February 12th, 2024: Newsletter #2
Acknowledgment of Country
St. John’s school community respect and honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on this land and commit to building a brighter future together, working together towards a reconciled Australia.
Week 3 Prayer
From the Principal
Greetings everyone. This week is an important one in the calendar of Christian Churches around the world as we celebrate Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent. Please read on to learn more about the importance of these religious feasts.
The Season of Lent: This Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, Catholics and Christians across the world will celebrate the commencement of the Season of Lent. The week is marked by two significant days, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, both of which are explained in more detail below.
Shrove Tuesday: This Tuesday the world church celebrates the feast of Shrove Tuesday. This day is celebrated traditionally as a day where English settled countries would traditionally eat pancakes. The English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before the fasting associated with Ash Wednesday and Lent began. In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras.
Ash Wednesday & Lent: Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. It falls 40 weekdays before Easter (Sundays are not counted in the 40 days of Lent). Ash Wednesday takes its name from ashes, a traditional Jewish sign of penitence. In some liturgical traditions, palm fronds or palm crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned, and then the ashes are applied to the worshiper’s forehead on Ash Wednesday as a token of their commitment to observe a “Holy Lent.”
Ancient Christian tradition was to observe Lent with fasting (a discipline of going without food at certain times), alms giving (the practice of giving money or goods to the poor), and prayer.
The traditional colour for altar hangings and clergy vestments during Lent is purple. Traditionally, altars are decorated in a plainer style, perhaps with the omission of flowers.
Sacrament of Reconciliation- Grade 6: Senior Reconciliation is a Sacramental Program for Year 6 students who have completed their Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist Sacraments. The Student and Parent Information meeting is being held at St. Pius X Church on 22nd February at 7.00pm with the actual Sacrament of Reconciliation to take place on Monday 18th March at 6.00pm at St Pius X Church.
To register to attend, please complete the linked form; https://forms.gle/cwD4dFe3fHk4aNie8
Contact Tom Beks at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
Project Compassion: This week the Season of Lent begins. A key focus during this time is the act of giving. A program that we support at St. John’s is the annual Caritas Australia Project Compassion Appeal. Donations to Project Compassion allows Caritas Australia, the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, to work with local communities around the world to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice.
We encourage you to put your compassion into action this Lent through your prayer, fasting and almsgiving by supporting Project Compassion. We have been given an amount of Project Compassion boxes to distribute to families for their donations, these will be sent home tomorrow. If you don't receive one please feel free to drop some coins off at the office or you can donate online via the Caritas Australia website at: lent.caritas.org.au
At the end of this term, we will invite all families to return their project compassion boxes to school as part of our Easter Liturgy. Saint Oscar Romero is our inspiration for Project Compassion, so in his words let’s “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”
Student Mobile Phone & Smart Watch Use: In accordance with the DOBCEL Digital Technology Policy and the St. John's Acceptable Use and Cyber Safety Agreement, it is it is a requirement that mobile phones and personal electronic devices must be signed into the school office.
We understand that from time to time students may bring a device for use before or after school. If your child brings a phone or device they are required to sign them into the school office prior to school and collected at the end of the day. These items are stored securely in the office area. Please speak with your child regarding this process. This agreement sits in CONNECT in PAM and requires all families to read and acknowledge the terms and conditions each year.
PAM - CONNECT requests: There are a number of families yet to complete these. I ask that you do so by the end of the week. There are seven requests you need to complete. When you log into PAM these requests will display immediately on the screen. Please read through each request and sign off on each one. If you are having trouble with PAM or need any assistance or clarification please contact the office.
Entering the buildings during school hours: All visitors to the school must present to the front office on arrival and sign in, including children who arrive late. Parents should vacate the classrooms as soon as possible after the 8.55am bell has sounded for the start of the day. If collecting your child early, please advise the classroom teacher and admin staff via email or phone call and wait at the office to meet your child, walking through the school to collect them is not permitted.
