St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday November 28th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

This Sunday 3rd December we commence the Season of Advent. 

The time of Advent is the four week period of preparation for the season of Christmas. Advent begins the cycle of the Liturgical Year and focuses on the coming of the Lord. The first weeks offer a vision of the future, looking to the end of time when Christ will come again. The final weeks point more specifically to the birth of Christ. Christ, the promised one, is awaited with joyful expectation. The First Sunday of Advent follows the final Sunday of Ordinary Time and the season concludes on Christmas Eve.

The celebration of Advent takes place on the four Sundays prior to Christmas, follows four weekly themes; hope, peace, joy and love and ends on Christmas Eve.

During Advent, we remember our reason to hope; we are assured in a most overwhelming way that God always keeps his promises; for on that first Christmas, He sent his only Son Jesus, the long-awaited fulfillment of God's promise of salvation. Jesus was not born into comfort and security.

Dear Lord, please allow me to embrace Advent in the way the Church intends: as a way to prepare for Your arrival. May everything I do–every gift I send, every party I attend, every meal I share–remind me to prepare space in my heart for You. Be with me today. Help my heart be open to the ways Jesus is at work in my life. Amen.

Congratulations to our 2024 Year 6 Leaders

Congratulation to our 2024 Year 6 leaders

Last week was exciting for our Year 5’s as the leadership positions for 2024 were shared.

The Year 5 students were exemplary in their preparation for their leadership roles and in the mature manner that they congratulated and celebrated each other’s achievements.  We are most excited to announce our leaders for 2024. Please see below:

School Captain (Girls)School Captain (Boys)

Audrey L

Madeleine S

Zaylen L

Joshua A

SRC (Sustainability)Social Justice Leader

Zahra H

Sebastian R

Joseph W

Sam H

Emily S

Arts Leadere-Learning Leader

Ember H

Audrey S

Christian T

Cooper K

Blue House LeaderYellow House Leader
Beau S

Austin T

Isla S

Red House LeaderGreen House Leader

Marcus N

Marcus V

Will V

Staffing News - Welcome Brylie Johnson

We are excited to announce that Mrs Brylie Johnson will be joining the Year 3/4 team in 2024.

Brylie is an experienced teacher who joins us from Holy Trinity in Wantirna. Brylie has additional expertise in the area of Student Wellbeing.

We have now finalised our staffing for 2024 and look forward to announcing the St John the Baptist staff outline for 2024 next week.

Staffing 2024


Miss Laura Bulmer Mon - Thurs & Mrs Renee Armstrong - Fri

Mrs Shari Correlje - Mon/Tues & Mrs Melissa Lynch Wed-Fri

Year 1/2

Mrs Michelle Bearder

Ms Melissa Davey

Mrs Karen Joustra - Mon- Thurs & Mrs Marialisa Mandarino

Mrs Gisella Koroknai - Tues - Fri & Mrs Sue Cahill - Mon

Year 3/4

Mrs Lisa Giuliano - Mon- Wed & Fri & Mrs Renee Armstrong - Thurs

Mrs Amanda Heidenrijk - Mon - Thurs  & Mr John Mitchell - Fri

Mrs Emily Johnston - Mon - Thurs & Mrs Brylie Johnson - Fri

Mrs Brylie Johnson - Mon - Tues & Mrs Susan Smith Wed - Fri

Year 5/6

Mr Wayne Daniell - Mon- Wed & Fri & Mr Christian der Kinderen - Thurs

Mrs Tracey Ryan - Mon - Thurs & Mr Christian der Kinderen - Fri

Specialist Staff

Literacy Intervention - Mrs Christine Barcham

LOTE Italian - Mrs Marialisa Mandarino

Physical Education - Mr John Mitchell

Performing Arts - Sue Cahill

Visual Arts - Mrs Renee Armstrong

Learning Support Staff

Mrs Angela Cavarra

Mrs Sue Davey

Mrs Amy Lavin

Miss Sophie Ryan

Administration Officers

Mrs Cynthia Schouten - Mon-Wed

Mrs Andi Hayman - Tues, Thurs-Fri

Maintenance Officer

Mr John O’Halloran

Canteen Officer

Mrs Tracey Walker

Religious Education Leader - Mrs Marialisa Mandarino

Learning Diversity/Wellbeing Leader - Franca Paduano

Sustainability Leader - Mr Christian der Kinderen

Numeracy Leader - Miss Laura Bulmer

e-Learning Leader - Mr Wayne Daniell

Social Media Leader - Mrs Lisa Giuliano

Deputy Principal/Learning & Teaching/Literacy Leader - Mrs Ursula DeCorrado

Principal - Mrs Kelli Johnston

Library Books returned this week

Students and families are asked to return all library books by this Friday 1st December.

This will allow us to return all books and prepare the library ready for 2024. 

Canteen Concludes for 2023

Canteen for 2023 will conclude Wednesday 6th December. Lunch orders can be placed for this week and Wednesday 6th December. The canteen will then close for the year to allow for cleaning and preparation for the holiday period.

All students will have the option of a free Zooper Dooper for our final day of Canteen next Wednesday 6th December.

We thank Mrs Tracey Walker and all volunteers throughout the year for their support and work in preparing lunches each week.  We are most fortunate to have an incredible team of people working together to provide lunches each week.

Second Hand Uniform Shop - coming 2024

We are most pleased to announce that we are in the process of creating a structure for second hand uniform purchasing for 2024.  The second hand uniform will be an additional option for families to purchase items with the moving of the school uniform heading to Beleza Uniforms.  It is also a great way to be sustainable and re-use uniform items.

We thank Janice Burns for offering to set up the second hand uniform.

Further information will be shared in the near future.

Thanksgiving Mass - Friday December 8th - 11:00am

We warmly welcome all members of the St John the Baptist community to join us in giving thanks and celebrating the many volunteers and contributions so generously shared throughout the 2023 school year.  We are most fortunate to have an active and vibrant community consisting of parents, grandparents, guardians and members of the community.

School Dates - Commencement of the 2024 Year

Each year schools are now required to carry out a number of Literacy and Numeracy learning tasks to monitor student progress and growth.  These tasks are valuable in providing staff with information in relation to students' understanding, growth and areas for future teaching and learning focus. Whilst these learning tasks are most valuable, they require time and staff resourcing to be completed.  To complete these learning tasks in a timely manner and minimise time away from classroom teaching St John the Baptist staff will use the first 2 student days to carry out the required tasks.

In the coming weeks families will be able to make a booking through SOBs for their children to each have a 30 minute learning interview with their classroom teacher. 

We ask families to familiarise themselves with the dates below in relation to commencement dates for 2024.

Monday 29th January

- Staff Professional Learning day - Patrice Wiseman

Tuesday 30th January

- Preps commence  8:45 - 1:00pm 

- Students Year 1 - 6 individual 30 minute learning interviews

Wednesday 31st January

- Preps onsite  8:45 - 1:00pm

- Students Year 1 - 6 individual 30 minute learning interviews

Thursday 1st February

- Prep - Year 6 all students commence full time

Dates for the 2024 Year - Closure Days & Time in Lieu Days

Families please note the School Closure dates and Time in Lieu days set for the 2024 school calendar. 

There are 4 days set aside for staff professional development and first aid training.  There are additional 2 days as set aside for staff Time in Lieu Days (TIL).   TIL days were introduced throughout this year as a component of the new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.  

  • Friday 26th April - (TIL - All Schools) 

  • Friday 7th June - Closure Day - (Faith Development) 

  • Friday 16th August - Closure Day (Learning & Teaching)

  • Monday 4th November - (TIL - All Schools) 

  • Monday 18th November - Closure Day (School Improvement & data analysis)

Swimming Carnival - Years 3-6

Exciting times ahead for the Year 3-6 students as this year’s swimming carnival at St Joseph’s College is quickly approaching. The Year 3-6 students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events either in swimming strokes or novelty events. 

A reminder to all parents with children in Years 3-6 to complete the Operoo form regarding this event as soon as possible please. The event will be held this Thursday November 30th.

Ferntree Gully Library Carols Event

A number of students from Years 1-6 are busy preparing for this year’s Ferntree Gully Library Christmas Carols evening at the Ferntree Gully Library. Congratulations to all students who are participating in this wonderful community event.

We thank Mrs Sue Cahill for all of her work in preparing the students for an evening of Christmas Carols with our local community.

Details for the evening

The students in our School Christmas Choir are very excited to be performing at the FTG Library next Tuesday December 5th.

They are invited to wear their favourite Christmas outfit and arrive at the library no later than 5.45pm to commence singing at 6.00pm.

We anticipate the session of Christmas songs and Christmas storytime to last for about 30 - 45 minutes.

Looking forward to seeing you next Tuesday.

Sue Cahill

Performing Arts

Christmas Carols Night - Gift Card Donation

The SJB Christmas Carols evening will be held on Thursday 7th December at 7pm. We look forward to a great evening and seeing our students shine.  

Our terrific P & F will be preparing a BBQ for families to order sausages in bread and drinks between 5:30 - 6:30pm prior to Carols commencing.

Please see the flyer attached for details.

Twilight on the Green - Friday February 9th (Save the Date)

We thank Bec and Simon Russell for their willingness to once again share their expertise with the SJB community for the annual Twilight on the Green. The 2024 Twilight on the Green will be held on Friday 9th February on the oval.  Families may bring picnics, snacks or take away to have for dinner on the oval. To ensure a Child Safe environment this is strictly an alcohol free event.

Time: 5:30pm

Cost: $10 per family

Wishing everyone a terrific week ahead. 

Kelli Johnston

Parents & Friends News

Christmas Carols - Sausage Sizzle/Drinks

Are you able to help?

Volunteers are required to help with the sausage sizzle on Thursday December 7th prior to the SJB School Nativity Play & Christmas Carols.

The sausage sizzle will run from 5.30-6.30pm.

If you can assist please email -

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


28th Education Board and Parents & Friends Thank you evening

30th Year 3-6 Swimming Carnival St Joseph's College Pool


1st First Friday Mass - Year 1/2

3rd First Sunday of Advent - Hope

5th Ferntree Gully Library Christmas Celebration

7th Christmas Carols Night - 7pm

8th Thanksgiving Mass 11am

10th Second Sunday of Advent - Peace

14th Year 6 Graduation Mass - 5pm

15th Last day of school year - school concludes 2pm

17th Third Sunday of Advent - Joy

24th Fourth Sunday of Advent - Love

25th Christmas Day - Merry Christmas to all

Canteen News

Canteen orders can be placed via

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

Please note - the last day for Canteen this year is Wednesday December 6th.  Canteen will not operate on Fri 8th, Wed 13th nor Fri 15th. 

Canteen Roster

Wednesday November 29th Friday December 1st 
Rachel Ben

Melinda Price

Katrina Horne

Carrie Canton

Wednesday December 6th Friday December 8th 
Nat Conway



Parish News

Sacramental Program 2024

Save the Date

Community News

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully