Sunday, 25 October 2015

Dear Parents and Friends,

St Mary's School is buzzing with activity this week as we prepare for the 2015 Musical. With just over two weeks to go we have many teachers and parents preparing for this special community event which will showcase the talents of our students within a contemporary performance. We encourage all families to support the school musical and purchase tickets online through Qkr as detailed on the school website. We look forward to enjoying this wonderful event.

Thank you to the many parents who attended the Parent Forum last week. This Forum provided an opportunity to relate my experiences from the International Confederation of Principals' Conference in Helsinki during August this year. Some of the Key Topics from the conference were as follows:

  • What are the future trends in education for the world?
  • What are the latest educational ideas to allow students to perform at their best?
  • What directions are schools heading?
  • What are the best practices in education?
  • What can we learn from each other regarding educational policies?
  • What are the new learning and motivational environments like?
  • What are the biggest challenges in the world of education?
Some valuable discussion took place concerning the future trends in education that are affecting the world and how these might impact on what's happening at St Mary's School.
Some of these insights are as follows:

  • Relationships are a key to developing students so that they become independent learners.
  • Developing a truly catholic school culture.
  • Encouragement and feedback is a focus in schools and provides rewards for success.
  • Quality teachers and teacher professional development.
  • Setting agendas to drive change for higher student success.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Respect for all in schools.
  • Developing strong leadership teams in schools.
  • Establishing forums for strong student voice.
  • Looking at the scientific research into motivation and the development of a growth mindset in students.
If you would like to visit the website you can download the presentation from the parent forum and read the summaries.

Also we would like to invite you to participate in a Parent Survey to gather your reflections and ideas for a way forward for St Mary's School. The link will be provided at the end of this newsletter.

Best wishes for a positive week ahead
God Bless

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Welcome Back to Term 4

Dear Parents and Friends,

Welcome back to Term 4.

What a joy it has been to see the children in all year levels return to school with great enthusiasm ready for all that this term brings in terms of completing the year and transition.

Provision of the best facilities for our students continues to be a priority so we appreciate the work that our parent Anni Austin completed on the play areas during the holidays.  Having the creative play areas makes a difference to the student’s broader learning and assists in their social, emotional and physical development.

This term we offer support to our Year 6 students as they prepare for their secondary schooling.  As they work hard and continue to give of their best in so many ways, we remain very proud of them, and of all that they have achieved and contributed to St Mary’s school.  As a faith community, we ask for God’s blessing upon each one of them and pray for them as they prepare for the end of year assessments and concluding functions.

Next Tuesday evening will see the inaugural ‘Voices of St Mary’s’ event take place in the Independent Theatre, Miller Street, North Sydney.  This special event has been organised to showcase the learning that has taken place in public speaking this year.  A number of students from Year 3 to 6 will perform as well as the Concert Choir.  The event commences at 6pm.  We look forward to celebrating this event with our school community.

Staff News
This term we welcome Mrs Joyce Eide as secretary in the school office.  Joyce will be replacing Laura who has secured secretarial employment closer to her home in the Sutherland Shire.  Laura will be in the office for a couple of days over the next few weeks until she finishes in November.  We thank Laura for her dedication, friendship and great school spirit throughout his year and wish her every success in her new employment.

We also welcome Mrs Stephanie Powling who will be working in Years 3 and 4 as an intervention teacher for a couple of days each week throughout this term.

School Building Update
Pre DA:  The Pre DA material was lodged with Council in September, and the Pre DA meeting with Council has been held.  The CEO and architects are now waiting for written feedback from the Pre DA meeting.

A Pre DA is a standard Council process, offered by most Councils, wherein an applicant can lodge DA documents with Council for review, so that Council has a formal and early opportunity to review a proposal and make comment and suggestions before it is formally lodged and exhibited.  Documents are generally lodged 10-14 days before the Pre DA Meeting, for circulation within Council.  The meeting is then held and minutes are taken.  It generally takes Council 10-14 days to issue the minutes of the Pre DA meeting.

DA:  Once the minutes of the Pre DA Meeting are received, these will be reviewed and actioned, and then the Formal DA will be lodged.

Temporary Classrooms:  It is currently intended to locate the temporary classrooms at the back of the old Presbytery.  This will require the reassignment of car spaces, and this is being worked through.

To install the temporary classrooms, the demolition of the older (non heritage) garages and other buildings will be required.  The timing of these works is currently being considered.

Every blessing,

Beverly Coffey