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,