Newsletter 14th September 2023
Dear parents and carers,
Well here we are approaching the end of another term. Our school is a wonderful place to be, especially at this time of year, with the grounds looking absolutely beautiful and bursting with life. The warmer weather seems to have everyone in high spirits and I am loving the smiles, waves and hellos the children give me as I move around the school every day.
I am delighted that this term's Student Representative Council has chosen the Kids Help Line as their focus for fundraising this term. The students will enjoy a Colour Run on Friday at 2:00pm for a gold coin donation. This initiative demonstrates one of the ways student voice is becoming ever stronger at St Mary's as they advocate for what matters to them. We have also recently introduced the VIBE survey for Stage Three students which is a once a week 5 question check-in about their mood and wellbeing. So far we are seeing that the students are largely feeling really positive about themsleves and their learning, with those who have worries channeling this for our immediate attention. Today we celebrated R U OK? Day with a liturgy and student activities structured to highlight the importance of mental health. Keep an eye on our socials for some great photos of the day!
With the positive firmly in place, I thought I would take this opportunity to remind you about the consequence steps for students who breach our Code of Conduct, which is explicitly taught to them thr0ugh the SPB4L framework. These behaviours and steps are included in the newsletter every week. There are minor behaviours ('yellows') and major behaviours ('reds'). We generally do not notify you in the case of minor behaviour breaches (although the students are well aware) but will notify you if there is a major behaviour. We will always try to speak to you on the telephone but, if we can't get through, an email will be sent.
In any one term if a student receives three majors on Compass they have an in school suspension with work provided by the classroom teacher. This is widely understood by everyone. However three minor behaviours also constitute a major... we currently have one child, for example, sitting on nine minors for this term. In effect this equals 3 majors and an in-school suspension. It is a cumulative, considered process not reactive. Every term the 'slate' is wiped clean with the view that we want our children to learn that negative patterns of behaviour can be put behind us and everyone has a right to a second chance.
Student behaviour at St Mary's is, by any measure, of a very high standard, which we value and are determined to maintain. Your children are respectful and caring of each other. It is normal for a school to have a few students who find it difficult to regulate their emotions and behaviours and these are the students who need strong boundaries, which we provide through the SPB4L framework. We know that the behaviours of a few can impact the wellbeing of the class and their teachers, so we work hard to have a fair, consistent and transparent system for all. On the positive side, many children are enjoying Bronze and Silver St Mary's Awards to reinforce and reward all of the positive behaviours they frequently exhibit. Our class dojo system is the vehicle for this.
This weekend I go on leave for three weeks in Europe. The priority is of course, time and adventures with my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. As the school year commences in England in September each year, I have included a couple of recent photos below of my grandchildren's respective first days. I last saw them in August 2022 so am very much looking forward to the reunion.
Rachel Cranney will be Acting Principal in my absence in Week 10. I wish you all a safe and happy school holiday time with a welcome break from the daily school routine. I look forward to all of the wonderful opportunities Term Four will offer our students; particularly welcoming our new Kindergarten cohort for 2024, supporting our Year Five classes who will turn their thoughts to school leadership and our Year Six students who are most definitley on the countdown to High School.
May God bless you and keep you,
Lord Jesus Christ,
you said to the Apostles,
“Come, follow me.”
You say the same words to us,
today and every day.
Help us to follow you faithfully:
to walk in the way of
to help those who are struggling,
and to love all people
as you love them.
May we rejoice in your presence
as we work to build up
the kingdom of God,
where you live and reign
with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Christian Leadership Awards
Christmas Art Competition
Congratulations to Matilda McEvoy for winning an award for Year 6 Contemporary Art at the Christmas Art Competition Awards Ceremony last week. Well done to all of the girls who submitted artwork and traveled to Bathurst on the day to celebrate Matilda's success.
A big thank you also to Miss Melanie Moon and Mrs Helen Chegwidden who mentored the girls through the creation of their pieces.
R U OK? Day 2023
The theme for this year's R U OK? Day is I'm here to hear.
Today reminds us that it is important to ask the question, R U OK? and then sincerely show that you have the time and willingness to hear the answer.
Remember, a conversation can change a life.
At St Mary's, we are dedicated to providing a rich learning environment in all Key Learning Areas. We are commited to providing opportunities for our students to learn and enjoy Mathematics through playing, exploring, practising, investigating and problem solving.
On Monday and Tuesday this week, we welcomed the World of Maths incursion. Students from Kindergarten to Year 6 enjoyed working in teams to apply problem-solving skills to solve puzzles and mathematical challenges.
Over the past two terms, some of our Stage 3 students have been taking part in the Maths Olympiad Team Competition and a small group of Year 5 students have participated in the Australian Maths Trust Newton Enrichment Program. These opportunities provide our budding mathematicians with challenging problems to develop and extend their mathematical understanding. We congratulate them on their positive mindset, hard work and persistence and wish them luck with their final competition papers this week.
SPORTS UNIFORM Term 3 (any changes to the uniform days will be sent out in compass)
Kindergarten - Monday & Friday
Year One - Friday
Year Two - Tuesday
Year Three - Friday
Year Four - Thursday
Year Five - Tuesday
Year Six - Friday
Term 4 Uniform Notice
The whole school will wear sports uniforms on Mondays for Dance in Term 4.
St Lawrence Horse Sports news
Aaliyah & Sofia had a fun time away representing St Marys at St Lawrences Horse Sports in Coonabarabran last week! The girls competed across 2 big days of showing, dressage, show jumping, sporting, cross country & stock horse time trials with Aaliyah coming away with Reserve Champion for her age group. Thanks St Marys for your support! Aaliyah is off to represent TEAM NSW at Interschools Nationals in Werribee at the end of this month after qualifying under the St Marys banner at state championships.
School Wide Positive Behaviour for Learning (SPB4L)-SCHOOL UNIVERSALS
As learners at St Mary's we are expected to:
BE SAFE BE RESPECTFUL BE RESPONSIBLE
The aim of SPB4L at St Mary's, is to actively teach and model positive behavioral expectations through consistent, reasonable, and proactive strategies that will foster positive relationships with students, staff, and parents.
BE SAFE ❖ We will keep our hands and feet to ourselves ❖ We will follow the rules of the game
BE RESPECTFUL ❖ We will use kind words ❖ We will follow the teacher directions
BE RESPONSIBLE ❖ We will include others and play fairly ❖ We will engage in our learning