St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday December 5th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

This Sunday 10th December is the second Sunday of Advent.

One of the major symbols of the Advent season is the wreath. The encircling wreath is symbolic of God without beginning or end and the green foliage represents our hope in God. There are usually five candles in the wreath, a central white candle representing the light of Christ that came into the world and then four outside candles that are usually purple and rose coloured. The first, second and fourth candle is generally symbolic of Hope and Expectation. The third candle – the rose or pink candle – celebrates the Joy that is anticipated in the coming of Christ. The progressive lighting of the candles marks the journey towards the Nativity.  

The Second Sunday of Advent theme is Peace. This week as we turn to look at Peace, we see that one way that we can bring that hope into the world is to be peacemakers. Peace on earth starts with us, with our attitudes towards others.

VIP Assembly

We welcome all members of the school community to join us for assembly at 2:10pm Wednesday 13th December to celebrate the many wonderful contributions generously made by Mrs Deborah Butler and Mrs Kathryn Forbes. Deborah and Kathryn are both much loved members of the SJB community who we farewell at the end of the 2023 school year. We invite our school community to join us in celebrating Deborah and Kathryn’s contributions and in saying farewell.

Access to Semester 2 Reports - Distributed Friday 8th December (4pm)

The Semester 2 student reports will be distributed on Friday 8th December. Student reports are one of the valuable links between school and home to allow you to gain an insight of how your child is progressing with their learning at St John the Baptist.

The reports will be accessible from the Friday 8th December at 4.00pm

The online portal has many advantages which include:

-    Accessible on multiple devices

-    Environmentally friendlier than printed reports

If you have trouble accessing your child’s report you are encouraged to contact Mrs Shari Correlje for assistance

Second Hand Uniform Shop - coming 2024

In 2024 SJB will be commencing a Second Hand Uniform Shop. We thank Janice Stiglich (Amelia & Hannah's Mum) for her work in co-ordinating the Second Hand Uniform Shop.

The Second Hand Uniform Shop will open at 2:45pm every Tuesday for families to purchase 2nd hand uniform items. Additionally families will be able to email the Second Hand Uniform Shop at to request items. 

To promote a sense of community, sustainability and an opportunity to support each other, all items will be sold at $5.00 each.

When contributing items to the Second Hand Uniform Shop, families are requested to ensure all items are St John the Baptist formal uniform items, washed and clean, provide items that are free from holes and in a condition that they would dress their children in. Families may drop their items into the office. Items will be collected and then placed in the uniform shop.  

Canteen Concludes for 2023

Canteen for 2023 will conclude this 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 on 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.

Move Up Days

Exciting times ahead as students prepare to meet their classmates and teachers for the 2024 school year.  Where possible we will have new staff available to meet their classes.  We ask families to understand that this may not always be possible due to the nature of busy times in all schools at this time of year.

The ‘Move Up’ days for this year will be Wednesday 13th December 9:15am and Friday 15th December for Morning Tea.

Thank you School Advisory Council & Parents and Friends

On behalf of the St John the Baptist School and community we would like to thank the many parents who have dedicated their time and supported both the School Advisory Council and Parents and Friends Committee throughout 2023. Your support is greatly appreciated. We look forward to another terrific year in 2024.

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

Next Year's Sacraments

All students in Year 3 who have been Baptised are invited to present for the Sacrament of Reconciliation - Wednesday 20th March at 5pm. All students in Years 5/6 who have received the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Eucharist are invited to present for the Sacrament of Confirmation - Thursday 29th August at 6pm.

Swimming Carnival - Years 3-6

On Thursday 30th November we completed our St John the Baptist PS swimming carnival. The 3/4 level competed first and the excitement was clear from the first race. All students who swam performed admirably and many of the events were hotly contested. Students were able to select as many of the swimming strokes as they could ie: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly along with the famous novelty relays - the ball retrieval and the crocodile rescue events. Rules appeared flexible with the novelty events and much fun was had by all.

Thankyou to the parents that assisted in judging, ribbon presenting and walking the students to and back to the venue. 

Thankyou to Aquatic Achievers for being so accommodating and most of all, to the students that swam in the events. 

If your child enjoyed the day please encourage them to trial for our Swim Squad which will commence training in the first one to two weeks back at school in 2024. Look out for an Operoo declaring your child’s interest for the St John’s Swim Squad 2024 which will be sent out soon. 

The St John the Baptist PS Swimming Carnival House Sport OVERALL results were: 

1st- Yellow 336

2nd Blue  239

3rd Red 234

4th  Green 135 

Results split Year 3/ 4 Yellow 197  Blue 158 Red 97 Green 82

5/ 6 - Blue 164 Yellow 139 Red 137 Green 53

John Mitchell

PE Teacher

Thank You Crossing Supervisors

Parents please take the opportunity throughout the coming days to thank our ever present and ever caring crossing supervisor, Carmel.  Carmel is there for our children rain, hail and shine.

Outstanding Fees & Levies

Thank you to families that have paid or are continuing to pay their school fees.  Term four is almost over and we would appreciate the finalising of any outstanding monies.

Please contact the Office if you are unable to finalise your fee account to discuss options available to help you meet your fee commitment. or 9758 1013.

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 tonight

The students in our School Christmas Choir are very excited to be performing at the FTG Library tonight.

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.

2024 Term Dates & Beginning of Year Schedule

Term 1

Monday January 29th (staff only)

School Wide Expectations - Positive Behaviour

Term 1 (Students) - Wednesday January 31st - Thursday March 28th 

Teacher/Student Learning Conversations (Years 1-6)

Tuesday 30th/Wednesday 31st

Years 1-6 commence Tuesday 30th/Wednesday 31st January with One to One Learning Conversations with their 2024 Class Teacher. Parents to book in appointments (Booking details to be provided)

Years Prep to 6 Classes commence Thursday February 1st (8.45am-3.15pm)

Prep 2024 - 2 x Half Day Transition - Tuesday 30th/Wednesday 31st - 8.45am to 1.00pm

Prep Classes commence for full hours (8.45am-3.15pm) from Thursday February 1st

'Prep Rest Day' Wed 7th, Wed 14th, Wed 21st & Wed 28th February

Term 2Monday April 15th - Friday June 28th 
Term 3Monday July 15th - Friday September 20th
Term 4

Monday October 7th - 

Tuesday December 17th - Students conclude (to be confirmed)

Friday December 20th - staff conclude

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

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


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

January 2024

29th     Staff return - Professional Learning Day

30th     Prep students commence 8.45am - 1.00pm

30th     Years 1 -6 students individual learning interviews

31st    Prep students 8.45am - 1.00pm

31st    Years 1-6 students individual learning interviews


1st    All students onsite full time

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 tomorrow Wednesday December 6th.  Canteen will not operate on Fri 8th, Wed 13th nor Fri 15th. 

Canteen Roster

Wednesday December 6th Friday December 8th 
Nat Conway



Thank you to all the many wonderful volunteers who have assisted me this year. Your help meant the canteen ran very smoothly particularly on those busy Fridays! The students love to see their Mum, Dad and even an occasional grandparent in the canteen.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  See you in 2024.

Kind regards

Tracey Walker

Parish News

Sacramental Program 2024

Community News

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully