St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday September 12th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families

Last week we were treated to the most amazing Art Show. What a show it was indeed!! Mrs Renee Armstrong has worked tirelessly throughout the year with all of our students to create wonderful art pieces across so many different art mediums.  The responses from our students, families, staff, parish and community on entry to hall said it all.  The hall was a spectacular display of colour and celebration of every student’s work.  It was a joy to see the responses and facial expressions of our students as they saw their work on display.

On behalf of the SJB community we thank Renee for all of her dedication and work that went to creating such a beautiful display of artwork.  Congratulations Renee on creating such a wonderful Art Show.

Year 3/4 Camp

Yesterday our Year 3/4 students excitedly set off on their camp to Briars Camp located on the Mornington Peninsula.  It was great to see our students stepping out of their comfort zones and giving new activities and adventures a go.  We look forward to hearing about all of their adventures on their return to school on Wednesday.

We thank Mrs Shari Correlje, Mrs Lisa Giuliano, Mr Wayne Daniell, Mrs Ange Cavarra and Mrs Tina Harper for their care and support of all students throughout their camp experience.

Division Athletics

Congratulations to the 23 students who qualified for the next round of athletics making it through to Division Athletics. We wish the following students all the best in their events tomorrow at Division Athletics: 

5/6FJ students: Ben F, Ashan, Ruby, Alxys, Millie, Joshua A, Zaylen, Ellie

5/6RJ students: Poppy, Brody, Jake, Ria, Maryann, Lorelei, Matilda, Isla, Sebastian, 

3/4D students: Max, Susie, Jenna

3/4G students: Teague, Nishala

3/4SC students: Zara

We know that you will all give the day your best and represent SJB proudly. Enjoy a great day of fun and competition.

Footy Colours Day - Friday 15th September

To finish and celebrate the end of another great term of learning, students are welcome to come to school dressed in their favourite footy teams’ colours. A number of  AFL activities will be included as part of the fun throughout the day. 

We invite families to join us from 1:30-1:55pm for our Footy Parade. Students will parade in their footy colours to their team’s theme song prior to finishing their term. 

A Special Lunch to coincide with Footy Day has been prepared by our terrific Tuck Shop Supervisor, Tracey Walker.  Thank you again Tracey for your great work.

Term 3 Concludes 

Friday 15th September (2:00pm) 

Friday 15th September

Footy Colours Day & Special Lunch

Term 4 Commences

Monday 2nd October

MACSSIS School Improvement Surveys Open - Students, Families and Staff

Thank you to families who have already completed the MACSIS School Improvement Survey.  

The Family Survey is still  available online, and needs to be completed by tomorrow, Friday 15 September 2023. 

Thank you for your participation in the MACSSIS family survey.

2024 Classes - 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.

Prep 2024 Enrolments Overdue

Enrolments for Prep 2024 are now overdue. Any families still wishing to enrol for next year are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. 

Finalising Prep numbers is an important aspect of our forward planning.

Term 4 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 Term 3.  Terrific work.

Prep - Year 2 Swimming

Next 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 will receive an Operoo notice in the near future seeking permission for students to participate.  We warmly welcome parent helpers to assist with the swimming program.

School Closure Days - Term 4 2023

Monday 6 November (Melbourne Cup Monday) &  Monday 20 November

Parents please note that the School Year concludes on Friday 15th December. 

School Closure Day - Staff Time in Lieu - Monday 6th November. 

We wish to advise our school community that Monday 6th November will be a school closure day/Time in Lieu allocation.  The closure day has been set after consultation with Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS). This day is allocated for staff to undertake assessment and reporting obligations and also meets the schools obligation to provide staff with time in lieu, a requirement under the new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.  The introduction of time in lieu allocation for staff is now in place for all Catholic Schools throughout the Melbourne Archdiocese.   Parents are welcome to speak to either myself or Ursula DeCorrado should you seek further clarification in regards to the introduction of staff Time in Lieu commitments.  Please note that the following day, Tuesday 7th November, is the Melbourne Cup Day public holiday.

Starting School 2024

If you have a child starting school with us in Prep next year, you are invited to attend a very informative talk by Carley McGauran, Psychologist and Mum to 3. This is being held in the school hall while you child/ren attend their first transition session on Wednesday October 18th.

Wishing all students and their families a well deserved and restful break. Congratulations to all students on a wonderful term of learning.

Families undertaking travel and holiday destinations we wish you wonderful times together as a family and safe travels.

Kelli Johnston

Parents & Friends News

Social Event

Our Barefoot Bowls evening is all locked in for Friday October 20th, please pop in your calendars and book your babysitters. Ticket and event details will be finalised at our next meeting. It should be a wonderful night full of laughs and fun and daylight savings will be here! If you are interested in joining the team to organise this event please send us an email or find one of us at pick up of drop off!

Dad's and Kid's Camping

We have once again secured our spot at Gilwell Park for the weekend starting Fri 17th-Sun 19th November.  This year we have the option of 2 evenings and we would like your expression of interest or suggestions on format.  Please email  or come to our next meeting. We have already secured one Dad as a team captain for the event and we would welcome any others who would like to help out.  We also would like to explore the option of including more supervised activities that the camp has to offer.

Student Awards

Prep B

Jasper P - for doing a fantastic job at learning the lyrics and dance for our R U OK Day Mass. You have been a great example for your peers and continue to sing and dance with confidence and enthusiasm that shines from the stage. You are a super star Jasper!

Chloe W - for always having a growth mindset and trying her hardest in all learning areas. This week you followed the steps in drawing a cartoon jellyfish and did not let the challenge of the task stop you from creating a sensational piece of work. Well done Chloe! 

Prep PBM

Bethany G -  for her unwavering diligence in practicing writing outside of school hours.  Bethany, your determination to excel in this area is inspiring! Keep it up!

Mekayla H - for her thoughtful questions and contributions to our classroom discussions. Keep it up, Mekayla!

Lenny W -  for working hard on his writing skills and making an enormous effort to write as many sentences as he can! Keep it up, Lenny! 

Year 1/2B

Alexis R-L - for your excellent effort in small focus groups to contribute your thoughts and opinions. Keep up the great work!

Maggie R - for your excellent work in all subject areas and always trying your best. Keep up the great work!

Madden T - for your excellent enthusiasm and hard work in maths sessions to complete equations and mental computation activities. Keep up the great work!

Nathan S - for your wonderful enthusiasm in Guided Reading sessions to discuss the text and your excellent contributions. Keep up the great work!

Seamus McD - for making excellent progress in your reading sessions and your wonderful contributions when discussing the text. Keep up the great work!

Year 1/2D

Saneth H - for making such a positive start at SJB! You have made a smooth transition and have become a great asset to our classroom. We adore your cheeky, fun sense of humour. Well done, Saneth!

Pippy R - For displaying an incredibly strong work ethic. You are an active learner and tackle any challenge that comes your way. You have made fantastic growth in all areas of learning, Pippy. Super effort!  

Year 1/2JM

Georgia H - for your efforts in writing. We love your creative ideas Georgia! 

Year 1/2KC

Keira M - For working so hard to count to 50, and consistent Whole Body Listening. You are a 1/2KC star, Keira!

Terrence T - For working hard on using ‘and’ correctly in sentences and for making better choices during learning time. You are a 1/2KC star, Terrence!

Term 3 Dates for the Diary


12th    Year 3/4 Campers return

13th     Division Athletics

15th    R U OK? Prayer Service Prep at 9.00am

15th     Footy Day Celebration / Footy Lunch

15th     Term 3 concludes at 2.00pm


2nd     Term 4 commences

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     Inform & Empower Incursion - Year 5/6

16th     Assembly PM

18th     Prep 2024 Transition Sessions No. 1

Australian Girls Choir

Don't forget if you would like your to attend the workshop which will be held in the first week of next term, please complete the permission slip and return to school ASAP.

This doesn't commit your daughter to the choir, just to take part in the free workshop which will be supervised by Mrs Cahill.

Choir Permission Form


Canteen News

Canteen orders can be placed via

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

Footy Day in the Canteen

Footy Lunch in the Canteen is this Friday September 15th.  Please note - this is instead of normal canteen.

All orders should have been returned, if not, please do so ASAP.

Canteen Roster

Wednesday September 13th Friday September 15th
Nat Conway

Footy Lunch Day

Helpers Needed!!

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 are putting together a girls' team and already have a few students from SJB involved!!

Click this link to register -

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully