Newsletter 2 August Term 3 - 2022
St Brendan's Catholic School
Welcome, nau mai, afio mai, namaste, konnichiwa, nĭ hăo, talofa, komosta, vanakkam, auybowan,
Dear Whānau & Parishioners,
Welcome back to Term 3, we have had a very positive start to the new term. Highlights from our first week include hosting the Te Ara a Maria, Mary’s Way icon. On Sunday, 15 August, 2021 we renewed New Zealand’s dedication to Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven. To celebrate the rededication, our Bishops commissioned a new piece of art that is a depiction of Mary that connects her to Aotearoa. ‘The piece challenges us to see her as a woman of incredible strength and the place she holds in our hearts and our community today’. This icon has nearly completed its hikoi around the country. We were blessed with the opportunity to host her on Monday. Classes visited individually and we gathered as a full school for prayers and to hear a detailed presentation about the symbolism of the art. The artwork will be permanently housed at St Mary of the Angels which will become a National Shrine.
On Tuesday we held our Powhiri of special welcome, for all students, families and colleagues who have joined our St Brendan’s community in the last three months. At the beginning of this term we welcomed Arlo, Blake, Charlie and Dallas to Room 3. We also welcomed two new teachers: Mrs Zeenat Mahmaud, Room 8 and Miss Xueping Yuan, Room 3 and two new learning support assistants: Mrs Tamara Oosterkamp-Parks and Miss Amy Perkins. On behalf of our whole school community we extend a warm welcome to everyone.
Thank you for joining us at our Whānau-Teacher 3-Way Learning Conversations. In the middle of the year these are a wonderful opportunity to meet and discuss your child/ren’s learning progress. If these dates have not been convenient for you, please connect with your child/ren’s teacher/s to find an alternative opportunity to meet. Please know that you are very welcome to connect with our teaching team to arrange meetings, and your child/ren are invited to bring you into school to engage with their learning and see their learning environment. Thank you for answering our questions about our School Management System Hero. We are working towards sharing regular information about your child’s progress and achievement and are very keen to have 100% of our families connected to the Hero app so that you have access to this all the time. Please let your child/ren's teacher, or our Administration team know if you are having difficulties connecting with the app, we are only too happy to help. The draw for adding comments to your child's Hero learning post will take place during this Friday's assembly.
Our Navigators led a beautiful Liturgy on Friday and the whole school participated with pride. Due to restrictions related to the global pandemic we have not been able to gather for Grandparents Day for two years. We were delighted that so many people were able to join us, but we also acknowledged family members who were not able to be present due to health, travel and the ripple effect of Covid and winter illness. After morning tea all visitors had the opportunity to spend time in classrooms and tour the school. We welcomed grandparents who had themselves attended St Brendan’s as students, grandparents whose own children attended St Brendan’s, and also many grandparents who visited St Brendan’s for the first time. We also welcomed other family members and special friends of families, thank you for joining us on Friday. One family has suggested that we include opportunities for grandparents who live overseas, or who are not able to physically join us, to send a photo, message, or even a video to their grandchild’s teacher for sharing during the day. We think that is a fantastic suggestion and will be looking towards weaving it into future celebrations.
Ki te kotahi te kākaho, ka whati; ki te kāpuia, e kore e whati.
If a reed stands alone it can be broken, if it is in a group, it cannot.
When we stand alone we are vulnerable, but together we are unbreakable.
We want to reassure you that we have health measures in place and continue to be responsive to all information from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. Our measures reduce the risk in our sschool, including masks, physical distancing and ventilation. We have appropriate cleaning procedures in place. St Brendan’s school has registered as a critical service on MBIE’s Critical Services Register for the Close Contact Exemption scheme for ‘critical staff’. During the first week of term it has been apparent that Covid-19 and winter illness is having an impact on our school community as we have had significant absence.
As always, we want to keep our ākonga and kaiako as safe as possible from the harms from illness and to have as many ākonga learning on site as we can. All those good actions we already have in place to reduce the risk of harm from COVID-19 will also help to prevent seasonal illnesses including:
- staying away if unwell, test when symptomatic and ring Healthline for advice
- regularly washing hands
- using well-ventilated spaces
- wearing masks
- cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly
- covering coughs and sneezes
- having a highly vaccinated community (and not just for COVID-19).
Stomach Bugs There has been an increase in stomach bug related illnesses lately and we ask that you please keep your children home until they are well and for 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had to reach for the tissues during the last week of Term 2 as our St Brendan’s team acknowledged Tu Meke Tumuaki week! From the cards and acknowledgements, to the treats, a special Mrs Sawers song and the haka, I was very surprised and overwhelmed. What happens at St Brendan’s is the result of everyone working successfully together as a team.
This term … Our Catholic Social Teaching principle is Solidarity - Whakawhanaungatanga. Solidarity is about recognising others as our brothers and sisters and actively working for their good. In our connected humanity, we are invited to build relationships - whakawhanaungatanga - to understand what life is like for others who are different from us. This is a video from Caritas which helps to introduce Solidarity - What is Solidarity?
Being in solidarity is recognising others as our brothers and sisters and actively working for their good. From the food we eat and the clothes we buy, to the news we read and the websites we browse, we are connected to people and places all over the world. As a human family we commit to work together for the well-being of all to ensure everyone has what they need to live with dignity.
Term 3 Last week you received Team newsletters together with a copy of our Term 3 Community Calendar, you will have noted that we have a lot to look forward to this term. We have the opportunity to participate in several inter-school events, we will have a large group of St Brendan’s students at Artsplash Choir, each team has planned E.O.T.C. and we are preparing for the annual Upper Hutt Cultural Festival.
This is Cook Islands Language Week, ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani’. This year’s theme is ‘Ātuitui’ia au ki te Oneone o tōku ‘Ui Tupuna which means, connect me to the soil of my ancestors. The theme reflects the overarching 2022 Pacific Language Week theme of Sustainability, by linking the importance of language sharing and cultural heritage being handed down over generations.
The term breaks provide an opportunity for property work to be completed. The projects that you may notice include our trees having been professionally trimmed, our full school spring cleaned, Rooms 6, 7, 10 and 11 had new blinds installed and the AED is now accessible to our community by our Palmer Crescent entrance. Due to some delays we have only just relocated back into the Administration block this week and will welcome you to an official opening soon. Room 3 is being set up for our New Entrant learners and will also open later this week.
We are looking to relocate these two tukutuku panels to the Administration block where they will once again be admired by more of our community. These are currently in Room 3, which used to be our school library. We welcome you to make contact with us if you know about them as we want to ensure we acknowledge the past appropriately. We will invite you to a blessing soon.
2022 SCHOOL DONATIONS AND FEES
Thank you for your continued support towards payment of school donations and fees. Our School Board requests donations to support and enhance the delivery of our school curriculum. As a decile 8 school we are not eligible to opt into the Government’s donations scheme. We therefore continue to rely on your generosity and support.
Today you will receive a Hero notification or email requesting you to view your 2022 statement via a link to Hero. While donations are voluntary, fees for sports, netball hoodies etc are not. Please ensure you settle outstanding sports fees. Payments can be made by online banking, card (using Stripe via Hero. You will incur a 2.9% fee plus 30c) or with cash at the office.
Remember you can claim a 33.3% tax credit from the IRD for donations. You can print your year end tax donation receipt directly from Hero. These can be accessed by logging into Hero using a web browser. Unfortunately you cannot access the receipt from the mobile app.
If you have any queries please contact Clare Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org
WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE!
St Brendan’s is an Enviro school and we are very proud of the progress we have made in the last few years, many initiatives have been introduced. If you, a family member or friend has time to help students to maintain our gardens, please pop into Room 7 or email Chris Pullan, email@example.com
VERBAL BOUQUETS AND THANK YOU'S
Bob at Service Foods for organising the donation of ice-cream, sprinkles and chocolate sauce for our GRACE celebration at the end of Term 2. The Navigators enjoyed making and eating their sundaes.
Matt Chard for help with property improvements.
Family members who give generously to support our Year 6 Road Safety Team.
Everyone who supported the Adventurer’s EOTC, without your help these trips would not be possible.
Everyone who has supported the Book Fair, donated books will encourage a love of reading schoolwide.
WALKING HAND IN HAND WITH CHRIST
Prayer for a Community in Time of a Pandemic
God of the branches,
God of the vine,
God of the fruit that will last,
when much of the familiar is pruned away --
the work routine,
the school run,
the certainty of our day –
may we see what is good and true blossom in reassuring ways:
colleagues working as one,
children learning from home,
families praying together.
May these days of great disruption bear out what is always true:
that we can reach others with the love you provide when our roots remain in you.
TE ARA A MARIA: MARY’S WAY
A website has been created to help promote the bishops’ renewal of the dedication of the country to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. The renewal project has the title Te Ara a Maria: Mary’s Way. The website, www.tearaamaria.nz, contains details of the project.
THANK YOU FROM CARITAS
Caritas thanks our St Brendan's Community for supporting their humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis.
Kia orana (long may you live) from all of us on the Board of St Brendan’s!
I am writing from Japan where I have been visiting my wife Akiko and kids. It's hot and humid with most days hitting 35 degrees where we are! What strikes me about Japan is how they have such a close sense of family and community. This is not to say their society is without its challenges, but what I do know is that the sense of community is built up through a partnership of parents and school reinforcing society's expectations and values.
Being Catholic we are blessed with a school where the leadership team and teachers are doing an amazing job in bringing our children up with a deep sense of faith but, as a partnership, they need us to do our bit through active role modelling about our shared Christian values. Attending Church and even once a year taking up the St Vincent de Paul donations basket shows our commitment to our faith and our community, to our children. With Father Tony providing three different masses over the weekend, we have every opportunity to attend.
