St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday August 8th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston



Tuesday 8th August

“We must teach more by example than by word.”

Today as a school we celebrate the Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. The children will participate in a whole school prayer service led by our Year 3/4 level. 


Ever-generous God,

You inspired St Mary MacKillop

to live her life faithful

to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

and constant in bringing hope

and encouragement

to those who were disheartened, lonely, or needy.

We ask the Holy Spirit to inspire us to live

like Mary MacKillop, with courage,

trust, and hope.


Prep 100 Days of School

Congratulations Preps – We finally made it and were able to celebrate your 100 days of school!!

Our Preps looked outstanding on Friday as they came to school dressed up and ready to celebrate 100 days of school.  It was great to gain an insight into what our Preps will look like when they are 100 years old!! The Preps had a wonderful day of celebration and enjoyed many learning opportunities around the number 100.

We thank Miss Laura Bulmer, Mrs Fleur Sablinskis and Mrs Marialisa Mandarino for their work in planning and preparing a day of fun for our Preps. Thank you Prep Nanna’s/Nonna’s!!

Welcome Back Deborah Butler

This week we welcome back Deborah Butler after 4 weeks of Long Service Leave. Deborah has enjoyed time with her husband travelling through Greece. We hope that Deborah has had the most amazing time away.  After contributing dedicated service to teaching and having such a positive impact on so many students, Deborah was so very deserving of a wonderful break. Your Preps were so excited to see you and have you back. We hope you enjoyed your opportunity to rest, rejuvenate and spend quality time with family.  Welcome back Deborah.

Amanda Keeler LSO Update

Our sincere thanks to our school community for your care and kind wishes of Amanda Keeler.  Last Wednesday, sadly Amanda had a fall at school which led to her sustaining an injury and requiring care of paramedics.

We have been in contact with Amanda and her family throughout the week and weekend to see how she and her family are going.  Amanda's husband Paul has been an absolute strength to their family throughout their ordeal. 

We are pleased to report that after successful surgery Amanda is now at home with her family.  This will no doubt be the best medicine that she could have asked for.

 Amanda's recovery process will now commence. Amanda will require time to recover and heal.  As a school we will keep in contact with Amanda throughout her recovery and will always support her in making a full recovery.

As a community we ask everyone to keep Amanda, Paul and family in your thoughts and prayers.

School Closure Day

Our dedicated team participated in a Closure Day with a focus on Teaching and Learning.

As a staff we engaged in analysis and reflection of our 2023 NAPLAN data, as well as, professional learning in the area of Reading. Our wonderful LSO team was also busy as we start to prepare for our future building program.  

Thank you to Ursula DeCorrado for her work in preparing a day of engaging learning for our staff.

Term 3 Working Bee - Saturday August 12th

We welcome families to join us from 1:30-4:00pm for the Term 3 Working Bee. There are a number of jobs both indoors and outdoors to be completed as we start to prepare for building programs as well as regular school maintenance.

We would be most grateful to have the support and assistance of our families. Many hands make light work. Families who are able to attend the Working Bee are asked to email Ursula DeCorrado -

Prep 2024

This week we commenced meeting with our 2024 Prep families and children.  We are enjoying getting to know our new students for next year and look forward to welcoming them to St John the Baptist over the coming weeks.

If there are families who have not yet submitted their 2024 enrolment forms we ask families to do so as we now commence preparations for 2024.

Year 5 students in 2024 commencing Year 7 in 2026

Key enrolment dates for students in Year 5 in 2024 who will be commencing Year 7 in 2026 have been released.  Families are asked to place the following dates in their calendars.

  • Monday 29th January 2024 - Applications open for students starting Year 7 in 2026

  • Friday 16th August 2024 - Applications close

  • Friday 18th October 2024 - Offers will be posted to prospective Year 7 students

  • Friday 8th November 2024 - Final date for families to accept offers made by a school

Families are recommended to make at least two applications to colleges to ensure that a place can be found for all students.

Book Week - 19th-25th August

The 2023 theme for Book Week is Read Grow Inspire.  The feature artist for this year’s Book Week is Matt Ottley. Families can go to the Children’s Book Council website to find out more about this year’s theme and the books that have been shortlisted for awards.

To celebrate Book Week this year, students are able to dress up as a character from a book on Monday 21st August.  Students have the choice to dress up as a character from a book or wear their school uniform.  As a school with a focus on sustainability, this is an opportunity to be creative with what you have at home rather than buying a costume.  Have fun being creative with your ideas!!

Year 3/4 Camp

This September our Year 3/4 students will attend an overnight camp at Camp Briars through Belgravia Outdoor Education. The camp will be held in the final week of the term with the students departing on Monday 11th September and returning on Tuesday 12th September.

This is an exciting time for our students as they prepare for their first school camp.

Families will have received an Operoo form to complete in preparation for camp.

Wishing everyone a fabulous week ahead.

Kelli Johnston

School Improvement Surveys

As a school we welcome feedback from our students, staff and parents to help us to identify our strengths and areas for improvement.  In the last 3 weeks of this Term (Monday 28th August to Friday 15th September) we will be inviting members of our community to participate in the School Improvement Surveys (MACSSIS).  MACSSIS is a purpose-built, context specific tool for Catholic school data collection.  It is just one source in a key range of data for informing the  improvement work happening in our school.  There are three surveys (students, staff and parents) and each are different.

All students from Years 4-6 will be invited to access the survey with teachers on hand to help in supervised sessions during school.  Students will be asked to reflect on their sense of belonging in the school, their catholic identity, their engagement in learning and the health of the relationships they have with students and staff.

All staff will also be invited to participate and  are asked to reflect on staff and leadership relationships, student safety, catholic identity, school climate and staff collaboration. 

We will invite families to participate via an email invitation that is valid anytime across the 3 week window.  Families are randomly selected and will be emailed a code and PIN.  Families will be asked to reflect on student safety, catholic identity, communication, school climate and family engagement.

We look forward to hearing your feedback so that we can build from our strengths and continue to improve as a school.

Are you able to help?

Are you able to help install a new door on the boys toilets?  This is not an urgent job, but if you think you can assist us, please contact Ursula DeCorrado on  or telephone the school office on 9758 1013.  Thank you.

Parents & Friends News

Father's/Special Person Day Stall

Our gift stall will be held on Tuesday 29th August and we will be selling tokens in advance. Tokens are $5 = 1 gift, there are no limits to token purchases.
The token stall will be open from 2.30pm tomorrow (Wed 9th) in front of the office (weather dependent). You are also able to send cash in a clearly marked envelope, children’s name, class & siblings.
We appreciate your support using the token system. 

Cake Stall

We are once again lucky to have secured the Cake Stall spot at Bunnings Scoresby on Saturday 2nd of September, the day before Father’s Day.  This event has proven to be very successful in raising funds and showcasing our school to the wider community and Bunnings love having us there!

We will be sending home baking forms at the end of the week and there will be an online volunteer register again for duties such as packing the day before and serving on the stall.

Can’t wait to see all the delicious treats.

Art Show

We are so excited for this year’s art show and can’t wait to see all the amazing creations.  The event has two showings, Tuesday 5th Sept 6-7.30 and Wed 6th 2.30-4pm. We are in the process of organising quick and easy dinner options for families through Benny Boys pizza who are kindly subsidising our orders for the Tuesday and a devonshire tea option for the Wednesday.
This will be a pre-purchase scenario with an online booking system, please keep an eye out in our FB page and next newsletter for more information.

New Members

We would love to welcome anyone interested to come along and help us in the P&F, we will have a change of leadership roles at the end of the year and we are always looking for fresh ideas and skills to support our school. You get to support the school through some fun and exciting events as well as regularly meet with school leadership to work towards the Vision and Mission of the P&F.

Please come along to our next meeting Monday August 22nd at 1.00pm in Uniform shop. You can also contact us on -

Vision: To create a positive community supported by the school leadership group through social engagement and fundraising events that enhance and enrich our children's time at St John the Baptist.

Mission: To embrace, encourage, include, connect and grow all members of our school parish community.

Term 3 Dates for the Diary


8th     St Mary of the Cross Prayer Service Year 3/4 Level (2.30pm)

12th    Working Bee 1.30-4.00pm

14th    School Assembly 1/2D presenting

15th     Feast of the Assumption Mass

20th     Book Week Begins

21st    Book Week Day - dress up

22nd    Year 1/2 Excursion

28th     School Assembly 1/2JM presenting

29th     Father's Day Stall

31st     District Athletics

31st    7.30am Father's Day Breakfast


1st    Year 5/6 Chamber Orchestra excursion

3rd    Father's Day

5th     Art Show - 6.00-7.30pm

6th     Art Show - 2.30-4.00pm

6th     School Advisory Council Meeting

11th    Assembly 1/2B

11th    Year 3/4 Camp - The Briars

12th    Year 3/4 Campers return

12th    R U OK? Prayer Service Prep

15th     Footy Day Celebration / Footy Lunch

15th     Term 3 concludes at 2.00pm

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 August 9th Friday August 11th

Lauren Wearne

Claire Lewis

Fleur Dow

Wednesday August 16th Friday August 18th
Jessie Stephens

Cassandra Croning

Nelson Serrao

Carolyn Lonsing

Uniform Shop News

Community News

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully