St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday November 21st 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

Last Thursday we had the privilege of listening to our Year 5 students present their leadership speeches for 2024. The Year 5 students presented their speeches to this year’s Year 4 and Year 5 students.  The students were outstanding in their presentation of their speeches. 

It was clear that each student wrote from their heart, were honest about their strengths, areas for growth and themselves as a person. The students covered qualities such as supporting others, supporting the community, listening to others, speaking publicly, being a learner, sharing humour, use of terrific vocabulary, writing positively and pure courage in publicly speaking to their peers and staff. The emphasis of service to others was a clear theme demonstrated by the students.  It was most refreshing to hear.

Throughout this week the students who are shortlisted for school captain will be invited to an interview. The leadership positions for 2024 will then be finalised.

Congratulations to all students for presenting themselves in an exemplary manner. St John the Baptist will be in the hands of wonderful leaders for 2024.

Staffing News - Welcome to the new staff of 2024

We are excited to be able to announce the new staff to St John the Baptist for 2024. We are most fortunate to have staff with great expertise and experience join us at SJB for next year.

We welcome the following staff for 2024: 

Christian der Kinderen to Year 5/6 and Sustainability Leader

Christian joins us from St Thomas in Cranbourne East. Christian is currently a Sustainability Leader at St Thomas.  He brings additional experience as a Maths Leader, Level Leader & classroom teacher.

Amanda Heidenrijk to Year 3/4 

Amanda joins us from St Simon’s in Rowville. After 11 years as a classroom teacher at St Simon’s we are excited to welcome Amanda to SJB.

Franca Paduano to Learning Diversity & Wellbeing

Franca joins us from St Andrew’s in Clayton South. Franca is currently a Learning Diversity Leader. She brings additional experience as a Learning & Teaching Leader, Literacy Leader, Intervention Leader & Acting Deputy Principal.  

Melissa Lynch

As previously outlined Melissa joins us from Resurrection in Keysborough. Melissa joins Shari Correlje in Prep for 2024. Melissa is an experienced Prep teacher and additionally brings experience in Learning Diversity and Wellbeing.

We have one additional staff member to announce. Out of respect for the context this teacher is moving from this announcement will be made in next week’s newsletter.

Closure Day

Yesterday the staff undertook a day of Professional Learning.  The day was focused on School Improvement and beginning of the year assessments.  As a staff the MACSSIS perception data was reflected upon to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in 2024. Additionally the staff reflected upon School Improvement in the areas of Faith in Education, Learning & Teaching, Wellbeing and Community.

We sincerely thank the amazing Parents and Friends team for providing a most delicious lunch and afternoon tea for the staff.  We greatly appreciate the time and effort that went into providing such a lovely lunch.

Second Hand Uniform Shop - coming 2024

We are most pleased to announce that we are in the process of creating a structure for second hand uniform purchasing for 2024.  The second hand uniform will be an additional option for families to purchase items with the moving of the school uniform heading to Beleza Uniforms.  It is also a great way to be sustainable and re-use uniform items.

We thank Janice Burns for offering to set up the second hand uniform.

Further information will be shared in the near future.

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):

Link to Starting School Webinar

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

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

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.

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. 

A reminder to all parents with children in Years 3-6 to complete the Operoo form regarding this event as soon as possible please. The event will be held on Thursday November 30th.

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.

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

Parents & Friends News

Christmas Carols - Sausage Sizzle/Drinks

Are you able to help?

Volunteers are required to help with the sausage sizzle on Thursday December 7th prior to the SJB School Nativity Play & Christmas Carols.

The sausage sizzle will run from 5.30-6.30pm.

If you can assist please email -

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


28th Education Board and Parents & Friends Thank you evening

30th Year 3-6 Swimming Carnival St Joseph's College Pool


1st First Friday Mass - Year 1/2

3rd First Sunday of Advent - Hope

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

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 22ndFriday November 24th
Jessica Bagnoux

Claire Lewis

Fleur Dow

Wednesday November 29th Friday December 1st
Rachel Ben

Melinda Price

Katrina Horne

Carrie Canton

Parish News

Sacramental Program 2024

Save the Date

Click links here:

Camp Australia

Camp Australia Pricing

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully