St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Tuesday October 17th 2023

Letter from the Principal, Kelli Johnston


Dear Families

This week we welcome our Preps for 2024 as they attend their first Transition Session on Wednesday 18th October between 9:00am - 10:30am. We look forward to getting to know our newest and youngest members of St John the Baptist for 2024 throughout their transition sessions. This is such an exciting time for us as a school and community, as well as, our Preps and their families.

Prep 2024 Important Dates

Date & VenueTimeParent Information SessionLocation

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

Prep - Year 2 Swimming

Prep - Year 2 students continue their weekly swimming lessons at St Joseph's College. The swimming program is a great program where students develop their swimming skills and so much more.  Learning to be independent in changing, drying, looking after belongings and in our case road sense and safety on the walk to the pool. These are all valuable life skills for our students.

 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.

Regional Athletics

Congratulations to all students who have made it through to Regional Athletics and who will represent St John’s on Thursday in their respective events. We wish you all the best for a fun day of competition. Congratulations to Lorelei, Ria, Alxys, Ruby, Poppy, Nishala, Jenna, Zara, Zaylen, Max, Matilda and Ellie. Good luck everyone!!

Staffing Updates

It is with mixed emotions that I inform the community that Mrs Deborah Butler - Prep Teacher & Sustainability Leader will conclude her time at St John the Baptist at the end of the 2023 school year.  We congratulate Deborah on her successful appointment as a classroom teacher at St James in Vermont next year.

Deborah is a wonderful and highly skilled teacher, as well as, a most valued member of our SJB community. Throughout her 5 years at SJB Deborah has had a significant impact on many of our students. Her passion, dedication & care for her students is unquestionable. Deborah truly is  an expert and outstanding educator who we have all had the privilege of working alongside. 

Deborah’s other passion and significant contribution to SJB is her love for sustainability. She has played a pivotal role in creating sustainable vegetable garden beds, compost bins, wrapper free lunches, building the capacity of teachers in the area of sustainability, as well as, an active role in the development of the new SJB playscape. 

Deborah has made many significant contributions to SJB during her 5 years and there is no doubt that she will be missed dearly by all.  We sincerely thank Deborah for all that she has contributed and hope to hear of her future accomplishments. Thank you Deborah.We wish you every success and happiness at St James.

Welcome Sophie Ryan

We welcome Sophie Ryan to the role of LSO at St John’s. We are thrilled to have Sophie join our team at SJB. Sophie joins us as an LSO Monday - Friday 8:50am - 1:10pm.


Congratulations Lorelei C on recently being entered into the Victorian All Schools Track and Field Championships. Lorelei will represent St John the Baptist across 2 weekends - 28th & 29th of October and the 4th and 5th of November. She will be competing in the 200m and 400m in the U/14 age group. Best of luck Lorelei, we wish you well. 

Working Bee Tasks Completed

We have been most fortunate to have volunteer support to complete the main tasks required for the Term 4 Working Bee. Due to this generosity we will not require a Working Bee next Saturday.

We sincerely thank Cam Burns for his work in removing the carpet and cabinetry in the library.  This was a big task that has been a significant help.

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.

The year is moving forward at a rapid pace. It is hard to believe the shops are filling with everything Christmas!! Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

Kelli Johnston

Digitech Lesson Reflections

Sphero Balls

Makey Makey

Bee Bots



Parents & Friends News

Hi SJB Community

Please spread the word below to family and friends if they would like to buy mangoes or come along to our Social bowls night, these are such lovely ways to support our school and get together with other parents and friends. Your continued support and engagement in our events is an important part of our path through our children’s schooling years and as Ursula DeCorrado informed the 2024 prep parents (and we know she knows her stuff!) there is much evidence that when children see their parents involved or present in their school and activities they have positive outcomes socially and in their learning journey. We are very blessed at SJB as we are welcomed to actively participate and be present in our school, there are many schools who are yet to invite families back into the school grounds and classrooms and I’m proud when I talk about our lovely school community.

Social Event

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

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

The camping weekend will now be on Sat 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. Cost is $30 per person.  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


Student Awards

Year PB

Ethan M - For continuously trying your best in all learning areas. You are an enthusiastic learner and help to model to your peers how to actively participate in all lessons by sharing you ideas and understandings with the class. You are a learning legend Ethan! 

Carter B - For having a positive attitude during Reading and Writing since returning to school for Term 4. You wrote an amazing story about a gorilla in the jungle this week and have been forming your letters beautifully. Incredible work Carter!

Freja De M - For doing your best in each and every activity you are tasked with at school. You take pride and care in your work and continue to blow me away with your detailed drawings and imaginative stories. Tremendous work Freja! 

Year PBM

Eric J - for working hard during our writing sessions and writing the sounds you can hear. Keep up the hard work in writing Eric! You are a star learner Eric.

John H - for writing some wonderful narratives using the picture promps given. John it was wonderful to see you write three pages in your book about the giant with the stinky feet! You are a star learner John!

George G - for writing some wonderful stories about the picture prompts given. George it was wonderful to see you write four pages in your book about the ogre with the stinky feet. You are a star learner George!

Year 1/2D

Leo N - for completing your learning tasks in a positive, calm manner. The way you respond to feedback is excellent and you always try your best to use the feedback to make your work the best it can be. Well done!

Benjamin G - for making HUGE progress in your reading. All of the practice you are doing at home and school is making a massive difference. Keep it up, Benjamin. Awesome work Ben!

Year 1/2JM

Willow P - for working hard to achieve your best when writing and for using lots of detail to describe the characters. Well done Willow!

Year 3/4D

Amelia R - for working hard on her writing and always producing entertaining narratives.

Dusty T - for excellent work in mathematics, particularly in the area of addition and subtraction.

Year 3/4G

Charlize P - for her continued efforts in working independently and for spreading kindness to all her peers. Well done Charlize!

Oliver S - for his continuous positive attitude towards his learning and for being a supportive friend to his peers. Well done Oliver!

Harper H - for his resilience and positive encouragement to his peers at camp, as well as his positive attitude towards all areas of learning. Well done Harper!

Year 3/4SC

Jai PW - for the joy and enthusiasm he has shown in joing our class since returning to Australia.

Ella O'C - for her excellent display of leadership skills as an inclusive classmate, and the impressive amount of effort she applies to achieve her learning goals.

Olivia B - for her fabulous work in reading and her willingness to forgive others with a generous heart.

Year 5/6FJ

Ruby L - for making a consistent effort to persist and show grit when faced with challenging mathematical tasks. You have shown strong skills in looking closely at your work and where to make further edits or improvements. Keep this up Ruby in your final term at Primary School.

Audrey L - for continually identifying areas of need to extend yourself in the classroom. Your dedication to your work and improving your skills is in your nature and you impress us daily with your desire to be better. You are a true life long learner who we can all learn from.

Year 5/6RJ

Maddie S - for always working consistently in the classroom and trying her very best. Great work last week teaching your lesson using the Bee Bot devices to teach the junior students of our school a lesson on how to use them. You had the students engaged with your activities and they all enjoyed working with you. Well done Maddie.

Ria G - for always working consistently in the classroom and trying her very best. Great work last week teaching your lesson using the devices to teach the junior students of our school a lesson on how to use them. You had the students engaged with your activities and they all enjoyed working with you. Well done Ria.

Term 4 Dates for the Diary


18th Prep 2024 Transition Session No. 1

18th Carly McGauran Psychologist Presenting at Prep Transition

19th Regional Athletics

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 18thWednesday October 20th
Jessica Bagnoux

Melinda Price

Katrina Horne

Carrie Canton

Wednesday October 25thFriday October 27th 
Rachel Ben

Troy Kristof

Mark Molan

Rients Huitema

Uniform Shop News

Camp Australia

Please find attached Camp Australia's newsletter.

Camp Australia Pricing

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully