Mrs Ryan's Fortnightly Reflections
Community is where we find joy and celebration!
This Friday we welcome the return of the infamous fete! Some of us at St Mary’s are yet to experience such an event with the interruption of covid years and now many of us being new to the community. First and foremost, thank you all for your contribution to the great success and reconnection as a community. I know families have donated items, time and organisation to allow this to be a day to be remembered. Thank you to the many parents who had historically been key drivers in the fete for working in unison with some of our new families for succession planning. A huge thanks and gratitude to Mrs Alex Daly who has brought the fete back to life during her maternity leave. Her passion and drive for her school community is inspirational.
This week we formally welcomed the 2024 Foundation children to our St Mary’s community. The group settled extremely well with few tears and apprehension. The Foundation teaching team was ready with a morning filled with activities, songs and stories. Over the five transition sessions our team works tirelessly to get to know the children as well as they can to ensure a smooth and successful transition to school. Next year the Foundation teaching team will consist of; Sarah Toll, Teagan Burke, Sarah Cockerell and Alex Hamiliton. We know the children are in great hands!
Behind the scenes at St Mary’s we are working diligently on staffing and best placing our highly expert teachers into teams and year levels for 2024. The national teacher shortage is very real and something that is and will continue to impact regional Victoria in the coming years. The whole leadership team is actively recruiting and connecting with educators to best support the learning of our community. In saying that we have been hugely successful in many appointments and welcome some new graduates and well known educators from within our community.
Once staffing is complete the St Mary’s teaching team will begin classing allocation. In empowering our learners and ensuring their voice is heard, every child is asked to select three peers that they learn positively with. Every child in the school is then guaranteed one of their selections. The teachers then utilise their expertise to further balance classes by fairly and equitably following our classing procedure. Our procedure ensures a balance of academic and social and emotional needs, any additional needs and specific resourcing required along with an even spread of gender. St Mary’s invests great thought and time in this process and following last year's success we are sure our classes will continue to be successful learning environments. All learners will be informed of their teachers on Community Step Up Day on Tuesday 12th December.
It is again time for a reminder for our drop off times and expectations at school. Our CEEMEA employment agreement expects staff to be available and ready to start their working day at 8:30am. Prior to this we have minimal support staff supervising our bus travelers. Recently, we are experiencing increased numbers of learners arriving at school well before these times. If your child is walking or riding can you please support them in providing a leaving time from home that allows their arrival to coincide with our gate opening times. For families needing further support for before school care, St Mary’s utilises Schools Out which is held at our neighbouring school of Twin Rivers. I recognise this is a big change in our community and I am grateful for your continued support on this.
As a school we are always tracking data. This term we celebrate our attendance data. In comparison to last term we are sitting at 92%, up 2% from term 3. This data is definitely worth celebrating! It highlights the commitment of our parents and families as true partners in your child’s education and also acknowledges the great teaching and learning our expert teachers are providing. With our data tracking so well it does infer that our learning environment is prosperous, engaging and our learners are happy! As a community there is great joy in that.
As we come to the end of the year, I thank many of you who have settled your 2023 school fees in line with our Fee policy and procedure. The majority of our families are committed to direct debit payments, which if you choose can continue over the Christmas holiday period. You do however have the option to pause your direct debit over this time if that is better for your financial circumstance. If you wish to pause your direct debit over this time please complete the google form attached further on in this newsletter. In the coming weeks, St Mary’s Schedule of Fees 2024 will be shared with our community to ensure ample financial planning time for you all. If at any time families wish to discuss fees and payment plans with me, please contact the office to make an appointment.
With only four weeks remaining of our school year, I know there will be many end of year events and celebrations that will begin to fill our school calendar. I am hopeful that many of you have those dates in your diaries and look forward to seeing you in and around the school as we celebrate another fantastic year of community and learning!
See you all at the fete!
Take Care & God Bless,