Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
In this newsletter I want to concentrate on highlighting the modes of communication that we have at St Mary’s. Our
first and foremost way of communication is our weekly newsletter. This usually contains three or more pages of
information including the upcoming events scheduled for our school and a brief look back at previous weeks events.
It includes in depth information about the up coming events to ensure that all families are well informed about all that
is going on. Also if deemed appropriate it includes information on community events. We send the newsletter out
electronically to all parents nominated email addresses. If you have trouble receiving these emails then please
contact Mrs Evans,
The weekly newsletter can also be viewed on our school website under the
information tab.
The website also contains a lot of other interesting information and an up to date calendar of events and activities.
Some events that predominately have a class focus will be communicated by way of a letter from the class teacher.
We also have as part of our formal reporting process a parent information evening in term one, interviews in terms
two and three and written reports on your child’s progress in terms two and four.
We also have a regular programme of consultation and parent information evenings designed to ensure that we use
up to date information to strengthen our strategic planning and to ensure we offer parents the opportunity to keep up
with any new developments in teaching and learning.
Last year the Board of trustees invested in a new phone system. This system is an up to date version of the system
employed in most New Zealand schools. It always begins with an electronic message so please listen to the
prompts and this system will lead to a more efficient use of our phone system.
Our school email system is developed to ensure easy communication between the school and the parent community
so please if you have a question email it in and we will get back to you as soon as possible with an answer.
Finally there is the obvious way of communicating by way of a face to face interview. If it is a simple quick question
then teachers are happy to answer these before 9am and after 3pm. If the question requires some depth in its an-swer then please make an appointment to meet the teacher and let them know the broad basis of your question to
allow them to prepare for the meeting. So in summary the forms of communication between home and school are
as follows:
  School Newsletter (weekly—Tuesday)
  Board of Trustees Newsletter (once a term)
  School Website
  School Email
  School phone
  Formal reporting (ie interviews, meet the teacher, written reports)
  Information meetings between teachers and parents
  Additional information notices and letters sent out by the teachers or the school about specific events
We have sent this newsletter out to all parents in hard copy as well as electronically to ensure that it is received by
all families. If you need us to update any information please contact at the school office.
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
At the moment one of the greatest ever feats of New Zealand sporting history is unfolding,
Brendan McCullum is currently waiting (I hope) to come out and bat with an overnight score of 281. No
New Zealander has ever made 300 in a test, the closest is the great Martin Crowe who was run out on
299. The scoring of the 300 would be a monumental achievement on its own but the context in which it
has been scored is what makes the achievement immense: It has been made against one of the world
best test match teams and a country with more than a billion staunch fans (India), New Zealand was
bowled out for 192 in 323 balls in the first innings. When Brendan came in to bat New Zealand were 3
wickets downs for 52 and before he found a solid partner in BJ Watting New Zealand were 5-94. Most
people thought the test would only last three days, New Zealand had blown a great chance to score a se-ries win. But as they say ’cometh the hour cometh the man’.
To score 100 runs is a feat all cricketers aspire to, it requires skill, determination, patience,
resilience and self belief. To do it under the pressure that ’B Mac’ did is amazing, to then (hopefully)
score two more centuries defies belief.
I think that whether you are a cricket follower or not in this instant is irrelevant, few of us are mountain
climbers but we all admired Sir Edmond Hillary’s feats. The important thing to
remember about this great sporting action is that it was done by a man who tool the mantel of leadership
seriously and battled hard, not for personal glory, but for his team mates and country.
As Kipling wrote
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, …. If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds
worth of distance run—yours is the earth and everything that’s in it, and what is more—you’ll be a man my
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Over the next month or so a major focus for the students at St Mary’s is the ‘Keeping Ourselves
Safe’ programme. This programme has been taught at St Mary’s over a number of years. It is a
programme that is taught in conjunction with the New Zealand Police and focuses on way that
young people can keep themselves safe and as they get older, others safe.
It is a programme that is practical but also addresses the theory and reasoning behind why we
should or should not behave in certain ways.
In fact the key behaviour that helps us support our young ones to keep themselves safe is
Talk to your children often, even when what they are saying doesn’t really interest you, and listen
to what they say. If they know that you are listening to them, then they will go to you for
guidance, and more importantly you will be more aware of what's going on in their world.
With the advent of social media: Facebook, ask, snap chat, twitter etc., people who may be distant
are able to communicate as simply as they can with someone sitting in the same room.
Obviously this has massive benefits, you can Skype your sister in Melbourne and it’s almost like
a face to face meeting. But as with all technologies it has a dark side, unwanted intrusions into
you or your families life being the paramount concern. Sometimes it would be nice to retreat into
our log cabin and bolt the door. But the reality is that in our technological world, this is not
possible. To keep ourselves and our children safe, communication is again the answer.
Encourage them to come to you if they are ever in a situation that makes them feel
uncomfortable or confused.
Have a great week
Mike Brosnahan
Our RE focus in each class h

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Welcome back to the 2014 school year. I hope that everyone has enjoyed a restful holiday and
has come back rejuvenated for another busy school year.
Over the next few weeks a number of programmes will begin and outings and celebrations are
scheduled. Please remember to check the calendar of events to ensure that you are aware of all
these happenings.
Last year we consulted on the topic of homework—this is a subject that always delivers a wide
range of opinions. For every academic study that insists that regular homework leads to contin-ued academic success, you can find one that insists that homework doesn’t achieve the antici-pated academic results.
At St Mary’s we believe that some amount of homework is necessary to: reinforce the learning
done at school, to prepare for future learning and to act as a link between home and reinforcing
the concept of being life long learners. But we also believe that homework is counter productive
if it causes unnecessary stress. There of course comes a time when the pupils needs to accept
100% responsibility for their learning (usually in senior secondary school). Mainly due to the fact
that the topic material becomes to specialized. My son (Year 13) was doing quadratic equations
last night and he was able to complete a number of them before I could have done one!
But we feel the most important aspect of homework is not the content but the attitude developed
in continuing school learning at home.
One important study from the United States shows that the work done at non-school times, eve-nings, weekends and holidays is what leads to academic success. It is not about volume of work
it’s about being positive and continuous and modelling that learning (reading, writing, maths etc)
is valuable.
We recognise of course, that there will be times when homework can’t be done, a note or email
is helpful as it removes any chance of confusion.
As part of our ongoing parent information programme we will be holding an information night
later in the term to outline more fully our expectations with regards homework at the various
levels in our school and also to offer some ideas on how to make homework fun.
As well as welcoming all of our returning pupils back we would like to offer a special welcome to
the following pupils: Olivia Clydesdale to Room 1, Kate Jordan to Room 5, and Emma Jordan to
Room 6.
Have a great year
Mike Brosnahan