St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday November 14th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

As we move into the final weeks of the school year this is an exciting time for our Year 5 students as they consider applying for leadership roles for their final year as Year 6 students.

Whilst this is an exciting time for our Year 5 students there is no doubt that this can also bring some nerves too.

Over the past weeks our Year 5 students have prepared letters expressing their interest in leadership positions and they are currently preparing their speeches. The students will deliver their speeches this week for their selected roles.

It was a delight to meet with our Year 5 students to discuss what it means to be a leader, the expectations that come with being a leader and the opportunities that present for them as leaders. Our Year 4 and 5 students will have the opportunity to listen to the speeches from our candidates and then place their votes for who they believe should be appointed to the various leadership positions.

As we move through the leadership application process we recognise that some students will be successful in receiving their first choice of leadership positions, whilst for others there may be a little disappointment if they receive a role that was not their first choice. As a school we are proud of all students for putting forward their best effort and receiving their respective roles and we know that they will do an outstanding job.

We wish all our Year 5 students all the best as they prepare for their leadership speeches next week. Good luck everyone.

Monday 20th November - School Closure Day 


School Improvement

MACSSIS data reflection

Literacy & Numeracy assessments beginning 2024

Staffing News - Congratulations Mrs Kathryn Forbes

After 12 years of passion and dedicated service to St John the Baptist School and community we congratulate Kathryn Forbes on her appointment as Learning and Teaching Leader and Learning Diversity Leader at St Michael’s School Berwick in 2024.

Kathryn’s passion for education and learning is evident in all that she does. Over her  journey at SJB she has held many roles. Commencing as a part time teacher in PE, moving into classroom teaching, teaching across all levels, undertaking further study, along with, moving into leadership as Maths Leader.  There is much for Kathryn to be proud of throughout her time at SJB.

Whilst it is with sadness that we farewell Kathryn, we are thrilled for her in taking this next step in her leadership journey. This is a wonderful opportunity for Kathryn to develop and grow further as a leader. Congratulations Kathryn, we wish you every success in your new role at St Michael’s and know that you will be a great asset to their team.

Starting School Webinar - Carley McGauran

We have been most fortunate to be offered access to Carley’s webinar how to ‘Thrive not just Survive’’. Carley provides practical advice for families on how to start school successfully as well as a number of general parenting tips. Families will find Carley easy to listen to and highly relatable as a parent of three children herself.

Here is the link for parents to register for the webinar (you will also receive access to the replay):

Dads and Kids Weekend- Gilwell Park

It has been wonderful to hear that this year’s Dads and Kids weekend was a huge success.

Thankfully the weather was kind enough to allow the conditions for a terrific weekend. The number of Dads and kids from across the school in attendance was absolutely fantastic, with approximately 80 in attendance.  It is wonderful to see such a strong sense of community in action.

A huge thank you to the P & F and the Cann family for all of their work behind the scenes in creating the conditions for a terrific weekend away. 

It is times like these that create lifelong memories for children and families that will be fondly remembered for many years to come.

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

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

School Uniform

Families wishing to purchase any uniform items are asked to make these purchases this week.

After this week the uniform will be prepared to move to Beleza Uniforms in Boronia.  Families will be able to purchase uniform from Beleza in December.  We will inform families when Beleza have completed their set up of SJB uniform and are ready for customers.

Year 6 - End of Year Key Graduation Event Timetable

Year 6 families please take note of the key dates and events as scheduled for the final weeks of Term 4.  

Thursday 14th December School Day Year 6 Fun Day Celebration

  • Students walk to Ferntree Gully Bowling Club for Barefoot Bowls and lunch

  • Students walk to Wally Tew Park to play - Cake & fruit

  • Students to wear casual clothes and are encouraged to embrace the spirit of the day & where possible wear bowling whites!! There is no need to purchase an outfit, be creative with any whites you have at home!!

Thursday 14th December -5.00pm-6.00pm 

  • Graduation Mass & Year 6 Presentations 

    • Our Year 6 families are invited to the Year 6 Graduation Mass on Thursday 14th December.   At the conclusion of the Mass we will make all formal presentations to our Year 6 children and recognise those families who conclude their formal association with St John’s School.   

    • Students to wear neat casual clothes to Graduation Mass

Friday 15th December 

  • Students attend school day

  • Signing of graduation bears/balls & t-shirts - students to bring t-shirts to school

  • Whole school farewell assembly commencing at 1:15pm

  • Guard of honour as students leave hall

  • Students to wear regular school uniform. Uniform being worn are not to be signed

Australian Mathematics Competition

Congratulations to the following students for participating in the Australian Mathematics Competition this year:

Bryce S, Elliot B, Flynn B, Henry W, Jeremy G, Judd P, Aiden A, Archer C, Etta R, Mason P, Patrick C, Scarlett H, Sophia A, Teague D, Susie D, Thaaruni S, Austin T, Christian T, Emily S, Joseph W, Joshua A, Marcus V, Poppy B, Sam H, Joshua W, Thanushri S, Millie B.

An outstanding job by all students taking on the AMC challenge.

Rememberance Day Prayer Service

On Friday 10th November we gathered as a school to remember all those affected by war.  We thank Mrs Marialisa Mandarino REL, our Year 6 Leaders and our school community for the reverence shown during the ceremony.

Car Parking - Morning Drop Off

We have recently noticed a number of families using the staff and parish car park in the mornings to drop off students. We remind families that car parking for families is located in the lower car parks off either Forest Road or Selman Ave. To ensure the safety of families and parishioners we ask families to refrain from using the staff and parish car park.

Prep Enrolment Forms for 2024 are now Overdue

We request that all parents with Prep enrolments for the 2024 school year submit enrolment forms in the coming days.  If you are aware of friends or family members wishing to enrol at St John’s please advise them that enrolment forms need to be submitted to secure a placement.  Enrolment forms can be found on the school website or can be collected from the School Office.

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. 

Families will receive an outline of the sessions and permission forms through Operoo.

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.

Christmas Carols Night - 7 December at 7.00pm

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.

Wishing everyone a terrific week ahead. It is difficult to believe that we are in Week 7 of Term 4.

Kelli Johnston

Year 3/4s Special Visit

Last Friday the 3/4s had a very special visit from Arthur Brodie's (3/4D) grandfather Maurice. Maurice spoke to the students about the importance and symbolism of Remembrance Day. Maurice had several incredible artefacts that brought his stories to life. The children listened intently and asked thoughtful questions which broadened their understanding of why we remember those who have sacrificed for us. We thank Maurice for sharing his time, passion and incredible experiences for the benefit of our students

Parents & Friends News

Teacher's Thank You Lunch - 20 November

It is a tradition at SJB that the P&F provide a lunch for the the teachers to say thank you for the year for all that they do to support our children. This takes place on Monday 20th November, the last pupil free development day of the year.  If you would like to help us by making something or coordinating the event please let us know via email at

If you have any delicious salads or dishes that consider gluten free, dairy free, vegan or veg diets this would be most appreciated.

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


20th School Closure Day - Staff PL

28th Education Board and Parents & Friends Thank you evening


1st First Friday Mass - Year 1/2

3rd First Sunday of Advent - Hope

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.

Canteen Roster

Wednesday November 15thFriday November 17th
Jessie Stephens

Caroline Walsh

Anna Kristoff

Wednesday November 22nd Friday November 24th
Jessica Bagnoux

Claire Lewis

Fleur Dow

Parish News

Save the Date

Click links here:

Camp Australia

Camp Australia Pricing

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully