Thursday, 1 December 2016

Term 4 Week 7

Dear Parents and Friends,

As the start of Advent heralds the move into the final few weeks of Term 4, our staff are engaged in completing end of year student reports, preparing for the end of year Mass and the various events that come together to make this such a very busy time in the school year.

Year 6 Graduation
It was a privilege last night to attend the Year 6 graduation Mass and dinner.  The Mass was a beautiful reflection of the past seven years, and it was a joy to watch the children celebrate together.  A sincere thank you to Julie Donnell and Di Gedeon for all your work in organising a wonderful evening which I am sure the children will remember for the rest of their lives.  

Swim Week at Monte
Next week we have the swim week program at Monte.  Swim week is part of our PDHPE curriculum and all children from Year 1-6 are required to participate.  Thank you to the many parents who have volunteered their time to help out with walking the children to the pool and back.

End of Year Mass - Thursday 8th December - 5.30pm
All children are expected to attend the end of year Mass in their school uniform to celebrate as a community our year at St Mary's.  I look forward to seeing you all there.

Building Works Update
The house next door is currently being demolished.  The Builders will take possession of the Site this Monday 5th December and we will start to see progress over the coming weeks.

Thank you for your continued support of St Mary's School.
Beverly Coffey

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Term 4, Week 3 2016

Dear Parents and Friends,

The month of October is traditionally where we reflect on the importance of Mary in our spiritual lives and all children have been praying the Hail Mary as part of their devotion this month. I hope they have shown you their special rosary beads.

Christians see Mary as a human being, who willingly allowed grace to work in her. St Luke tells us that from the moment that Mary was told that she was chosen to be the Mother of God, she expressed her natural human feelings: Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message and Mary pondered those things in her heart. All mothers ponder things about their children.

Mary, like us, had to strive to understand the mystery of the revelation made to her with regard to her Son, Jesus. She had to make her personal journey of faith as we now make ours. St Bernard called her Stella Maris, the Star of the Sea, our guide and our assurance as we journey on the through the challenges of our lives.

The most famous Mary Shrine in the world is Lourdes and it attracts more than six million visitors or Pilgrims to its Grotto every year. In a recent address Pope Francis stated why so many people visit Lourdes each year from every part of the world, so as to entrust to the mother of the Lord, the intentions which they bear in their hearts and ask for help and intercession.

Innovate Now for STEM

St Mary's has successfully applied to Sydney Catholic Schools for an Innovate Now Grant which will assist in the development of the STEM program at the school. It will allow the program to continue through 2017 and into the following year as a creative, engaging and relevant source of learning for the children.

Funds will be used to supply STEM classes with science and technology resources along with materials for hands-on activities. They will also build the school's intellectual capacity by providing STEM literature and facilitating professional development as well as connections with outside sources of expertise.

We congratulate Markus Powling and Tim Butt for their excellent efforts in designing this submission for the Innovate Now Grant.

International Teachers Day

All teachers are very appreciative of the generous gift from the Parents and Friends Association in honour of the teaching profession. On behalf of all the teaching staff I would like to thank Hamish Hutton and the P&F Executive for their wonderful coffee making machine and the delicious selection of coffee. It will most certainly will be well utilised!

Academic Excellence

I congratulate all students from Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 on their excellent results in all ICAS competitions from the University of NSW. These competitions are sat by students from the Asia-Pacific regions and are highly competitive in the areas of Mathematics, English, Spelling, Science and Digital Technologies. A special commendation is given to Isaac in Year 6 for his outstanding achievement in Digital Technologies. Isaac will receive the prestigious medal for the highest achievement in NSW/ACT which is a wonderful recognition of his talent.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Beverly Coffey

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Term 4 Week 1

Dear Parents and Friends,

It has been delightful this week to welcome all the students and staff back from their Spring holidays and to see everyone looking so well and relaxed after the 2-week break. The classrooms have been abuzz with chatter and laughter as the students have enjoyed catching up with one another and sharing their holiday news.

It was lovely to welcome our new students and families:
Claudia (Year 1) and Hugh (K)
Caden (Year 1)
May your time at St Mary's be filled with great joy and learning!

The Year 2, 3 and 4 classes are particularly excited about being back at school as they are located in their new demountable classrooms for this term. At the moment they are busy designing a name for their new classroom which they will share at the Blessing Ceremony to take place shortly with Fr. Andy Bullen when he returns from his visit to Melbourne. We will invite parents to this occasion when a date has been formally set.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many parents who assisted with the setting up of the new demountable classrooms in making them attractive and welcoming learning spaces. Annie Austin and her team of helpers from the Lendlease company organised the outdoor spaces with a nice environmental touch and Simon Robinson and his team of generous Dads helped set up the technology in the rooms. All the staff and students greatly appreciated this support.

The Stage 2 Building Project will be commencing early this term and will be managed by Gledhill Construction Company. They have a strong reputation in the school building industry for excellent work so we look forward to welcoming them on site shortly.

The Year 5/6 classes are enjoying their excursion to Canberra this week and from all reports the students have been involved in some wonderful learning experiences. We have shared some photos of the trip with you.

My warm wishes to all students and families for a fulfilling and enjoyable Term 4.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Dear Parents and Friends,

This week brings Term 3 to a close.

It has been a busy and very rewarding term for everyone in our community as we acknowledge the many achievements.

The students continue to enjoy their learning and perform very well across all curriculum areas. They are passionate about their school and bring great spirit and energy to the whole community.

May I take this opportunity to thank our dedicated teaching staff for their commitment to excellence in teaching and learning and to all parents for the wonderful support in all that we do for your children.

May I wish you a very happy holiday and a safe return to school next term.

Best wishes and God bless,

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Dear Parents and Friends,

Congratulations to our Year 3 and 5 students for their excellence in the 2016 NAPLAN testing. Both Year 3 and Year 5 students achieved significantly above the state average in at least four of the five NAPLAN Assessment areas. St Mary's has been congratulated on their achievements by Sydney Catholic Schools in a recent news bulletin from the Director. Well done students!

School Building Update
During the next school holidays Year 2, 3 and 4 classes will be moved across into the demountable accommodation ready for the building project. It is anticipated that the builder will be on site early Term 4 and a notice will be posted when an exact date is confirmed. A timeline for construction will also be advised.

Learning Celebrations
We invite all parents to see St Mary's Classes In Action this coming Monday September 12th commencing after assembly.

At St Mary's we believe that the students will be happiest and thrive when families and teachers are working together in a strong partnership. We welcome and encourage open and positive communication and involvement with parents as we foster confident, caring and independent lifelong learners.

As you move around the classes you will see our teachers who apply the best of theory and practice from a variety of curriculum frameworks to provide rich learning tasks and effective learning outcomes for students. Technology supports the learning program via networked computers, iPads and Chromebook laptops and interactive whiteboards and televisions in each classroom.

Classrooms are exciting and welcoming creating an inspiring and challenging learning environment.
Children are always curious, enthusiastic and keen to learn at St Mary's.
We look forward to welcoming you this Monday.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Week 7

Dear Parents and Friends,

There has been a lot of activity taking place around St Mary's recently and I would like to express my sincere thanks for all those members of the parent community who are giving so generously.

Firstly a special thanks goes to Kirsten O'Sullivan and her dedicated team of Year 3 parents for the wonderful success of the Big Night Out last Saturday night. Indeed it was a great community building event where parents could enjoy the lively mood and opportunity to connect socially. Your generosity shown at the BNO through the support of the art auctions and raffles was truly amazing. Well done St Mary's!

Parents have also been instrumental in fundraising for the Jesuit Mission so I'd like to thank Jenny Della Pica and her team of generous mums for their donation of $1100 this week. Jenny's team worked closely with the Year 6 Social Justice Captains making this event a real community effort.

Parents have also been very supportive of the Robo Cup Competition which took place over the weekend and where St Mary's School had great success. Our teams won the following events:

  • Ist Place to Rockbotics for the Primary Dance event.
  • 2nd Place to Tankbot for Primary Rescue event.
  • 3rd Place to Droids for Open Dance event.
  • Lucas Neilson for his excellence in the Open Robotic Event in which he competed on his own.

Congratulations to Karen Westall and the students of St Mary's for their commitment to achieving excellence.  Photos of Robocup 2016 are on the Bog Site.

Great skill and wonderful school spirit were also evident in the St Mary's Rugby mini game held at North Sydney Oval on Sunday. Under the direction of one of our generous parents, Jason Smith, the boys were successful in winning their game. Congratulations to all.  

Kind regards,
Beverly Coffey

Monday, 22 August 2016

Term 3 - Week 6

Holy Spirit, you are the Helper Jesus sends to be our friend.
You bring your special gift of Wisdom to understand all the teachings of Jesus.
Guide our minds and hearts to be like the Heart of Jesus.
Help us to know what God would like us to do, and give us the courage always to do what is right.

Dear Parents and Friends,

We congratulate our Year 6 students who received the Sacrament of Confirmation during the weekend Masses in the parish of Our Lady of the Way. Members of the parish community celebrated along with the students and their families in a very special occasion. Bishop Terry Brady's message to the students was to go forth and be disciples of Jesus and be peacemakers in the world. We encourage all students of St Mary's to follow Jesus' way in their daily interactions with others.

Champion Teachers and Learners
One of our focus areas for school improvement this year is around Change. Through a collaborative process the teachers are engaged in seeking and acting on feedback and through innovation and implementation of evidenced-based leading practice. The teachers are involved in reflecting on their current pedagogy to determine the impact they have on student learning. Essentially, knowing thy impact means connecting what we do as educators with what happens to learners. This continual inquiry into impact will drive improvement at all levels.

This process aligns with research on learning from Professor John Hattie from the University of Melbourne where he speaks about Visible Learning. Central to Hattie's work is the importance of feedback and the purpose of assessment which should provide answers to these three goal-directed questions: Where am I going, how am I going and where to next? Teachers know their learning intention for every lesson and the success criteria for every student by differentiating the curriculum to meet student needs. As a staff we are all very passionate about our Change project and look forward to implementing insights by creating challenging learning opportunities for all students and to help them embrace their futures with confidence.

Learning Celebrations
We invite all parents to see St Mary's learning in Action on September 12th between 9 and 11am. Parents will have the opportunity to see how learning is differentiated as part of the school's involvement in the Newman Program. We hope that you can make this experience a priority for your diary.

Excellence in Religious Education
We congratulate the Year 6 students for their outstanding performance in the recent Diocesan Religious Education Test.

St Mary's School was awarded 2 High Distinctions; 5 Distinctions; 14 Credit and 9 Participation Certificates.  Congratulations to our Year 6 students.

All students in Year 3 and 5 received their results in NAPLAN last week. St Mary's students continue to perform well on this testing. We will provide a detailed analysis for the next newsletter showing student growth and school trends.

Best wishes
God bless,

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Principal's News Term 3 - Week 3

Dear Parents and Friends,

This week we celebrate the outstanding performance of our Year 5 and 6 students in the Wakakirri Story and Dance Challenge for primary schools around Australia.

Under the direction of our Year 5/6 teacher Meghan Bassett, the students designed their own story and choreographed it to music performing a visually stimulating and authentic creation. Our children learn best when their curiosity is piqued as they are naturally and deeply curious about their world. Learning opportunities such as Wakakirri foster this curiosity in children.

The success of such a school performance as Wakakirri is a result of the work of many people within the school community and we are blessed to have such generous parents whose creative work behind the scenes was inspirational. Special thanks is given to the following parents:  Bryony Cooper, Karen Harrison, Lynn McMahon, Jane Szetu, Deanne O'Regan, Di Gedeon, Mary Tazawa-Lim, Fiorella Castro, Deirdre Duggan and Lucia Ryan.

Another very active and generous group of parents led by Jenny Della Picca are busily raising funds for the Jesuit Mission. Last week we all enjoyed the special food day with the delicious doughnuts and on September 9th we look forward to another sizzling culinary experience! We greatly appreciate the efforts of Jenny and her team of willing mums.

Staff News
Our Assistant Principal, Julie Hunt, will be on Long Service Leave for Weeks 4, 5 & 6, Monday 8th August - Friday 26th August inclusive. Julie's daughter is getting married and   to help with the preparations and to celebrate this exciting event, Julie needs to take some leave. We wish Julie a joyous time with her family.

Mr Sean White will take over the acting position of Assistant Principal as well as Year 5 teacher during this time. We wish Sean every success in this leadership role.

Blessed Mary Mackillop
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of Blessed Mary Mackillop. This is an occasion to recall a life that embodied characteristics integral to the Australian identity including a sense of a fair go for everyone and her willingness to stand on the side of people often referred to as the 'Aussie Battler'.

The message of the feast challenges each Australian to know the God who is with us, to embrace with a compassionate heart those who travel the journey with us and to believe that each person can and does make a difference in our world.

Mary's innate goodness and her down to earth approach to life, her ability to bring hope and purpose in the midst of suffering has given Australians the freedom to be spiritual. Mary is not a Saint to be admired from afar. She is a person who truly understands the everyday life of people, their struggle and their joys.

Best wishes for the week ahead,
God bless,

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Principal's News Term 3 Week 1

Dear Parents and Friends,

Welcome back to our students and families for Term Three. It promises to be a busy one with many opportunities for learning and growth.

We commenced our new Term with a visit from Liga Miklasevics, a Canadian school principal from the city of Toronto in Ontario, who is here to see the learning in action at St Mary's. Liga is particularly interested in how the students develop strong skills in Mathematics learning and how the teachers differentiate across the curriculum to engage students in authentic learning. Liga is part of the principal exchange program which has been developed over the years between Australia and Canada to bring a global connection for leaders in schools.

It was a pleasure to be part of the Year 1A Liturgy celebrated in St Mary's Church this morning. I congratulate the children on their beautiful responses to their theme that God's love and nourishment is special to all children in the world.

The term ahead will be interesting for us all so we look forward to working closely in partnership with you as we encourage our students to be successful and happy learners.

Yours in peace,

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Principal's News - Term 2 Week 10

Dear Parents and Friends,

Leadership at St Mary's School starts at an early age. Students in Years Kindergarten to Year 6 are elected to the Student Representative Council and invited to give a voice into making their school a better place. Students experience leadership by being involved in Liturgies and School Masses, public speaking and special events for the St Mary's community. Our leadership program encourages students to become confident and articulate and to see service to others as an opportunity to make a difference in the community.

Our Year 6 students are developing their leadership skills in a variety of ways, enabling them to become confident, dedicated and positive students who are prepared to guide and inspire others. I am grateful to our Year 6 student leaders for their positive role modelling and willingness to give their time and effort to others in their first semester of Year 6.  They are true models of the spirit of St Mary's. Congratulations!

School Liturgies
Last Sunday our Year 3 students received the Sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time. We congratulate these young people and their families at this special time. I would also like to thank our celebrant Fr. Michael, and the many staff members who supported our students and families at the Masses.

Celebration of Learning
Congratulations to our students who work hard each day to do their best. This has been celebrated in the school report and parent/teacher interviews this week. Thank you parents for supporting us at home. It is when the school and family work in a partnership that great gains are made by the students.

Student Performance
Today our Junior Band students performed a number of songs under the creative direction of Mr. Rod Herbert at our morning assembly. This was a most entertaining finish to the school term and a tribute to our hard-working students.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a restful, happy and safe holiday and enjoy this special time with your children. I look forward to greeting you again next term.

School Building Update
We are anticipating that the builders will be on site from Week 3 in the next term to commence the Stage 2 Building Project. Students who will be housed in the demountable classrooms will move across at the end of Week 2 after the preparation work is completed. A more detailed report will accompany this bulletin.

Staff News
We say farewell to Mrs. Sarah Lewis our Y 1 teacher, who is taking maternity leave until 2017. We wish Sarah and her husband Jed, much happiness for the coming weeks.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a restful, happy and safe holiday and enjoy this special time with your children. I look forward to greeting you again next term.

May God bless you all,

Monday, 13 June 2016

Term 2, Week 8

Dear Parents and Friends,

The weekly merit and principal awards are given to students to encourage and challenge them to try their best in all facets of school life. I have noticed that a number of our students are responding well to the award for Mercy.

As you are aware Pope Francis announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy for 2016 which ends on the Solemnity of Christ the King on November 20 this year. Mercy, if pondered, could profoundly and mysteriously influence the way we live our daily lives. Using Pope Francis' words as a springboard can help us examine the call and challenge to be disciples of Jesus. In doing so, we too witness to the divine love that God has for us as proclaimed by Jesus Christ. Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope. I congratulate our students who are showing mercy in their relationships with others and being the face of Jesus.

The Athletics Carnival last week was also a wonderful display of our students and their ability to try their hardest in team sports and individual events. Their ability to be resilient as well as encouraging others were positive traits on the day. I congratulate them all!

Creative thinking skills are always listed as desirable characteristics for 21st century learners. Last week, four of our Year 6 students participated in a creativity project with the advertising agency Clemenger BBDO as part of the Vivid exhibition. I was most impressed with Niamh S, Lucy, Niamh O and Isaac in their clever responses and project work around the topic of Drought as part of real-world solutions and outcomes implemented by the students. Well done students!

This coming weekend will see the demountable classrooms installed on site. Builders will need a couple of weeks to install them and make the area surrounding safe and secure. We are planning to move the classrooms across during the second week of the school holidays and have them ready for occupation at the beginning of next term. Further updates will be given next week.

Best wishes for a positive week ahead
Yours in peace,
God bless,

Friday, 27 May 2016

Principal's News, Term 2 Week 5

Dear Parents and Friends,

What makes a Catholic school distinctive?

The answer lies in its attempt to generate a community climate which is inspired by the Gospel spirit of freedom and love. At St Mary's school we continue to strengthen our faith community whose values are communicated through the close relationships of its members, and a common belief in the presence of God. Thank you for your genuine efforts as we work together in this partnership.

May I also give a special thanks to our Yr 6 parents who co-ordinated the recent Lapathon. Julie Donnell and Diana Gedeon were instrumental in volunteering their time for the success of the day. Altogether we raised a very generous amount of $18 000. Congratulations to all!

Catholic Education in Australia has a wonderful record of volunteering which started with the Priests, Brothers and Sisters who, as members of Religious Orders were responsible for setting up an Australia wide network of schools and colleges. This was achieved with the support of Catholic people who, though mostly belonging to the lower socio-economic section of society, gave generously to support the purchase of property, the erection of buildings and the provision of teaching materials. This of course is not purely an historical reflection, for the same support is still occurring on a daily basis in thousands of schools throughout Australia.

When it comes to helping around the school by being an active member of a school committee, assisting in classrooms , supervising an excursion, listening to children read or coaching a computer team - this is the wide scope for parent volunteers. Volunteers are the life of healthy societies everywhere. We really appreciate your efforts.

Staff News
It is with great delight that we announce the appointment of Mr. Tim Butt as the Acting Religious Education Co-ordinator for the remainder of this year. We congratulate Tim and wish him much success in his new role.

This week I will be attending the Eastern Region Principals Conference  for three days so will be absent from the school. Mrs. Julie Hunt will be available for any parent consultation should any situation arise.

May I wish you a happy and positive week ahead.

Yours in peace,

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Principal's News, Term 2 Week 3

Dear Parents and Friends,

It has been a delight to observe the wonder and excitement in the children this week with the arrival of the chicken eggs as part of their lessons in STEM. Throughout this week the children have been drawn like magnets to the incubator watching the baby chicks emerge from their shells. Such engagement clearly proves the importance of developing this love of nature by providing opportunities for children to experience this type of learning. The teachers have captured these precious moments and directed the children to compose poems, narratives and beautiful art work for all to enjoy. We have truly been using our inspirational voice this week!

Stage Two Building Project is progressing along as planned with the architects working towards obtaining a construction certificate to commence the building works. Currently there are four builders who are putting in a tender for the project and this process should take up to approximately six weeks to complete. Work will also commence on the demolition of the presbytery garages to allow for the installation of the demountables as soon as the construction certificate has been obtained. We will notify all parents once this documentation has been approved and the construction is ready to commence.

This week we will also share the new Sydney Catholic Schools Parent Charter for your perusal. This document has been produced to support parents in their role as the primary educators of their child. It provides parents with the principles and expectations that underpin the partnership between parents and schools. It is an important touchstone for all partners in Catholic education, to help build school communities based on the enduring values of faith, hope and love.

I would like to thank all families for their patience around the operation of the online canteen facility. We are currently organising for Qkr to be used at La Tazzina to assist parents with the ordering of student lunches. We will let you know when this system is ready to go, but in the interim lunch orders will come through the school.

May I wish you a positive week ahead

Yours in peace,

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Principal's News, Term 2 Week 1

Dear Parents and Friends,
Greetings and welcome back to Term 2! I trust that you all enjoyed a refreshing Autumn break with your families and are looking forward to working closely in partnership as a parish and school community this term. It will be a busy one!

We commence the term with some welcoming news about the Stage 2 Building Project. North Sydney Council has finally approved the Development Application and the process for tenders has commenced. As mentioned in our previous building update we are looking towards the end of June as a starting date for the project and once a program for construction has been timetabled I will notify the community.  Exciting times ahead!

This term we welcome Mrs. Robyn Harper as the Reading Recovery teacher for St Mary’s while Elizabeth Kaye is away. Robyn brings a wealth of experience in teaching literacy to the Year 1 classes and will continue with the program for the remainder of this year. Ms. Emily Barr will also be teaching part-time in the Year 1 and 2 classes as a support for literacy and numeracy during Elizabeth Kaye’s absence.

This term we will engage in a whole-school process of leadership of change. This is a structured process known as Change 2 where teams of teachers create a detailed plan to address a critical challenge the school is facing. The objective of the change in our school is for teachers to know the impact of their flexible, innovative practices on student learning. Measurable outcomes would see an increase in teaching skills and innovative practices; students involved in a range of learning modalities; pedagogical needs informing the design and fit-out of learning spaces and an increased sense of teacher creativity. There will be an opportunity for parents to have input as the process develops throughout this term. We look forward to this experience of professional development as we focus on increasing student engagement and enjoyment of their learning.

Enjoy a peaceful week ahead and a smooth start to the term.

Best wishes and God bless

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Dear Parents and Friends,

It is hard to believe that we have arrived at the end of the term. This has been a term filled with many wonderful learning experiences and great community building opportunities.

During the past few weeks I have been proud of the way in which you showed mercy towards others by supporting our social justice captains in their appeal for Caritas and the Jesuit Mission. Together we raised a total of $1650! Well done.

We say farewell to Ms Elizabeth Kaye for the remainder of this year while she moves to Blessed Sacrament Primary School in Clifton Gardens in an acting role as Assistant Principal. We congratulate Elizabeth on her appointment and look forward to her return in 2017.

Staff Development Day 
Tuesday April 26th is a Staff Development Day. On this day our whole staff will be involved in professional development on the new History Curriculum as part of the BOSTES requirements.
Term Two commences on Wednesday April 27th.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a restful, happy and safe holiday. Enjoy this special time of relaxation with your children and I look forward to seeing you all next term.

May God bless you all,

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Dear Parents and Friends,

This week I very much enjoyed participating in the Leadership Camp with our Year 5 and 6 students and their teachers at the Royal National Park in the Sutherland Shire. This Leadership Camp is an important part of our students' learning experiences as it's through this self-reflection and discovery that they develop and challenge themselves.

At St Mary's School we believe in the development of the whole person through these opportunities. We strive to achieve this by maintaining a dual emphasis on wellbeing and academic achievement across all aspects of school life. Our whole school approach is designed to create a learning community which is strengths - focused, engenders resilience and enables individuals to flourish. We believe our role extends beyond teaching academic competence to educating the heart and the mind.

I congratulate our Year 5 and 6 students on their excellent participation on the Leadership Day.

This week I would also like to share two beautiful letters which were chosen by Pope Francis to be included in his book of letters from children around the world. These letters were written by Luca and Thierry from Year 2 and I congratulate them on their excellent achievements. We have included both letters and the response from Pope Francis for you to enjoy.

May I wish every family a very happy and holy Easter in this special Church season.

God bless

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Dear Parents and Friends,

Welcome to Catholic Schools Week!

This week we celebrate Sydney Catholic Schools as inspiring places of learning and evangelisation.

Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) is responsible for the leadership, efficient operation and management of the systemic schools which educate around 71,000 students in 150 parish primary and regional secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

The allocation and administration of the funds provided by government and private sources for the operation of Catholic schools is a further responsibility of Sydney Catholic Schools. Its financial responsibilities extend to the administration of salaries for approximately 9,000 staff members (permanent, temporary and casual) employed in Archdiocesan schools and offices.

SCS works with schools in implementing its strategic improvement plan 'New Horizons: Inspiring Spirits and Minds' to provide support for schools and ensure that every student receives a high-quality Catholic education.

As part of these celebrations St Mary's School will hold our school open day next week on Thursday March 17th for the traditional Grandparents Day event. All families are invited to participate in the Liturgy, morning tea and visits to classrooms to see the learning in action.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Yours in peace,

Monday, 22 February 2016

Dear Parents and Friends,

This week we ask all families to reflect on the importance of the season of Lent. As educators we talk to the children about the special ways they can show compassion towards each other and how love is a vital component in their lives, just as Christ made it the basis of His whole message to us.

Lent is a time that we focus on our relationship with God. It is a time for letting go of what prevents us from being the person we want to be. During His public life, Jesus faced temptation. He suffered hunger and thirst, betrayal and the agony and humiliation of crucifixion. He did not face these things so that we could be exempt from them but that we could approach our difficulties in life with dignity.

Recently, I read this reflection from a 14 year old girl: "I give up things for Lent, such as bread or lollies, to symbolise the sacrifice Jesus made during his 40 day fast. I am tempted each day by the things I gave up just as Jesus was."

Of course adults can still give up the equivalent of "bread and lollies" as external gestures of focus on the season of Lent, but more important are the internal matters which, if faced up to in a determined manner, will have lasting effects on the type of person we are beyond the 40 days of Lent.
God you are the focal point on our horizon. Give us the strength to follow the path that leads to you.

Vision for 2016

It has been a delight to meet with so many parents at the information night and the "meet and greet" occasion and communicate our vision for 2016. With a population of 326 students and 236 families we are confident of continuing to develop an excellent environment for learning and teaching. As explained at the parent information evening our vision for improvement in 2016 will focus on the following four strategic areas.

1. Catholic Identity and Mission: Curriculum differentiation in teacher's Religious Education programs to ensure that every student is engaged and learning successfully.

2. Learning and Teaching: Student learning is improved through a revitalisation of the Voice Learning Principles, flexible pedagogies and design of the learning spaces.

3. Learning and Teaching: Strengthen a culture of improvement through a systematic, reflective and evidenced based approach to learning and teaching through the Newman Project for gifted learners and personalised learning for all students.

4. Student and Staff Wellbeing: The safety and support of our school environment is strengthened through the implementation of the resource Kids Matters.
You will find further details on the school website for your perusal.

Parent Engagement

We encourage all parents to take part in the many social activities and information sessions that are scheduled for 2016. We commence next week with the first P&F Meeting for the year. Come along and hear about ways you can contribute to the school community which will benefit your child in their education.

This coming Wednesday February 24th between 8.00 am and 9.00 am Mr Tim Butt will give an overview of the school website and how to access particular information when using the Blogs. Tim will also give an update on the BYOD program in the school.

May the week ahead be a peaceful one.

God Bless,

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Welcome to the 2016 School Year

Dear Parents and Friends,

Happy New Year!

May I wish you a very warm welcome back to the 2016 school year. I trust that you have enjoyed a relaxing summer holiday with your families and now feel refreshed and energized for the busy year ahead.

A special welcome to the new families who join our school for the first time. We hope that you quickly feel part of the great spirit that is alive in our growing community. I would also like to welcome our new staff members and wish them a smooth transition into their new learning environment.

This year is designated to the Year of Mercy. The motto “Merciful Like the Father” (taken from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure (cfr.LK 6: 37-38). We are fortunate to have Pope Francis as our leader of the Church with his warm smile, positive message and great compassion for all, especially the poor. His influence is enormous and his leadership a great model for all leaders at this time.

I wish all staff and families God’s blessing for 2016.

Yours sincerely,