St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday July 11th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families,

Welcome back for Term 3.  We hope that all families enjoyed the break from routine and the opportunity to stay warm and do as much or as little as they liked throughout the two weeks.  The Term 2 holidays are always a great opportunity to stay indoors and not rush out into the cold, hang out in pyjamas, watch a movie, play some games, etc.  It is always nice to return to school with daylight hours starting to extend.

Throughout the holidays a number of works have occurred at St John the Baptist School. Each of these works significantly contribute to being able to provide high quality facilities and safety for our students and school community.  We have had roof works, drainage work near the hall entry, installation of a new basketball goal ring in the lower playground area, as well as the installation of new fencing and gates across the school site throughout the holiday period. 

We sincerely thank the Albisser Bennett family for their generous donation of the new basketball goal post and the Cann family for the installation of the goal post, the drainage works near the hall and numerous other projects across the school. Our school community benefits enormously from your generosity.

The generous support of our community continues to create a wonderful and vibrant community for all, thank you. 

St John the Baptist Feast Day Celebration

On our last day of Term 2 it was terrific to be able to celebrate as a school and parish the Feast of St John the Baptist. As a school we commenced the day with a fun tabloid sports session with Kaboom Sports.  The sessions were great interactive sessions where students and staff joined in the fun together. 

After the morning session we joined with the parish community to celebrate the Feast of John the Baptist at 11am Mass.  The mass was a beautiful celebration for all. The participation and reverence demonstrated by all students was exemplary.  The students created a sense of joy and engagement in their celebration of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. 

A number of parishioners took time to acknowledge the students' participation and how this contributed to the mass being a wonderful celebration. As a school we are extremely proud of how our students are presenting themselves and representing St John the Baptist School across many aspects of community.  

Winter School Uniform

The students have been outstanding in the manner in which they are wearing the correct school uniform. We ask that students with the support of their families continue to wear the correct Winter School uniform at all times. This includes wearing sports uniform only on sports days and wearing the correct socks and school shoes at all times. Whilst we recognise that Year 6 students can start to outgrow uniform items, correct school uniform is a school expectation at all times. Wearing the correct uniform sends a strong message of school pride.

Important communication to St John the Baptist School Families

Catholic Education Multi-Enterprise Agreement

Change to School Practices

Dear Families,

A new enterprise agreement covering teachers across most of the Catholic schools in Victoria, including ours, has been approved and is in effect.

The new agreement delivers several positive changes for both our dedicated staff and the overall functioning of our school, including improved pay and employment conditions. One key aspect of this agreement is the inclusion of new time-in-lieu provisions, which will enable our teachers and support staff to accumulate additional time off when they are required to work more than their regular 38 hours per week which might include overnight camps and supervision at evening and weekend activities.

This change is a recognition of the considerable extra work our teachers are asked to do and will enhance their work-life balance and well-being, along with hopefully further enticing aspiring teachers to our profession.

However, implementing these changes will mean that students will finish up a couple of days earlier than usual, on Friday 15 December. This will limit any disruption to students throughout the year and enable our staff to avail themselves of their earned time off during the holiday season, rejuvenating themselves for the upcoming year.

We make families aware of this change to give you ample notice of the new finishing up date to accommodate any changes to your schedules or arrangements at what is a busy time of the year.

Implications of Time-In-Lieu

The changes to time-in-lieu will also require us to make some adjustments to school events that take place throughout the year.  With time-in-lieu provisions now in place we will need to be mindful of the out of school hours demands we place on school staff.   A change to our practices took place when we hosted Parent/Child/Teacher Interviews. The interviews were scheduled for 15 minute intervals rather than the previous practice of 20 minutes. As a school further review of Parent/Child/Teacher interview time frames will be required for us to meet time in lieu provisions.  For the remainder of the school year, and when setting the 2024 school calendar, we need to be mindful of the additional time required of staff out of the hours of the school day.  Please note that these are practices now implemented for all staff in Catholic and Government Schools in Victoria. 

We sincerely appreciate your understanding and support in this matter. By prioritising the well-being and work-life balance of our dedicated staff, we are fostering an environment that promotes excellence in teaching and learning.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new enterprise agreement or the revised finishing up date, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we strive to provide an outstanding education for our students.

Staffing News

We warmly welcome Amy Lavin to the St John the Baptist Community in the role of Learning Support Officer commencing Tuesday 11th July.  Amy is an experienced Learning Support Officer who is moving from the Government system to St John the Baptist School.  Amy will be working in the role of Learning Support Officer Tuesday through to Friday 8:50-1:10pm. We are excited to have Amy join our staff team.

We also welcome Amanda Keeler to the role of Library Technician.  Throughout Term 2 Amanda shadowed Julie Gellie in the Library Technician role. We thank Amanda and Julie for their cross collaboration as they worked through a handover process to ensure that the library continues to run smoothly.  Amanda is a terrific asset to the SJB community and we know she will be wonderful in the role of Library Technician along with her LSO role.

Term 3 Staff Long Service Leave

At the commencement of Term 3 Mrs Deborah Butler will be taking a period of Long Service Leave from Monday 10th July - Friday 4th August.  Prep BM will be well cared for by Mrs Fleur Sablinski and Mrs Marialisa Mandarino. 

Mrs Ursula DeCorrado will be taking a period of Long Service Leave from Monday 17th June - Friday 28th July. During this period of leave the wonderful team of SJB will collaboratively support each other.

We wish Ursula and Deborah all the best for their period of leave and travel. Both Ursula and Deborah’s Long Service Leave are an opportunity to enjoy time with family, as well as, relaxation and rejuvenation after many dedicated years to education. We wish Ursula and Deborah fabulous times away and look forward to them returning to school with many wonderful stories of adventure.


Students and families may notice some slight changes to the Library Timetable for Semester 2. These changes support Amanda and the school in the dual role of Library Technician and LSO.

Class teachers will communicate any changes to their students and families.

Prep 2024

We thank all families for submitting their enrolment forms for the 2024 school year. This is an exciting time for families as we start preparations for welcoming our new preps throughout Semester Two. 

Acceptance offers are now overdue. We ask that any families yet to accept their offer of placement for Prep 2024 to do so as soon as possible. As a school we start the planning process for Prep 2024 this term.

If there are any families who have not yet submitted their enrolment forms to do so as soon as possible as places are limited.


Congratulations to the Davies Family on the safe arrival of their baby daughter and little sister for Jack.  Congratulations and welcome to little Ella.  We know that she will bring much joy and love to your family.

Classroom Helpers

Families, we encourage you to discuss with your child’s teacher becoming a classroom helper. There are numerous benefits for both students and family members when we have helpers in our classrooms.  This is another way we can strengthen our home/school partnerships. We welcome family members as classroom helpers. A friendly reminder that all classroom helpers are required to have a current Working With Children’s Check.  We ask that families present their WWCC to office for us to copy and keep on file.

Thank You Parents & Friends

Once again we thank our amazing Parents and Friends Committee for their support of the school.  Over the holidays new buckets and spades of various sizes were purchased for the sandpit. The new toys will provide the students with many great times of digging and building. All equipment was purchased using funds raised by the P & F Committee. Thank you.

School Disco

The P & F Committee are preparing the St John the Baptist School disco for Friday 28th July. Further information will be released in the coming days. 

In alignment with the new Education Multi-Enterprise Agreement, the disco will be a P & F led event and will require volunteers to assist with supervision on the evening. If you are able to assist the P & F team with supervision on the evening please contact the committee via email. 

Parents will have the option of staying onsite with access to coffee and tea throughout the disco.

360 Feedback

As a newly appointed principal, like all new principals I am in a period of rapid learning and growing. I always thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to learn, grow and improve.  As part of the Principal Induction Program, I will be participating in 360 Feedback.  Some of you through your various industries may have an awareness of 360 feedback or other feedback processes.  The 360 Feedback is an opportunity to receive feedback from a number of stakeholders and their experience in working with the person seeking feedback.  The stakeholders I will be seeking feedback from include School Leaders, staff, external leaders including MACS Leaders and Father Thomas, families and students. Over the coming weeks a number of families and students may receive an email requesting that you complete feedback in your experience of working with me. This feedback is anonymous and then provided collectively in stakeholder groups.  I hope that should you receive an invite that you take the opportunity to provide feedback.  I see the  opportunity to receive feedback as an opportunity to reflect and develop further as a person and professional. If you receive an invite and would like to ask me anything you are very welcome.

Welcome back for Term 3 everyone.  We hope that families and students are well rested and ready for a term of engaging learning.

Kelli Johnston

Australian Maths Competition

Dear Parents,

St John the Baptist will be participating in the Australian Maths Competition again this year. This year it is being held on Wednesday August 2nd - Friday August 4th.

The AMC is an engaging 30-problem competition that demonstrates the importance and relevance of mathematics in students’ everyday lives; it is open to students in years 3 to 12. Australia’s leading educators and academics, with a deep understanding of our national curriculum standards, actively design the unique AMC problems each year. If you are interested to find out more please visit - where they have included some sample questions.

If your child is interested please send in payment of $8.00 in a sealed envelope marked AMC with your child's name by close of business Friday 14th July.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact Mrs Forbes.

Term 3 Dates for the Diary


10th    Term 3 commences

10th    Mrs Deborah Butler LSL/Welcome Mrs Fleur Sablinski

17th    Mrs Ursula DeCorrado LSL

17th    Inform & Empower Digital Safety & Wellbeing Live Stream - Yr 1/2

17th    School Assembly 5/6RJ presenting

17th    Parents and Friends Meeting 7:00pm

18th    Inform & Empower Digital Safety & Wellbeing Live Stream - Yr 3/4

24th     Mrs Ursula DeCorrado LSL

28th    School Sports Victoria Netball Final

28th     School Disco

31st     2024 Prep Interviews


2nd    School Advisory Council

3rd    2024 Prep Interviews

4th     First Friday Mass - Year 1/2 Level

7th     School Closure Day

8th     St Mary of the Cross Prayer Service

12th    Working Bee

14th    School Assembly 1/2D presenting

15th     Feast of the Assumption Mass

20th     Book Week Begins

28th     School Assembly 1/2JM presenting

29th     Father's Day Stall

31st     District Athletics

31st    7.30am Father's Day Breakfast

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 July 12thFriday July 14th

Carolyn Lonsing

Leanne Nugent

Wednesday July 19th Friday July 21st 
Jessie Stephens

Lauren Wearne

Shamindri Aponso

Leanne Nugent

Uniform Shop News

Parish News

Community Notices

Emmaus College - Information Evening

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully