St. Mark's Dingley
St. Mark's is a co-educational Catholic Primary School located in Dingley, in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. St Mark's is in the parish of St Joseph's in Springvale under the guidance of the Order of Minor Conventual Franciscans. The school was established in 1974.
St. Mark's has over four hundred and thirty children enrolled at the school in Yrs. Prep to Six. The school is located on Lower Dandenong Road Dingley, directly opposite Braeside Park. The school and the parish share the site with a new church blessed and opened in April 1999. The school has spacious grounds with the entire property securely fenced.
The school of St. Mark's exists to share, nurture and transmit values for living and to promote faith relationships with Jesus. It strives to do all it can to ensure it adequately prepares our children to meet the challenges that await them. Many of our children will be going into jobs that don't presently exist, using technology that has not even been invented. Education, like most fields is constantly changing and striving to meet the needs of today and tomorrow. Academically children need to develop as independent life-long learners and this ability is essential, as they will constantly need to acquire new skills. However it is paramount that as educators we ensure the development of the total child. As a catholic school we have a mandate to ensure that the children in our care develop a personal relationship with God that is centred in a community, which gathers to celebrate the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Each child at St Mark's is seen as an individual, a child who needs to achieve and know the feeling of success. This personal sense of worth occurs through understanding responsibility, goal setting, motivating children, providing challenging activities, security, safety and pastoral programs that model Jesus' love for everyone.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. MARK'S SCHOOL
Dingley is part of the Parish of Springvale and as Dingley developed rapidly in the 1960's it was felt plans should be made for Catholic education in the Dingley area.
A site was purchased on the southern side of Dingley between Dimar Court and Lower Dandenong Road. In mid 1973 a task force of Brigidine Sisters led by Mother Carmela came to Dingley, taking up residence in a house in Jacks Avenue which served as the first school building for a short time, as the building of the church hall on the purchased land would not be ready for the commencement of the 1974 school year.
The school opened with Sr. Marie and Sr. Patricia using the lounge room and hallway of their house to teach 32 prep, Year 1 and 2 children. The driveway of the house was the boy's cricket pitch and the backyard the girl's playground. Unfortunately the neighbours did not take kindly to all this activity nor the two portable toilets located there.
Luckily a portable classroom became available, on loan from the Catholic Education Office, and this was placed on the largely undeveloped 10 acres, along with the portable toilets, and classes commenced there with many inconveniences, but lots of good spirit.
Eventually the school-church-hall was completed and blessed and opened by Bishop John A. Kelly D.D. This allowed the children to take up residence in the hall and having proper toilet and kitchen facilities certainly made things easier.
By 1975 it was decided to open the school to a full compliment of grades - Prep to 6, and the first lay teacher Mrs. Rosemary Tesoriero was employed.
The name St. Mark's was chosen by Cardinal Knox from suggestions put forward by the parents and parishioners of Dingley. This choice links the church with the history of the village. The famous Australian author, Marcus Clarke, lived in Dingley in the early days. Clarke Road, Marcus Road, St. Mark's Close and now St. Mark's Catholic Church keep this tradition alive.
As Dingley expanded, it was obvious a new and separate school building would be needed and so the architect, Mr. Max Chester, who had planned the school-church-hall was instructed to plan the new school building.
The first stage of the school building was ready for the 1978 school year and was officially opened and blessed by Archbishop Little in August, 1979.
At the end of 1978 when the school was handed over completely to lay teachers, the enrolment had reached 175 and a double portable was purchased by St. Mark's, so that the church-hall was only used for music, physical education, library and small group withdrawal.
By 1980 however, the numbers had increased again to necessitate 7 classes and the church-hall had to be used again to accommodate one class. At this stage Mr. Max Chester was asked to draw plans for the second stage and an application was made to the Commonwealth Schools Commission for financial assistance for stage 2. At that time the recommendation from the Catholic Education Office, based upon current population trends in Dingley, was for a core of permanent buildings to accommodate a complete one stream school with the idea that relocatables would have to be used in a semi-permanent fashion, whilst the primary school population was at its peak.
Over the next seven years the school continued to grow and in 1991 the third stage of development commenced with two new classrooms, a new administration area, staffroom, sick bay and the extension of the library being added.
The Archbishop of Melbourne, Most Reverend T.F. Little opened the third stage on 15th December, 1991.
From 1992 the school has steadily increased to the current enrolment figure of 432 children. During 1998/9 the school continued to improve its facilities with the development of new basketball courts on the south/west side, new car parking and fencing to coincide with the construction of the new church, which was opened on St. Mark's Feast day, 25th April, 1999.
In 2003 the school built four new classrooms and a toilet block. These replaced the existing portables and provided further opportunity for the school to grow.
It has always been the aim of St. Mark's to meet the needs of the Catholic families in Dingley, this tradition will continue to be our focus in the future.
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