We have nearly made it to the end of the first term. I have heard similar stories from many of you over the last few days about how tired your children are. We are certainly experiencing much the same.
I think we are only now just starting to realise how much of an impact last year has had on us all.
This week we concluded our school tours for prospective families. These were very well attended and we have received great feedback already.
This week I also hosted some of you for our first Meet and Greet Feedback sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed spending this time listening to your feedback about what makes St Mary's great and what will make it even greater. While it will be impossible to bring about every wish discussed, it is certainly helping shape some themes around possibilities for our school's future. I will run more sessions early next term and I encourage you to come along and join in the conversation. I will also share some themes that have emerged after I've had the chance to meet with more of you next term.
In the past few weeks some of our students have stepped on dog faeces on the playground. We have not needed to address dogs on school property thus far, but I ask that if you are considering bringing your dog onsite you ensure the following:
If you have noticed some children are frightened by your pet onsite, please reconsider bringing it in the future. Yes, the children could go a different way, but this school belongs to our children and we need to ensure they feel safe when on our grounds.
We will revisit our existing practices in the future.
There may be many parents who now qualify for a Health Care Card. Parents with a card issued in their name automatically receive a $125 reduction on camps and excursions levies for each of their children. As well as this reduction, you may also be eligible for further fee relief.
Please send a photo of both sides of your card to Katrina in the office or bring your card to the front desk for copying.
Last year I asked for any parents interested in joining the School Board (now known as the School Advisory Council). We will be hosting our AGM at some stage. Thanks to those who have expressed an interest in joining.
If there are any new parents who are interested, please let me know via email
There are many changes taking place to our School Advisory Council this year due to the change in governance. Now is the perfect time to join us as you will be part of the process of establishing our new terms of reference.
There will be a Confirmation meeting for Year 6 2020 candidates who missed out due to COVID. Please see the parish bulletin for details.
We head into Palm Sunday this weekend and into Holy Week, which for Catholics is the most important week in our Church's calendar.
I pray that this time of Lent has been an enriching time spent in prayer and self reflection. May this Easter season bring you a renewed sense of purpose and passion.
Finally, I once again thank you for the warm welcome you have each given me in what I consider my first "real term" at St Mary's.
I count myself blessed to have been brought into this amazing, warm, open community. I am looking forward to many fruitful years together.
God bless, happy holidays and a blessed Easter to you all.
On Tuesday this week, Dave Vinegrad from Behaviour Matters came to chat with our staff once again. If you remember from earlier in the year, Dave ran some professional development for the staff before the students started back at school.
Dave furthered our knowledge of Restorative Practice, the approach we use at St. Mary’s when helping the children solve the problems and issues they have with others in the yard and in the classroom.
He introduced us to a new name for our approach, which we will adopt over the coming year. While keeping the Restorative Practice approach, we will refer to it as Relational Practices, as it’s really all about building those skills that are needed to work and play harmoniously with others. We don’t want to simply ‘fix issues’. We want to help our students grow in their knowledge and practice of how to be with others, and how to mend relationships if there is a break down.
When working with the children we ask both/all parties a few pivotal questions.
We spoke with Dave at length about apologies and the meaning behind them. Some children are very quick to say “Sorry!” and think that it will fix everything without acknowledging the hurt and pain they have caused, without committing to a change in behaviour.
Next term we'll work with our students to reinforce the message that “At St. Mary’s an apology means a change in behaviour.”, that saying sorry is not sufficient if they just go back to their old ways.
We hope that you will work with us to reinforce that message.
It’s a great one not just at school but for life.
This year staff at St Mary’s will be involved in devising and implementing an INTERVENTION FRAMEWORK as outlined by Catholic Education Melbourne.
The Intervention Framework provides a structure for us to better understand and meet the learning needs of all students.
It is intended to create an inclusive education where all children are engaged and achieve to the best of their ability.
The Framework is based on the following seven principles:
The Intervention Framework builds in structures so that students who require it, receive early instruction and intervention intervention in order to reach their full potential. These interventions are a response to the needs identified by specific assessments or tasks and can be a response to both learning and /or social needs. Interventions can be short term in nature or may be over a longer period of time. It includes ongoing monitoring and evaluating to determine if the interventions are bringing about the desired outcome for the student.
We are excited to begin this process and have committed to work on this throughout 2021 so as to continually improve our practice in order to optimise learning for all our students.
Learning Diversity Leader
I earned a university degree in science and then set out to teach in Japan for one year before returning to Canada to get my teaching degree. I taught for a while in Canada before coming to Australia. I did emergency teacher work and worked in a small town called Agnes Water in QLD for 3 months to extend my working holiday visa. I then taught at a school in St Albans and at a school in Point Cook for 9 years before coming to St. Marys.
Four years ago I participated in a teaching exchange for one month in South Korea where I got to teach the students there all about Australia and experience their culture.
I love being able to influence and support all students in their learning journey.
What are my likes and hobbies? Swimming, cycling, triathlons (although running is my least favourite part), camping, hiking, reading, cooking, gardening, travel, musicals and COFFEE!
Our EASTER RAFFLE will be held at a special assembly on the last day of term, 1st April at 12:45pm.
You should have received your raffle tickets yesterday or today.
If not, there are spare booklets available at the office.
To make this raffle great fun for all of the children, we ask that you kindly donate an Easter gift (per child).
This could be in the form of chocolate, a toy, or allergy free option.
Please give this gift to your child, to give to their teacher over the coming weeks or take it to the office.
All raffle tickets and money need to be returned by Monday 29th March.
We really appreciate your support!!!