Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Dear Parents and Friends,

I congratulate our students on the positive start they have made to Term 3. They look happy as they re-engage in a variety of learning activities, classes, sports and musical events and religious experiences. There is also great excitement around the use of the new learning spaces. I hope that you have had an opportunity to visit these new spaces during the past few weeks.

As Stage 1 of the Building Project reaches completion we commence Stage 2 of the Building Project.  
  • Currently the Development Application is being prepared by the architects and CEO school facilities officers to be lodged to North Sydney Council by the end of this week.
  • The Steering Committee will meet on August 28 to review the plans.
  • Presentation to St Mary’s parents at a forum on Monday September 7 at 7pm.

The Steering Committee Members for the Building Project are as follows:
  • School Leadership Team
  • Project Manager: Paul Gibson
  • SARM Architects
  • Regional Education Consultant: Janice Haydon
  • Anni Austin (Parent)
  • Wendy Stamp (Parent)
  • Damian Milani (Parent)
  • Geoff Van Den Bos (Parent)

On Monday evening September 7 at 7pm there will be an opportunity for parents to engage in a Parent Forum where I will update you on various school matters and provide you with an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. One of the matters I will brief you on will be the second stage of the building program. I hope you will be as excited as I am about the plans for our growing school where as you know, we will be constructing a new building on the terrace site immediately to the east of the school on Ridge Street.

I understand some parents may be concerned about how we will accommodate all students during the second phase of the building program. Most students will remain in our existing buildings during the construction of the new building, but we will need to locate some classes elsewhere during that period. At present, the Catholic Education Office personnel are looking at the options for the construction program phasing and accommodation of the children. I will be consulting with the School Advisory Council and the stage 2 Building Steering Committee about these matters and will keep the parent community informed.

As part of the development of St Mary’s School and the necessary forward thinking that such a project entails, I will be participating in an international school principals’ conference in Finland next week. This will be an excellent opportunity to network with other colleagues from around the world and also showcase St Mary’s School. School visits to Denmark to see some very contemporary school buildings will also be a feature of the conference.  Finland is renowned for its contemporary education system and high academic standards so I am looking forward to experiencing their system in this setting.  During my absence of three weeks, Julie Hunt, assistant principal, will assume the position of acting principal and will be available to meet parents if needed.

It is with much appreciation that I thank the many parents who participated in the survey for Julie Hunt’s contract renewal recently. Julie was very successful in her appraisal and we congratulate her on such fine achievements. I’m certain that you will support her in the acting role during my absence.

Yours in peace
God Bless


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Dear Parents and Friends,
A warm welcome to Term Three.  I trust that you all enjoyed a happy and restful holiday with your families and are refreshed and motivated for the busy term ahead.

We begin the term in our beautiful new learning spaces which will prove to be a wonderful asset to St Mary's.  Already the children have commented on how much they are enjoying the extra spaces to collaborate and engage as critical and creative thinkers in their learning activities.

You can read some of their comments on our new updated website as it becomes 'live' over the next few weeks.  We are transitioning to a more contemporary mode of communication across the school community to enable an improved system of informing parents of daily activities throughout the term.  Your feedback is most welcome as we make progress with this initiative.

This week the Steering Committee for the Stage 2 Building Project met to discuss the updated building plans for St Mary's.  The Steering Committee consists of the following parents and staff:  Anne Austin, Damian Milani, Geoff Van Den Bos and the school leadership team.  We will include details of the plans in this edition of the newsletter and welcome any feedback.

Timeline - The Development Application for Stage 2 of the Building Project will be lodged with North Sydney Council by the end of July.  It is hoped that the project is approved before the end of this year so that tenders can be sought and the building project commences early 2016.

Plans are to demolish the existing Terrace House and erect the new classrooms on that site.  A more detailed timeline of the construction works will be made available once the DA has been approved.

An opportunity for questions around the next stage building will take place at our Parents and Friends Meeting on Wednesday August 12th.

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit
We give you thanks, Spirit of Wisdom, for you speak to us in ways, that often surprise us.  
You uncover truths that we had kept hidden from ourselves.
And support us in tasks we fear to undertake alone.
We give thanks for your invitations to growth and intimacy and fullness of life.
And for the comfort you extend in our often uphill struggle to be faithful.
Inspire us.  Encourage us.  Fill us with enthusiasm for the mission of your Church.

Yours in Peace,
Beverly Coffey