Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Student Led Conferences: Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th March.

Hello Parents,

You should have received a letter from your child about the Student Led Conferences next Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th March and how to book a time online.  School will be finishing early at 12.30pm.  Please make sure that your child is picked up early next Wednesday and Thursday. 

What is a student led conference?

A student led conference is a meeting run by the student for his or her parents, entirely focused on the student's recent learning. During the conference the student presents work in different curriculum areas, discussing the process of learning and the progress made to date.

Why have student led conferences?

St Mary MacKillop Catholic School has been involved in a number of initiatives over the years, all focused on improving student achievement. Through this involvement our experiences confirm all the research we have read — developing students' ability to talk about their learning and their progress makes a difference!

How do student led conferences work?
You will be involved in a variety of activities during the time — looking at samples of learning, talking about goals and what your child, you and the teacher might do to support these goals, looking at work around the classroom.

What will I need to do to support my child?
  • Each child will run their conference so all parties need to attend this.
  • Book a time and put it in your diary (details notified in school newsletter).
  • Check the prompts and important things to remember list (below).
  • Come — with your child.
  • Listen — your child will do most of the talking.
  • S/he will discuss with you the expected achievement levels, his/her progress towards these levels and current learning goals.
  • Prompt to support your child if necessary.
  • Enjoy the opportunity to see your child in his/her key learning environment.
  • Celebrate your child's progress to date.
  • Continue to celebrate your child's successes and support their goals.
Prompts to support your child
  • What were you learning to do in this piece of work?
  • What were the steps you went through to learn this?
  • What helped you to learn this?
  • What do you need to learn next?
  • What are you most proud of? Why?
  • Tell me where you are in … reading/writing/numeracy
  • Which area of learning do you find easiest? Why?
  • Which area of learning do you find trickiest? Why?
  • What could we do together to help you with this learning?
Important things to remember

Your child will run this conference—not you, not the teacher! Your child must be here.
As part of their regular learning, all students have been putting considerable time and energy into preparing for this. If you cannot attend, please arrange for another significant adult in your child’s life to come to the conference.
The conference is about learning—not behaviour or social issues. (If you or the teacher have concerns here, discussions should already have been held, or another appointment time to be made).
Make arrangements for the care of any pre-schoolers in your family. It would be unfair to all students in the room to have any distractions as they share their learning. 

The research about student led conferences

Professor John Hattie (formerly University of Auckland)  recently published a revised list of the most effective influences on student achievement which  identifies student self-reporting as the most significant indicator linked to raised student achievement.
Two other international researchers, Black & Wiliam, further comment, "the process of students reflecting on their learning, through effective questioning that promotes the articulation of student thinking, is integral to classroom assessment practices that enhance student learning".
‘If the focus is to be kept on learning, and the ownership of the learning with the child, then the best person to talk about the learning is the learner’... ‘Not only is the student the best person to tell their parents what they have learnt, but if we believe that students build their knowledge by communicating what they know, then providing an opportunity for the students to tell their family what they know can significantly assist with that learning.' Absolum, (2006)
Research also shows parental involvement in schools and classrooms has a positive impact on children’s learning (Bastiani; Epstein).
In helping to strengthen the partnership between the learner, the teacher and the parent, we believe student led conferences promote some ways learning can also be supported at home. This is a key goal in the introduction of National Standards in New Zealand schools.

  • Absolum, M. (2006) Clarity in the Classroom, Auckland, Hodder.
  • Bastiani, J. (1988) How Many Parents Did You See Last Night?' A critical look at some of the problems of evaluating home/school practice.' In J. Bastiani (ed.) Parents and teachers 2: From policy to practice. Windsor: nfer Nelson 206–218.
  • Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, October, 139–148.
  • Epstein, J. L. (1986) Parents’ reactions to teacher practices of parent involvement. Elementary School Journal, 86, 277–294.
  • Hattie, J. (2009) Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

This Is Not Who We Are: Alofa

Today as a school, we had a liturgy to celebrate and acknowledge the patron Saint day of St Joseph, which is observed on the 19th of March.  Saint Joseph, was the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and legal father of Jesus Christ.  Saint Joseph's Day is the Patronal Feast day for Poland as well as for Canada.  According to the earliest Christian traditions, he was a carpenter or woodworker. 

The terrorist attack at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Masjid Mosque is an appalling tragedy for the families and friends of the 50 children, men and women killed last Friday. Today, as a school we also took a moment to reflect, pray and think about the people of Christchurch during this tragic time, and in particular with the children and families of the Muslim community.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Meet the Teacher evening - Thursday 21st February 2019

We invite ALL our parents and families to come and meet your child’s classroom teacher and the other teachers who will be working with your child. The 'Meet the Teacher' evening will start at 5:00pm on Thursday 21st of February till 7:00pm.  Teachers will introduce themselves and then explain the teaching and learning programmes for the year. 

While this event is a not a suitable time to speak to the teacher specifically about your child, teachers are always available to speak with you at a pre-arranged me that suits your family and the teacher. 

Building strong relationships between school and home is a crucial way to support a child’s learning, and this is a great way to start that relationship.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Welcome back to the start of a new school year - 2019.

Dear Families of St Mary MacKillop Catholic School,
Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Talofa, Malo e lelei, Namaste, Malo ni, Fakaalofa lahi atu and Ni Sa Bula Vinaka! Welcome back to all our children, parents and friends of St Mary MacKillop Catholic School. I trust you had a very restful holiday and are looking forward to the beginning of a new year at school. 
We extend a warm welcome to all our families and encourage you to forge strong connections between school and home. Students who are engaged in their learning achieve higher results, if families and schools value what they are doing in the classroom. 
Please feel free to come into the class before 8.50am and after 3pm, to connect with your child’s teacher if you have any concerns. 
Lord Jesus, we ask for Your help as we begin this new school year. Allow us to experience Your presence in the many blessings You put before us. Open our eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities that this new school year brings. Open our hearts and minds to new friends and new teachers. Give us a generous spirit to be enthusiastic with our studies and courage to accept new opportunities. Help us to be attentive to one another and let us experience Your presence in our new friends. Jesus, be with us on our journey every day and inspire us to do our best this year! Amen

2019 St Mary Mackillop staff at our Annual Staff Retreat: Vaughan Park Retreat Centre, Long Bay

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Yesterday morning, the whole school gathered into our wharenui to commemorate All Saints and All Soul's Day, led by Miss Lennon and students from Room C3.

All Saints' Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven.  All Saints' Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an excellent excuse, such as serious illness.

All Souls' Day is observed on November 2, and is specifically honoured to commemorate the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Catholics celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven.

Prayer for All Saints Day:

Dear God, thank you for the example of the Saints. I desire to join in their company, worshiping you forever in Heaven. Please help me follow their footsteps, and yours, Jesus Christ. Please help me to conform myself to Your image, seeking Your will in all things, as the Saints did. Please help me to devote myself, and all that I do, to Your glory, and to the service of my neighbours. Amen.

Prayer for All Souls Day:

Eternal Rest grant unto them
O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them
May they rest in eternal peace.

IMPORTANT: New Enrolment Morning for 2019

Just a friendly reminder if you received a received a letter in the post, then you would know that our Enrolment morning for new students is NEXT WEDNESDAY 7th NOVEMBER at 9.30am in our School Library. As you arrive, there will be some Senior students that will help guide you to the meeting place.

It is very important that you attend the enrolment morning, so that you are aware of our School’s Expectations and our School Charism, and ask any questions you may have.

I look forward to seeing you next Wednesday at 9.30am, and formally welcoming you to St Mary Mackillop Catholic School.

Please feel free to contact me in the school office if you have any questions.

I hope to see you all there!

A Pod Read-a-thon Ceremony

This morning, I was privileged to have attended A Pod's Read-a-thon Ceremony in our school wharenui, where we acknowledged those students who read 50 books last term.  It was also great to see the wonderful learning that took place in each class last term, learning about a different country such as Egypt, England, Japan and Greece.

It is great to see our teachers motivate their students to want to read so they can practice reading independently and, thus, become fluent readers. That happens when children enjoy reading. We teachers can do for reading what fast food chains do for hamburgers? ADVERTISE! And our teachers advertise by reading great stories and poems to their students.
We can help our students find the tools they need to succeed in life. As teachers, having access to information through the printed word is an absolute necessity. Knowledge is power, and books are full of it. But reading is more than just a practical tool. Teachers model to our students that through books they can enrich their minds; they can also relax and enjoy some precious leisure moments.
Our parents working together with our teachers, your child/ren can begin a lifelong relationship with the printed word, so they grow into adults who read easily and frequently whether for business, knowledge, or pleasure.
Congratulations again to these wonderful students for being acknowledged this morning for reading 50 books last term:

Leilani Aumareva
Khloe Motuliki - Kihakau
Vanessa Tupou
Faith Tovio
John Ula
Juroll Safole
Christopher Hunt
Elijah Schwenke

Richie Haungatau
Thaedius Michael
TJ Tietie
Jericho Ulberg
Sila Vea
Mckay Niupulusu

Zyon Lui
Alexis Diaz-Lafaele
Kalolo Vitolio
Siale Mahoni
Sela Palefau
Desire Maketi
Eirene Sene

Kingston Fono
Jarryd Kumar
Jasmine Matangi
Quanariah Tootoo
Phydaelius Leota
Lisi Ah See
Zac Sabalburo
Achilleus  Ah Wa-Viau
Cloie Anipot