St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday January 30th 2024

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

Welcome to the 2024 school year.  We hope that all families enjoyed wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations, as well as a terrific holiday period. The January break certainly provided us with a mix of all seasons.  From hot days to drenching rain, the break had it all. We hope that all families enjoyed time to rest, relax and rejuvenate.

As a staff we officially commenced the school year on Monday 29th January. We were most fortunate to be led in a professional learning day with a focus on Positive Behaviour for Learning led by Mrs Patrice Wiseman. Patrice has extensive experience and a wealth of expertise in the area of Positive Behaviour for Learning.  As a staff we reflected and reviewed what were previously the SJB ‘School Rules’ to a contemporary focus on ‘School Wide Expectations’ for all.  Over the coming weeks we will share further information on our updated ‘School Wide Expectations’ with the community. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Patrice throughout 2024.

Whilst the first day of the school year was Monday, many of the staff have been onsite and/or working from home busily planning and preparing for the return of students. We thank all staff for their dedication and hard work in ensuring a smooth and wonderful start to the school year. We thank our families for making bookings for the beginning of the year Learning Interviews and for your support with ensuring students were punctual to their interviews.

This year we welcome the return of a number of dedicated and committed St John the Baptist staff who are well known to the parish and school communities.  We also welcome new staff members to the St John the Baptist community.  We warmly welcome Amanda Heidenrijk - Year 3/4 teacher, Mrs Brylie Johnson - Year 3/4 teacher, Mr Christian der Kinderen - Year 5/6 teacher and Sustainability Leader, Mrs Melissa Lynch - Prep Teacher & Mrs Franca Paduano - Learning Diversity/Wellbeing Leader.  We are very excited as our SJB team brings a wonderful mix of experience, expertise, pedagogical knowledge, passion and dedication as a group of educators. We look forward to continuing to collaborate, learn and grow together to provide our students with a quality education.

We are looking forward to welcoming back our school community as a whole on Thursday. It is always great to see how students have grown and changed over their break, as well as sharing in the excitement of getting to know their teacher and settling in with new classmates. We always look forward to welcoming our Preps and settling them in as our newest members of our St John’s community.  We wish everyone a fabulous start to the school year and look forward to working in partnership with our families and community, as we work together to create an environment for our students to thrive and flourish. 

We invite all families to join us for the Beginning of School Year mass to be celebrated on Friday 9th February, at 11:00am.

School Closure Days 2024

To assist families with planning throughout the year we ask families to please place in their calendars the following School Closure Days for the 2024 school year.

Friday 7th June                     Faith in Education PL

Friday 16th August              Learning and Teaching

Monday 18th November    School Improvement & Data Analysis

Friday 26th April                  Time in Lieu Acquittal

Monday 4th November       Time in Lieu Acquittal

2024 Staff

Year 6 Leaders

In 2023 the Year 5 students of St John the Baptist were provided with the opportunity to apply for leadership positions.  We congratulate all students who applied for a leadership role as applying for such a position is a significant step that takes great courage. 

We invite families to join us on Friday 2nd February at 2:30pm for our Year 6 Leadership Assembly. 

The Year 6 students will be presented with their Year 6 jackets and badges on Friday afternoon.

Prep 2024

Congratulations to our 32 Preps who commenced their first day of school today.  You were outstanding!!  Starting school is a big step. It was terrific to see our Preps in their uniforms and meeting their teachers and classmates on their first day for 2024. Congratulations to our Mums and Dads too on continuing to smile as you dropped your precious babies off on their first day of school. Starting school is a big step for all family members!! We wish you all the best for a wonderful start to school at St John’s and look forward to seeing our Preps grow, flourish and shine throughout their seven years.

Prep Rest Days

A friendly reminder that the following Wednesdays are ‘Rest Days’ for our Preps. Wednesday 7th February, Wednesday 14th February, Wednesday 21st February and Wednesday 28th February.

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

Parent Cuppa

We warmly welcome all families to join us for a cuppa in the hall on Thursday 1st February from 8:45am. Families are invited to join us for a cuppa once they have settled their children into their classes. Thursday’s morning cuppa is an opportunity to reconnect as a community after the holiday break, as well as welcome our new families to the St John’s community. 

 A big thank you to our Parents and Friends Committee in extending a warm welcome and preparing the morning cuppa. 

Inform and Empower - Cyber Safety Evening - Thursday 8th February @ 7:00pm

Families are invited to SJB for an informative and practical session with Marty McGauran (Digital Safety Educator) and Carley McGauran (Psychologist).  Today’s students grow up in a digital world.  As part of our strong home/school partnership it is important to be aware of how to educate students to be digitally safe and responsible, as well as how to use technology in positive ways.  

Families are asked to register via the QR code outlined in the flyer below.  Please be aware that this is a compulsory evening for Families of students in Year 3-6.

Hats and Sunscreen in Term 1

Term 1 and Term 4 of each school year are ‘Hats On’ terms. The safety of all students and staff is paramount.  Students are required to wear hats at all recess times and when outdoors in both Term 1 and Term 4.  Should students not have a hat during recess they are required to play in the shaded area located near the St John the Baptist mosaic. Students will not be permitted to play on the oval without a hat .  A friendly reminder to families to apply sunscreen prior to coming to school.  Students are welcome to keep a small bottle of sunscreen in their school bags and re-apply prior to going out at lunch time.


School assemblies will be held throughout the school year. Assemblies will be held on Friday afternoons at 2:30pm in the school hall.  Each class will have the opportunity to lead the school in assembly and share their learning throughout the year.  We welcome families to join us at St John’s for school assemblies

School Daily Timetable

A friendly reminder that at the commencement of this year that the school day commences at 8:45am and concludes at 3:15pm. Student supervision will continue to commence at 8:30am with classroom doors opening at 8:35am each morning. Supervision will continue to conclude at 3:30pm. 

Teacher Meet and Greet

The St John’s teacher Meet and Greet will be held on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th February between 3:30-5:30 pm each night.  This is an opportunity for parents to meet with their child’s teacher to share insights into their child and commence our home/school partnership for the year. Each student will bring home a discussion starter sheet for families to complete together and return to school prior to the Meet and Greet session. This will provide teachers with an insight into your child prior to the meeting.

Parents are able to book their Meet and Greet time now through SOBS via this link -

Year 5/6 Camp

The Year 5/6 Camp to Campaspe Downs is fast approaching. Our Year 5/6 students will depart for camp on Monday 26th February and return to school on Wednesday 28th February.

We ask that families please respond promptly to camp correspondence to assist staff with planning and preparation.

Further details in regard to camp will be communicated to families in the coming days.

Swimming Squad Training

Swimming squad training is scheduled to commence Monday 5th February at St Joseph’s Secondary College.  The dates for swimming squad are Monday 5th, Monday 12th and Monday 19th February from 8:00am - 8:30am. Additional dates may become available should student engagement remain high. Further information about swimming squad will be communicated by our PE teacher Mr John Mitchell in the coming days.

Uniform Purchases / 2nd Hand Uniforms

Uniform purchasing has now moved offsite to Beleza uniforms in Boronia (entry via Dorset Square).  Beleza have been in contact throughout the holiday period and have outlined that there has been strong attendance from SJB families.

The second hand uniform shop will be held every Tuesday, 2.45-3.15pm, commencing next Tuesday February 6th.

PLEASE NOTE - CASH ONLY SALES ($5.00 per item)

The second hand uniform shop will provide the opportunity for families to purchase school uniform items that are in good condition.

Congratulations - Zac C (3/4GA)

Congratulations to Katie, Marty and Zac on the safe arrival of their little boy and brother, Mason Daniel.  Mason safely arrived on Thursday 28th December.  We wish you all every happiness and know that Mason will bring much love and joy to your family.

'Twilight on the Green - Friday February 9th

Community Support and Awareness

On Christmas morning the Giustra and Napolitano family received the sad news of the passing of their Aunty (Zia) Ardi of bowel cancer.  Ardi was close to her family, in particular her nephew and nieces - Siella, Frankie and Valentina. As she bravely fought her battle she advocated for early screening to promote early detection.

To honour Ardi’s legacy her family have established a fundraising page. Families wishing to know more about bowel cancer or contribute to Ardi’s legacy can find further information at:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Giustra and Napolitano families as they grieve the loss of Zia Ardi.

Audiri 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 of 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.

Wishing all our students and families a wonderful year ahead at St John’s.

Kelli Johnston

Are you eligible to receive the Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund/School Fee Concession?

Do you hold a Services Australia Health Care Card/Concession Card, or are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?  Then you may be eligible to receive the CSEF and School Fees Concession Program.

Please complete the attached forms and return to school ASAP, along with a copy of your Centrelink Pension Concession Card.

CSEF Application Form


School Fee Concession Form


School Concession Fee - Information


Term 1 Dates


30th - Preps students commence 1pm finish

30th - Year 1-6 Learning Interviews

31st-   Prep students 1pm finish

31st-   Year 1-6 Learning Interviews


1st - Prep - Yr 6 commence full time

2nd-   School Assembly Year 6 Leadership presentation - School Hall 2:30pm

5th - Swimming Squad St Joseph’s Secondary College 8:00am - 8:30am (Year 3-6)

7th - Prep Rest Day

8th - Inform & Empower Year 3-6 Family Cyber Safety evening (7:00-8:30pm)

9th - Beginning of School Year Mass - 11:00am

9th - Twilight on the Green Family Evening - 5:30pm - 8:30pm

12th - Swimming Squad St Joseph’s Secondary College 8:00am - 8:30am (Year 3-6)

13th - Shrove Tuesday

13th - Meet and Greet - 3:30-5:30pm

14th - Meet and Greet - 3:30-5:30pm

14th - Lent commences - Whole School Mass - 9:15am

14th - Prep Rest Day

15th - First Reconciliation Family Evening 7:00pm

16th - Halogen Leadership Day - School Captains

19th - Swimming Squad St Joseph’s Secondary College 8:00am - 8:30am

21st - Prep Rest Day

23rd - Assembly Year 5/6RD presenting 

26th - Year 5/6 camp - Campaspe Downs

28th - Year 5/6 camp returns

28th - Prep Rest Day


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

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

Canteen News

Canteen orders can be placed via

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


Parish News

Community News

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully