St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday March 12th 2024

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston

Project Compassion

Spanning across the six weeks of Lent, Project Compassion brings thousands of schools, parishes and supporters together to raise funds for the most marginalised communities around the world.

Throughout the season of Lent the students of St John the Baptist will be learning about stories similar to the story of Memory. Through stories like Memory’s,  students will consider actions that they can undertake to make a difference.


Memory's story - Malawi

As the eldest child in a low-income farming family, Memory faced many barriers to her education. But with the support of Caritas Australia and CADECOM, she enrolled in a technical school and became the first female carpenter in her village.

As a family you may like to listen to Memory’s story:

Memory's Story

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 and May.

School Open Days will be held on:

Thursday 14th March

Thursday 9th May

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.

Mrs Marialisa Mandarino - Wishing you a Speedy Recovery

We wish Mrs Marialisa Mandarino a speedy recovery after her recent fall at SJB. Marialisa sustained a fractured elbow and wrist through a fall that she had at SJB on the morning of Ash Wednesday.  We look forward to Marialisa returning to work in Term 2.

We will continue to keep Marialisa in our thoughts and prayers throughout her recovery.

We welcome Mrs Kayla Duca & Ms Kelsey van Ommen for the remainder of Term 1 in the role of Italian teachers. We thank all staff for their support in assisting with the numerous RE events throughout the remainder of Term 1. Mrs Tracey Ryan will support the SJB RE program in Marialisa’s absence.  We thank Tracey for her support and leadership throughout this time.


Throughout 2023 the School Advisory Council reflected upon feedback received from families in regard to the SJB uniform. After careful consideration and reflection from Term 2 the following changes to the school uniform will come into effect.

Winter Uniform

Tailored pants will be introduced for girls.

Pants for both boys and girls will change to navy. (Grey pants to be phased out)

Change of Sports tracksuit pant

Summer Uniform

Tailored shorts will be introduced for girls

Shorts for both boys and girls will be navy (Grey shorts to be phased out)

Sports shorts will change to a unisex microfibre short

Skorts will be phased out

Changes to the SJB uniform will be introduced as of Term 2 2024. The uniform changes will be phased in throughout 2024 and 2025

Full implementation of the uniform will come into effect at the commencement of 2026.

Athletics Day - Friday March 22nd

Exciting times as we prepare for the SJB 2024 Athletics Day.

This year’s Athletics Day will be relocated to Croydon due to work being undertaken at the Knox Athletics Track. The venue for this year’s Athletics Day is outlined below

Where: Town Park

             Norton Road, Croydon, 3136

Time: Year 3-6 students 9:45am - 2:15pm

           Prep - Year 2 students 10:30am - 12:45pm

  • Announcement of house places will take place on return to SJB.

Students are encouraged to join in the excitement of the day.  Students may dress in the colour of their house, wear ribbons, coloured zinc or hair (this is to be done prior to arriving at school). We ask families to prepare for the day prior to arriving at school.  (The school toilets are not an area for coloured zinc or hairspray). House posters may be created & brought along for team spirit and cheering.  These are the responsibility of students.  (Coloured streamers are not to brought as these create a significant & time consuming mess to clean up at the end of the day.)

Division Swimming

We congratulate all students for their participation and sportsmanship at Friday’s Division Swimming event at Croydon Pool. The students were outstanding in their efforts and support of all participants was exceptional. Congratulations to all students on the manner in which you represented St John the Baptist School and yourselves. 

Congratulations to the following students on progressing to the next stage, Regionals being held on Friday March 22nd at Aquanation Ringwood.

9/10 Girls relay team Mya C, Jenna G, Claudia A and Annaliese S, and

Sophia A, Archer C, Jenna G in individual events

Easter Egg Raffle

The St John the Baptist Easter Egg Raffle is up and running for 2024. We ask each family to donate an Easter Egg or Easter 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.

All Easter Egg donations are required by Monday 25th March

This will provide time for hampers to be created.

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.

Barry Plant Boronia - Easter Colouring Competition

Barry Plant Boronia are running an Easter competition this year for all students under 12 who would like to enter.

This competition is open to children 12 years and under with 3 prizes to be won that will be drawn out of a hat!

The artwork can be dropped into our office at 69 Boronia Road, Boronia, via email or at any of our Open for Inspections.

 Please find attached the Easter Colouring sheet and the prizes to be won.

 It is a fun opportunity for the students to get in touch with their artistic side that may result in them being 1 of 3 Winners.

The competition closes on Tuesday 26th of March and the winners will be announced on the day at our Barry Plant Boronia office.

Good luck everyone!!

Colouring Competition Form



World's Greatest Shave - Good Luck Marcus!!

We congratulate Marcus van der Pol on the fundraising work he is undertaking for blood cancer research through the World’s Greatest Shave.  Well done Marcus on raising money for a worthy cause.

We have scheduled for Marcus to have his hair shaved at St John’s on Friday 15th March at 2.30pm.

Families wishing to sponsor Marcus as he prepares for his Greatest Shave may do so through the following link:

Marcus van der Pol World's Greatest Shave

ANZAC Day Ferntree Gully Rotary Dawn Watch

The Ferntree Gully Rotary Club & CFA invite the community to join this year’s Anzac Day Dawn Watch on Thursday 25th April at Quarry Park, Quarry Road, Ferntree Gully at 5:45am for a 6:00am start.

Any families who will be in attendance and would like to lay a wreath on behalf of St John the Baptist School are asked to contact myself via email:

We would be proud and honoured to lay a wreath on behalf of SJB for all who have fought for our country.

Managing Big Feelings - Carley McGauran (Psychologist)

We hope that families who joined Carley’s webinar on Thursday evening feel reaffirmed in their work as parents.   Families will be familiar with Carley through her Prep transition session in 2023.  Carley’s session was designed to support you in the most helpful way when your children experience big feelings.

Some of the topics that Carley covered included:

  • 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

    We have recorded the webinar event for you!

    In case you missed the live webinar, or in case you would like to watch it again, here is the link to the replay video:

    Parent & Carers Toolkit (all the info, links and resources from the webinar):

    You're invited to join our Facebook group for parents & carers:

    Click here to access our facebook page

    One last favour...if you've read this far, we presume you found our session super valuable. If you feel inclined write a super short Google review (it helps other schools find out and trust in the work we offer), we'd be very grateful.


    Enjoy the content!

    Marty & Carley

    Harmony Day - Thursday March 21st

    This year we will celebrate Harmony Day with a prayer service to be led by the Year 1/2 level.  Students may wear a touch of orange on this day in celebration and recognition of Harmony Day. This may be an orange ribbon, clothing or socks.  Students are to wear their school uniform with the option of wearing orange. This is not a free dress day.

    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


    13th- NAPLAN Commences

    14th - Open Day 2

    14th - Combined Schools Mass 4pm

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

    20th - Sacrament of Reconciliation - 5pm

    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 & Easter Raffle Draw

    28th - Term concludes at 2.00pm

    Student Awards

    Prep BA

    Oliver B - for being a superstar student and always doing your very best learning. You have continuously drawn wonderful pictures that are full of detail and generate clear sentences that match your drawings too. Great work Oli! 

    Prep LC

    Sophia G - for always coming to school with a big smile. You give your best in every activity and participate with a positive attitude. Thank you for all the kindness you bring to Prep LC.

    Year 1/2B

    William R - for your excellent participation in class discussions and your dedication to written work at your table. Keep up the great work!

    Sophie B - for being such an enthusiastic story writer. It is wonderful to see how you develop your story ideas. Keep up the great work!

    Year 1/2D

    Lucy C - for displaying confidence and courage when reading at Mass this week. You read with a clear voice and were incredibly brave! Well done Lucy, keep it up!

    Year 1/2JM

    Anastasia H - for your impressive work presentation. We enjoy sharing all of your wonderful ideas in writing Anastasia.

    Sam M - for your enthusiastic approach to all school work. We love hearing your creative ideas Sam.

    Nathan S - for spreading  huge amount of kindness and friendship in our classroom. You are always considering others and looking for ways to help. It does not go unnoticed and is appreciated by us all. Thank you. Super effort Nathan!

    Year 1/2KC

    Ethan M - for showing great skills in Maths, for participating enthusiastically in discussions and showing kindness every day. You are a star!

    Year 3/4GA

    Zac C - for his wonderful efforts in his writing and for his continuous improvement in his writing stamina.

    Zara R - for her wonderful efforts in making new friendships and sharing her kindness to all of her peers!

    Year 3/4HM

    Ashlea J - for putting maximum effort into every task and working hard to contribute to discussions.

    Judd P - for accepting feedback and using it to write a great ending to his narrative.

    Year 3/4J

    Jenna G - for excellent use of descriptive and persuasive language in writing.

    Jake C - for being a conscientious, helpful, courteous and able student and for always doing his best in every way.

    Arthur B - for always being a willing helper, active participation in class discussions and always working hard in all areas of the curriculum.  

    Alexis R-L - for active participation in classroom discussions, for improvement in the use of punctuation, and for always looking for ways to improve her work.

    Year 3/4SJ

    Charlize P - for displaying fabulous strategies when reading and always caring for her classmates.

    Benjamin H - for being a creative thinker and participating happily in our class basketball games.

    Year 5/6D

    Thaaruni S - for working hard across all subject areas and being an inclusive friend

    Mason P - for completing some excellent work to start the year and bringing his infectious smile to the classroom.

    Year 5/6RD

    Ember H - for making a positive start to Year 6 by demonstrating a great attitude towards your learning and trying super hard with all of your work. Keep up the great attitude Ember, well done.

    Amelia G - for making a positive start to Year 5 by demonstrating a great attitude towards your learning and trying super hard with all of your work. Keep up the great attitude and wonderful effort Amelia, well done.

    Second Hand Uniforms

    Thank you to all the families who have donated items for the 2nd Hand Uniform Shop over the last few weeks. There is plenty of stock available. Please see image below for the most recent stock list. 
    To assist families who may not be available to visit on a Tuesday, I will trial opening on a Monday and Tuesday alternating weeks.
    The 2nd Hand Uniform Shop will be open on the following days for the rest of term 1:- Tuesday 12th March- Monday 18th March- Tuesday 26th March

    Canteen News

    Canteen orders can be placed via

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

    Hot Cross Bun Day in the Canteen

    Wednesday March 27th

    We will be having a Hot Cross Bun day in the Canteen on Wednesday March 27th (no ordinary canteen this day).

    Orders need to be placed via Flexischools from tomorrow.

    Link -

    Canteen Roster Term 1, 2024

    Wednesday March 13th Friday March 15th 
    Jessica Bagnoux

    Troy Kristof

    Mark Molan

    Rients Huitema

    Wednesday March 20th Friday March 22nd 
    Bridget Russo

    Claire Lewis

    Fleur Dow

    Emma Jenkins

    Community News

    Foster an Assistance Dog

    Knox Gymnastics Holiday Program

    Knox Gymnastics Enrolment Form


    St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully