Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Newsletter 2, 18 February 2016

Growing in Christ, challenging mind, body and spirit
Tena Koutou Parents and Friends

We don't normally make a point of sharing student achievement information but an observer at our Board meeting on Tuesday night suggested our community would like to know about some of our learning success.  

The government’s objective is to get 80% of children at or above the standard.

We are easily exceeding this expectation with 87-88% of our children at or above in all learning areas.

29% of our students are at least a year above their expected level in reading, 
22% are at least a year above their expected level in writing and
14% are at least a year above their expected level in maths.

This year we are particularly focusing on boys' learning and we want to engage in the type of learning that has been shown to narrow the traditional gap between boys’ and girls’ achievement (but still maintains high achievement for girls).   We are also aiming to help more of our children achieve at an even higher level in maths.

Some of the things that have been shown to have a positive effect on boys’ learning outcomes are:
  • ·      Inquiry-based learning – investigating meaningful questions
  • ·      Applying literacy and maths to other learning areas 
  • ·      Connecting with the world around them
  • ·      Having strong guidelines for success 
  • ·      Using technology in and for learning

We had a little taste of this with passion projects in the second half of last year and although that was only the tip of the iceberg for inquiry learning, our boys’ achievement in writing was 11.8% better by the end of the year than our mid year projection which is an outstanding acceleration.

We have a capable and dedicated teaching team again this year.  I know some parents would like a little more information about how learning is managed in multi-level classrooms and I will share some extra information with you in the next couple of days.

We have thought very hard about our classes in 2016 and the Board has allocated funding to have the best outcomes for all students.  Each student was individually discussed by the teachers during the period of October and November last year when we were deciding on class set ups for 2016.  If your child is on the older or younger end of a class you can be assured that their particular learning, social and developmental needs were specifically taken into account and will continue to be a focus.

If your child needs learning support, we are able to provide roughly three times the amount of learning support that one would normally expect.  However, not all learning needs are best met by withdrawing a child from a classroom and our team planning sessions include planning to also meet the learning needs of children within the classroom.

All of our classes have low numbers and every class has at least two teachers working together in the assessment, planning and reflection that makes teaching and learning successful.   So we are looking forward to another exciting year of engaged and successful learning.


Our year 7 & 8s have applied for leadership positions in our school.  We decided to reserve the nominal leadership positions - house captains and A team leaders for the year 8s this year.  

I will be working with the year 7s over the next couple of weeks and discussing how they can participate as year 7 leaders.

Year 8 Leaders

Our year 8 leaders will be meeting with me once a week and we will be looking at what it means to be a Catholic leader.  A Catholic leader is someone who promotes the principles of social justice.  “Catholic social teaching is a body of thought on social issues that has been developed by the Church over the past hundred years. It reflects Gospel values of love, peace, justice, compassion, reconciliation, service and community in the context of modern social problems.”

Our year 8s have started to think about what this means to them and what they can do to make the world a better place as young Catholics.  They will be recording their learning journey on a blog:

L to R: Cameron (A team), Conor (Patrick House) Quinn (MacKillop), Ella (Joseph), Kayla (Mary), Absent: Charls (A team)

They have started their first big job which is house colour day due to happen this Friday.

Year 7 Leaders

Some of the year 7s choose to volunteer as Young Joeys.  This is our practice of visiting the local kindergarten and Playcentre and buddying up with children soon to enter St Joseph's.  It started last year and has proven to be a helpful support for children as they transition into school.  More information about the year 7 leadership development will be shared in the next newsletter.

Joey's Buddies: Cooper, Cameron, Lily-Ana, Maia

Special Character - Why a Year of Mercy?

In his letter to the church announcing the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis gave his reasons. He said that “at times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church; a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective”.


We will be having a fun House Colour Day this Friday – 19 February.  Children are encouraged to dress up in their house group colours. 
Patrick = green         Mary = Blue   Joseph = Red           MacKillop = Yellow
There will be prizes for the overall best house group, and for the best dressed individual in each house.  (If your child does not have clothing in their house group colour, the closest shade will be fine).

We will also be participating in some fun activities from 10.30am – 12.30pm.  You are very welcome to join us.

Congratulations to the following students for their achievements in the weeks ended 5/2/16 & 12/2/16:
Star of the Week
Caelyn Morrison, Bryn Chisholm, Cooper Mason
Boston Mason, Luka van den Bergh, Cameron Murphy

MacKillop Values
Samuel Ryan, Bailey Begg, Quinn Tarrant
Dawson McCall, Samuel Ryan, Reon Priddle, Lily-Ana Donaldson

Winning House       Joseph           Joseph

From Monday next week – 22 February, the students will be participating in the Swim for Life programme at the Pleasant Point Pool.  They will be swimming every day for the next two weeks; from 22 February – 4 March.  Please ensure your child has their togs (or a note to say why they are not swimming) every day.

Subway Reminder
Could children who are ordering Subway please ensure they have their orders to the office before the bell rings in the morning, as the orders are taken from school as soon as the bell rings.  If your child does not hand in their order before school, they will not receive any Subway.  Please remember to enclose the correct money with your child’s order as we do not carry enough small change in the office.

Subway Order Dates for Term 1
Friday 5 February    Friday 19 February  Friday 4 March
Friday 18 March                   Friday 1 April                        Friday 15 April

Helping Hands
We are currently updating our list of families who are on the roster to be called on when a family is in need of some help or some baking, or a meal.  If you are not already on this roster, and would like to help please contact Claire.        

Board of Trustees Elections
Board of Trustee elections will be held in May this year.  We will have three positions vacant on our Board.  The current members who will have completed their term on the Board in May have chosen not to stand for re-election as their children have either left school, or nearing the end of their time at St Joseph’s.  Therefore we will require three new board members.  We would like to encourage anyone who feels they have something to offer to consider putting their name forward.  For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact either Karen Styles – Board Chairperson on 614 8989, or Lorraine Frances-Rees.

Cattle Scheme
Our school currently runs a Cattle Scheme as an ongoing school fund-raiser.  The school purchases young stock; with money already held in the scheme, and then asks school families who are able to graze these animals for us, until they are ready to resell as prime animals.  We now require some more families to graze animals for us, as we are planning to purchase some new stock shortly.  If you have some land, and think you may be able to assist with this please let us know at the office.

Food wrap Order
If anyone is interested in ordering the Food wrap, Tinfoil, or Baking Paper please contact the office by Friday 4 March. 

ICAS assessments are available to be completed again this year for those students who are interested.  Assessments cost between $8.50 and $20.00 per paper.  However the school is required to order a minimum of 3 papers per subject.  So if we receive less than 3 entries per subject the cost of your student’s papers will increase to cover this.  If your child is interested please contact Claire by Friday 4 March 2016.


Pleasant Point Netball Club
Pleasant point netball club is holding preseason training for year 7&8 players (new players are most welcome) on Monday the 22nd Feb at the courts beside the gym, after school. Please bring your netball shoes and suitable clothing. We will have our junior registration afternoon on Wednesday 2nd of March same location and time as above. This will be for all junior players yrs 1-8. We will advise sub prices in next week’s newsletters. Any queries please contact Heidi Munro 027 491 8498


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