As a Board, we attend professional development to ensure we make the best decisions and provide the best support to our wonderful staff who support our children. The next one is about our new religious education curriculum – To Tātou Whakapono - Our Faith to be rolled out in 2024. It has some awesome achievement objectives that through the school years will bring every child to a clear understanding of God, Jesus, the Trinity and how we as spiritual beings can be active promoters of peace, hope and reconciliation in this often troubled world.
It has been a great start to the school term as we had the honour of not only celebrating our grandparents but also hosting the new artwork commissioned by the Church Ko Hāta Maria, te Matua Wahine o te Atua. The icon created some real excitement for the children on the first day of term with a special talk about it by the artwork`s chaperone. The artist Damien Walker wished to convey the unity of the Church reflected by Mary including the unity of the tangata whenua with those who have come to live alongside them in bi-culturalism.
It's been a challenging time for the teachers with so many things having been planned for the students but having to contend with staff illness and many students away. Of course, things must go on but your understanding and support is much appreciated including parents/caregivers wearing masks in school grounds, reinforcement with your children of wearing masks (properly) to school, regular washing of hands and keeping children home where illness has hit.
Finally, it's election time with a number of vacancies on the board as children graduate and people`s circumstances change. It's been an eye opener for me having been on the board for about a year particularly about how much staff go above and beyond what most of us would consider reasonable for our children. You can nominate yourself (seriously why not!) or someone else (do get their agreement!) for what is a very important role and yet another way of role modelling to our children and committing to our community. Nominations close this Wednesday, 3 August so don't delay.
Stay well, stay safe
On Behalf of the St Brendan's Board
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ROLE OF SCHOOL BOARDS
NZSTA’s Community Member Guide to the Role of School Boards provides information on what school boards are, the role of members, and how to become a board member.
YEAR 4-6 BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
There is an opportunity for our Year 4 - 6 students to attend the Upper Valley Primary School's Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, 16th August. If your child is interested in participating please register via the link below by the end of today, Tuesday, 2 August.
BOOK FAIR NOW ON
Where: In the Library
When: TODAY, Tuesday 2.30-6.45pm &
TOMORROW, Wednesday 8.40-9am and 2.30-3.30pm
A BIG thank you to everyone who has supported our Book Fair. If you haven't managed to make it along yet there's still time! We're open late tonight during conferences and again tomorrow.
All purchases from the Book Fair help to earn free books for our school library.
COMMUNITY CALENDAR ART COMPETITION
The UHCC Community Calendar Competition for 2022 is now open. This art and statement competition is run annually to celebrate ‘What we love about living in Upper Hutt!’ and it is open for all Year 1-8 students. The winner of this competition will earn $750 dollars of art equipment for their school and have their artwork on the front cover of the Community Calendar! St Brendan’s has a rich tradition of participation and achievement in this competition.
Last year, Conor from Room 4 had his artwork published as a finalist and Isla-Rose, Room 4, Sylvie, Room 11 and Amison, Room 10 had their statements included as well. Students can get entry forms from their class teacher. All entries must be at school by Friday, 26th August. If you have any queries please email Yvonne McElwain, Room 1, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week was the inaugural Netsafety Week, schoolwide this provided an opportunity to revisit the importance of cyber safety and the skills of digital citizenship. Netsafe’s website has a wide range of resources to raise awareness about the safe and responsible use of digital technology.
Here are five simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves and whānau online:
1. Check before you share. A lot of what we see or read online is true, but sometimes it’s put there on purpose to mislead others. Help others by not sharing fake news – and report it when you see it.
2. Be an upstander online. Communities are safest when we look out for each other. That’s equally true online. If you see someone being bullied or harassed, report the problem to the platform where the behaviour is happening.
3. Discuss sensitive topics. Sharing nudes is part of everyday conversation for many people, but there’s a strong misconception amongst young people that everybody’s doing it. Having open conversations with friends and whānau about intimate images can make it easier to discuss if things go wrong in the future.
4. Review your privacy settings. Lots of platforms and services have improved the tools used to manage privacy and safety settings. Take a fresh look at the tools and platforms you’re using and do an online profile check-up. Find out more at netsafe.org.nz/privacy-settings-on-socialnetworks/
5. Make online spaces better. The internet provides us with many benefits, but we also need to work together to make online spaces a bit safer. Engaging in positive and constructive kōrero to try to avoid being in the middle of a pile on and crediting the work of others that we share are some of the best ways to help.
Netsafe is New Zealand’s leading online safety organisation. They help thousands of people every year deal with a myriad of online challenges, including grooming, bullying and scams. Netsafe is also New Zealand’s Safer Internet Day host. They bring together credible and up-to-date online safety advice and information to help supporters raise awareness and start conversations about more positive online experiences. Netsafe.org.nz
GAME ON PARENTING COURSE FOR DADS
HUTT KAITOKE AERIAL POSSUM CONTROL PROJECT
Please find below links to important information on the Hutt Kaitoke Aerial Possum Control Project.