St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday February 27th 2024

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Last Friday our Year 5/6 students launched this year’s Project Compassion campaign for the Season of Lent.  Project Compassion is Caritas Australia’s annual campaign that mobilises Australians to raise much needed funds to help reduce poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity in the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in the world.

As a community we commenced Project Compassion through watching short video clips of Ronita, a mother of two young boys living in an urban slum in the Philippines and the impact of a water tank for Leaia and her family in Samoa.

Each class received a poster and Project Compassion box for their classroom.  We encourage our community to support Project Compassion throughout the season of Lent through donations.

Families may like to learn further about Project Compassion together. To learn more, families can go to:

Year 5/6 Camp

On Monday morning 40 excited Year 5/6 students departed for camp at Campaspe Downs Camp in Kyneton. The students were ready for three fun filled days of adventure and activities.

School camp is always a terrific time to build relationships.  Whether it be getting to know someone who students have previously not spent much time with or consolidating existing friendships, camp is always a great way to see each other in an environment outside of school.

Not only is camp great for student relationships, it is also a wonderful way for staff and students to build relationships.

School camp is a wonderful opportunity for students to try a new activity or extend on an activity from a previous camp experience, as well as students stepping outside of their comfort zones.

We wish staff and students a wonderful time away.

St John the Baptist Open Days for 2025 Prep Children

Let your neighbours, friends and relatives know St John’s School Open Days are set for March.

School Open Days will be held on:

Wednesday 6th March

Thursday 14th March

Tours will operate at 9am, 10am, 4pm & 5pm

Alternatively families can book tours by phoning the office or through the school website.

We request that parents already with children in the school enrol as early as possible.

Prep Rest Days

A friendly reminder that the following Wednesday is a ‘Rest Day’ for our Preps.  Wednesday 28th February.

Our Preps will commence full time at school from Monday 4th March.

Prep Family Welcome Mass

Prep families are invited to join the parish at Mass on Sunday 3rd March at 11:00am. The Prep Family Mass is a lovely way for the parish to welcome our newest members of the school and parish community.

Working Bee - Saturday March 2nd 1.30pm-4.00pm

We look forward to welcoming parents to the first working bee of the school year this Saturday 2nd March from 1:30pm-4pm. There are always a number of jobs to complete at our first Working Bee each year, while the weather is good.

If you are able to attend, please RSVP to - (please include number attending), alternatively, you can return the attached form.  Thank you.

Working Bee Reply Slip


Get Well Mrs Mandarino

Sadly, Mrs Mandarino had a fall at school on the morning of Ash Wednesday in which she sustained a fractured elbow along with other injuries.  We wish Mrs Mandarino all the best for a speedy recovery and return to school. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Mrs Mandarino.

Community Thank You

Thank you to Simon Russell for sharing his audio engineering expertise to improve the quality of sound and visual systems in the hall. Your expertise has enabled us to experience greater audio and visual clarity.

We are very fortunate to have many talented parents at SJB who so generously share their expertise to enhance our school community.  Thank you.

Easter Egg Raffle

The St John the Baptist Easter Egg Raffle will once again be running in 2024. We ask each family to donate an Easter Egg or gift to this year’s raffle. The gifts will be used to create Easter hampers in which families can buy tickets for a chance to win.  Raffle prizes will be drawn in the afternoon of the last day of term.

We thank Veronica Brightwell and Baylee Brits (P & F members) & our Year 6 Leaders for organising this year’s Easter Raffle.  Further details will come next week.

All proceeds of this year’s Easter Raffle will be donated to Project Compassion.

Webinar - Managing Big Feelings

Inform and Empower Cyber Safety Link

Families wishing to watch the Inform & Empower session led by Marty and Carley McGauran can click on the link below to see the Cyber Safety session.

Password: feb2024

Carley and Marty present an informative and practical session for families on how to be informed and educated about the world of digital technologies that our students live in.

Families will be familiar with Carley through her Prep transition session in 2023.  This session is designed to support you in the most helpful way when your children experience big feelings.

In this session Carley will cover:

  • How to be an emotional coach

  • The brain and emotional development

  • Understanding meltdowns and how to manage them

  • Let’s talk anger, anxiety and sadness

  • Tips for encouraging self regulation

  • Recognising when big feelings may be a concern

Managing Big Feelings

Presenter: Carley McGauran

Date: Thursday 7 March 

Time: 7.30pm (75 min)

Here is the link for your parents to register for the webinar :

Exciting News!

Second Hand Uniform

The Second Hand Uniform Shop will be open on Tuesday afternoons from 2:45pm.  Families may purchase second hand items for $5 per item. 

Families donating items are asked to ensure that items are delivered washed and in good condition.

Inquiries in regards to second hand items may be sent to

CSEF 2024 Applications

Parents/carers of students who hold a valid concession card such as Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Veteran Affairs Gold card or temporary foster care cards are eligible to apply for Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) through the Dept of Victoria Education. A payment of $150 may be paid to schools to benefit eligible students.

Applicants who received funding under the program in 2023 are not required to complete an application form for 2024 provided there have been no changes to your circumstances. 

Any families who have recently acquired a concession card or are new to CSEF are welcome to enquire at the school office.

Schools are able to process CSEF applications up until 28 June 2024.

CSEF Application Form


Wishing everyone a terrific week ahead.

Kelli Johnston

Audiri (formerly Skoolbag) App

Audiri app is a simple and effective way to communicate school information with families.

As a school we will use the Audiri app to communicate reminders and events occurring throughout the school.  Families can also use the app to advise student absences.

We ask that families install the Audiri app on their phones and then add St John the Baptist School. Information on how to add the Audiri app and St John the Baptist School can be found below.

Term 1 Dates


27th - Year 5/6 campers return

28th - Year 5/6 fun day at the movies

28th - Prep Rest Day


2nd - Term 1 Working Bee 1:30 - 4:00pm

3rd - Prep Welcome Mass at 11.00am

4th -  Swimming Squad St Joseph’s Secondary College 8:00am - 8:30am

6th - Open Day No. 1

8th - Division Swimming - Croydon Pool

8th - 3/4GA Assembly - 2:30pm

11th - Labour Day - School Closed

13th- NAPLAN Commences

14th - Open Day 2

18th - Squad Swimming St Joseph's Secondary College 8-8.30am

20th - Sacrament of Reconciliation - 5pm

20th - School Advisory Council

21st - Harmony Day - wear a touch of orange

21st - Harmony Day Prayer Service

22nd - Athletics Day

22nd - Regional Swimming

28th - Holy Week Stations of the Cross

28th - P - 2 Easter Bonnet Parade

28th - Term concludes at 2.00pm

Student Awards - Friday February 23rd 2024

Prep BA

Evie L - for being a kind and caring student and including others. She has been a wonderful friend for her peers and made sure that everyone has someone to play with during play times. Tremendous work Evie! You are a star, Evie!

Prep LC

Suhanee G - for being a kind and caring member of Prep LC, who looks after her peers and includes everyone in her play. Well done Suhanee!

Year 1/2B

Chloe W - for settling in so beautifully to our 2024 class. You are becoming a confident learner and trying so hard when completing all the activities. Keep up the great work!

Spencer L - for settling in so beautifully to our 2024 class. You join in all activities with such enthusiasm and always with a smile on your face. Keep up the great work!

Year 1/2D

Louise W - for settling into Year 1 with ease. You participate in all learning activities with enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Well done Louise!

William P - for making an excellent transition to Year 1. Well done for the courage, resilience and positivity you have shown in the classroom.  It is so great to see you coming in each day smiling and giving everything a go! Super effort Will!

Year 1/2JM

Lewie E - for making a positive start to the year. We are very impressed and proud of the work you have done.

Isla H - for always being ready to work. We are very impressed with your efforts in all subject areas.

Year 1/2KC

Louis T - for enthusiastically accepting challenges in his learning, and showing consistent Whole Body Listening, every day.

Evie D - for settling in so well into SJB, for showing consistent Whole Body Listening, and for being an inclusive friend.


Eli P - for his wonderful work in Mathematics and for his exceptional kindness that he shows to all those around him. You are a star, Eli!

Frankie S - for her wonderful work in her persuasive writing and for the kindness that she extends to all her peers. You are a star, Frankie!


Will S - for enthusiastically accepting challenges in his learning, and contributing to classroom discussion.

Xavier M - for being a respectful member of class and always being a responsible learner.

Year 3/4SJ

Harrison C - for the mature approach he demonstrates when completing his learning tasks, and the excellent example he is setting as a responsible leader in our classroom.

Siella G - for the dedication she brings to completing her learning tasks, and the resilience she is increasingly showing when she attempts new challenges

Vivian C - for always trying her best, growing as a learner and working diligently both independently and within a small group.

Year 5/6D

Sarah G - for working hard in every area and producing excellent results.

Ezra McK - for staying focussed in his tasks and completing them to a high standard.

Year 5/6RD

Etta R - for a terrific start to Year 5, settling into the busy senior school extremely well.  Also demonstrating strong leadership qualities by being an excellent role model and make a choice to forgo a role this year to enable another student to have the experience. We are really proud of your maturity and selflessness.  Well done Etta!

Patrick C - for a terrific start to Year 5, settling into the busy senior shool extremely well.  Also demonstrating strong leadership qualities by being an excellent role model and making a choice to forgo a role this year to enable another student to have the experience. We are really proud of your maturity and selflessness. Well done Patrick.

Second Hand Uniforms

Canteen News

Canteen orders can be placed via

Orders must be placed no later than 7.30am on the Wednesday or Friday.

The Canteen is seeking volunteer helpers who can offer up just a couple of hours once per term (9.00-11.00am) on a Wednesday, or in particular on our busy Fridays.  If you think you can help, please complete the form below or contact Tracey Walker on 0408 101 100 if you have any questions.

Canteen Volunteer Form


Canteen Roster Term 1, 2024

Wednesday February 28th Friday March 1st
Nat Conway

Leanne Gaunt

Carolyn Lonsing

Wednesday March 6th Friday March 8th 
Belinda Hunt

Lauren Wearne

Shamindri Aponso

Leanne Nugent

Community News

St John's Netball Club News

St. John’s Netball Club is open to both boys and girls and we’re particularly in need of more players aged (or turning) 7-13 this year.  Those interested under 7 can join the NetSetGo program at MDNA.

Our first season runs from 24th Feb to early August and we play on Saturday mornings and train on Monday at 3.30pm (11&under) and 5.00pm (12&over) at Knox Regional Netball Centre.  

If anyone is interested in playing netball this year, we’d love to hear from you (please refer to flyer below for more details).

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully