St John's School Newsletter

16 March 2020
Issue Four

With Faith and Love


"St John's School is committed to the

- Victorian Child Safe Standards"

Principal's Report
Religious Dimension
Digital Technologies at St. John's
What's Happening at St John's
Parent/Teacher/Student Learning Conferences
Environment and Sustainability Team
Physical Education
St John's Community Association
Staff Professional Learning at St John's
St John's Notice Board
Community Events
St John's School
(03) 9874 1575
490 Whitehorse Road
Mitcham, Victoria, 3132

Principal's Report

Dear Parents and Carers,


Last week I was lucky enough to spend 2 nights at Camp Nillahcootie with our Year 6 Students and Staff. We were blessed with sunshine for the week and a magnificent location by the lake. The students all settled into the camping spirit, supporting each other and taking on new challenges. It was wonderful to spend time with them all, in a relaxed setting. Some highlights included the night walk and marshmallows on the camp fire, the initiatives course, low rope challenges, canoeing, water slide and mountain bike riding. It was certainly a jam packed few days but a wonderful experience for everyone.


Parish School Education Board AGM 17 March

You are all invited to attend our AGM for the School Education Board tomorrow night. We will be presenting the Report for 2019 and establishing the Board for 2020. We will be seeking nominations for positions on the Board and setting goals in line with our Annual Action Plan. I look forward to seeing you there.


Electronic Watches and Devices

Please be advised that students are no longer permitted to wear any electronic watch or device. If a student wears one to school it will be kept in the office until a parent or carer comes to collect it.

We have made this decision due to the added distraction during class time and to ensure that students remain focused throughout the day.

Thank-you for your support and understanding in this matter.


Labeling School Uniforms

We have noticed an increased number of uniform items in lost property and unfortunately many are not named. Please remember to label all items of clothing,  that are worn to school and lunch boxes.



Today our host class was 3/4TJ. They shared their learning in maths, discovering more about length and perimeter. They also shared their wonderful writing pieces about folktales.



Open Day

This Thursday, 19 March, will be our Second Open Day for the year. Please invite your neighbours and friends to come along and see our fantastic school in action.


COVID - 19 Update

Our first priority at St. John's is the health and safety of our school community. I want to reassure you that the school is well-prepared for the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus).


We are being provided the latest advice from the Australian and Victorian Chief Medical Officers by the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd to ensure that our school practices are helping to keep our school community safe from the outbreak.


Any incidents that arise will be addressed in accordance with our Critical Incident and Emergency Management Plan. We will also have access to resources and support from Catholic Education Melbourne and the Department of Health and Human Services.


As parents, you have a critical role in helping the school manage this situation:

  • Exercise good judgment by keeping children home if they are feeling unwell for any reason
  • Talk to children about the situation, as they may be feeling anxious or stressed. You have a key role in helping students feel prepared and safe
  • Encourage children to be proactive and committed to their schoolwork, and to stay connected with the school and their teachers.

The Department of Health and Human Services has a number of resources on its website, which explain the virus, detail risk-reduction practices and behaviours, and answer frequently asked questions. These are available at


You can also find information about Catholic education’s response at


This is an evolving situation, but we will keep you updated as things change. I ask that you continue to work closely with the school and to contact my office should you have any concerns.


Thank you for your support as we work to keep our students safe.


Have a great week!


Verona Gridley



Religious Dimension

Our Gospel Challenge this week is to: Speak nicely to others.

In yesterday’s gospel we heard about the woman of Samaria who was engaged in a very truthful encounter with Jesus. The Jews despised the Samaritans as having no claim on their God. This nameless woman, an outcast from her own community, chose to visit the well at a time to avoid those who judged her harshly. It’s important to acknowledge how radical this encounter was. Jesus reaches out to her as he did to other outcasts demonstrating that all people are valuable to God. In this way we too are called to be radical, to uphold the dignity of all people. The exchange was so profound, bringing about a change of heart for the Samaritan woman. She then became a witness for Jesus, influencing those around her.

This week our Project Compassion story is of Barry, an indigenous Australian man who through a Caritas Australia supported program, Red Dust Healing, was able to confront destructive patterns in his life. Red Dust Healing is an indigenous led program in which participants learn culturally appropriate tools to empower them to overcome rejection, discrimination, grief, addiction, abuse and other challenges. For Barry, it changed his life and helped him to recognise his hurt and anger stemmed primarily from rejection and grief. It provided a safe space to talk and connect with others who’ve supported each other in their healing journey. The program has also helped Barry connect back with his culture, language and stories. Just as the Samaritan woman went on to share her revelation with others, Barry also shares the richness of his experience. His community is striving forward, facing the challenges of intergenerational trauma, oppression and colonisation together. How can we manifest the radical love of Christ in order to break down barriers of injustice?

Let’s Go Further, Together!


This Thursday evening, 19 March, the following students will be celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance for the first time: Alana, Lexie, Mason, Madison, Lucas, Ellie, Lachlan, Bartek, Joseph, Milla, Chase, Oliver, Gabi and Jarrod. We congratulate them and hope they find it to be a peaceful, joyful and loving experience.


People sometimes ask: Isn't it enough to say sorry to God in my heart? The Catholic approach to Reconciliation/Penance is deeply community-orientated; we are after all, part of the Body of Christ. 

Penance comes from a Greek word that means to change direction. It is the sacrament that helps us acknowledge the frailty and limits of our humanity. By honestly owning, naming and expressing sorrow for where we have failed, we can experience forgiveness which in turn, deepens our capacity to love.

The Sacrament of Penance then allows us to start afresh and re-invigorates our baptismal commitment to be 'other Christs' in the world.

Important Dates to Remember


Thursday       19     First Reconciliation Ceremonies,  6:30pm & 7:30pm

Friday              20     Harmony Day

Saturday        21     First Eucharist Commitment Ceremony & Mass Book Presentation, 6:00pm Mass            

Sunday           22     First Eucharist Commitment Ceremony & Mass Book Presentation, 9:45am Mass          

Tuesday         31     Parish penitential Celebration, 7:00pm

Easter Timetable 2020


Tuesday               31                   Parish Lenten Penitential Celebration - March 31 - 7.00pm


Holy Thursday   9                    Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by quiet prayer - 7.30pm

Good Friday       10                   Commemoration of the Passion - 3pm

Holy Saturday   11                   Easter Vigil - 7.30pm (please note no 6pm Mass)Easter Sunday - April 12        Easter Sunday   12                   St John's Church, Mitcham: Dawn Mass 6.00am, 8.30am and 10.30am

                                                          St James' Community Centre, Vermont: 9.30am Mass

                           Dawn Mass will be Followed by light refreshments in the Church Narthex - All Welcome! 




Respect Awards

St John’s is a School Wide Positive Behaviour School. This means we believe in recognising and encouraging students when they make good choices. This year we will be recognising students who demonstrate acts which go above and beyond in respecting themselves, others and/or property. This will be done in the form of “Respect Awards.”


Congratulations to the following students who received the first Respect Awards at this morning’s assembly: 

Jasmine T(3/4) - For respecting others by being a good friend and helping someone in need.


Sebastian A (1/2) - For respecting others and property by playing collaboratively and packing away the blocks in the Passive Play area 


Elliot (1/2) - For respecting others and property by playing collaboratively and packing away the blocks in the Passive Play area. 


To further develop the wellbeing of our students, next term we will be offering lunchtime classes in Hip Hop. Today at assembly we had a demonstration from Street Dance Studios.


Bartek, in Year 5, has been doing Hip Hop at Street Dance Studios for 5 years and confidently joined in the dancing demonstration with them today.

Mrs. Emma Pattison

Student Wellbeing Leader


Digital Technologies at
St. John's

Parenting in a Digital World

This Information Evening is relevant for families with children of all ages. Keep an eye out for more information coming home soon.

Have you returned your ICT Acceptable use Policy and Agreement?

Please ensure that your child's class teacher has received your signed agreement. Thank-you for your support in ensuring all students are responsible and safe online.

Inform & Empower


What's Happening at St John's

Happy Birthday

Congratulations to Anna, Zara, Monique, Mahum, Elisha, Chelsea, Xavier, Anria, Mark Isaiah and Ava as they celebrate their special day. We hope you have a very..........


Harmony Day

This coming Friday is Harmony Day at St John's. Our theme for the day is "Everyone Belongs." We will also be participating in National Day Against Bullying. We are asking students to wear orange clothes. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.

Parents are most welcome to join us throughout the day. The timetable is as follows:

9:00am   Prayer

9:30am   Rhythm Empire is performing for the whole school. Rhythm Empire is a theatrical multicultural music and dance extravaganza featuring rhythms,  dances, instruments, language and costumes from across the ancient world. The colourful history and cultures of the Silk Road come to life when audiences join the performance, to barter, trade, and perform in a rollicking world music jam!

10:20   Cultural Capers - Rotation One   Members of our community to share their culture with us.

10:50   Cultural Capers - Rotation Two   

11:20   Morning Break

12:00   A Taste of Harmony Lunch - We ask that each family please bring in a plate of food from either their own or another culture to share with others. Please attach a note with the name of the dish, culture it is from and ingredients included.

12:30   Cultural Capers - Rotation Three

 1:00    Cultural Capers - Rotation Four

 1:30   Further Together Lap -a - Thon at Halliday Park - Students to please wear runners and hats.

 2:30   Return to school


Special Food Day

On Friday 27 March (the last day of Term) the CA will be selling Hot Cross Buns at recess for $1.00.

Please bring your money on the day.

$1.00 each

Mothers' Day Breakfast

Friday May 1

Save this date for a special breakfast for mum.

Details to come in Term 2

Marathon Club

We will meet in the school foyer at 7.45am on Tuesday and Thursday mornings before heading off for a walk or run. This is for all year 3-6 students that are interested in joining in the fun.

When returning to school students who have participated will be provided with breakfast before the start of the school day.

The cost is $10.00 per student, per term.

Please wear appropriate footwear and check the St John's School App each morning for cancellations.

Parents are welcome to come along too!

We look forward to another great year of Marathon Club.


Italian Captains

Congratulations to Connor and Daniela 
This years Italian Captains.
Thank you to all the students that submitted applications.
It was a hard decision and I’m proud of all of you.
Bravissimi, Signora DeAmicis

Parent/Teacher/Student Learning Conferences

Parent/Teacher/Student Learning Conference
24 March



Year Six Camp

Last Tuesday, the Year Six students departed excitedly for Camp Nilahcootie. They spent four days  with Year Six students from St James School participating in a wide range of outdoor activities. 


"Camp was really enjoyable, doing activities that I had never done before. It was fun meeting and being with students from St James."  Xavier


"We had to work as a team doing lots of activities. I think I am a better team member now and I made lots of new friends."  Kevin


"Camp was a lot of fun with lots of opportunities for new experiences and learning."  Lena


"Camp was great fun and there were a lot of challenging activities such as rock climbing, abseiling, archery and canoeing. I learnt how to face my fears and give new things a go." Jessica


Ride to School Day

Last Friday our school took part in National ride to school day. Students were encouraged to cycle, scoot or walk to school to promote healthy habits and excerise. Students were given fresh fruit on arrival and had the opportunity to get their bikes engraved by members of the local Police Department.

Thank-you to all those who participated and especially to Ms Shannon Kearns for organising this special event.

Environment and Sustainability Team

Earth Hour

This year St. John's will be participating in Earth Hour. Earth Hour was started by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007.  Held every year on the last Saturday of March, Earth Hour engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories, switching off their lights to show support for our planet. 

Earth Hour Schools Day is being held the day before on Friday 27 March.  At St John’s, the Environment and Sustainability Team has registered to be one of the many schools to take action and switch off the lights. St John’s and people all around the world are switching off their lights to call attention to climate change.

We will countdown together across the globe to celebrate Earth Hour and take one iconic action: switch off the lights. But it is so much more than that. It is a symbol of unity. It is a symbol of hope. It is a symbol of power. The power that we all have to ACT NOW.


Environment and Sustainability Team 


Patrick, Marco, Cohen, Basti, Julie, Cheryl and Melinda

Environment and Sustainability Team 

Physical Education


In PE our students have been learning lots of the skills needed to play volleyball with Amelia and Carla from the Ringwood Volleyball group. They have been learning that they  can set the ball using "diamond" finger positions, pass or dig using fingers on fingers and thumbs side by side and spike using their dominant hand striking from head height. They are working towards serving the ball so that they can enjoy a friendly game before the end of term.


Summer Sports Gala Day

Both the Year 3/4 and 5/6 Summer Sport Gala Days have been cancelled. School Sport Victoria has notified us to say that in accordance with Commonwealth Government guidelines, all inter-school sporting events and competitions from today 16 March must be postponed immediately until further notice.


St John's Community Association

Ladies' Bowling & Dinner

Ladies’ Night update

Given the COVID-19 situation is developing rapidly, Ladies’ Night on Friday March 20 will be cancelled. We will be looking to organise another Ladies’ Night once things have calmed down.

Please stay safe!

Twilight Sports BBQ

Thank you to everyone for your incredible support in raising funds from the Twilight Sports BBQ for Blazeaid. A total of $850 was raised and sent to Blazeaid in the form of Bunnings vouchers for them to be able to purchase goods to be used in the rebuilding of fire affected communities.

Easter Raffle


Community Association Information Board

Did you know that you are automatically a member of the Community Association?

In keeping with the objective of transparency for all CA members, a Community Association information board has been set up between the passive play area and breezeway, next to the lemon tree.

This board will have information regarding upcoming CA events, monthly meeting minutes and general CA information.

Have a look and feel free to drop by to our monthly CA meetings or pass on any ideas/feedback to your friendly CA Class Rep.


Community Events and Fundraising for 2020

Term One

February 18         Prep/New Families Welcome Dinner (contact Vickie Stutchbury)

March 2                 Twilight Sports BBQ (contact Steve Gilbert)

March 27               Easter Raffle (contact Annamaria Carnovale)

                                  Entertainment Books (contact Trang Dang)

Term Two

May 1                      Mothers' Day Breakfast (contact Steve Gilbert)

May 22                   Grandparents' Day (contact Rhyannon Elliott)

Term Three

September 4       Fathers' day Breakfast (contact Amy Freeman)

Term Four

                                  Family Social Event (contact Eileen Dalton and Elizabeth Watkin)

October                 Fete Raffle Tickets (contact Rhyannon Elliott)

October 25           Pink meets Teal Garden Party (formerly Think Pink day) (contact Eileen Dalton)

December            Mango Fundraiser (contact Rhyannon Elliott and Michelle Plant)


Dates and Events to Be Confirmed

Dads and Carers Dinners (contact Steve Gilbert)

Special Food Days (contact Julie Taualii)

Bunnings BBQ (contact Steve Gilbert and Donna Inglese)

Social Fundraiser- the roles of Social Fundraiser Coordinator and Donations Coordinator are, as yet, unfilled- do you have some spare time and energy and would like to work as part of a team?  If you do and would, please contact Courtney Laffin on

Office Bearers 2020

Co-Chairs  - Donna Inglese and Courtney Laffin

Secretary - Michelle Plant

Treasurer - Wanni Tendean

Meeting Dates - Everyone is Welcome

Tues 10 March 7pm

Tues 21 April 7pm

Thurs 14 May 2pm

Lyons Room

Thurs 11 June 7pm

Tues 14 July 7pm

Thurs 6 August 7pm

Lyons Room

Tues 8 September 2pm

Thurs 8 October 7pm

Thurs 5 November 7pm

Lyons Room


Tues 1 December 7pm


Lyons Room

Staff Professional Learning at St John's

Professional Learning

Professional Learning Meetings (PLMs)

Every  Monday and Tuesday afternoon St. John’s staff have attended Professional learning meetings (PLMs). These PLMs relate directly to our Annual Action Plan and provide rich professional learning as we grow and develop shared understandings. PLMs are led by our leadership team members across all spheres - Leadership and Management, Learning and Teaching, Student Wellbeing and Education in Faith.


PLMs we ran throughout Term 1 included:

  • CPR, anaphylaxis and Asthma update

  • Learning Diversity

  • Religious Dimensions

  • Emergency management

  • Analysing student achievement in Literacy data

  • Learning Diversity 

  • Mandatory reporting

  • Writing 

  • Student wellbeing

  • Using new features in Reading Eggs


This term a number of staff members attended professional learning days and network days and undertook professional courses online in their own time. We feel it is important to share with the school community, an overview of what staff members have been learning.


eLearning Network (Thomas Jackson)

The focus for this day was to bring together educational leaders from across Eastern Region schools together to discuss the future of education and technology. One of the main focus’ was how to help students develop important digital skills such as giving feedback and how to collaborate effectively.


Grammar in Context (Naomi Curtis)

The focus for this day was to improve the instructional support for students in F-6 in reading and writing more complex texts. 


Mathematics - EMC3 Explore Mathematical Sequences of Connected Cumulative and Challenging Tasks (Kellie Cumming, Carmel Barro, Naomi Ryan, Emma Pattison, Shannon Kearns)

The focus of this day was to explore the potential of sequences of connected, cumulative and challenging tasks that build a trajectory of consolidated learning of mathematics.


Religious Education Network (Monica O’Shannassy)

The focus of this network day was to continue to develop the capacity of RE Leaders to inspire and lead change for learning and teaching in Catholic School communities.


S.M.A.R.T. Spelling (Say, Meaning, Analysis, Remember, Teach) (Kellie, Emma, Tom, Kristina)

The focus for this day was to gain an understanding of teaching spelling in a systematics and explicit process across P to 6 which also caters for differentiation. 


User Level B Accreditation (Ange)  

The focus for this day was to be trained to administer and interpret results from additional targeted assessment tools for students. 



 Progression of Reading Development Teachers as decision makers (Ange) 

The focus for this day was how to use the new Reading Comprehension assessment tool. 


Reading Recovery Eastern network (Ange) 

The focus for this day was around analysing children's letter knowledge and planning learning opportunities.


Learning Diversity Leaders workshops (Ange)

The focus for this day was around exploring the complexities and expectations of the role of Learning Diversity Leader in a Catholic School.


Principal Network (Verona)

Paul Fumei - Education Officer, Religious Education and Catholic Identity.

Discussing and creating Opportunities for  'Formation of Catholic School Leadership.' Developing Principal Learning Teams (PLTs) to set goals for future learning and create a Vision, Success Criteria, Structure & Purpose.


The Critical Quarter (Verona)

A program designed for Principals transitioning into new schools, learning strategies for success and making valuable contributions to the school community.

St John's Notice Board

Camp, Sport and Excursion Fund

If you are eligible for the government 2020 Camp, Sport and Excursion Fund, fill in the form (Below) and return it to the school office. You are welcome to pick up the form from the office if you are unable to print the application form at home.

Please read the information attached to determine if your family is eligible for the benefit which can assist with a payment towards your child's school activities in 2020. 


Entertainment Books

Entertainment Books are coming to St John's. Take a look at the attachment to see what the benefits are to you and our school. You may like to purchase online and download it to your phone.

School Banking Program

Don't forget school banking each WEDNESDAY. Please instruct your child/children to place their banking in the classroom/office bags when they arrive.

For any queries regarding the program, please contact Maria Wallis (Chris 5/6 KR), volunteer School Banking Coordinator for St John’s on 0409 966 951 or

Community Events

St John's Family Picnics - 3rd Sunday of the Month


Emmaus Open Day

Dear Prospective Emmaus families,

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the COVID-19 virus has the potential to have a significant impact on schools and the wider community.  Emmaus College has reviewed information received from both the Catholic Education Commission Victoria (CECV) and the Department of Health and Human Services and decided to postpone our Open Day scheduled for Thursday 26th March. We typically have around 700+ visitors to our school on this day, and in the current circumstances, it is prudent to protect our school community and visitors. Front and centre to all our decision making is our obligation to safeguard our students and staff, and any visitors to our school community. We hope to be able to hold an Open Day in coming months, once the threat of COVID-19 has passed. We expect to be able to continue to run our regular smaller tours during Term 2 and Term 3. A reminder that enrolments for Year 7 2022 close on 21st August this year.


Have you ever wanted to learn a musical instrument or singing?
Our talented team of teachers offer private and group lessons for:
Piano, Singing, Drums and Guitar
For Piano or Singing, contact Jordan Scotney
0408 881 395 -
For Drums, contact Justin Olsson
0400 899 586 -
For Guitar, contact Anthony Merchant

Whitehorse City Council’s Parenting Information Forum – Importance of Play in Childhood Development (Birth – Age 7)

This forum will help parents/carers to:

• Understand the importance of social and emotional learning

• Manage risks rather than eliminate them

• Provide environments that promote resilience and self-regulation in children

• Understand the benefits of play as the foundation of lifelong learning.

Date: Wednesday 18th March

Time: Registration and tea and coffee from 7pm. Information session commences at 7.30pm sharp

Venue: Whitehorse Centre, 397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading (rear of Nunawading Library)

Bookings: Registering your attendance is essential. Please book online on Council’s website,

Cost: $2 gold coin donation payable on the night.

A Celebration Day for Girls



School Calendar



School Term Dates 2020

Term One:            Thursday 30 January – Friday 27 March

Term Two:            Tuesday 14 April – Friday 26 June

Term Three:         Tuesday 13 July – Friday 18 September

Term Four:            Monday 5 October – Tuesday 15 December

Term One Calendar


30           Thursday             Term One begins


17           Monday               School Assembly, 1/2EP

18           Tuesday               Prep Welcome Dinner,  6:00pm

21           Friday                    District Swimming

22           Saturday              Working Bee Rescheduled, 9.00am

23           Sunday                 Parish Family Mass,  9:45am

26           Wednesday        Ash Wednesday Mass, 10:00am

28           Friday                    Feb Feast, 6:00pm


1             Sunday                 Children’s Mass, 11:15am

2             Monday                School Assembly, 5/6KR

                                                Twilight Sports, 4:45pm

4             Wednesday        2020 Prep Information Evening, 7:00pm

4             Wednesday        Open Morning for Prospective Enrolments, 9:00 – 12:00pm

6             Friday                   School Closure Day

9             Monday               LABOUR DAY PUBLIC HOLIDAY  – NO SCHOOL

10           Tuesday              School Camp at Lake Nillahcootie

12           Thursday            First Eucharist Parent Night,  7:00pm

13           Friday                   Ride To School Day

                                                Students return from school camp at Lake Nillahcootie

16           Monday               School Assembly, 3/4TJ

18           Wednesday        Summer Sport Gala Day, 3/4

19           Thursday             Open Morning for Prospective Enrolments, 9:00 – 12:00pm

                                                Reconciliation Ceremonies,  6:30pm or 7:30pm

20           Friday                    Harmony Day

21           Saturday              First Eucharist Commitment Ceremony / Mass Book Presentation,  6:00pm

22           Sunday                 First Eucharist Commitment Ceremony / Mass Book Presentation,  9:45am              24           Tuesday               Parent/Teacher/Student Learning Discussions,  3:40 – 7:00pm

25           Wednesday        Parent/Teacher/Student Learning Discussions,  3:40 – 6:00pm

26           Thursday             Summer Sports Gala Day, 5/6

27           Friday                    Term One ends, 3.20pm



Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 4.00pm

PH:  9874 1575



PH:  9401 6366


Father Dispin John


Mrs. Maree O'Keefe


Before & After School Care 1300 105 343



HOURS:    7.00 - 8.30am

                     3.20 - 6.15pm


RHSport, Ringwood   PH: 9870 1377



Open first Tuesday of each month 8.30 - 9.00am

Multi Purpose Room


St John's School Newsletter
Entertainment Book 2020.pdf