St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday December 12th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

This Sunday 17th December is the third Sunday of Advent.

This third week of Advent focuses our intention on joy.  Joy is a very real and deep happiness that is rooted in faith and trust. In this third week of Advent, we pause and reflect on the first half of the season, as well as look ahead to the last weeks.

VIP Assembly

We welcome all members of the school community to join us for assembly at 2:10pm Wednesday 13th December to celebrate the many wonderful contributions generously made by Mrs Deborah Butler and Mrs Kathryn Forbes. Deborah and Kathryn are both much loved members of the SJB community who we farewell at the end of the 2023 school year. We invite our school community to join us in celebrating Deborah and Kathryn’s contributions and in saying farewell.

Second Hand Uniform Shop - coming 2024

In 2024 SJB will be commencing a Second Hand Uniform Shop. We thank Janice Stiglich (Amelia & Hannah Burns Mum) for her work in co-ordinating the Second Hand Uniform Shop.

The Second Hand Uniform Shop will open at 2:45pm every Tuesday for families to purchase 2nd hand uniform items. Additionally families will be able to email the Second Hand Uniform Shop at to request items. 

To promote a sense of community, sustainability and an opportunity to support each other, all items will be sold at $5.00 each.

When contributing items to the Second Hand Uniform Shop, families are requested to ensure all items are St John the Baptist formal uniform items, washed and clean, provide items that are free from holes and in a condition that they would dress their children in. Families may drop their items into the office. Items will be collected and then placed in the uniform shop.  

We would like to take a big thank you to Fleur Dow for her role as SJB Uniform Officer. SJB has been most fortunate to have you supporting our families and community in purchasing uniforms. Your dedicated community service is most greatly appreciated.

Move Up Days

Exciting times ahead as students prepare to meet their classmates and teachers for the 2024 school year.  Where possible we will have new staff available to meet their classes.  We ask families to understand that this may not always be possible due to the nature of busy times in all schools at this time of year.

The ‘Move Up’ days for this year will be Wednesday 13th December 9:15am and Friday 15th December for Morning Tea. We have made a separate time for Mrs Amanda Heidenrijk to meet her class on Thursday 14th December at 2:00pm. Due to school events occurring in Amanda’s current context she will meet her students on Thursday instead of Wednesday.

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 - Patrice Wiseman

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

Please click here to access SOBS (not open until Wednesday December 13th at 4.00pm)

SOBS Booking Link

Next Year's Sacraments

All students in Year 3 who have been Baptised are invited to present for the Sacrament of Reconciliation - Wednesday 20th March at 5pm. All students in Years 5/6 who have received the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Eucharist are invited to present for the Sacrament of Confirmation - Thursday 29th August at 6pm.

Outstanding Fees & Levies

Thank you to families that have paid or are continuing to pay their school fees.  Term four is almost over and we would appreciate the finalising of any outstanding monies.

Please contact the Office if you are unable to finalise your fee account to discuss options available to help you meet your fee commitment. or 9758 1013.


Baby News

Congratulations to the Breeden-Virk family on the safe arrival of their beautiful little girl. Congratulations Shermandeep on becoming a big brother.  We know that you will be a terrific brother and great help with your new little sister.

Thanushri S (5/6FJ)

A big congratulations to Thanushri S on receiving your Super Speak Achievement Award.

This award is presented to students who have completed 2.5 years of Public Speaking & Communication Skills training at Super Speak (equivalent to 100 hours) and presented 15 formal solo speeches.

Ferntree Gully Library Carols Event

We thank Mrs Sue Cahill for her work and preparation with this year’s Christmas Choir. The Christmas Choir performed last Tuesday night at the Ferntree Gully Library. The evening was a huge success and enjoyed by all.

Christmas Carols Night

This year’s St John the Baptist Carols evening was a wonderful community celebration.

The church was filled with SJB family and community members as we came together to celebrate.  The sense of community, joy, Christmas spirit and generosity was clearly evident throughout the evening.

Each year the community supports the St Vincent de Paul Society through the most generous donations of gift vouchers and cash to assist those in their time of need.  We were particularly overwhelmed by the outstanding generosity of the community, as this year we presented Mr Peter Finn from SJB St Vincent de Paul Society with $1400 in vouchers and cash. At a time when the cost of living is high for families, we are filled with gratitude at the generosity of our community. 

Events such as our Carols evening can only occur with a great deal of work and support both behind the scenes in the lead up to the night and with great teamwork on the night. I would like to thank Father Thomas and Sue Nichols for their support, the amazing SJB staff and the Parents and Friends Committee, along with numerous volunteers who all came together to create such a memorable evening for all.

Thank you to everyone for all that you contributed in creating such a wonderful event.

2024 Term Dates & Beginning of Year Schedule

Term 1

Monday January 29th (staff only)

School Wide Expectations - Positive Behaviour

Term 1 (Students) - Wednesday January 31st - Thursday March 28th 

Teacher/Student Learning Conversations (Years 1-6)

Tuesday 30th/Wednesday 31st

Years 1-6 commence Tuesday 30th/Wednesday 31st January with One to One Learning Conversations with their 2024 Class Teacher. Parents to book in appointments (Booking details to be provided)

Years Prep to 6 Classes commence Thursday February 1st (8.45am-3.15pm)

Prep 2024 - 2 x Half Day Transition - Tuesday 30th/Wednesday 31st - 8.45am to 1.00pm

Prep Classes commence for full hours (8.45am-3.15pm) from Thursday February 1st

'Prep Rest Day' Wed 7th, Wed 14th, Wed 21st & Wed 28th February

Term 2Monday April 15th - Friday June 28th 
Term 3Monday July 15th - Friday September 20th
Term 4

Monday October 7th - 

Tuesday December 17th - Students conclude (to be confirmed)

Friday December 20th - staff conclude

Inform and Empower Cyber Safety Parent Evening - Thursday February 8th at 7:00pm

Digital Wellbeing and Cyber Safety are important for all families in today’s world. Today’s children are born into a world of digital devices where screen time and internet are part of their day to day life. Home/school partnerships in raising digitally responsible and healthy children is one key element in today’s schools.

We are most fortunate to have Marty McGauran from Inform and Empower presenting a session to our parent community on how to nurture your child/ren’s digital wellbeing and how to be cyber safe.  We encourage all parents to attend this important and valuable evening.

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

Thank you SJB School and Community

It is difficult to believe that we have come to the end of the 2023 school year. In what has been a busy year there is much to reflect upon, celebrate and be grateful for. In Term 4 alone there were a number of events. Some Term 4 highlights include:

  • Prep 2024 Transition sessions

  • Regional Athletics

  • P-2 Swimming each week

  • Year 3-6 Swimming Carnival

  • Remembrance Day Prayer Service

  • Year 5 leadership speeches - 2024 Captains announced

  • Year 6 Graduation

  • Semester 2 Reports

  • Thanksgiving Mass

  • Carols

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the SJB staff for their dedication, passion and work throughout the year.  We are extremely fortunate to have such a committed and dedicated team who work tirelessly for the betterment of our students and school. Our wonderful team of teachers, learning support staff, administration staff, maintenance and canteen staff are always seeking to do and be their best for our school and students.  My sincere thanks to all of our staff for their contributions throughout the year.

Thank you to our amazing SJB community for your warm welcome this year. As the new principal to SJB I have felt most welcomed by the community.  It has been an absolute joy getting to know and work with many of our families throughout the year. I look forward to getting to know everyone in the community further throughout 2024.

To our VIPs (our students) thank you for all of your hard work throughout the year, for taking on new learning opportunities and challenges, for learning to make new friendships, for supporting each other and for the joy you bring to us all each and every day by being your amazing selves. We are so very blessed to have such terrific students. We hope that you are proud of all that you have achieved this year. We wish our graduating Year 6 students all the very best as you step into your next chapter at secondary school. To our Prep - Year 5 students we look forward to seeing all that you achieve in 2024 and beyond.

Wishing everyone in our SJB community all the very best for a wonderful Christmas. May you all enjoy your Christmas celebrations and festivities with family and friends. We wish all those heading away over the Christmas and January period safe travels. We look forward to seeing everyone return for 2024 refreshed and ready for another terrific year. 

Kelli Johnston

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


13th Move Up session 9.15am

13th VIP Assembly 2.10pm

14th Year 4/5HM Move Up session

14th Year 6 Graduation Mass - 5pm

15th Move Up Morning Tea

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

January 2024

29th     Staff return - Professional Learning Day

30th     Prep students commence 8.45am - 1.00pm

30th     Years 1 -6 students individual learning interviews

31st    Prep students 8.45am - 1.00pm

31st    Years 1-6 students individual learning interviews


1st    All students onsite full time

1st    Welcome to school for 2024 (all families)

2024 Sport Dates

Swimming - February 16th 2024

Cross Country - District - May 24th 2024

Athletics - District - September 4th 2024

Winter Sports - Netball - June 7th 2024

Summer Sports - October 9th 2024

Canteen News

Canteen orders can be placed via

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

Canteen is now closed for the rest of the year.

Parish News

Sacramental Program 2024

Community News

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully