Monday, May 24, 2010

25 may 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
The days are getting shorter and the mornings certainly seem to be darker and colder so winter must be here.
It was pleasing to see such a good number of people at the celebration of Pentecost Mass on Sunday. Thank you to all of the people who helped organize the Mass and especially to the pupils from our school who read - you were a credit to us.
I would also like to welcome the new members on to our school Board of Trustees and also acknowledge the hard work over a number of years, put in by those standing down.
Governance of a school is a challenging but
ultimately rewarding task. No matter the size of the school the legislative requirements are the same. An integrated school involves other laws and acts of parliament that have to be adhered to. Much of what the Board of Trustees do is unseen by their community and the hard work put in is not really recognized.
So to Sheryl, Jacqui, John and Ross - thank you, it was a privilege working with you.

Have a great week.
Regards, Mike Brosnahan

18 may 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Over the weekend we have had our first real taste of winter so it is a prudent time to remind people of a few important items of organization.
Please remember if your child is unwell don’t send them to school, the bugs will quickly spread and affect the whole school. It has been widely reported that a third of the population last year caught the ‘swine flu’ and it will resurface again this year. All flues and colds are potentially dangerous and need to be treated with care. So we have reprinted our guidelines on what to look for when deciding whether to send your child to school on the back of this
Also please remind your children to thank their sports coaches during and after games by: doing their best, being good sports and saying ‘thanks’. Remember that without our volunteer coaches we would have no sports teams and they need to be treated with
respect at all times.

Have a great week.
Regards, Mike Brosnahan

11 may 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Week Four already and we are now all well into winter sport, even if the weather is more like cricket weather.
I was thrilled last week to hear of the large number of our ex pupils who received Academic Blues at the Taieri College’s special assembly. Kathryn Gale and Alicia Rosevear in Year 13 and Jessica Bungard, Kate Brinsdon, Tayla Tetlow and Nathan Burns in Year 12. Congratulations!
The rest of this term is going to be a very busy one, just read the upcoming events table. But there are two really important events that I want to draw to your attention. During the remainder of the term the teachers will be completing and you will be receiving our new style reports. The information included in these will be developed on by follow up interviews. These interviews are really important because they will enable you to feed back to us on your thoughts about the new style of reports. So please make sure that you attend your child’s parent teacher interview.
One of the big challenges that our school faces is a rapidly growing junior roll. If you know any parents who are intending to enroll their child at St Mary’s this year please ask them to contact the school office so that we are able to manage our classes to achieve the best results for your

Have a great week.
Regards, Mike Brosnahan

4 may 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Recently I have been reading the book
Invictus, the book deals with the trials and tribulations that Nelson Manndala had to go through to form modern South Africa, out of the ashes of the Apartheid era state.
He had to weld together a majority who had enjoyed no political rights, few civil rights with a minority who saw themselves as superior to their fellow citizens.
The fact that he had remarkable success is now history - the how is, on reflection, relatively simple - he treated all people, even those whose ideals he totally opposed, with respect.
Feeling respected they worked with him rather than against him.
Respect is treating someone as you would like them to treat you.

Have a great week.
Regards, Mike Brosnahan

27 april 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Well the beginning of another week, a week that started with us as a nation having just commemorated ANZAC day. When we think of ANZAC we remember the sacrifices that so many were prepared to make because they shared a vision of a greater goal.
Personally I always stand in awe of the resilience that so many of our antecedents showed in surviving the terrible deprivations and trauma that war entails.
But when I think on the matter further, I have come to the conclusion that all people who succeed have developed a high level of resilience.
Resilience is - from the Collings Gen English Dictionary ‘The ability to return to normal after stretching, recovering quickly from shock’. Basically in terms of human beings, it is the ability to operate under stress or in difficult situations. Life is full of stressful situations and teaching children when they are young how scenarios will prepare them for their future.
It is why outdoor education is still a vitally important component of our school’s curriculum. As a world renowned child psychologist once noted the hardest thing to do, when dealing with a child is nothing. That is letting them solve their own problems - without offering advice.

Have a great week.
Regards, Mike Brosnahan

20 April 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Welcome back everyone for Term Two. This is meant to be the first of our winter terms but as I look out the window it still looks like cricket weather.
Over the term holidays I attended the second first time Principals’ course in Auckland, where I was lucky enough to hear a number of excellent speakers. The most exciting was an Australian named John Edwards. His main point which we often forget, is that when we first begin to learn something new, a new piece of knowledge or a new skill, we struggle at first because what we are learning is outside our previous comfort zone.
To achieve learning we need to carry on through the confusion and frustration we initially feel (Remember first learning to drive or play golf or ski)?
If we stick to it and accept that we will initially struggle then we succeed, we can now drive, or ski or play golf. If we stopped when the going got hard we didn’t complete our learning or achieve our target.
This is the same for students and as a school community we need to support the pupils through the initial difficult part of the learning process so that they can fly out the other side.
One key component is that support from home is vital for success, remember children spend only 15% of their time at school. So in our newsletter we will continue to offer advice that will enable you to support your child’s learning.

Have a great week.
Regards, Mike Brosnahan

30 March 2010

Dear Parents/Caregivers and Friends of
St Mary’s School,
Last Friday I was lucky to be given the privilege of attending The New Zealand Principals’ Federation Annual Moot in Wellington. The theme of the day was the question “What Matters Most?”.
During the day a number of highly engaging speakers put across their perspective on this statement focusing on a range of important themes. But during the day I came to the conclusion that obviously working within all of the ‘legal framework’ the answer to the questions is - what is best for the children.
Achieving excellence in academic subjects is obviously important but so is nurturing and encouraging the physical and the artistic.
The Year Seven Religious Education programme highlights that what God wants for his people is for them to be happy. The skills, the values, and the attitudes that we install into our children also set the tone for what they will achieve in life and if they will have a happy life.
Children who are brought up to be caring and compassionate with a sense of justice and respect and who are prepared to serve others with no requirement for payment will, I believe, grow to be happy balanced adults.
Within our school community we have great role models for these attributes, our excellent Board of Trustees and PTA. People who give huge amounts of their busy lives in the service of others. We have a brilliant parent community who: coach sports teams, go on school trips, and help on school camps. All of these people who contribute so magnificently to our school, you are the answer to the question ‘what matters most?’, because you show in all that you do, that what we want for the
children - is the best.
You don’t just talk the talk - you walk the walk.
So from me and all of the staff thank you for your support, thank you for your efforts and most of all thank you for your honesty.
Have a happy holy and safe Easter and holiday.
Regards Mike Brosnahan

23 March 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
It’s hard to believe that we are beginning week eight of the year already.
Yesterday was, of course, Otago Anniversary Day. This is always an excellent time to reflect on how fortunate our lives are here in Otago, and what life may have held for us if our antecedents had not taken a huge risk and emigrated to New Zealand.
While it is important to be proud of who we are and where we come from, I believe that we also have a dept of service to pay to those who went before us and shaped this great province. The explorers and pioneers, the settlers and farmers, the builders and miners, of course the soldiers and visionaries.
These people took risks because they believed that they could build a great place to live not just for themselves but for future generations. We support their legacy by showing loyalty and giving of ourselves to further develop our communities.
Every time you do something for someone else without expecting a reward them you honor the memory of our forefathers.
So by coaching sport, by serving on boards or committees, by being involved in community
projects you honor the memory of our forefathers.

Have a great week.
Regards, Mike Brosnahan

16 march 2010

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
To be successful in any endeavour, especially one predominantly based on working with people, the key is good communication at it’s most basic level is “to give, share or convey information”. But for it to be successful the person that the information is being conveyed to must be listening and willing to make an effort to understand.

Wars have been won and lost, empires raised and razed, Kings crowned and dethroned, businesses developed and bankrupted on good communication or the lack there of.
The ‘enigma machine’ a device that enabled the British to ‘crack’ the Germans secret coded messages during World War 2 is looked upon as a major reason for the allies success. The German Armies, communications were being read and acted upon by a group who they did not want to know this information - the result as they say is history.
In a school communication is just as important and we really do value the fact that we are part of a community that is open and honest in it’s communication. Feedback is a crucial element of our school’s internal self review procedure and we welcome it.
Communication in it’s more formal setting will change slightly in our school this year. In line with the expectations of the National Standards we will be presenting to the parents two written reports this year. The first will be accompanied by an optional back up interview to enable parents to discuss the new format that we will be
using. More information on the timetable for these events will follow next term.

Have a great week. Regards, Mike Brosnahan