Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Term 1 Week 10 2017

Dear Parents and Friends,

As Term 1 comes to a rapid close, it is a delight to look back over the past ten weeks to see how far our students have progressed, to celebrate their learning journey and to thank them for their generous contributions they have made to school life. There have been many outstanding achievements as our students have worked with motivation, perseverance and commitment. Well done to all!

Throughout this Lenten season, our school theme of Gratitude has been at the forefront of our minds. The school community has generously supported Project Compassion. Caritas Australia's annual Lenten fundraising and awareness-raising appeal is an extraordinary, ongoing demonstration of the faith, love and generosity of our Catholic community and caring supporters throughout Australia to help end poverty, promote justice and uphold the dignity of every human being, especially those who have suffered greatly and have little. Our social justice captains have diligently collected money in the project compassion boxes each week and delivered it to the School Office for safe keeping. We look forward to sharing the total amount raised when students return in Term 2.

We are grateful for the continued support of the P&F, thank you to Hamish, Tony and Susan for your efforts.  A special thank you to Susan and the BNO Bunnies who sold over 900 buns today!

Building Works Update:  With constant rain delay experienced over the past couple of months, the builders are six weeks behind schedule, but are confident of making up time over the next six months. 

There are two Staff Development Days attached to this holiday break where the teachers will engage in professional development on Quality Literacy Teaching to improve student learning outcomes in all areas of the English Syllabus. St Mary's teachers will join with the teaching staff from St Michael's Lane Cove and Sacred Heart Mosman to specifically assess the most effective ways to engage students in the writing process. Next term there will be some parent sessions where this process will be modelled in some workshops to assist parents in understanding their child's progress.

As we enter into the last week of Lent and the school holiday break, may the message of new life and hope be with you and your family.

Happy Easter to all!

With every blessing,
Beverly Coffey

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Principal's News 24 March 2017

Dear Parents and Friends,

It is possible that the most important conversation we have each day is with ourselves. This conversation could determine if our outlook for the day is to be one of optimism and so fill us with confidence to accept and deal positively with the days' menu of events. The way adults feel about themselves will have a big influence upon the manner in which our children view the prospects of their day. A healthy positive attitude to life is contagious and if we parents are carriers, then our children are sure to be infected.

As teachers of St Mary's School, we try to bring a positive gospel perspective to every aspect of school life. Here are some examples:
  • God reaches out to all of us in our day-to-day life: Finding meaning in our experiences is a sacred act. When our Kindergarten children recreate their experiences in talk and play they are being touched by God.
  • We are both blessed and broken: Each one of us has enormous potential; talents to be developed and challenges to be met. At the same time we seek healing and forgiveness, the opportunity to learn from mistakes and to start again with confidence.
Through the diverse curriculum offered at St Mary's School our learning intention is to help students make sense of their world.

Sport is always a celebration and it is wonderful to see our children participate in the many opportunities that are available these days.  Our Blog showcases our children and their sporting achievements.  We were particularly proud this week that Joshua M from Year 6 has achieved State Level in Swimming.  Well done to Josh and to all the children who use their special gifts to represent the School in such a wonderful way.

Thank you

Thank you to Year 4 parents for co-ordinating a lovely morning tea for Grandparents Morning.  We have had wonderful feedback from Grandparents and appreciate all the support to make this a special occasion for grandparents and the children.

Annual Improvement Plan:
This week I will share the Annual Improvement Plan for the 2017 school year. This plan identifies areas for improvement as part of the Sydney Catholic Schools Strategic Improvement Plan for individual schools. Following a process of discernment with the St Mary's Leadership Team and consultants the following plan was developed showing our learning intentions and success criteria.
An appendix has been added to the Newman Project for your understanding.

Annual Improvement Plan Link:

Newman Project Link:

Have a wonderful weekend,
Kind regards,
Beverly Coffey

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Principal's News - 10 March 2017

Dear Parents and Friends,

This week we once again ask all families to reflect on the importance of the Church season of Lent. 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 when we focus on our relationship with God. It is a time of letting go of what prevents us from being the person we want to be. During His public life, Jesus faced temptation, suffered hunger, thirst and betrayal as well as 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.

I have included these thoughts from Pope Francis about our commitment to Lent.
  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
  • Fast from worries and have trust in God.
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Himalayan Trek
It is with great excitement that we update our community on the Himalayan Trek that is currently being organised by two of our parents Mr Craig Donnell and Dr. Kaustuv Bhattacharya. As you my remember, the idea of the trek was originally planned for November 2015 but was postponed due to the serious earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015.

On Friday 28 April 2017, the team of trekkers which includes our parents, will depart for Kathmandu, Nepal to make an ascent on Imja Tse (Island Peak, 6189m). Their mission is to raise $100,000 for the Rare Disease Research Fund at The Children's Hospital at Westmead and St Mary's School. Dr. Kaustuv, who is the paediatric metabolic specialist at The Children's Hospital Westmead, outlined the challenges that lay ahead for his patients and the need for further research to help find cures or treatments.   

In addition to the funds being raised for research in Australia, St Mary's Parents and Friends Association along with our students are organising educational supplies that will be carried up the mountain to donate to Shree Himalaya Primary School in Namche Bazaar. A list of what is needed is included in this newsletter so we hope that you can support us. A need for warm clothing for Sherpas and their families has also been identified due to recent hardship caused by the earthquakes and avalanche.

This will be a wonderful opportunity for our community to be involved in this needy cause. Further details are included in today's newsblog.

We wish the Trekkers every success in this very worthy mission to help those in need.  

Parents and Friends Association
This week we welcomed many new faces to our first meeting for the year which outlined the plans for the social activities that will take place in 2017. It was a delightful opportunity to engage our parents in the ways they can support the St Mary's School Community this year. 

Building Project
Gledhill Constructions are making good progress on the building site now that the traffic management issues have been resolved with North Sydney Council. Work to be completed during this month includes:
  • Complete detailed excavation
  • Shotcrete works to both elevations
  • Commence in ground drainage plus hydraulics below basement slab
  • Reinforce and pour concrete footings/shoring columns to Ridge Lane
  • Prepare, Form, Reinforce and pour basement slab by April 12th. 
Enjoy a relaxing weekend!

Kind regards,
Beverly Coffey

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Term 1 Week 3 2017

New Year 4 Classroom for 2017

Dear Parents and Friends,

It has been encouraging to see our new Kindergarten children settling into their school routines so happily over the last few weeks. Congratulations to all parents for your great support in this task. We also thank all the students of St Mary's for making the Kindergarten children feel welcomed.

Today our community gathered for the Opening Mass for the 2017 School Year to celebrate in a spirit of love and service. The theme for this year is '' The Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is His name." The action statement is: "Give praise and thanks to God always."

The theme is part of The Magnificat, taken from Luke's Gospel and is the Blessed Virgin Mary's hymn of praise to the Lord. It is also known as the Canticle of Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours, a special collection of scripture readings, psalms and hymns. Throughout this year we will embrace this theme and lead our children to understand and respect the importance of showing gratitude in our daily lives.

The 2017 school year commences with a student population of 372 students in eleven classes with a well supported teaching and support staff consisting of the following:

  • 16 Full-time teachers
  • 7 Part-time specialist teachers for Reading Recovery; Gifted Education; Literacy and Numeracy Intervention; Music and French (TBA)
  • 6 Learning Support Staff
  • 2 Office Administration

School building Update
The Building Project is underway again after a delay due to an updated traffic management plan needing to be approved by North Sydney Council. The project managers are currently organising their timetable and schedule for the site works but a completion date has been set for December 13th 2017.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Kind regards,
Beverly Coffey

Monday, 30 January 2017

Welcome Back to St Mary’s School for 2017!

Dear Parents and Friends,

May I wish you a very warm welcome back to St Mary’s School for the 2017 School Year. I trust that you and your families have enjoyed a happy and successful start to the year and feel refreshed and re-energized after the summer break.

St Mary’s Staff returned to work last Friday for their professional learning day and all members are very motivated for the school year ahead and look forward to working in close partnership with you in the weeks and months to come.

Over the holidays the building project has progressed well with all of the demolition work completed. Security fencing has been erected around the building site which will affect a part of the playground usage for this year. In order to compensate for this loss of space the recess and lunch times will be staggered across the classes. This will not affect the start or finishing times of the school day.

The Year 2 and 3 classes will be accommodated in the demountable buildings this year and Year 4 will be located in the former staff room which has been modified to allow for this change. We look forward to welcoming all the students from Year 1 to 6 this coming Monday and our new Kindergarten classes on Tuesday. 

Kind regards,
Beverly Coffey

Monday, 23 January 2017

Dear Parents and Friends

It is a sign of how busy our contemporary lives have become that December has crept up all too quickly and here we are composing our last newsletter for 2016. Throughout the last couple of weeks St Mary's has been abuzz with the end of year activities that have added to the long list of  events and activities for this year which make our school an exceptional learning community.

St Mary's has a rich culture of learning and one that encourages and expects excellence, dedication and commitment from all members, staff and students of the school. Our children are encouraged to reach their full potential, to be true to themselves, find their own personal interests and passions and improve all aspects of their learning as they grow from Kindergarten to Year Six. It is a holistic education that develops students' intellectual, spiritual, social, emotional, physical, artistic and creative capabilities.

This year our teaching staff have been professionally challenged during the weekly Tuesday  afternoon staff meetings where they work in Professional Learning Teams (PLT's) to understand in greater depth the learning needs of all students in their classrooms. To do this, they have been using a variety of diagnostic tools and student learning data to further understand the student learning needs in implementing a purposeful program in line with the revised Australian curriculum. Our aim is to ensure all students, no matter what level, have measurable learning growth and are supported in a positive and encouraging environment. I thank all staff members for their commitment and loyalty to providing a learning environment where all students can reach their full potential.

I also extend my appreciation of the outstanding support provided by our parent community that continues each year. The generosity and level of compassion shown by the parents in the St Mary's community is very unique in so many ways. Blessings to you all!

As a Catholic school we are also privileged to have the Jesuit priests to guide and direct us spiritually throughout the year and remind us of our vocation to educate and care for children. On behalf of all the community I personally thank Fr. Andy Bullen, Fr. Michael Stoney and Fr. Daven Day for their great wisdom and compassion.

In the spirit of our theme for the Jubilee Year of Mercy let us all pray for mercy in the lead up to Christmas. Jesus was born into this world to show us how we can be merciful to others. May the message of Jesus' life live with us each day, knowing that God's love dwells within us, giving us the courage that we too can bring mercy to our world.
"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

With every blessing for a happy Christmas and safe and relaxing holiday.