St James Newsletter

04 February 2019
Term One, Week One         ‘st James School Community Is Committed To The Victorian Child Safe Standards.’
Dates to note...
Principal's Post
New Staff 2019
Education in Faith
Literacy and Numeracy
Spotlight on Learning
Extra Curricular
Digital Technologies
Useful Forms
  P & F Newsletter
After School Care
Community Information
St James Primary School
(03) 9874 1830
51 Centre Road
Vermont, Victoria, 3133

Dates to note...



Feb 1      Preps start 9 - 12

Mon 4    All students  full time (Yr 1-6 commence official classes)

                P & F Morning Tea  9am

Wed 6   No Preps Today

                 Netball Club Meeting 7.30pm

Frid 8    School Leaders - badge presentation    9am

Sun 10   Founder's Day Mass   11.15am

Mon 11   P & F Morning Tea    9am

Tues 12   Parent Information Night in classrooms  7pm and 8.15pm

                   (7.40 all gather in Community Centre for Principal's address)

Wed 13  No Preps Today

Thurs 14   Food Day

Tues 19  Helen Carboon  5pm & 7pm

Wed 20  No Preps Today

Fri 22   School Photos

Sun 24    Family Mass  9.45am at SJM (St John's Mitcham)

Mon 25   District Swimming Carnival (selected Yrs 3 - 6 students)

Tues 26  Literacy Parent Information  Session  9 - 10.40am or  7pm - 8.30pm

Wed 27  No Preps Today

                  Secondhand Uniform  Shop open  8.30am

                  Education Board Meeting   6.15pm

Thurs 28    OPEN DAY




Mon 4    OPEN DAY - Tours 9am and 10am

                 Division Swimming

Tues 5    Shrove Tuesday

                 Burning of the Palms   10.45am

                 P & F Meeting   7.30pm

Wed 6    Ash Wednesday - Mass  12noon

Thurs 7   Parent Information Night - First Eucharist   7pm

Fri 8    Family Buddy Breakfast 


Tues 12   Year 6 Camp - Lake Nillahcootie

Fri 15    Twilight Working Bee  5pm - 7pm

Sat 16  First Eucharist Commitment Ceremony and Mass Book            Presentation   6pm

Sun 17  First Eucharist Commitment Ceremony and Mass Book                    Presentation   9.45am

                 Vision Portraits

Mon 18    Prep Welcome Dinner (Info to come)











St James Community Calendar

(Please be aware that dates can change....always check the dates on the left for confirmation)

Principal's Post

Dear Families,

Welcome back to St James for the 2019 school year!

I hope you enjoyed some important family time over the Christmas holiday period. I enjoyed many relaxing days down on the Mornington Peninsula; beach, golf, running, walking the dog, catching up with family and sampling a few ales and wines.

Welcome New Preps!

It was delightful to see our new Prep students walking across the playground and entering their classrooms for the first time as an official St James student. A common comment from many of them was the heavy weight of their bag! 

Many of them arrived with nervous smiles and departed with happy and excited smiles. We look forward to seven years of exciting learning, growth and development to come!

Look for photos in the Extra Curricular Section

Assessment Days last Wed/Thurs

Early feedback regarding our new trail to the school year has been positive from the staff in that teachers had the opportunity to have a one on one chat with their students as well as gain a lot of valuable information about their learning. Staff feel very confident that they have gained up to date extensive knowledge of the learning needs of students in their class. Coming in for three hours also provided many students with an opportunity to release the anxiety they may usually experience on the first day back.

Staff are excited about the volume of assessments (not so excited about the volume of corrections required!!) we completed and the reduction in replacing them from usual classroom teaching duties with relief teachers. The result for teachers will be more quality teaching time spent with students and less time spent withdrawn from teaching their class. 

We will send home a survey for parents to complete to give us feedback from a parent perspective.

Look for photos in the Extra Curricular Section

Who's new to to James?

We welcome new staff, Molly Morgan (Yr 1M), James Sweatman (Yr 2S), Cathy Dimitrakopoulos (Literacy/Learning and Teaching Leader), Naomi Carson (Auslan Teacher),  Victoire (Vic) Gibson(Learning Support Officer) and Dawn Tucker (School Counsellor). I know that families will make them feel very welcome as part of our St James community.

We welcome our new families and students. Apart from our new prep families and students, we welcome the following students in Year levels one to six:

Jerica Philip 1D, Harriet Archer 1M

Oliver Warrender 2D, Isaiah Oztan 2D

Samuel Peachey 3P

Pippa Warrender 5F, Sean Cochrane 5P, Kayden Yeung Sik Yuen 5P

Come Celebrate with us!

We invite all families to two opening of the year celebrations: our Clapping in new Preps ceremony and Year Six Leadership and SRC Badge presentation prayer service on Friday 8 February at 9am in our Community Centre and  our St John’s Parish Founders Day Mass on Sunday 10 February at 11.15am in the church.

School Fees 2019

  • Statements will be distributed this week.
  • Any arrears on the account should be paid as soon as possible.
  • There are still some Fee Commitment Forms outstanding and they should be returned to the office this week.
  • Information about payment options is on the statements
  • A discount of $100 applies if the account is settled in full before the end of February
  • Any family wishing to commence a direct payment plan should return the relevant for to the office as soon as possible. Forms are available from  the office or on the website.

New Playground Equipment Installed

Our new adventure playground equipment was installed over the holidays. Early feedback from our students has been very favourable. 

Once again, thank you to everyone who contributed to the fundraising lead by our Parents and Friends who raised $30 000 to pay for the playground. The design was put together by the company using suggestions provided by our students. 

Early feedback from students has been very positive.

Free Fire Wood

I had the contractors who replaced the adventure playground edging cut up the timber for us to use rather than pay to dispose of it. Feel free to drive down near the newly installed playground equipment and load up your winter firewood. (obviously out of school hours!)

From the Office

Family verification reports will be sent home to families soon, to make sure all details on our administration system are correct.  Please check your details and add or delete  as necessary.


Don't forget to send all medication  to the office immediately if your child needs it.  Forms must be filled out and are available from the office or on our website.

School Closure Days Term One and Two

Please note the following Pupil Free days for the first half of the year:

Friday 1 March

Friday 26 April 

Partnership Communication 

Clear communication is one key to a successful partnership. 

Let's ensure that conditions for our successful home/school partnership in educating your children has this essential ingredient.

Please keep up to date in reading, noting and responding to all communication from school: emails, texts, skoolbag app, hard copy and phone.

If you need clarification on any issue, the first point of contact is usually your child's class teacher. They may be able to help and if not will direct you to the appropriate staff member. If, after this, you are not satisfied with the outcome, then feel free to make an appointment with Carmel Foster, our Deputy Principal or myself.

Parent Information Evening

Next Tuesday here at St James. 

Essential information will be presented form each class level and as a whole school.

If you only have one child enrolled at St James, you only need to attend one "In Classrooms" session

7.00: In Classrooms: specific information with class teachers

7.40: In Community Centre - Including Principal's address

8.15: In Classrooms: repeat 7.00 information with class teachers

New Staff 2019

James Sweatman

Having worked in Year 4 at St James last year as part of my university degree, I am thrilled to be officially joining the team (which has so far felt more like a family) at St James Vermont! My extracurricular hobbies normally include a range of energetic activities; bike riding, soccer and netball, however I anticipate much of 2019 will be focussed on my wonderful class 2S and organising a June wedding with my fiancé Jen! I can say with certainty that I am looking forward to meeting many of you throughout the year. 


Molly Morgan

Here’s a few things about me: I love watching AFL and I’m a keen Collingwood supporter. I have a gorgeous dog called Maisy. I love teaching and I love seeing students learn new things. I have taught at two different schools previously in a variety of levels and roles. I am currently in my third year of my Masters of Educational Leadership. I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the St James community.


Vic Gibson

I am very excited to be a part of the St James community and am looking forward to share my love of learning with the children.  My husband and I have twins, a son and daughter who have just started school this year. I am looking forward to meeting many of you!

Dawn Tucker

I’m a psychologist who for the past few years was the school counsellor at St. Clare’s PS in Thomastown, and at Holy Name PS in Reservoir. I also work two days a week at a private practice in Park Orchards, conducting educational and other assessments with children, and counselling people aged 4-70+. I was a teacher before becoming a parent, and am a mother of 3 teenagers. I’m looking forward to my new role as school counsellor at St James, where I’ll be every Monday. I will be available 8:30-9:00 am and 3:30-4:00 pm on Mondays, should parents wish to speak privately.​


Cathy Dimitrakopoulos


I am very excited to be joining you in your family's learning journey!   My name is Cathy Dimitrakopoulos (Mrs. D) and I am the Learning and Teaching and Literacy Leader.  I have previously worked in similar roles at Sacred Heart, Croydon and OLGC, Deepdene.  I love my work as everyday is different.  I love children's sense of wonder and I enjoy celebrating success as they learn and progress.    I have two girls of my own in Year 6 and Year 2 and family time is very important to us.  We enjoy family outings, visits to the Mornington Peninsula and family dinners.
I look forward to meeting you - please come up and introduce yourself.  See you soon!

Naomi Carson

Hi SJV community! I’m Naomi Carson and I will be teaching Auslan in 2019. It’s a pleasure to be part of such a warm and welcoming school. Over the last 13 years, I’ve had experience in both primary and secondary settings teaching students who are hearing and deaf. At home, my husband and I have two energetic girls, one starting Prep this year, and a cheeky one year old. I look forward to meeting you all and introducing St James to the beauty of sign language.

Education in Faith


Lord, God of all Creation

All new beginnings are a sign of your love for us.

Everything is new or renewed – new calendar, new diary, new hopes and renewed enthusiasm.

In this atmosphere of freshness, help us to look up rather than down, forward rather than back.

Help us to notice people and their needs and to do what we can to help them achieve their full dignity and development as persons.

As the year fills with activities, challenges and difficulties, let our learning continue as we live and celebrate the promise in our Catholic community.

Fill each day with your grace so that we may continue to grow in your love.

Grant us a wealth of patience, compassion and acceptance for ourselves, our children and for each other.

Help us to face the future with serenity, confidence and courage, and keep us safe and secure.


(Adapted from a prayer by Brant-Haldimand, Norfolk Catholic District School Board)


Please come along to St John’s Church, Sunday 10th February @ 11:15am to celebrate and give thanks for the founding members of our Parish, as well as blessings for our year ahead with it also being the Opening of the School Year Mass.


If you believe your child is ready to celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist in 2019 then please call the Parish office on the number below to make a time to meet Maree O'Keefe and to collect an enrolment form.

This needs to be done before February 15th as enrolments close and  forms are due back then.

If you have any concerns or questions please don't hesitate to

call or email on 9873 1341 or


Please note: First Eucharist Parent Information Night ,

Coghlan Centre, March 7th @ 7pm


The purpose of the Catholic primary school, including St James is to give each student ‘a foundation of faith, values, knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for lifelong learning’. (Catholic Education Melbourne) Religious Education is at the centre of both the formal and informal school curriculum.

Throughout the year, there will be many opportunities to gather to celebrate our Catholic faith and we hope to see you at as many of these celebrations as possible. Parents, grandparents and carers are always welcome. Please see below for details.


2019 Timetables


Literacy and Numeracy


At St. James, we value parent/grandparent help in literacy sessions and invite you to join us for Literacy Training Sessions.  Attendance at the three sessions is a requirement if you wish to assist in classrooms.


Please note the following dates for your diaries:

           Session 1:   Tuesday 26th February  - 9am (repeated at 7pm)

           Session 2: Wednesday 13th March - 9am (repeated at 7pm)

           Session 3: Tuesday 26th March - 9am (repeated at 7pm)


Sessions are dependent on numbers.  If there are limited numbers registered for the evening sessions these may not go ahead. Please watch this space in the newsletter for more information on the sessions and how to register your interest.


Cathy Dimitrakopoulos

Literacy/Learning and Teaching Leader

Mathematics in the Real World


Mathematics plays a major part in everything we do. Hopefully you were able to enjoy your holidays and complete some practical, real life mathematics. 


If you have any stories or photos of your family completing mathematics in the real world could you email them to me at  I would love to share them with the St. James community. 


Below are a few possible ideas:

Did you calculate your change on a purchase?

Did you budget for a trip?

Did you build something and measure its length, width and height?

Did you double a cookie recipe?

Did you read a timetable at an adventure park?

Did you read a scaled map?

Spotlight on Learning

Auslan at St James

St James Vermont Primary School now offers an exciting new Language program. All students Prep to Year 6 are engaged in weekly Auslan (Australian Sign Language) classes.  Auslan is a rich non-verbal language and is the official language of the Australian Deaf Community.


St James students are learning how to communicate without their voices, beginning with iconic signs and fingerspelling. As their signed vocabulary grows and their confidence increases, students will progress towards maintaining signed interactions in Auslan.


Our Auslan classes promote communication and foster inclusion through a range of different activities and learning opportunities. We provide insight into Deaf culture and assist in bridging the gap between Deaf and hearing communities.


Naomi Carson

Auslan Teacher

Physical Education 

Welcome everyone to the 2019 school year! I hope you all had a wonderful break and are feeling re-energised and excited for another fantastic year of Physical Education and Sport at St. James. It will be a busy year for sporting events, especially for our senior students, so please make sure you are checking the Newsletter for any updates.


We kick off the year with District Swimming on Thursday February 28th at Aquarena in Doncaster. St. James’ students from Year 3 to 6 are invited to be part of the 2019 Swimming Team.


This year we are offering students the opportunity to take part in trials which will be held at Aquanation Leisure Centre in Ringwood on Tuesday the 12th February. It will be a great opportunity for students to experience competitive swimming and demonstrate their swimming ability. Students will be required to be at the pool by 7:30am, myself and other staff members will then time the students over 50m in freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breastroke. Parents will need to arrange transport to and from the pool and hopefully we will all be back at school by 8:45am ready to start the day.


If your child is unable to attend but still wishes to be part of the swimming team, please send me a note or email stating the events they are interested in and their times over 50m recorded by yourself or a swimming instructor.


Feel free email me if you have any questions:


**yes it is Feild so please make sure you check the email address carefully!


Looking forward to a great year of Phys Ed and Sport at St James!


Claire Feild


Wellbeing News

Welcome back for 2019 and a very warm welcome to any new families. As a Catholic school, St James’ understands the importance of nurturing the whole person – the spiritual, cognitive, physical, social and emotional. Wellbeing is the foundation, it is integral to learning excellence and ultimately to overall health and life success.


It is the shared responsibility of both home and school to develop and foster all aspects of a child’s growth. Social and emotional learning is one of these aspects and is about developing basic social and emotional competencies that serve children (and adults) in all areas of their lives. Some of these competencies are:

  • Self -awareness

  • Self -management

  • Social awareness

  • Relationship skills

  • Responsible decision making

Through a variety of learning opportunities and experiences at school, and with support and reinforcement from home, children will build on these competencies, making mistakes along the way, but always growing and moving forward.


SRC (Student Representative Council)

This Friday (8th February) at 9:00 am, MP Neil Angus will be attending our school assembly to assist with the presentation of the Year 6 leadership badges and the SRC badges for 2019.


The St James SRC is a great opportunity for students to have a say to suggest ways to make our school a safer and happier place for us all.  The council is made up of myself, as well-being leader, the school captains and representatives from each class. Classroom representatives are voted in by their classmates and serve a semester. Regular SRC meetings are held on Thursdays and we discuss issues or ideas that come from the students in our classrooms or whole school ideas. SRC representatives get the chance to share their views and work on issues that the students believe are important to the school and the community.  


In the next newsletter, I will introduce our Semester 1 SRC members and hear about some of their aspirations for Semester 1. As well as hearing a little more from Dawn our new school counsellor from Catholic Care. Watch this space!

Kayleigh Fitzgerald, Wellbeing Leader

Parent Resources


Parentline 13 22 89

Parentline is available 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. It is a confidential and anonymous phone counselling service for parents and carers of children and teenagers in Victoria.


Click here for access to CatholicCare

It is a social service agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, they offer a range of programs and services that aim to build and strengthen relationships.


Click here for access to the Student Well-being Hub Website

It includes sections for parents, teachers and students with practical strategies and resources to support your child's well-being.


Click here for access to Parenting Ideas Blog

It includes articles, testimonials and practical tips on a wide variety of topics.

Extra Curricular

Playground...We just love all the new equipment! Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen!



Assessments...Last week, we all made the most of Assessment Days - including saying,'Hello' to old and new friends, especially our new teachers!


Preps' First Day...New families, new beginnings and a 'Welcome Back' to some 'old' friends, like Lisa Calavetta, a past student, who has her daughter starting school this year.


Welcome 2019 Leaders...The first day together as school leaders was marked by all Year Six students receiving their rugby top.
Come along this Friday at 9:00am, when we will welcome all of our new friends to our community and induct our new captains and leaders with their badges. 




Thank You...

Our chooks survived the Summer holidays thanks to the dedication of these generous families:

So, Wursthorn, Harvey, Brooks, Martin, Hammerton, Doherty, Licciardi, Baptista, Skerry and Kowalski.

Not only were the chooks well fed and watered, but they were even treated to frozen strawberries and corn to get them through the 40+ degree days! Our passionfruits, sunflowers, mint and rosemary (planted to benefit our chooks) are all looking magnificent too!

                              THANK YOU.     THANK YOU.     THANK YOU.


Farm Duty Volunteers..

We are now calling for volunteers to care for our gorgeous girls during Term 1 weekends.  

Not only do you get to keep all the eggs produced on the weekend, but you can snip off some mint or rosemary and pick a ripe passionfruit or two!

Email Wendy at if you would like to join the roster and let me know if there are any particular weekends in Term 1 when you are not available.


Digital Technologies

Teachers need your email address!

Teachers require email addresses to send out class newsletters, details of upcoming classroom events and activities, and reminders.  Please click on the link next to your child’s class and fill in the details. If you would like 2 different email addresses to be included in the group email, click on the link again to submit another response.

Please make sure you fill in the form for each of your children.  Teachers will use the responses to create a group email to use throughout the year.  Thank you.


Prep O       

Prep K














Student passwords will be changed over this week.  If your child is trying to access their school Google account at home and they have been asked to sign in again, they will need to use their new 2019 password.  Please do not attempt to use the old password over and over again or Google will lock the account.  Also, do not change passwords at home; this needs to be done through our Google Admin site.


Using technology at St James is a privilege that comes with responsibilities.  Your child will have their first STEMMs lesson this week where User Agreements will be discussed in detail and Year 1-6 students will be reminded that the agreement they signed last year is still in effect.

On Thursday, all students will bring home a copy of their new User Agreement to sign and discuss with parents. Please make sure that signed agreements are returned to classroom teachers by

Tuesday Feb 12th.  After this date, students will not be permitted to use Digital Technologies until their signed agreement is returned.

Parents can access the school’s full Acceptable Use Policy through this link…..

New St James students will also bring home two more important documents;

a GAFE account permission form and a Photo/Video permission form.

Please sign and return these documents to classroom teachers by Thursday February 14th.

Current students’ photo/video permissions remain valid for the time they are enrolled at St James, but if there are any circumstances where parents wish to change their permission status, they need to  email Wendy Ephgrave ( and their classroom teachers, to indicate this change.


Please remember to make sure that your child has a clearly-named purse or pencil case to store their personal earphones in.  This will ensure they are kept clean and can be carried to and from the computer lab safely.

Useful Forms



P & F Newsletter


The P&F have another exciting year planned for 2019. Please see this years calendar with all the P&F events.


The P&F send out an email once a week informing the school community of upcoming events and where we need volunteers. If you would like to be included in the P&F email list please forward your details to the following address p&


Another great way to keep up to date is by liking us on Facebook, search for p&f noticeboard



        Monday 11th - P & F Meeting/Morning tea 9am

        Friday 15th - Subway Food Day



        Friday 1st - Cinema Under the Stars     

                               Tuesday 5th - P & F Meeting 7.30pm


Food Day - Subway

We have our first Food day on Friday 15th February, Subway. We need two volunteers from 10.40am to 11am.  If you have some free time please go to the following link to sign up


Cinema Under the Stars

Our first major event is Cinema Under the Stars on the St James Oval on Friday 22  March, organised by our Grade 5 Champions Kylie, Sandra, Sarah and Monique. More details to follow soon.


We would also like to put a call out for anyone who would like to help us run the pre movie games which have been so popular in the past, thanks to Jacqui and Carolyn. We can help with planning and preparation if you need but would need some enthusiastic mums and dads to run the games on the night. It would be disappointing not to have these as they are a real highlight so please have a think as to whether you may be able to assist us with this. If interested in helping please speak to one of us or email Kylie at


This year we are offering advertising opportunities on the big screen at the Cinema Night. If you want to advertise your business or another business you know please contact us.


Icypole Duty

We will be selling icypoles this term on Fridays, starting this Friday, at afternoon  play for 50c. If you can help sell them for 30 mins please  sign up at  


Secondhand Uniform

If you are after any second hand uniforms please contact Nicole Spezza ( or Christine Lagos (


P & F Team Leaders

We are fortunate to belong to a fantastic school community with a very active P & F.  To keep things on track we need 2 or 3 people to take on the role of team leader.  The positions involve ensuring the Coordinators and Champions are on track and run the 6 meetings and an AGM.  If you think this interests you or you would like to get some more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.



Auskick Tuckshop

This year our Prep Champions are running the Auskick Tuck shop. We need 3 more champions to assist each Saturday during the Auskick season. If you are able to help Please sign up at 



After School Care


To help families prepare for the new school year, bookings for Outside School Hours Care are now open for 2019.


So we can care for all students at your school, we do recommend families register an account with us and always book in advance. 


Why register? To attend our care, parents/guardians must register their child with us by completing an online enrolment form via our parent portal. It’s very important that parents/guardians fill out all compulsory enrolment documentation for their child and notify us of any medical conditions, illnesses and other, to ensure the health and safety of all children in our care.

Families can register for free at

Community Information



St James Newsletter
Thursday Masses T1.pdf
Prayer Services Hosts- T1.pdf
Parish Family Mass.pdf
Event Calendar 2019 Rev 2.pdf
Bike Contract.pdf
Asthma Action Plan_Puffer and Spacer_2017 (2).pdf
Individual Asthma Risk Minimisation Plan_29062017.pdf
Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plan.pdf