St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday October 10th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families

It was great to see all students return to school and settle in so well. To see so many smiling faces and the students excited to be with their friends was terrific. The students have been outstanding in the manner in which they have returned to school and settled into their learning for the final term of 2023. We look forward to a great term of learning along with many wonderful events.

During Term 3 and Term 4 we have been most fortunate to welcome new members to our SJB community. We have welcomed 3 new families of which we have 5 new students.  We warmly welcome the Herath, Kansal Sarwal & Okechukwu families to St John the Baptist and we hope that you enjoy being valued members of our community. We welcome Saavi (PBM), Sanuthi (PB), Saneth (1/2D), Chizara (3/4G) and Zikora (1/2D).

We additionally welcome to SJB some valued volunteers.  We have Anita Ward (a parishioner of SJB), Chris Page and Elaine Wright (ex teachers) who have most generously offered to be classroom helpers. We warmly welcome Anita, Chris and Elaine to our community and hope they enjoy their time supporting our students.  We are most fortunate to have community members volunteering to assist in our classrooms.

Welcome to all.

Prep 2024 Important Dates

Date & VenueTimeParent Information SessionLocation

Wednesday 11th October

6:00 - 7:00pm

- Starting Prep at SJB

- What do you need to know

School Hall

Wednesday 18th October

9:00 - 10.30am

- Starting School 2024

- Part 1: How your family can thrive, not just survive

- Presenter: Carley McGauran - Psychologist

- Time: 9.15am (75 minutes)

Students dropped off in Prep classrooms

School Hall - parent session

Thursday 26th October

9:00 - 10.30am

Welcome to SJB - 9.15 - 10.00am

- Parish connection - Fr Thomas

- Learning Diversity

- Digital Technologies

- Classroom Helpers

- Sustainability

- Newsletters, Operoo, Audiri, Communication

- OHSC Sponsor Morning Tea

Students dropped off in Prep classrooms

School Hall - parent session

Friday 3rd November

9:00 - 10:30am

2024 Class Groups

9:15 - 10:20am

- Social Meet & Greet

- Uniform purchasing

Students dropped off in Prep classrooms

School Hall

School Closure Days

We ask that families please be aware of the following dates for the remainder of the year.

Monday 6th November - School Closure - Assessment & Reporting

Tuesday 7th November - School Closure - Melbourne Cup Day Public Holiday

Monday 20th November - School Closure - Staff Professional Learning day

Friday 15th December -  Final Day for 2023 School Year

Term 4 School Uniform including hats

As we return to school for Term 4, students will return to wearing their summer uniform. 

During Term 4 students are required to wear their hats at all recess times.  Students without hats will be required to sit in a designated shaded area.  SJB has a strict no hat no play policy.

Congratulations to all students who have remembered to wear their hats. The students have been terrific in remembering to wear their hats.

Prep - Year 2 Swimming

Yesterday our Prep - Year 2 students commenced their weekly swimming lessons at St Joseph's College.  We thank the many parents who are supporting the program by assisting with walking with classes to the pool and back. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Year 5/6 Summer Sports Gala

Congratulations to our Year 5/6 students for their sportsmanship and for the manner in which they represented St John the Baptist School at Friday’s Summer Sports Gala. The students were outstanding in their efforts.

Year 1/2 Circus Performance

Today our talented Year 1/2s shared their Circus skills with our community . Today’s performances were an opportunity for our Year 1/2 students to showcase their learnings from their Term 3 Performing Arts and Physical Education lessons. We thank Mrs Sue Cahill and Mr John Mitchell for all of their work with the students.

Digital Safety and Wellbeing - Inform and Empower

Throughout Term 4 we will continue to develop the students' understanding of how to be safe online. We look forward to engaging in live sessions with Marty and Laura from Inform and Empower. Students in Years 1 - 6 will participate in the following sessions:

Working Bee - Save the Date

The Term 4 Working Bee will be held on Saturday 21st October between 1:30 - 4:00pm.  

This term there are 2 main jobs we would like to have completed:

  • Moving the compactus down to the Archive area

  • Ripping up the carpet in the library and putting it into a skip

These jobs do not necessarily need to be on the working bee date so if there is anyone that would be able to help but would prefer to do this during the week could you please email me on

If these jobs are completed at a different time we will cancel the Term 4 working bee.

