Newsletter Week Six Term Four
St Claudine Thevenet 21 November 2022
A Message from the Principal
Kia ora Parents and Caregivers,
Our theme for last week and this week is Discipleship. We are all called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus- to act like him, to speak like him, to serve like him- We are called to share his message of love and service to others. It has been lovely to see some wonderful displays of discipleship in our school community.
There are just over three weeks of school left and we are negotiating the busyness.
The Student Council and classes are busy getting ready for our special “Prepare Ye the Way” festival. Students are very excited about welcoming our community and sharing their creations and games with you. There is an update poster from the Student Council in this newsletter.
Now that all assessments are completed, teachers are busy preparing end of year reports. These will be sent home on Friday 9 December.
Staff are busy preparing for the end of year events including Year 8 Graduation and Final Assembly and Presentation of Awards.
In the midst of this end of year busyness, we are still called to be disciples- To be kind, to care for others and to engage respectfully with others.
Ngā mihi nui
For weeks 5 and 6 of this term our faith focus is on “Discipleship”. Disciples are generally described as Catholics who attempt to live their lives in fullness, according to the teachings of Jesus; with sincerity, conviction and unswerving faith. Discipleship requires a conscious choice where an individual’s actions demonstrate their yielding commitment to serving God and the helping of other people in various ways. This can also involve a willingness to make personal sacrifices in pursuing a Christian life.
We want our students to understand that Discipleship can grow out of the little things they do through the spirit and fellowship of faith, love and compassion for one another. Much like the example of the Good Samaritan. We also want our students to recognise that every bible story and parable they read, hear and view is a pathway for their own spiritual journey towards a life of discipleship.
12 Marks of Discipleship
Disciples are called
Disciples intentionally respond to Jesus' call
Disciples are fruitful
Disciples are obedient
Disciples are taught
Disciples keep an eye on Heaven
Disciples carry crosses
Disciples spend time with Jesus in prayer
Disciples love and serve God (and others)
Disciples make other disciples
Mrs Wilson (DRS)
Social Media Behaviour
We are experiencing an increase in behaviours that do not reflect the values of Jesus. These include name-calling, bullying, swearing and hitting. These behaviours are addressed promptly when teachers are aware of them. We have also seen an increase of these behaviours on social media, which then play out in the school environment and take time to resolve. Our staff do not have any control over your child’s social media behaviour and suggest that you take time to talk with your child about responsible social media behaviour- check the platforms they are using and that they are behaving responsibly and respectfully. We appreciate your support in this area.
Incorrect information about the School hall in our community
There is currently the presence of incorrect and presumption based information circulating in our school community about the School hall. Following is the correct information about the hall. The information is accessible to the public and no information provided is confidential in nature.
Why is the hall unavaliable for use?
· Immediately following the Christchurch earthquakes more than 10 years ago many types of buildings in our country were professionally assessed for earthquake safety.
· The school hall was assessed by Miyamoto Engineers concluding the building to be earthquake prone and structurally unsafe to be used.
What needs to be done to make the hall safe to use?
· A full structural Engineer assessment needs to be done before any work to make the hall safe can be done.
· The cost for getting this done has been estimated to be up to $10K by the Parish building committee. The Parish is the legal owner of the hall.
· The assessment would fully outline what part of the hall needs to be earthquake strengthened to the current building standards for earthquake performance.
· Based on Miyamoto’s prelim report alone an estimate was provided by LT McGuiness back in late 2020 that the strengthening works, excluding professional fees, was approximately $57K excluding GST.
What are the issues that have delayed the hall from being strengthened since 2012?
· The issues are inter-related and complex due to the property and pastoral structure of the Parish and Archdiocese. Those familiar with these structures will have a reasonable understanding of why property issues within the Parish can take a frustrating amount of time to be resolved.
· The school hall is legally the property of the amalgamated Parish of Te Wairua Tapu. In the Parish there are four Churches or faith communities. San Antonio in Eastbourne, Sacred Heart in Petone, Our Lady of the Rosary in Waiwhetu and St Patricks in Wainuiomata. Property owned within these faith communities is the property of the Parish of Te Wairua Tapu.
· Paying to fix the hall is first and foremost the responsibility of the Parish as they own the hall. The Parish however has prioritised other property.
· The attendance dues fees is paid by parents for their children to legally attend any State Integrated Catholic school. These fees are compulsory and can only be used for fully integrated school property. The school hall is not a fully integrated property.
· From the closing of the hall in 2012 to 2019 the main priority of the Parish in Wainuiomata in terms of it’s properties has been the refurbishment and earthquake restrengthening of St Patricks church as well as options for a church hall. Both priorities have been primarily funded by the sale of parish property elsewhere in the Parish of Te Wairua Tapu.
· I have been on the School Board as a Proprietors Appointee since late 2016. In that time there has been strongly worded verbal & formally written reminders to our Parish Priest Fr Marlon, Fr John to resolve the issue with the hall. These reminders have also been given to the Parish Pastoral Council which oversees pastoral issues for the entire Parish.
· On the School App previous school newsletters can be publically accessed. In the April 2021 newsletter there is a detailed explanation about the reneging of the promise made by the Wellington Archdiocese to fund the strengthening works.
Why is the Wellington Archdiocese involved?
· One of the key outcomes of the September 2017 Archdiocesan Synod for the Parish of Te Wairua Tapu was the formation of the Parish Futures Team (PFT). Principal Sue Jury and a demographic spread of other members from the parish communities formed the PFT.
· The PFT were given a specific responsibility by the Archdiocese, which was to fully review the number of Church buildings, presbyteries and make bold recommendations that would align our Parish with Synod objectives and importantly with Pope Francis’ vision of a Church for the marginalised.
· The PFT’s final report in October 2019 can be publically viewed on the website of the Parish of Te Wairua Tapu under a general search heading - parish properties review.
· It is very important to note that this report and its final recommendations to Cardinal John Dew was in part a collaborative effort with the amalgamated Parish of Te Awakairangi.
· One of the key recommendations was for the Our Lady of the Rosary Church and presbytery to close due to the potential significant costs required for strengthening. The rationale was provided and aligned to synod principles and Pope Francis’ vision for a Church of the marginalised.
· Once this report became publically known to the Our Lady community it is unfortunately factual to say that there was significant anger within that community and some of that has been unfairly directed to Sue Jury and other members of the PFT.
· In this report was also the key recommendation of a creation of sacred spaces within its Catholic schools. At St Claudine Thevenet this sacred space is the hall albeit strengthened and paid for by the Parish through the sale of properties mentioned in the report. For example, the very large presbytery next door to St Patricks Church and/or the Parish owned house next door.
· In July 2020, Sue Jury, myself and Fr Marlon met with the General Manager of the Archdiocese. Up until that point Cardinal John Dew had put a ‘freeze’ on any property decisions being made by any Parish under the Wellington Archdiocese while he considered a number of Parish recommendations.
· This meeting only took place as Sue Jury and myself had been pressuring Fr Marlon early in 2020 to resolve the hall issue.
· At that meeting the GM of the Archdiocese confirmed that there was funds of approx 110K avaliable in our Parish that we could use towards our school hall. I asked Fr Marlon at that meeting if our School needed to do anything to have the funds released from the Parish. His response was that the parish Finance committee simply had to approve it and this would not be a problem.
· After months of chasing up Fr Marlon in the later parts of 2020 about a timeline for the release of the funds, he finally met with Sue Jury and myself in February 2021. It was at this meeting that we were advised that Cardinal John Dew had made a decision that the Parish funds could not be released. The reason we were given was the funds were tied up with an ongoing review of the future of the Our Lady of the Rosary church in Waiwhetu.
Where to from here?
· The issue of the Parish funds for the school hall has been escalated to Cardinal John Dew.
· It is not reasonably forseeable that any time in the next 12 months, Parish funds will be released for the hall strengthening works until the review of Our Lady of the Rosary Church and presbytery is completed.
· It is not reasonably forseeable that any time in the next 12 months, other Parish owned properties in Wainuiomata would be considered for sale to help fund hall strengthening works.
· On the point immediately above, the previous School Board pressed Fr Marlon and Fr John to seriously consider this option.
· Parish Priest Fr Marlon supports our School but he has no authority to ask Cardinal John to change his current decision.
· Since the initial strengthening estimate was provided in late 2020 of $57K excluding GST and professional fees, it is reasonable to assume given the current building market, costs will continue to increase with delays.
· In 2019 the Labour Government announced the biggest capital injection for school essential property maintenance funds. State Integrated schools were initially not part of this but after some legal wrangling a significant pool of funds was provided to Catholic Schools.
· St Claudine Thevenet would have been entitled to a significant amount of essential property maintenance funds that could have been used towards the hall strengthening works. Unfortunately these funds have had to be diverted towards the hidden and significant water damaged hinau block toilets and adjacent areas of that entire block. No one is more dissapointed than the Principal about the timing of this particular situation which has added another layer of complication to the unavaliability of the hall.
· The School Board (no longer called Board of Trustees) agreed at its October 2022 meeting that it would look into making an attempt at sourcing funding from the DIA community fund. This is the same fund that the St Patricks Church applied successfully to for significant funds for their hall.
· I have met with Fr Marlon who is in full support of the following proposal; If our Board can source the funds, we can arrange our own full Engineering assessment, arrange our own restrengthening quote and engage the Property Manager used by the Archdiocese to manage the works. Due to the time of year this has been problematic but we will perservere.
Unhelpful assumptions about the hall and rest of the school
· There are unhelpful assumptions about connecting the loss of students and Teachers to the unavaliability of the hall. I’m not to sure why this assumption exists. The pandemic over the last two years has exacerbated a pre pandemic issue where there was already a crisis Teacher shortage.
· We are a Catholic School and the majority of our Teachers have to be Catholic and have a visible comittment to their faith. If the State secular schools in Wainuiomata are struggling to find Teachers or relievers then have a think about how much more of a problem it is for Catholic schools like ours to find Catholic Teachers.
· Teachers move to other schools or out of the Teaching profession for all sorts of reasons. Our Principal has high expectations for Teaching practice as this is the main factor in how a student learns and ultimately experiences learning success. The School Board’s Charter supports high expectations around Teaching practice.
· We will have a reduced school roll next year. The main reasons are a huge cohort of seniors going off to College and Parish Priests not currently signing preference cards for non Catholic students supported by a Catholic sponsor. On the latter, the reason is due to a directive from the Archdiocese.
Who can talk to the Archdiocese or Parish about the hall
· The Archdiocese will enter into indepth discussions about the hall or any affected State integrated property on school site with the Principal and/or School Board only.
· On any Catholic School Board, there is presence of the Bishop’s appointed representatives – the Proprietors Appointees. These positions are not based on secular considerations.
· Whilst the issue with the hall is a very frustrating and ongoing one, it is a governance issue in a Catholic School that has to balance its pastoral relationship with the Parish and Archdiocese. The pastoral relationship is not secular.
· Whilst there is nothing to prevent any parent or a member of school staff contacting the Archdiocese or Parish for information, please reflect on whether you have the correct information to begin with and whether your actions help or hinder the issue.
· Have you arranged to speak first with Principal Sue Jury? Or have you rung the school to request a meeting with the Presiding Member of the School Board (previously called Board Chair).
Hinau Hub News
Last week some of us went to the Softball competition in Fernlea. We split up into two teams then used skills we learned in our P.E lessons. It was really fun!
The difference between softball and cricket is that it has different bats. Softball bats are like normal bats. Cricket bats are a bit wider than a softball bat. With a softball bat you hold it up behind your shoulder, when you are holding a cricket bat you hold it down on the ground. In Softball, you pitch the ball but in cricket you bowl the ball. In Softball, the fielding team uses special gloves for catching but in cricket we just catch with our bare hands.
For two weeks we played softball. For softball we learnt how to hold the bats correctly when batting. Ms Bolam also taught us how to pitch. This week we have learnt how to play cricket. We’ve been practising our throwing and catching too. We’ve got really good at playing cricket already.
We have been retelling Old Testament stories.
Vatau and his friends have been doing an animation about the story of Noah’s ark. He has made an incredible introduction and has worked so hard.
Nazareth has worked on R.E in a unique way by telling the story of David and Goliath through a song he has made with Hendrix and Vatau.
Riley T, Tapu, Navisha and Reesha are making a booklet of 10 Old Testament stories from the bible and drawing pictures about them.
We celebrated All Saints Day by dressing up as Saints. Vatau dressed up as Saint Antonio and August dressed up as Saint Joseph. We made flowers for our Garden of Remembrance for All Souls Day to remember those who have gone before us. Here is our display below.
For the last few weeks of Connected, Hinau hub has been working on activities to show our understanding that we grow and change on our spiritual journeys. We made different things to represent this.
A student from Hinau hub, Summer-Rose, made a beautiful basket filled with loads of spiritual things. To make the basket she made it out of brown A3 paper then wove the strip of paper together. Some of the things she made were: a box with a bible and a cross, a flower in a pot, a butterfly and a rose with it too because nature is part of Spirituality. Another student in Hinau hub -Nazareth made a song for Connected, with Vatau, Hendrix, Venna and Sitiveni. Their song was about David and Goliath. Gabrielle and Tuia made a beautiful spiritual pond filled with lillies, fish, frogs and water. Her favourite part of making it was making the lilies. Lithik, Adish, Tapu, Emelynn and Lilly-Rose are making wonderful prayer books because they are helpful to guide our spiritual journeys.By Elise
Since term 4 started, in Hinau hub we have been learning about Place Value – it makes us understand our numbers better e.g 2475 . Using Place Value it would mean 2 thousands 4 hundreds, 7 tens and 5 ones.
10.000 + ( ) = 10,725
28,135 - ( ) = 28,004
What we have learned
We learned that we can solve Maths equations by thinking about the Place Value of a digit.
We’ve also been doing Mental Maths strategies.
Term dates 2022
Term One - Wednesday 2 February- Thursday 14 April 2.40pm
Term Two- Monday 2 May- Friday 8 July 2.40pm
Term Three- Monday 25 July- Friday 30 September 2.40pm
Term Four- Monday 17 October- Thursday 15 December 12.30pm
Term One - Wednesday 1st February - Thursday 6 April 2.40pm