Geelong FC visit: On Wednesday 14th February we are lucky enough to have a number of Geelong Cats players visiting our school to run some clinics for our Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3/4 students. These sessions will run throughout the day, and if going off last year's experience when they visited is anything to go by, it is sure to be a great day for all involved. Students in Grades 1 - 4 are to wear their sports uniform on this day.
We look forward to the week ahead, Ben.
NAPLAN is in Term 1 in 2024. Year 3 and Year 5 students at St. John's will undertake NAPLAN in the weeks 12th-22nd March. Below is some information about NAPLAN.
Please find linked below a document which outlines our guidelines and expectations regarding the wearing of our school uniform, pleaase take the time to read through this important information.
Sunscreen is provided in each learning area for students to use throughout the day however students are encouraged to bring their own to school, especially if your child is allergic to certain brands. If this is the case, please also inform the office and your child's teacher via email.
During Summer, you are encouraged to apply sunscreen to your child before they arrive at school. Children will be reminded throughout the day to reapply sunscreen before going outdoors.
School Communication Channels
Newsletter: Our newsletter is published weekly on Mondays and is distributed directly to all families via the Schoolzine App and email. The newsletter carries the bulk of our news and information about what is happening at St. John’s. It is the main way parents/guardians can be informed about coming events, student and teacher achievements. It is important for all families to read the newsletter each week.
Schoolzine App: This App is the simplest way to receive short messages, reminders, or emergency information direct to your mobile phone. The Schoolzine App can be downloaded free from either Apple App Store or Google Play and then once installed, search for ‘St. John’s’ Primary School Dennington’.
Facebook: Facebook allows us to share many of the wonderful stories about what’s happening at our school including individual and team achievements.
As a parent/guardian, we encourage you to also join our closed Facebook community - St John's Dennington School Community. This page is for reminders and notices. If you have a direct question that requires an answer from staff please email your child's teacher or call the office on 5562 5362 rather than posting in this group.
Email: Parents are welcome to email staff with questions or to request a time to meet. Please note that staff will only respond between the hours of 8.00am and 5.00pm. Staff emails consist of first initial and email@example.com eg Jan Madden - firstname.lastname@example.org
Our communication guidelines are available to view under the Useful Information Tab in the Schoolzine app. A summary is also pinned in our closed Facebook community page.
Financial Information & Support: If you hold a current Pension or Health Care Card, you may be eligible for one of the following support programs. If you do think this applies to you, please speak with our Office staff.
Family Fee Assistance Scheme - are you eligible?: The Family Assistance Scheme, designed by the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat offers a tuition fee concession to families who hold a current Health Care Card/Centrelink or Veteran Affairs concession card. Families who qualify for the scheme will pay $520 per annum for primary school tuition fees. The discounted fee covers tuition and capital fees only. It does not cover additional charges such as camps, student fees and excursions.
Camp, Sports & Excursion Fund (CSEF): Similarly, if you are eligible for the above assistance, then there is a strong chance you will also be eligible for the CSEF. This amount is aimed at offsetting the costs associated with any camps, excursions and sporting events that your child participates in. Form is attached below.
As always, should you have any queries of concerns regarding the payment of fees then we encourage you to speak with the office staff to see what support you may be eligible for.
2024 School Fee Structure: At our final School Advisory Council meeting of 2023, the group decided upon the following fee structure for 2024. The increases are in line with actual costs of events such as camps and swimming programs etc. The Diocese of Ballarat also provides recommended fee bands which we currently sit just within. This to ensure we are working towards having fees which are in line with DOBCEL expectations but doing it in a way that doesn’t place undue financial burden on our parents.
- Student Levy $150
- Family fee $1075
- Building Levy $175
- Gr 5/6 Camp $350
- Gr 3/4 Camp $200
- Gr F-4 Swimming $100
- Gr 5/6 Surf Awareness $100
- Participation Levy $200
Please note that our fees only make up the difference between the Government (Federal and State) funding we receive and the amount the Government determines as the cost of educating a Primary student. Fees do not mean that we have extra money in our budget to expend on additional resources.
The Family Fee Assistance scheme will be available again in 2024. Families who qualify for the scheme will pay $520 per annum for primary school tuition fees. The discounted fee covers tuition and capital fees only. It does not cover additional charges such as camps, student fees, and excursions.
If you have any queries regarding school fees or funding please do not hesitate to contact Gayle or Ben.
Parent Participation Levy
In 2024 we will continue to implement the Parent Participation Levy. The PPL is a key aspect of our parent and community engagement program and is outlined in its entirety in the attached document; details regarding ways of achieving the time is outlined below in the P&F Social group section.
Catholic Diocese of Ballarat 150th Anniversary
The Diocese of Ballarat will turn 150 on 30th March, 2024.
It was on 30th March, 1874, that Pope Pius the Ninth issued a decree that marked the beginning of the Ballarat Diocese. Bishop Paul, in his message about the anniversary, said, “Our 150th anniversary will be an opportunity for each community throughout our diocese to remember those who have gone before us, those who have laid the foundations of our parish and school communities and the social services and health care that are provided in our diocese today. The anniversary will be an opportunity to review our history, acknowledging both strengths and weaknesses, celebrating the achievements and recognising the failures to live our Christian faith to the full. It will be a chance to take stock of where we are now and look ahead to how we can live as a truly Christian community, sharing the good news of Christ, in the years to come.” (ODC July 2023)
The logo for the 150th Anniversary of the Diocese of Ballarat (shown below) was prepared by a committee convened by Bishop Paul. The design incorporates the diocesan logo and the bough of a tree drawn by Sr Anne McMillan rsm in 1985. The words Anne had used with this drawing were, “If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come”. It is an old Chinese proverb, which could be interpreted as a reminder to keep hope alive and a call to open our hearts to all. The bough of a tree symbolises growth, interconnectedness and life. The leaves could symbolise the communities, the parishes, the people of the diocese.
The text Communities: Remember, Revitalise, Hope reflects various aspects of the anniversary. The word “Community” highlights the fact that a diocese is essentially a community drawn together by Christ, a large community made up of many local communities. The word “Remember” refers us to the history of the diocese. In this remembering, we acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of that history, celebrating the achievements and recognising the failures to live our Christian faith to the full. The word “Revitalise” calls us to invest ourselves in bringing new life to the community today. The word “Hope” encourages us to look forward to the future with confidence in God.
The Scripture verse chosen for our 150th anniversary year reflects various elements of our vocation as a Christian community. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). The words are drawn from a passage in St Paul’s letter to the Romans in which the apostle lists qualities appropriate for a community inspired by Christ. As the years go by, the community experiences times of trial as well as times of gladness. Through it all, their trust in Christ makes them joyful in hope and patient in affliction. They recognise that they need God’s help in all they do and so they are faithful in prayer, seeking God’s help day by day.
May this anniversary year be a season of renewal for our diocese, our community of communities from the Murray to the sea.
Hands on Learning
Grade 5/6 families: To access this form please click on this link
Our much loved Breakfast Club recommences next Tuesday 20th February and will run weekly on a Tuesday morning from 8.15am - 8.45am in the Library. Breakfast Club is a great opportunity for students to catch over whilst enjoying some delicious toast or cereal. Our wellbeing leader Jasmine Koch facilitates Breakfast club and does an amazing job week in and week out ordering, organising and ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Literacy is going to look very different at St. John's in 2024 and beyond. These sessions will provide you with information about the learning and how you can support your child at home. It is highly recommended that you attend one of the three sessions available.
Our annual school photos including sibling photos will be taken by Arthur Reed Photos on Tuesday 5th March 2024.
There is no need to return any forms or money to school. Unique image codes will be issued to all students on/after photo day so families can register online to view images when they become available in the webshop.