(These jobs would count towards an attendance at a working bee and secure your fee discount for attending 2 working bees)

With thanks,


Leadership Development 360° Feedback

Last term I outlined to the community that I would be participating in 360° Feedback to reflect on my leadership strengths and areas for future growth based on my leadership demonstrated at St John’s in my first Semester as Principal. In undertaking this program I sought feedback from a range of members who I interact with. These members include school leaders, staff, external peers and parents. 

I sincerely thank all members for taking time to provide valuable feedback.  I will use this feedback with my mentor to reflect on strengths and areas for growth, as well as, set goals moving forward.  Thank you to everyone for your valuable insights.

Desk Chairs

We have a number of swivel desk chairs available to families.  If you would like a desk chair please feel free to contact the office. Please see the photo below of the chairs available.

St John the Baptist School Hall Voting Centre Saturday October 14th

St John’s will be open as a voting centre on Saturday 14th October for the Voice Referendum.

School Fees

School fee statements for outstanding 2023 fees are being sent home this week.  Please arrange payment as soon as possible.  If you currently have an auto payment set up please ensure your balance is finalised by December.  If you are having financial difficulties please contact the office on 9758 1013 or

Wishing everyone a terrific week ahead.

Kelli Johnston

Parents & Friends News

Social Event

A night out for the grown ups, bring your friends & food & book the babysitter! Barefoot Bowls on Friday October 20th.We have partnered with Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club to support them post flood recovery. If we have enough numbers we can have the venue to ourselves, feel free to invite your friends along for some fun and friendly competition! It will be a fun relaxing night of bowls, music and food. Tickets are $15 per head, click the link to purchase.

Barefoot Bowls Booking Link

Mango Drive

It’s that delicious time of year again! Mango season! Once again we are running our mango drive, selling trays of juicy Kensington Pride Mangoes for $26 per tray, we have capped the price from last year. Orders must be placed by Thursday October 26th and mangoes will be delivered to the school after mid November, date TBA. The quality of these mangoes is amazing. Please share the link with family and friends(if you are willing to deliver to them!).

Mango Order Form Link

Dad’s and Kid's Camping-Date Change 11/11/23-12/11/23

Forms were distributed yesterday to the eldest children, there are spare forms in the office if needed or you can use the link below. The cost for camping at Gilwell Park has increased this year due to the addition of 2 amazing new obstacles, a Ninja course called the Gauntlet (see course outline) and a bouldering course! This is a wonderful event that gives Dads and kids the chance to experience camping together, sometimes for the first time! Gilwell park is located an easy drive just out of Gembrook. There will be activities on the Saturday afternoon once you’re all set up followed by Spit Roast dinner for all and blazing campfire perfect for roasting marshmallows and having a sing a long. Sunday morning there is an Egg and Bacon Breakfast followed by more activities, free time and a scavenger hunt.  BYO Tents, snacks and your sense of adventure. Please note this is only for current students of SJB, no older or younger siblings. Any questions please email P&F.  Please see attached Booking form to be returned ASAP to the office or via email

Dad+Kids Camping 2023 Booking Form


Term 4 Dates for the Diary


10th Inform & Empower Incursion - Year 3/4

10th 9:15am Year 1/2 Circus Performance School Hall

11th Prep 2024 Information Evening

16th P-2 Swimming

16th Inform & Empower Incursion - Year 5/6

16th Assembly Prep BM

18th Prep 2024 Transition Session No. 1

18th Carly McGauran Psychologist Presenting at Prep Transition

19th Regional Athletics

21st Term 4 Working Bee 1:30-4:00pm

23rd P-2 Swimming

25th School Advisory Council Meeting

26th Prep Transition Session No. 2

27th World Teachers Day

30th P-2 Swimming

30th Assembly Prep B


1st All Saints Day

3rd Prep Transition No. 3 - Social & Uniform purchasing

3rd First Friday Mass - Year 5/6

6th School Closure - Assessment and Reporting

7th Melbourne Cup Day - School Closure

10th Remembrance Day Prayer Service

11th Kids and Dads weekend Gilwell Park

20th School Closure Day - Staff PL

28th Education Board and Parents & Friends Thank you evening

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 October 11thFriday October 13th 
Jessie Stephens

Lauren Wearne

Shamindri Aponso

Wednesday October 18thWednesday October 20th
Jessica Bagnoux

Melinda Price

Katrina Horne

Carrie Canton

Uniform Shop News

Camp Australia

Please find attached Camp Australia's newsletter.

Camp Australia Pricing

Community News

Ferntree Gully Library

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully