St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday February 13th 2024

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

Last Friday was the first opportunity to come together as a parish and school community for the celebration of the Eucharist in this new school year. We came together as a Christian community, looking forward to a year of growth, learning and challenges. 

Our focus and theme for 2024 is ‘Flourishing Learners’ where we will explore ways that we can follow Jesus’ example and use our gifts and talents to be the best person we can be for ourselves, our school and God.

Our students were simply outstanding.  From entering the church respectfully, to reading and responding throughout the Mass, to receiving communion or a blessing to singing, all students should be enormously proud of the manner in which they presented themselves.  We especially thank our Year 6 students for their leadership and modelling demonstrated to their Prep buddies who attended their first School Mass. Our Beginning of School Year Mass is another example of the terrific start to our school year. We thank our REL Marialisa Mandarino for all of her work preparing the Mass and the staff for their work in preparing the students.

We thank Father Thomas and Deacon Peter for such a warm welcome.  We are most fortunate to have Father Thomas and Deacon Peter as our faith leaders at SJB. Our partnership and support from the parish is most greatly valued and we look forward to continuing to see our partnership ‘flourish’.

Twilight on the Green

What a great night was had by all! We thank the Parent and Friends Committee for their work that went into preparing such a welcoming and wonderful event for the St John’s school community. Thank you to Bec and Simon Russell, along with Fleur, Peter, Naomi and Jacinta for sharing their musical talents and for creating a wonderful atmosphere for all to enjoy. It was terrific to see students enjoying the playground or playing games on the oval, as well as families enjoying each other’s company.  Once again Twilight on the Green demonstrated the wonderful sense of community at SJB. 

Cyber Safety Evening - Highly Positive Parent Feedback

Thank you to our many parents who attended the Cyber Safety forum held on Thursday evening.   It was terrific to see approximately 60 parents supporting the evening and our programs through their attendance.   The feedback as received was highly positive.   

We have been advised that a recording of the presentation will be available in the coming weeks.

Below you will find the link from Marty and Carley to be shared with parents and carers as a follow up resource. Please note that the webinar replay won't be sent through until after February 22, to ensure it is up to date. 

Raising Kids in a Digital World - Parent Resources for St John the Baptist

  • Toolkit (slides, links & resources from the session) 

  • Blog posts 

  • Printable family poster

Canteen Begins

Canteen begins Wednesday 14th February.  The canteen will operate on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Orders must be placed no later than 7.30am on the morning of canteen. 


The season of Lent commences this week, commencing with Ash Wednesday tomorrow. As a school we will attend Mass at 9:15am. We warmly welcome families to join us as a community at Mass.

The season of Lent is significant within the Catholic faith. The season of Lent is a liturgical season consisting of 40 days commencing on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Thursday.  The liturgical colour of the Lenten season is purple.

During Lent some things families may like to do with their children include:

  • Entering in prayer - quiet meditation, prayer of thanks, songs.

  • Give up or do something kind for 40 days

  • Read stories about Easter

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.

School Open Days will be held on:

Wednesday 6th March

Thursday 14th March

Alternatively families can book tours by phoning the office or through the school website.

Every day is Open Day at St John the Baptist School!! Come and see us in action.

We request that parents already with children in the school enrol as early as possible.

Sacramental Calendar 2024

We ask families to please place the dates for this year’s Sacraments in your calendars. Sacraments are important milestones and celebrations in our students' faith journey.

SacramentImportant Dates


Year 3 students only

Family Evening - 15th February 7-8.00pm

Commitment Mass - Attend 1 mass over the weekend

Saturday 17th at 6pm or Sunday 18th at either 9am or 11am

Sacrament of First Reconciliation - Wednesday 20th March  5pm


Year 5 & 6 students

Family Evening - 24th July 7-8pm

Commitment Mass - Saturday 27th or Sunday 28th July

Reflection Day - tbc

Sacrament of Confirmation Thursday 29th August at 6pm


Teacher Meet & Greet

The St John’s teacher Meet and Greet will be held this afternoon and tomorrow 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. We look forward to meeting with our families and getting to know our students further.

The Year 5/6 Meet and Greets will be held in small breakout rooms in the main building.

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

Prep Rest Days

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

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

2024 Fee/Levy Schedule

Please refer below for the 2024 Fee/Levy Schedule, which provides families with an overview of the Fee/Levies for the year along with a suggested payment schedule.

If you have successfully applied for the CSEF and/or Fee Concession, your fee statements will be coming home shortly.

Please be aware, if you pre-paid levies last year they will not appear listed on this statement as a receipt, but will show under the 'Opening Balance' (top right) as a credit from last year on your fee statement.

Automatic Credit Card Payment Form


Working Bee - Saturday March 2nd 1.30pm-4.00pm

We look forward to welcoming parents to the first working bee of the school year on Saturday 2nd March from 1:30pm-4pm. There are always a number of jobs to complete at our first Working Bee each year, while the weather is good.

If we have any landscape gardeners that would be able to repair the sprinkler system in our sandpit, please contact Ursula (this does not not have to occur on the date of the working bee if there is another day that suits you).

If you are able to attend, please RSVP to - (please include number attending), alternatively, you can return the attached form.  Thank you.

Working Bee Reply Slip


School Advisory Council

The St John the Baptist School Advisory Council (SAC) will meet throughout 2024 to reflect on and gain feedback on a number aspects of SJB school.  We look forward to working in partnership with the SAC members to reflect and discuss important aspects of St John the Baptist. We have been most fortunate to have a full SAC with parent representation across school year levels.

School Advisory Council evenings are scheduled for Wednesday evenings commencing at 7:00pm in the St John the Baptist staffroom.  The following dates below outline the SAC meetings for the 2024 school year.

21st February

20th March

15th May

31st July

4th September

23rd October

20th November

Year 5/6 Camp

The Year 5/6 Camp to Campaspe Downs is 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 return the medical forms distributed by the Year 5/6 team.  We are looking forward to a terrific 3 days away with our senior students.

Parents and Friends Committee

The Parents and Friends Committee consists of parents across the school who work together to organise community events across the school.  The Parents and Friends Committee is a great way to be involved in the SJB community, as well as, meet parents in the school.  We thank all members of the community who have offered to be part of the P & F Committee for 2024.  We look forward to meeting as a group at the first SJB P & F Meeting scheduled for Monday 19th February at 7:00pm in the staffroom.

Swimming Squad Training

Swimming squad training has now commenced on Monday mornings at St Joseph’s Secondary College.  The dates for swimming squad are Monday 12th and Monday 19th February from 8:00am - 8:30am. Additional dates may become available should student engagement remain high.

Sherbrooke District Swimming is being held this Friday, February 16th at Belgrave Community Pool.  Students selected to participate have been notified.  Parents please complete the permission form sent via Operoo as soon as possible. Good luck to all participating students.

Athletics Sports Day

In preparation for the SJB Athletics sports day does anybody have access to either a flatbed truck or van? As we need to change the venue from Knox Athletics track to Croydon Athletics track for this year only  (Knox is having track renovations done) we need to supply our own equipment. I would like assistance in transporting our High Jump mat to the venue on Friday March 22. Please contact me via the Office if you have the capacity to assist. 

John Mitchell 

PE/Sport Coordinator

Child Safe Practices - Working with Children Checks

St John’s School is committed to providing a child safe environment and takes active steps to ensure any person authorised to conduct ‘child connected works’ does not pose a risk to their safety or welfare. To achieve this, the school implements screening processes, including Working With Children Checks (WWCC), to assess and verify their suitability. 

St John’s School ensures that non-teaching staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors are of suitable character and do not have a relevant criminal record that poses an unjustifiable risk to children. 

Teaching Staff & Casual Relief Teachers who are registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) undergo criminal record checks via their annual registration.

Volunteering to Assist with School Programs- WWCC

Parents would be aware that to assist with any of our school programs that all volunteers, parents/guardians/family members are required to have a current Working With Children Check on our school records.

Please refer to the following site for details on accessing a WWCC.

Family members are to provide a copy of the WWCC to the school office. 

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.

Wishing everyone a terrific week ahead.

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/or 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


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

16th - Sherbrooke District Swimming

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

19th - P & F Meeting 7.00pm

21st - Prep Rest Day

21st School Advisory Council Meeting 7.00pm

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

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

20th - Sacrament of Reconciliation - 5pm

20th - School Advisory Council

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

28th - Term concludes at 2.00pm

Second Hand Uniforms

Thank you to all the families who have donated items to the 2nd Hand Uniform Shop. There are lots of great pieces available, so come in on a Tuesday afternoon 2:45pm - 3:15pm and see if there is something your children need. All items $5.00 - cash only please.

Janice Stiglich

Canteen News

Canteen orders can be placed via

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


The Canteen is seeking volunteer helpers who can offer up just a couple of hours once per term (9.00-11.00am) on a Wednesday, or in particular on our busy Fridays.  If you think you can help, please complete the form below or contact Tracey Walker on 0408 101 100 if you have any questions.

Canteen Volunteer Form


Canteen Roster Term 1, 2024

Wednesday February 14th Friday February 16th 
Jess Walker

Melinda Price

Katrina Horne

Carrie Canton

Wednesday February 21st Friday February 23rd 
Rachel Ben

Nelson Serrao

Cassie Croning

Caroline Walsh

Parish News

Camp Australia News

Community News

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully