feast day 15 July

In 1800... One night she heard a voice say, “You will accomplish great things for me.” A few nights later, St. Teresa of Ávila with black, brown, and bronze children appeared to her. “God wants you to found a congregation to care for these children,” said the saint.

In 1801, Nanette and her three natural sisters opened a school for poor children near Chamblanc. During the next decade she ran two day schools and an orphanage. In 1812 she founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. In 1817, Mother Javouhey sent sisters to the African island of Reunion to open her first missionary outpost.

Anne-Marie Javouhey spent the last years of her life in France directing the work of her burgeoning congregation. When she died in 1851, her sisters were in thirty-two countries and colonies

We start next term with some key dates on our calendar:

Week 2 - Tuesday 1st August: Grandparents/Grandfriends Liturgy 10am - phone the Grandparents and Grandfriends now to invite them along.

Week 3 - Tuesday 8 August: New Families Liturgy  10am.

Week 4 - Friday 18 August:  Assumption Mass at St Mary’s Immaculate Church 9.30am.

Catholic Character Review
During week three we welcome our Catholic Character Reviewers who will be at school for three days.  

Sacramental Program

Please keep our students in your prayers as they prepare for the sacrament of Eucharist.

Teresa Rush 

Information Sharing that informs Students Learning Across the Curriculum

On Thursday 6 July you will receive your child’s Interim National Standard Report.

This Interim Report is student driven and shares your child’s current strengths and next steps.  

Your child’s teacher will identify how your child is tracking to meet the End of Year National Standard in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. 

There are different National requirements for reporting depending on Year level:

In Years 1 to 3, a judgement is made on your child’s birthday (anniversary) and a judgement is made between each birthday (interim).  These judgements are reported to you mid year and end of year.  

In Years 4 to 6, a judgement is made mid year (interim) and end of Year and reported at the same time.   

Our teachers continue to use many different ways to find out where your child is at and how your child is tracking, according to meet the National Standard, in Reading, Writing and Maths. This is called an Overall Teacher Judgement (OTJ).  

This includes:

  • using a range of formal tests/assessments 
  • watching your child working in the classroom
  • talking with them about their learning
  • your child assessing their own and each other’s work. 

At St Mary’s we have been focusing heavily on learner agency, learners being actively involved in the decisions about their learning.  This year, our interim report will reflect learner agency, with your child personally sharing the information about their learning - what they are doing well and their next steps.  Your child will have been involved in discussions with their teacher/s to co-construct their successes and next steps.  It is important to let your child share their report with you and talk to you about their learning as we move from a ‘One-way reporting of achievement’ to ‘Information sharing that informs learning’.   

Student Led Conferences will then be held at school on Wednesday 2 August.

We look forward to working together with you and your child in Term 3 and 4 to help them achieve their learning goals.  

Anna MacKinnon
Deputy Principal

Art Week 2017

St Mary’s Art Week focused on various aspects of the Arts Curriculum and was a great success.  All students enjoyed participating in the activities, and many talents were discovered.  

 In the BAMJC there was a display of masterpieces from every student in the school.  This was the result of our teachers being creative and teaching various art skills in the class, to produce a magnificent schoolwide exhibit.  

We had two visiting Drama teachers; Dee Ellwood and Eunice Driller, who instigated opportunities for each student to be creative and have a lot of fun improvising and truly stepping beyond their comfort zone.

It was wonderful to welcome back Tauranga artist, Rob McGregor, who sure made painting look really easy!  He shared the inspiration behind many of his pieces on display and helped us understand perspective, colour blending and assured us that everyone is an artist - all it takes a creative mind and plenty of practise.

Mrs McIntosh set out on a mission to teach the Year 0-2 students how to ‘Shake It Off’ just like Taylor Swift.  The end result was a well choreographed, energetic display of rhythm, co-ordination and a whole lot of fun.  

Rosie McMahon is a 16 year old film maker who is on her way to becoming extremely famous!  She showed us what to look for when taking amazing photographs, and shared her short film, explaining the role of a director.  Some students were fortunate enough to take part in a workshop, and armed with an iPad were taking extraordinary photos of ordinary things around the school.

In the Junior classes, an army of Sock Puppets were created with Mrs Strange.  What a great way to instigate a dynamic display of impromptu performances! There was much delight amongst the students as their own puppet was brought to life sporting scraggly hair, googly eyes, talking tongues and personality plus.

Thursday evening brought in fabulous support from our St Mary’s community, viewing the school wide art on display in the BAMJC, and enjoying the outstanding performances from some of our extracurricular groups.  Students from the KapaHaka extension group, our own St Mary’s School Band, the Jump Jam teams, Ned Shaw on trumpet, Pilgyu Chang on piano, and Sursum Corda, all put on an amazing display of their passion and talents.  Many thanks to those students involved in this performance, and to our friends and families for supporting this event.

Pip Berquist
Teacher in charge of Art

EPro8 Challenge

Recently some St Mary’s School students took part in the EPro8 Challenge - the engineering and problem solving competition. Our EPro8 students came second at the regional competition. They will now compete at the final for Year 5 and 6 students next Friday 7 July in Rotorua.

So now it’s the adults turn.  On Wednesday 23 August your workplace or organisation can compete against others in the Bay of Plenty region.  You will work as a team to solve a range of fun engineering based challenges.  This is a fantastic team building opportunity.

For details and to register see

Sports News - 7 July 2017

It has continued to be a very busy term for sports; once again we have had some fantastic results, from our talented students.  It is extremely pleasing, that so many of our students are performing so well, at such a wide variety of sports.

A massive congratulations to Keiran Death, who won the National Rock Climbing Championship under 12 years old division, in the top rope event.  What makes this result even better, is the fact that Keiran still has another year competing in this division.

Yeva Parshikova had an outstanding North Island Synchronised Swimming Championships, finishing 1st in Group Routine (as part of a group of 10) and 2nd in Individual Figures category.  Yeva is also a very talented swimmer, breaking Bay of Plenty under 8 swimming records in: 50m freestyle, 25m backstroke, 100 Individual Medley and 100m Freestyle

Two of our students represented St Mary’s at the Bay of Plenty Cross Country Championships.  Holly Fausett finished 18th in the Year 5 Girls and Renee Carey finished a magnificent 2nd in the Year 6 Girls.  Both of these results are fantastic when you consider that it took three separate events (School, South Cluster and Western Bay of Plenty) just to qualify for the Bay of Plenty Championships.

Congratulations to the St Mary’s Rebels Netball team of Emma Rogers, Hannah Greaves, Holly Fausett, Jessica Kum, Niamh Byrne, Greer Wakelin, Jessica Taane and Millie Lochore, who won their division of the Year 5 Harbourside Junior Netball Tournament.  A fantastic result that you should all be very proud of.

Recently we had two year 5 & 6 teams represented the school at the Basketball World Cup.  The French team of Harlem Gardiner-Hano, Henry Scholes, Isaiah Barry, William Pepers, Max Broadmore, Jake Bell, Madison Smith, Naimh Manning, Darcy Gilbert, Isaac Schuler and Lokie Aubrey, finished 7th out of 33 teams and won the best dressed competition.  The Year 5 team of Finn Curragh, Jas O’Connor, Jayden Hyland, Benjamin Petrik, Holly Fausett, Emma Rogers, Lia Hesqua, Pateriki Paaka, Caden Lowe and Kiwa Kahura, played as Spain.  They had some very tough games, against some very good Year 6 teams.  I am looking forward to watching them play again next year.

It is great that we can highlight the success of our students, who are involved in so many different sports.  If your child is having success in their chosen sport, please let me know.  I would love the opportunity to help them celebrate their success with the school and our community.

Steven Finlayson

Sports Coordinator

Baking for Merivale School

Thank you for helping make our recent bake sale such a success.  As you know some of the cakes were shared with the Merivale School students.  The baking was so appreciated and it was a great boost for the students that day.  

We are asking each family to bake once a month until the end of the year.  So if you have more than one child at St Marys, do not feel obliged to provide baking for each of their classes.  We would initially like to trial this idea until the end of the year. This is of course, entirely optional but we have experienced first-hand how much it is appreciated.  It is also a very special way we can serve and bless our local community.

Starting Wednesday 26 July we ask Rooms 1, 6 and 13 to please bring baking to your child’s classroom.

Your support will be greatly appreciated by the Merivale community.

Melbourne Study Tour

Growing Leader and Teacher Capacity

Our Board of Trustees is committed to supporting quality professional learning opportunities for our staff so that our learners are well equipped for the future.  This year our board allocated significant funding to the exploration of various learning environments.  All of our staff have had opportunities to both visit classes within our school and in other learning contexts to help develop our pedagogy (how we teach).  

In Week 5 this Term, eight of our staff had the exciting opportunity to visit Victoria, Australia.  Victoria is considered a leading state in innovation, research and pedagogy.  

We worked with Andrew Jones (former Principal, current PhD Student and researcher at the University of Melbourne) visiting seven schools that are considered leaders in innovative and creative curriculum.  

One of the big ideas from our week away was to ‘be the learner we want our learners to be’.  To be a learner we need to be curious, develop relationships, work collaboratively, develop creativity and be problem solvers.  We need to be open to challenge, inquire into our own practice and utilise research to support innovation.  We need to show agency and take responsibility for our own learning.  

So how does this relate to our students? 

We expect the same dispositions and attitudes from our learners.  We want them to be curious, develop relationships, work collaboratively, develop creativity and be problem solvers.  We want them to question, show responsibility and take ownership of their own learning.  They have to have the courage and conviction to take risks along the way.   “Children grow into the intellectual life that surrounds them” (Vygotsky).

Our visit to Victoria involved lots of risk-taking for us.  The schools we visited and the dialogue that we engaged in challenged our thinking, affirmed our journey to date, and provided lots of opportunities to test our beliefs about learning.  

As leaders at St Mary’s we need to understand the climate, create the conditions and lead our learning journey.  As a successful learning organisation we are dedicated to achieving our potential and fulfilling our goals. 

Anna MacKinnon
Deputy Principal