Friday, 23 June 2017

1. Principal's News Week 8, Term 2, 2017

Resilience is one of our four 'R' values.  It means the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  I have had huge support from parents as we have worked to increase respect in children.  I love to hear visitors to the school tell me how children greet them respectfully, escort them to the office, stand back so they can walk through doorways etc.  A visiting local principal was very impressed with some of our older boys yesterday in the way they greeted and welcomed her.

Resilience is our next big challenge I think.   Children do have to deal with difficult things.  Sometimes their learning is difficult.  I have always said to children that I think a big test of character is not what has gone wrong, or what you did wrong but what you do after it.  Taking responsibility for one's own actions, being supportive of others when they go wrong and learning from mistakes are all signs of resilience and good relationship in action.  Genuine learning is never a relaxing breeze.  Friendships can be difficult and sometimes our little people fall out with each other and say or do things they don't mean.

Someone I trust asked me today what was on top.  My reply was what I want most is, for all the children in the school to become closer and closer to what God intends them to be, to their own full glory, and to enjoy the journey of getting there.  I want them to know that sometimes other people have difficulties and sometimes don't act like their best selves but nevertheless to support each other and truly believe they can grow together.  To believe that if one person is struggling we are all struggling and we pull the weakest up with us and for them to be loyal to the school and feel proud to be here.  I think the majority of our children feel like this.

Some of our classes have been working on "positive tracking."  This is actively looking for the good in any situation.  So I've shared these thoughts with you in the hope that you will support us to build the value of resilience by always helping your children to look for the positives in situations and to believe they can find solutions.
Our mid year reports are due to come out at the end of next week.  The teachers have put a huge effort into making judgements about children's progress and working together to make sure they are making valid judgements.  Some of the children will not have achieved as highly as they did at the end of last year.  I believe we are going from strength to strength but we are getting three teachers to look at every change in judgement and I think we are getting it right and will continue to get it right moving forwards.  Remember the mid year judgements are only a projection on where we think they will be at the end of the year based on current progress.   Term three is the real engine room of learning and a lot of growth happens in term three.

I don't like our present reports.  Parents who have been around for a while will remember giving feedback into our reports over several years.  We developed reports which showed the whole child and reported on their overall picture - a lot more than National Standards.  As we had a change of student management system (digital) in 2015 our system lost the capacity to produce the previous reports.

We need to report to you in plain language in writing twice a year.  I would like us to start developing a more descriptive e-portfolio system where children can demonstrate their learning and show how it meets benchmarks.  It would show you exactly where your child is and where they are going but in a more interesting way.  This will take some time to develop and get right.  I hope for it to start operating next year.  In the meantime I don't want to waste our time and money on trying to re-develop more holistic reports using the present system.  I would rather wait and do it right.  So in the meantime, we are going to stick with the reports we have.

Please take the opportunity to book in to parent interviews in week 10.  This gives your child's teacher a chance to connect with you to talk more about your child's learning and what they are doing to help.  The details are in the news section of the blog.

Teacher Only Day
Please also note that we have a teacher only day and school will be closed on 22nd September so staff can attend the Dunedin Diocese teachers' Gathering.  The length of the school year has been determined so no school days are lost from this closure.

God bless and Aroha,
Lorraine Frances-Rees

Thursday, 22 June 2017

2. Special Character Week 8

Confirmation Group.
A reminder please if you haven't already to fill out form and return to school as soon as possible with Sponsor's name and Saint chosen along with $5.
The students will undertake Reconciliation after Mass. They will also have a practice with Father Wayne next Wednesday morning for Confirmation.

Confirmation Mass is on Sunday July 1 @ 9.30 am
Please would each family bring a plate to share for the gathering after the Confirmation Mass in the Dean O'Reilly lounge.

So many things to celebrate this week. The feast of Corpus Christ or The Body and Blood of Christ. This is the Holy Day to remember the Sacrament of the Eucharist or Holy Communion. Many Parishes will have children making their first communion on this day.  
Also, it is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 
This image of Jesus was first imagined in early as the 13th century and maintained deviation through to the 16th and 19th century even to today. 
This image of Christ depicts Jesus’ humanness 
and Jesus love for humanity.

St John the Baptist - John the Baptist was a contemporary of Christ who was known for evangelization and his baptising of Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist was born through the intercession of God to Zachariah and Elizabeth.  John began public ministry around 30 AD, and was known for attracting large crowds across the province of Judaea and around the Jordan River. Pope Francis invites all of us to evangelize by our word and deeds, witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  John the Baptist's feast day is June 24th.  Did you know that our diocesan patron saint is St John the Baptist!

God Bless
Nicola Winders

3. School Notices - Week 8, Term 2 2017

Altar Servers
Saturday 24th June - Sebastian & Paddy Spillane, Joshua Criddle and Nye Jones-Hogan
Sunday 25th June - Seth Bartley, Henry Robinson and Analise Kilgour

Birthday Greetings to:
Summer Moriarty, Rolfe Patalbo, Makayla Bean, Jac Bradley, Sione Tuuefiafi, Atlanta Williams-McDowell and Kristiana Whiston

Junior Swimming
During the last 3 weeks, children from new entrants to Yr 3 have had swimming lessons with instructors at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre where they were learning how to swim correctly.  There has been a big improvement with the children already.  Thank you to all the parent helpers who helped with walking the children to and from the pool and helping out at the pool.
Library Books
Please return all library books to the box outside the office by Friday 30th June.

National Ballet
On Tuesday, students from Yrs 5-8 walked to the Opera House along with other North Otago schools to see the New Zealand National Ballet perform snippets of ballet shows they are doing.  They also showed the students how they warmed up before a show with different stretches and they did different styles of dancing both traditional and contemporary with different costumes. This free performance lasted for an hour and was much enjoyed.  There were no photos taken as the taking of photos was prohibited.

Network Waitaki Donation
Last Thursday, Mrs Frances-Rees and our head students, Fergus McMullan and Kaliopeta Katoa attended a Network Waitaki presentation where they were given a cheque to help the Yr 8's attend the National Young Leaders Day in Dunedin recently.  A big thank you to Network Waitaki.

North Otago Music Festival
On Wednesday 5th July, our school is singing in a mass choir along with Ardgowan, Hampden, Kakanui, Maheno, Oamaru North, Waitaki Valley and Weston schools at the Oamaru Opera House.   They have had a couple of practices here at school and their last one will be on the day of the festival. Each school will sing massed items and individual songs and our Yr 7's and Domincan Choir are apart of this however the Dominican Choir will sing our individual songs.

Parent Teacher Interviews
These will be held on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th July for Yrs 4-8 from 3.15 pm onwards. Please book your time by going to and using the code NV397 otherwise ring the office and we can book a time for you.

Parish Freezer
We would really love to top up the parish freezer with lovely home made baking and if you can help with this, it would be very much appreciated.  Please drop your baking into the office.  Remember the Parish Freezer helps our school families when need.  Thank you.

School Garden
Hi I am Bianca from the Waitaki Community Gardens and I teach gardening in schools around North Otago.  Our Kids Growing Program has been going really well at St Joseph's this year.  The students have been learning about planting, germination, bees and bugs, compost and cooking.  We are on the mission of clearing and feeding the garden so if you have bags of horse or sheep poo, the garden would love it.  Please drop any bags by the big garden in the junior playground and the students will dig it in.  Garden Club is Thursdays from 1.40 to 2.30 pm.
If you would like to help prepare the gardens for spring and share some ideas, feel free to contact the school and check in at the office.

Sports Themed Mufti Day
Will be held next Wednesday to help raise funds for new basketball nets.  Dress up in your favourite sports gear or as your favourite sports idol and please donate a gold coin.

St Kevin's College
Enrolment Forms - enrolment forms for 2018 have been given to the students who are attending St Kevin's next year.  Can you please return them to the school office before the end of next week.

Transport around the college - a reminder about the one-way system that they use at St Kevin's. The college driveway is one way before and after school, i.e. between 8.30 - 9.30 am and 3.00 - 4.00 pm, vehicles should ENTER from Taward Street and EXIT at Redcastle Road.  This is to allow room for the buses as they deliver students to and from school.
Please drop students at either the Taward St or Redcastle Rd gates or over by the gymnasium to save congestion in the car park and student safety.

Social Justice Week Workshop

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and the Dunedin Faith and Service Council are holding an interactive workshop with input from Dunedin Catholic Social Services to reflect on disconnection and connection in our community through the lens of Catholic social teaching.
Where: Mercy Parish - Community Centre, 42 Macandrew Road, Dunedin South
When: Saturday August 5th from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm
Free entry, Koha is welcomed.  Lunch is included and all are welcome.
To register your interest, contact Joanna Viernes at or call 0800 22 10 22. Visit to find out more

Uniform Shop
If anyone has any spare small children's school shoes that they have grown out of, please drop them to the office.

We warmly welcome Lewis Geypen who started school last week to our new entrants class.

Winter Sports
At the netball courts on Saturday, our netball girls were out in action from Yrs 1-8.

Community Notices
  • Jack N Jill Family Portaits - is a fundraiser for the Athletic Netball Club and they will be held this Saturday 24th June at Fenwick School.  Contact Amber on 027 77 77 303 for bookings and enquiries.
  • OSCAR Winter Holiday Programme - are currently taking enrolments for its winter holiday programme.  Come and join us for two fun packed weeks of crafts, activities and games with a Dr Suess theme.  Outings to the pool, movies and playground.  For more information, contact Jenny on 021 156 5871.
  • Kids Karaoke - Sunday 9th and 16th July at the Galleon Family Complex from 12.00 to 3.00 pm.