St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday October 3rd 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families

Welcome back for Term 4. It is great to return to school with sunshine and warmer weather. It certainly puts a spring in our step!  We hope that all families enjoyed their holidays and the opportunity to take a break from routines whilst enjoying the sunshine and being able to be outdoors.

Congratulations to all Collingwood supporters on taking out Saturday’s Grand Final.

What an exciting time the last few weeks have been for football fans. Saturday’s game was one that kept everyone on the edge of their seats. What an amazing game.

There is much to look forward to throughout Term 4 such as P-2 swimming, Year 5/6 Sports Gala, Prep 2024 Transition Sessions, School Carols, Year 6 Graduation, Advent, Christmas and more. We look forward to celebrating and enjoying all of these wonderful events as a community.

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

Footy Colours Day - Friday September 15th

What a fabulous way to conclude Term 3. As a school we commenced our day with a Prayer Service with a focus on R U OK Day, as this was officially the previous day. To gather as a school community after a term of hard work, it was most fitting that we come together as a community to check in on each other and support one another.  Our Preps led by Mrs Deborah Butler, Miss Laura Bulmer and Mrs Marialisa Mandarino were outstanding in presenting such a beautiful service. This set the scene for a day of celebration and support for each other.

We were most fortunate to be joined by Peter and Therese Finn from St Vincent De Paul. Our Year 6 leaders presented Peter and Therese with donations from the school community throughout the St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal collection. On behalf of St Vincent de Paul, Peter and Therese were exceptionally grateful for the donations from the school community.  Additionally, they commented on how beautifully our students presented themselves both as leaders and as a school in their engagement in the prayer service.

It was then down to the oval for students to participate in a variety of football activities.  We thank Mr John Mitchell for all of his preparation of the day and our Year 6 leaders who were simply outstanding in their leadership throughout the day. The manner in which the Year 6 students encouraged all using positive language and encouragement was a true credit to all our leaders.

To conclude our day we gathered in the hall to celebrate each team and sing their theme songs.

It was wonderful to see the SJB community come together to commence and conclude the final day of Term 3 celebrating all we have achieved throughout a busy term.

St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal Collection

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

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 for wearing their correct uniform at all times.  Our students have been sensational in wearing the correct uniform throughout the year. Keep up the terrific work.

Prep - Year 2 Swimming

This term from Week 2 the Prep - Year 2 students will participate in swimming lessons on a weekly basis at St Joseph’s College.  The students will walk to and from the pool each week. Families should have received an Operoo notice seeking permission for students to participate.  We warmly welcome parent helpers to assist with the swimming program.

Division Athletics

Congratulations to the 23 students who participated in the Division Athletics Carnival. Our students were outstanding in their participation and achievements on the day.  We congratulate the students who made it through to the Regional Athletics on Thursday 19th October.

Division Athletics Report 2023

St John the Baptist enjoyed another fantastic day at the Dandenong Ranges Division  Athletics day held on Wednesday 13th September at East Burwood Athletics track. Our students achieved success in a variety of events. Two of our relay teams were able to qualify for the Regional Athletics day. The 12/13 Girls relay particularly was a highlight of the day with an outstanding finish by our team allowing us to finish first!!  The 9/10 girls team was also good enough to qualify too. The following students have qualified for the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Athletics day to be held at Tom Kelly Athletics track in Doncaster  held on Wednesday 13th September are:

12/13 Girls 

Lorelei- 100 & 200m.

11 Girls

Matilda- 1500m, Ellie- Long Jump & 100m.

9/10 Girls

Poppy- Long jump and 100m.

9/10 Boys 

Zaylen- Hurdles,  Max- 200m.

 Relay teams - 9/10 Girls- Nishala, Zara, Poppy and Jenna 

12/13 Girls- Ruby, Lorelei, Ria and Alxys

Well done to all our competitors who did their best on the day. 

Thanks to Ms Amy Lavin who assisted me on the day. 

John Mitchell

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

We have been most fortunate to have had great support from the SJB school community at this year’s Working Bees. We have one more Working Bee for the year.  The Term 4 Working Bee will be held on Saturday 21st October between 1:30 - 4:00pm.  

We would be most appreciative to all who are able to assist with a number of jobs we have to complete around the school.  Families are welcome to contact Ursula DeCorrado in regard to the Working Bee or jobs to be completed. Ursula may be contacted through her email:

MACSSIS School Improvement Surveys - Students, Families and Staff

We thank all families who provided feedback through the MACSSIS Surveys.  We greatly value your insights and feedback as this provides us with valuable information that we will reflect upon and consider as part of our School Improvement.  School Improvement is an ongoing process and it is always important to consider the perspectives of all stakeholders.

2024 Clases - Placement of Students

In the beginning weeks of Term 4 the staff begin the process of putting together class lists for the 2024 school year.  The process will be completed with consideration given to:

  • The social and academic distribution of the children within the same level across classes

  • A gender balance in each class

  • Children’s requests for friendship groupings

  • Specific placement of siblings and children with individual needs, inclusive of emotional, learning, physical and behavioural needs

  • The social needs of children including the working relationships of all children and the desired separation of children who do not have a positive social or learning influence on each other

  • An awareness of teachers in the previous academic year.   

To support the placement of our children we ask each child to name classmates who they work well with.  Children will be reminded to consider children from their current class and from other class settings.  Classes will then be structured with the aim to have each child with at least one nominated friend.  However if the class teacher feels that the choices are not in the best interest of the child then the child will be asked to nominate others.  Parents please note that it is sometimes commented that, ‘My child didn’t get any of their friendship requests from last year’. It is often in this situation that a child’s actual friendship group has slightly or significantly changed from October through to the end of the year and as a result the child feels that their requests weren’t taken into account. 

With approximately 22 children in each class each child is provided with 21 opportunities to either further develop existing friendships or the opportunity to develop new friendships.  To be highly successful participants in our social, school and future working environments it is a most important skill to create new friendships each year, not be reliant on the same close friendship/s each year.  We make every effort to support our children by providing them with supportive environments but at the same time we wish for some form of challenge so that our children can further develop personal life skills by negotiating new friendships. 

As detailed above, there is a significant level of care that goes into establishing the best learning environments, along with social interactions, for our children.     

Parent Requests - Meeting with Leadership

We are aware that some parents may have valid reasons to have input into the placement of their children for the forthcoming year. Should there be numerous requests from parents then the ability for staff to make positive and professional judgements for the best learning environments for our classes is compromised.  Given this if parents have any relevant information that you believe is essential to the grade placement process, I invite you to make contact with myself   or 

Ursula DeCorrado

 to share your thoughts for the 2024 year.  Should we need to gain greater clarity on the request as made we will make contact with you to make an appointment to share your thoughts or concerns.   We will evaluate all requests and make a professional judgement on the placement of the child in question. The final decision rests with the school. 

 ‘Teacher Shopping’ -  At SJB School we are blessed with a highly skilled and enthusiastic staff team and we are confident that all teachers will meet the needs of your children. Parents making requests simply as ‘Teacher Shopping’, without any foundation, may not necessarily receive their requests for the new year.  The reference to ‘teacher shopping’ means that, for example, parents have heard positive comments about teachers in the school from other parents and think that teacher may be good for their child.  Likewise a sibling may have had a teacher previously and a parent wishes for their next child to also have that teacher.  We would love to meet all requests but there are other elements around class placements, as detailed previously, which may take priority over a request as such.  As stated above, parents are invited to meet with leadership to discuss thoughts that may be pertinent to 2024 class placements but we ask that you take on board all of the above information before making your request.

Classes for 2024

As we plan ahead for 2024 classes, we ask any families who know that they will not be returning to SJB in 2024 to inform the school as soon as possible.


Congratulations to  Liora F (3/4G) - the All Stars Basketball team Under 10s won their grand final. Well done on being winter season premiers!!

Lorelei C (5/6RJ) represented SJB at the SSV Track and Field trials to qualify for the National competition. She was entered into the 100m and 200m. For both events Lorelei qualified to the final but unfortunately didn’t place in the top 3 to join the Victorian team. She achieved a personal best performance for the 100m and had a really great day competing amongst some of the best athletes in the state.

Desk Chairs

We have a number of swivel desk chairs available to families who would like desk chairs.  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.

Welcome back to Term 4 everyone.  We look forward to another fabulous term of learning.

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. It will be a fun relaxing night of bowls, music and food. Tickets are $15 per head, click the link to purchase.

Mango Drive

It’s that delicious time of year again! Mango season! Once again we are running our mango drive. Prices have gone up but we are keeping last year's price as a community service. We are selling trays of juicy Kensington Pride Mangoes for $26 per tray. Orders must be placed by Thursday October 26th and mangoes will be delivered to the school after mid November, date TBA. Please share the link with family and friends (if you are willing to deliver to them!).

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

The camping weekend will now be on Saturday 11th November from 1pm until Sunday 12th November 2pm. This is a wonderful event that gives Dad’s 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.  A Booking Form will be sent home later this week. Any questions please email P&F -

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


3rd    School Nurse onsite

4th    School Nurse onsite

6th     First Friday Mass - Year 3/4

9th    Inform & Empower Incursion - Year 1/2

9th     P-2 Swimming Lessons commence

10th    Inform & Empower Incursion - Year 3/4

11th     Prep 2024 Information Evening

16th     P-2 Swimming Lessons

16th     Inform & Empower Incursion - Year 5/6

16th     Assembly Prep BM

18th     Prep 2024 Transition Sessions No. 1

18th     Carley McGauran Psychologist Presenting at Prep Transition

19th     Regional Athletics

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

23rd    P-2 Swimmng

26th     Prep tranisiton Session No. 2

27th     World Teacher's Day

30th     P-2 Swimming

30th     Assembly Prep B


1st    All Saints Day

3re     Prep Transition No. 3

3rd    First Friday Mass - Year 5/6

Australian Girls Choir

Just a reminder that Australian Girls Choir representatives will be attending the school tomorrow. If you returned the expression of interest/permission form, your daughter will be attending the session.

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 4th Friday October 6th

Leanne Nugent

Helper Needed

Wednesday October 11thFriday October 13th 
Jessie Stephens

Lauren Wearne

Shamindri Aponso

Uniform Shop News

Community News

Upper Ferntree Gully Cricket Club

The club are offering FREE fees for anyone who wishes to play this season and have also put together a girls team and already have a few students from SJB involved!!

A cricket clinic will be running at school on Fri 13th October during some PE classes with Mr Mitchell & trainers from UFTGCC! 

Click this link to register -

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully