Altona is a bayside community situated approximately sixteen kilometres west of the City of Melbourne. The Altona community is within the City of Hobsons Bay, a municipality that includes many different cultural groups. We believe the diversity of cultures and traditions enriches our city.
St. Mary’s Parish Community is an integral part of the wider community of Altona, having been established as a parish in 1942, when it separated from the Parish of Williamstown. St. Mary’s School has been in existence since 1928, when the Josephite Sisters commenced the first Catholic school in the area, although classes were not conducted on the present day site. Construction of the school on the present site began in 1950.
In February 2018 Archpriest Michael Kalka joined us as parish priest.
Currently, in 2018 we have an enrolment of 290 children. The many cultural groups which make up our school community come from parts of Europe with a growing representation from the Asia Pacific region.
St. Mary’s School is well located, being a short walk to the local shopping area of Pier Street, and in close proximity to Altona Railway Station and a bus terminus that provides easy access to the outer areas of the community, and adjoining suburbs.
Altona is serviced by a range of manufacturing, chemical and transport industries, providing employment opportunities for members of the local community. Many of these industries are involved in community programs and activities.
St. Mary’s school offers a comprehensive curriculum incorporating all aspects of the Victorian Curriculum. A very successful early literacy program is the cornerstone of our strategy to ensure that all students experience success in their learning.
Intervention programs are additional supports for children who do not make the gains that are expected of them. An Inquiry Learning approach is fundamental to our Integrated Curriculum.
Digital Technologies (DT) is integral to all learning at St. Mary's. 2011 saw the completion of our 'Building Education Revolution Project' that being the construction of our Technology, Research and Information Centre (TRI Centre). We have interactive whiteboards and at least four computers in each classroom (years 3-6) as well as a pod of ten computers in those buildings. We have 1:1 Chrombooks for our 5/6 students and 1:2 Chromebooks for our 3/4 student. All levels have access to banks of iPads.
This facility aims to be a centre for contemporary teaching and learning within a multi-media framework. There are various learning areas including an outside learning area as well as an extensive range of fiction and non-fiction books including teacher resources. Eighteen computers are located in our TRI Centre as well as a laptop trolley containing sixteen laptops. There is an interactive whiteboard and television. This downstairs area is supplemented by a range of furniture both formal and informal. Upstairs has an auditorium with retractable seating for eighty, a projector, screen and sound system. The area is multi-functional with retractable walls in three locations.
St. Mary's school supports The Arts. We have specialist Performing Arts (Music) and Visual Arts (Art) teachers. These areas showcase the creative ventures of students through displays and performances in a range of settings. The students are given the opportunity to undertake a private instrumental music program (piano, keyboard or guitar) by sessional Music teachers. Children are exposed to our Community language, which is Italian, every fortnight.
We are committed to improving the physical well-being of all of our students. We have a specialist physical education/sport teacher. St Mary’s is an active participant in the WADSSA Inter-School Sport competition eg. swimming, cross country, athletics summer and winter team sports. St. Mary's also offers regular fitness sessions for children and parents.
Student Wellbeing is a priority at St. Mary's and is supported by our Social Skills program, 'You Can Do It'. Pastoral programs also feature strongly at St. Mary's; caring for children is part of our culture.
The school promotes a strong leadership program involving students and parents in decision and policy making in the school. The student leadership positions include: Junior School Council, House Captains, School Captains, Sports Captains, Social Justice leaders and Student Wellbeing leaders.
Parent involvement is also highly valued at St. Mary’s. We see the partnership between parents and the school as critical to the success of our mission. Parents may choose to become involved at many different levels, the School Education Board, which assists the Principal and Parish Priest to develop policy initiatives, the Parents and Friends Association, which assists in fundraising and social activities, a Parents Helpers Program for literacy support in classrooms, tuckshop duties, school library helpers, sports coaching and umpiring, resource making, are just a few of the ways in which parents are invited to assist in the life of the school.
St. Mary’s School offers a warm, safe, friendly and stimulating environment. An on-going 'Grounds Beautification Program' has seen the development of additional garden areas and a re-grassing of high traffic sections of our oval which have been possible to sustain with the installation of four 30,00 litre water tanks. Other improvements have been the installation of synthetic grass playing areas and passive recreation areas, adventure playgrounds (junior and senior), sails to cover some play areas and resurfacing of asphalt areas.
St. Mary’s is a feeder school to Mt St Joseph Girls’ College in Altona West and Emmanuel College which comprises St Paul’s Campus Altona North and Notre Dame Campus Point Cook. Some students also attend other Private and Government Secondary Colleges.