Registration is simple, just follow the 3 simple steps on your child’s personalised flyer once you receive it and remember to add the codes for all your children attending this school. Even if you registered last year, it’s important that you do again this year using your child’s 2024 image code to link their images for the current year with your contact details.
When images are ready to view and in the webshop, all parents who have registered will be notified by SMS and email. Once registered, please wait for notification that 2024 images are online to view before making your purchase.
There are a number of our students who suffer from allergies that range from mild to extreme and we are seeking the support of the wider community to assist in supporting students with these allergies.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that is potentially life-threatening. The most common causes of anaphylaxis in schools are allergies to food and insects (bees). To help manage allergies, our school follows the DOBCEL Anaphylaxis Management Policy which has been developed in accordance with best practice guidelines from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.
ASCIA recommends an Allergy Aware approach, which means we are supporting students at risk of anaphylaxis in the following ways:
- training staff
- educating students about allergies and anaphylaxis
- teaching students that we all have different needs and to be respectful of others
- teaching students the importance of getting help immediately if their friend with allergy looks sick.
For food allergies, we are also:
- encouraging students with food allergies to wash their hands before and after eating
- encouraging students to wash their hands after eating something their classmate or friend is allergic to
- teaching students not to share food with friends who have a food allergy.
Food allergies are common in school aged children and avoiding the food is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction, this is particularly difficult in junior classes. We therefore ask all families to be careful of the foods they send each day, a product that states it may contain traces of nuts would be acceptable whilst sending a conatiner filled with cashews is not.
We have also chosen not to stock nuts or nut products on our lunch order list or our Wednesday Treat meal choices.
We ask you to support the school’s Allergy Aware approach so that we can increase safety and provide an environment that meets the needs of all our students.
Opening the Doors Foundation
The Opening the Doors Foundation provides grants to families to assist with the extra costs incurred in the schooling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary or secondary school students. The 2024 Grant Round is now open, with a closing date of 12th April 2024. For students to commence the 2024 school year with the necessary items, the ideal time to apply is now or before the start of Term 1.
Full criteria and guidelines are included on the Opening the Doors Foundation website and the Opening the Doors Foundation Application, but the following points may prove helpful for families who are considering applying:
- The Applicant (child) must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
- The Applicant must be enrolled in a Catholic or Independent educational institution located within the State boundaries of Victoria.
- The Applicant can only submit one regular grant per year.
- First time applicants must provide a Confirmation of Aboriginality Certificate, which must be in the child’s name. If a Confirmation Certificate is not obtainable, please contact the Foundation as applicants may be able to submit a Statement of Recognition (Recognition of Aboriginality Form) instead.
- The Foundation supports the extra costs of school. This does not include 'fees'.
- Items already purchased cannot be reimbursed.
- Maximum grant amounts are included in the app.
- Applications will not be accepted after the closing date - 12th April 2024.
Pick Up: Pick Up time is a very busy at St John's so we have the following procedures in place to help manage traffic flow. We are asking that families who use either of the loops to collect their children at the end of the day, do so as follows;
- Families with surnames A-J use the Russell St Loop.
- Families with surnames K-Z use the Coghlan's Rd Loop.
Please note that children who walk or ride home can use whichever exit suits them and families are still welcome to use the pencil path and park their cars in Russell St or park and pick up in the Russell Street car park or the Coghlan's Road car park.
We also ask that if you have to hop out of the car to assist your child to hop into the car that you park your car and collect them rather than hold up the loop. We also ask that parents do not park on the oval near the portable buildings as this is a play area where children will be.
Russell St Crossing: It is important that all children (and any adults with them) crossing Russell Street do so at the designated school crossing. This is simply the only safe option, it may take longer but it is safer.
Harry had a very successful weekend at the Regional Athletics carnival in Ballarat on the weekend. He won the under 9 boys 100m sprint, the 70m sprint and came 2nd in the 200m sprint. He has qualified to run in the State level competition in March. What an amazing achievement Harry, we are all so proud of you and wish you the best of luck for your next event.
If you have some exciting news you would like to share with our school community please email email@example.com
Around our School- Week 2
Best wishes to Imogen G, Gracie S, Jemmah K, Lachlan L, Charlie B and Dylan Z who celebrate their birthday this week, we hope you have a fantastic day!
Parents & Friends Social Group
Tomorrow the Parents and Friends Social group will be providing pancakes for all of the students, including gluten free for students that require them. Thank you to all parents who have volunteered to help with preparing on the day.
Thank you to Woolies who have donated some items for us to use tomorrow and the Serra family for their generous donation of the milk.
We ask all children to bring in a gold coin in tomorrow to help cover the remaining cost of the ingredients.
The Dennington Dash will be held on Friday 15th March. A great opportunity to get out and run/walk with friends while raising money for the school. Use the QR code below to register for the event. There are some great prizes to be won on the night!
We will also be on the lookout for volunteers to help on the night with registrations, marshalling and helping on the BBQ. Keep an eye out in the facebook group.
Wine, Cheese and Chat night
NEXT Tuesday we will be holding our annual Wine, Cheese & Chat night at 7.00pm in the Gathering Space. This follows the Literacy information session at 6.30pm. This is the perfect opportunity to come along and talk with other parents who volunteer their time across the school’s committee’s. Keep your eye on the facebook group to rsvp for catering purposes.
The Parent’s and Friends social group meet monthly to organise fundraising and social events for the school. They will be holding their AGM in March with all positions up for grabs. There are also a number of parents who attend meetings regularly and organise different events throughout the year.
The Dennington Day Out committee also meets on a regular basis to help organise our schools Major Fundraiser which will be on Sunday 10th November.
Another group within our school is the School Advisory Council which meets each term with the Principal and Assistant Principals. This night is a great opportunity to come along and ask questions, or a simple excuse to get out of the house and get to know other parents without the kids around. All parents who volunteer across our committees say they began attending meetings for their own social outing.
Malynda De Bono - President
Each week on a Monday, families are rostered on to bring in a cake which will then be raffled and drawn out at assembly. All funds raised throughout the year will be donated to the Good Friday Appeal the following year.
All students will have the opportunity to buy a raffle ticket for 20c each Monday with a limit of five tickets per student. The Johnnies will make a P.A announcement at first lunch, calling all students who wish to purchase a ticket, to the Library.
The following families are rostered on next week- Monday 19th February.
Arnold, Atkins, Baetz, Baker, Bell (Rhy)
A big thank you to O'Brien's Electrical who sponsor our school!
Would you like to advertise your business in our school newsletter? Businesses can advertise for only $100 a year and will have a business card sized listing in every school newsletter.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Star of the Sea Bulletin
Sunday Mass is held at 10.00am at St. Pius X Church. School families are always welcome.
The Parish office can be contacted on 5562 2231 and this weekends bulletin is featured below. Other information and contact details can be found on the Star of the Sea South West Coast website: https://www.ballarat.catholic.org.au/parish/southwestcoast/
Tuesday 13th February: Shrove Tuesday.
Tuesday 20th February: Wine Cheese and Chat night- P&F Social group function.
Tuesday 20th February: Little Learners Information Sessions- see flyer for times.
Thursday 22nd February: Reconciliation student and parent meeting, St Pius X Church at 7.00pm.
Wednesday 28th February: DDO first meeting in the Gathering Space at 7.15pm.
Tuesday 5th March: School Photos (students are to wear sports uniform).
Wednesday 6th March: School Athletics Carnival.
Friday 15th March: Dennington Dash.
Monday 18th March: Sacrament of Reconciliation, St Pius X Church at 6.00pm.
Tuesday 19th March: P&F Social Group AGM and first meeting.