St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday March 26th 2024

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston

Each year at St John the Baptist a school theme is created. Our school theme underpins our focus for our community at St John the Baptist.  This year in alignment with the MACS Vision for Instruction the theme for St John the Baptist is ‘Flourishing Learners’. The MACS Vision for instructions highlights every student being inspired and enabled to flourish and enrich the world. The dignity and worth of each student is valued, placing each individual student at the heart of all that we do.

We thank our Visual Arts teacher Mrs Renee Armstrong for her work with our St John the Baptist art piece that highlights this year’s theme of ‘Flourising Learners’. We are most fortunate to have Renee sharing her talents with our students. 

Athletics Day

On Friday all students enjoyed a wonderful day of participation in the St John the Baptist Athletics Day. It was terrific to see all students participating and enjoying the events of the day. Congratulations to Yellow House for taking out the honours of being this year’s Athletics Day winners.  Congratulations to our Sports Captains in the manner they led the spirit of the day. It is on days like these that we see the leadership capabilities of our students.

We thank Mr John Mitchell for the many hours of preparation that go into organising such an event, as well as all staff for the combined team effort in creating such a successful day. 

Thank you to the many parent helpers on the day. Events like Athletics Day can only be successful with the help received from many.  Thank you to everyone for creating such a wonderful community event.

Athletics Carnival - Sports Report

Last Friday March 22nd our students arrived at Croydon athletics track with colour, excitement, expectations and enthusiasm. The weather was perfect and the track was fast!

It was wonderful to see so many students entering the spirit of the day by dressing up in their colours and contributing to the day through their participation. 

The day takes many hours to sort out and it is a great reward to see all the students joining in the fun. Even those who may usually get anxious in showing their abilities participated to their fullest. Well done to these students!

I would like to thank Ms Karen Joustra who assisted on her day off and took some wonderful photos! Also, Ms Renee Armstrong who assisted in setting up the day with myself. 

Thankyou to the many parents who assisted at an event, Sophie and Olivia Ryan who also volunteered to help on the day and the Staff who read their instructions for the day! It was a tremendous team effort by everyone.

We did have a winner on the day and the results are below 

First place - Yellow house 1412

Second place- Blue house 1156

Third place- Green house 860

Fourth place- Red house 840

Regional Swimming

Congratulations to all our swimmers who competed at the Eastern Regional Swimming Carnival - many also came back to compete at our athletics carnival. Thanks to the parents who transported their child back to our sports day. 

Results were: 9/10 girls Relay  finished 16th out of 16th but improved their time by 4 seconds in the final.  

Jenna G -9/10  Free 10/17 took 1.1 secs off her time,  Butterfly- 16/16 but took five seconds of her time. 

Archer C - 11 Boys Breastroke 17/17-  3.8 seconds off 

Sophia A- 11 Girls Backstroke 15/16- 1.8 seconds better. 

Although our students didn’t qualify for the State carnival each of them were able to trim time off their previous times. 

We thank Gabby and Chavella from Aquatic Achievers for assisting in training our students. We look forward to more students being involved in our swimming program in 2025!

John Mitchell 

PE Leader

Easter Events - Last day of Term 1

As we approach the last day of Term 1 we welcome families to join us for a number of events on the last day of term.  Please see the outline of the day below:

Holy Week Prayer Reflections: 9:15am - Year 3/4, 9:45am - Year 1/2  & 10:15am - Prep

  • Families are welcome to join any of the Holy Week prayer reflections in the school hall

Easter Bonnet Parade & Easter Raffle: 1:15pm Easter Bonnet parade & drawing of this year’s Easter Raffle.

All proceeds of this year’s Easter Raffle will be donated to Project Compassion. 

We thank Veronica Brightwell and Baylee Brits for all of their preparation and work with this year’s Easter Raffle.

Term 1 Concludes: 2:00pm 

St John the Baptist Open Days for 2025 Prep Children

Throughout the term a number of school tours have been conducted for families seeking to enrol their children for the 2025 school year. The school open days have been well attended and therefore we are including a Saturday morning Open Morning. Dates for the Open Morning & Open Day are as outlined below:

Open Morning: Saturday 4th May - tours @ 9am, 9:45am & 10:30am

Open Day: Thursday 9th May - tours @ 9am, 10am, 4pm & 5pm

We ask families wishing to take a tour to please book at the office.

Families with siblings commencing school in 2025 are asked to submit enrolments as soon as possible to assist with confirmation of student numbers for 2025.

Congratulations Reconciliation Candidates - Celebration of Sacrament

Congratulations to our Year 3 students who received the Sacrament of Reconciliation last Wednesday 20th March.

Anthony C, Eliza H, Ashlea J, Cillian McD, Xavier M, Ethan N, Zikora O, Claudia A, Carter R, Hudson T, Zoe v B, Harrison C, Mya C, Eli C, Siella G, Ben H, Mitch L, Isla P, Benji W, Charlotte W, Cohen D, Lawson D, Lacey H, Jacob N, Eli P, Stella P, Zara R, Finn te B, Chizara O, Chelsea B, Frankie S, Audrey L, Jack F, Chelsea F, Josephine M, Lillian M and Reanne N

We thank Fr Thomas, Marialisa Mandarino (Religious Education Leader), Tracey Ryan (RE support), the Grade 3/4 team and our staff for their support of the children on this evening. We thank Kevin Woodhouse, grandfather of Ashlea Jones and SJB parishioner for his generous contribution of playing the guitar as part of the Reconciliation Penitential Service. Such a beautiful and most memorable touch. Thank you Kevin.

Furthermore, we thank our families for your support of your children in the preparation for Reconciliation.  Preparing students to receive sacraments requires a strong home, school and parish partnership.  We are most grateful to our families for your ongoing support.

VACPSPS Principals Conference

The Victorian Association of Catholic Primary School Principals holds its biennial conference at Lorne.  The theme for this year’s conference of Think - Engage - Lead with Strength was held from 19th -22nd March.  Over the 3 days principals from Catholic Schools across the Melbourne Archdiocese were most fortunate to hear from a series of world-renowned speakers on a number of highly engaging themes. 

We were most fortunate to hear about the work and stories of each speaker and how these have shaped the people they are today. As principals we were able to reflect on these stories of courage, inspiration, our school contexts, mission and vision as leaders of faith communities and the impact we are able to have on our students and communities.

Speakers and themes at this year’s conference included:

Host: Adam Spencer - Australian Media Personality & Public Mathematician

Keynote Speakers: Ashley Fell - Social Researcher, Author, TEDx speaker & Director of  Advisory at the internationally recognised McCrindel

          Craig Foster - Former Socceroo, Broadcaster, Sport & Social Responsibility, Author & Human Rights Activist

          Theresa Adler - Director of Gweagal Cultural Connections Indigenous & Spiritual Educator

          Mitch Tambo - Proud Gamilaraay man, Musician, Actor, Presenter,  Performer

          Saroo Brierley - Best selling Author, subject of the Academy Award  nominated film - Lion 

          Jelena Dokic - Former world no. 4, Tennis commentator, Best selling Author

          Deborah Patterson - Leader, Coach, Mentor, Teacher, Writer

I thank Ursula DeCorrado, the School Improvement Team and all staff as they supported our students and each other during my days of absence. 

Head Lice

Recently we have been notified of head lice in the school. Families are asked to monitor their children for head lice. Students with long hair that is able to be tied back should have their hair tied.

Easter Eggs Surprise

We will be handing all children an Easter Egg on Thursday 28th March as we conclude term 1.  A letter advising all parents of this gift was sent to parents along with the details via Operoo.   Parents with children with dietary requirements will receive an alternate treat that their child may choose to eat.    We advise parents of this action as we are highly aware of our role to cater for children with allergies, whilst providing the opportunity for our children to receive a small gift from their teacher. 


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.


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.

School Car Parking

In the past the car park between the Church and Parish House/Library was the staff car park. Recently the Right to Use Land and Boundary Agreement has been updated in alignment with the school building program that is due to shortly commence.  The majority of this car park is now designated to the St John the Baptist Parish.  The update of the car park is to allow parishioners access to the church and church buildings whilst ensuring the safety for the school community.

Families are required to continue to use the lower car parks on both Forest Road and Selman Ave for school car parking. The church car park area is strictly for parishioners and is not parking for school pick up and drop off. We ask that out of respect for the parish and safety of our school community that families refrain from using this car park.

Mother's Day - Save the Dates

We warmly welcome all SJB Mums to come together for afternoon tea followed by a special Mother’s Day family activity in classrooms.  Mums/Special friends are welcome to come together for a Mother’s Day afternoon tea in the hall on Friday May 10th from 2pm.  We ask our Mums to move to allocated classrooms for 2:45pm to complete a family Mother’s Day activity.

This year’s Mother’s Day stall will be held on Tuesday 7th May. We thank our Mother’s Day P & F team for all of their work going in to preparing a terrific Mother’s Day stall.

Mother’s Day Bunnings Cake Stall. Work is underway to prepare for a Mother’s Day cake stall at Bunnings Scoresby on Saturday 11th May. Further information will provided in the coming weeks.

We look forward to celebrating our amazing Mums.

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

Sustainability News

What’s Growing-On in our School Vegie Garden?

As the warmer weather begins to leave us, our school vegie garden bursts forth with life and promise. We've been busy tending to the tender shoots and sprouts, nurturing them to fruition.

In recent weeks, our efforts have borne fruit—quite literally! A bountiful harvest of beans, potatoes, lettuce, and tomatoes has graced our garden beds, delighting both students and staff alike. Thank you to Father Thomas for planting and nurturing those seedlings in the Spring of 2023.

But our gardening journey doesn't end with the harvest. We're now gearing up for the next phase of cultivation. Excitingly, Grade 5/6 student volunteers have sowed a diverse green manure mix, featuring an array of nutrient-rich plants such as broad beans, fenugreek, oats, clover, vetch, millet, buckwheat, and broccoli rapa. While this blend may not yield an immediate bounty, it's a vital investment in the future health of our garden beds, enriching them with organic matter and essential nutrients in preparation for the forthcoming spring planting season.

In our commitment to sustainability, we've also embarked on a dedicated composting initiative. Each class has eagerly embraced the opportunity to contribute their food scraps to our new compost bins, turning waste into valuable nourishment for our garden. The support of our Sustainability leaders and SRC leaders has been instrumental in launching and sustaining this eco-conscious endeavor.

As we continue to nurture our school vegie garden, we're not just growing plants; we're cultivating a sense of stewardship for our environment and instilling valuable lessons in sustainability for generations to come. Throughout the year, students in other Grades will have opportunities to participate in lunch time gardening clubs. Together, let's watch as our garden flourishes and our community blooms with pride

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


27th - Hot Cross Bun Day in the Canteen (no normal canteen this day)

28th - Holy Week Stations of the Cross

28th - P - 2 Easter Bonnet Parade & Easter Raffle Draw

28th - Term concludes at 2.00pm


15th - Term 2 commences

17th - Alleuia Day Mass

22nd - P&F Meeting at 7.00pm

24th - ANZAC Day Prayer Service

24th - School Photos - summer uniform

25th - ANZAC Day Public Holiday - school closed

26th - School Closed TIL


2nd - Mater Christi & St Joseph's Taster Day - Year 4 students

3rd - Assembly - 1/2B presenting

7th - Mother's Day Stall

9th - Open Day - Tours 9.00am, 10.00am, 4.00pm & 5.00pm

10th - Mother's Day Afternoon Tea & activity at 2.00pm

12th - Mother's Day

Parish News

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. 
The 2nd Hand Uniform Shop is open every Tuesday 2.45-3.15pm. At the moment we are unable to open on other days due to the library being in use.

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 - ORDERS HAVE NOW CLOSED

Please note - orders have now closed for the Hot Cross Bun Day tomorrow, Wednesday March 27th (no normal canteen this day - children need to bring lunch).

Canteen Roster Term 1, 2024

Wednesday March 27th Friday March 29th 

Hot Cross Bun Day

Helpers Needed Please

Good Friday

Community News

Knox Gymnastics Holiday Program

Knox Gymnastics Enrolment Form


St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully