Thursday, 26 July 2018

Term 3 Week 1 2018

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 now ready and fresh for the busy term ahead. It has been encouraging to see the children returning to school with a healthy enthusiasm and willingness to enjoy their learning. Let’s keep that spirit alive!

The end of semester parent/teacher interviews provided an excellent opportunity for feedback on the students’ progress throughout this semester. Success is not determined only by the results that the children achieve but also by the effort they afford to their work.

We are all born with an array of talents, capabilities and potential and it is how we work towards realising these that is most important. One of the most aspects of education is relationship. Pope Francis highlighted this in a recent address to the Italian Union of Catholic School Teachers.

“In a society that struggles to find points of reference, young people need a positive reference point in their school. The school can be this or become this only if it has teachers capable of giving meaning to the school, to studies and to culture, without reducing everything to the mere transmission of technical knowledge. Instead they must aim to build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel accepted and loved for who he or she is, with all of his or her limitations and potential.”

Throughout this term St Mary’s will undertake the Sydney Catholic Schools Inquiry and Review Process for School Improvement. This process is an inclusive four-year process that supports the principles of continuous improvement. Each year includes the reflection, review and evaluation of the Annual Improvement Plan, the Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) School Improvement Tool and Reporting to the community. These actions take place with considerable community consultation using strategies for reviewing and evaluating the evidence that impacts positively on the Catholic life of the school, student wellbeing and learning, and supports a culture of continuous growth.

At the completion of the process a new Strategic Improvement Plan will be designed and will include the new direction of the K-12 Marist College. Further details will be provided as we progress.

I wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.
Beverly Coffey

Term 2 Week 10 2018

Dear Parents and Friends,

This week brings Term 2 to a close.  It has been a busy and exciting term for us all at St Mary’s as we continue to shape our school community and share in the many momentous experiences that bring us together.

The students and staff have been involved in many activities: the Mother’s Day Liturgy; Family Masses; the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist; Athletics Carnival; special assemblies; sporting challenges and triumphs; individual and group achievements; public speaking and debating; choir and band performances and superb examples of students adopting a growth mindset- just to name a few! I see vibrancy, enthusiasm, empathy and hope for the future everywhere.

I have found it rewarding to read and observe the students’ progress in the rich and varied domains in their recent school reports and reflect on the work of Carol Dweck and the focus on building a growth mindset. Dwek’s research states that a focus on effort and not intelligence is the key to success in school and in life. In the spirit of this research, parents are encouraged to examine the school report not always in terms of grades but to also look at the effort grades. Focus on intelligence is fixed, whereas focus on effort leads to growth and can be changed and controlled by the student. Praising student effort and hard work that leads to working towards areas of personal best makes more impact.

We have appreciated the opportunity to talk with parents this week at the parent/teacher meetings where through trusting conversations we have successfully built on the understanding of the specific needs of each child. Your support in this process has been well received by the teachers.

Musica Viva performed recently for all students in a wonderful concert. The performance was engaging and interactive from the very beginning, with the musicians involving the children in conducting, composing and playing as well as active listening. This performance certainly stimulated the children’s creativity and curiosity.

I hope that you all enjoy a wonderful holiday and I am looking forward to another exciting and vibrant semester as our students and staff continue on their learning journey together. There are more exciting things to come in Term 3.

Happy Holidays,
God bless