Michael Gray, Principal
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students, Staff and our wider School Community
December has arrived! A month where at home we begin to think of one year ending and a new year beginning! Our school is no different; in our classrooms, we consolidate the year’s learning and aim to finish well. We also begin our preparation for 2020. In this process of working through changes, it is also important to celebrate what has been ‘right’ with this year. What stands out for me is our wonderful student learning growth, our staff and family commitment to our school community and all our students striving to be their best.
This weekend also brings forward Advent; the time of preparing for the celebration of Christmas. The Old Testament reading at Mass on Sunday was from Isaiah. His message in the reading translated beautifully to the world today. Isaiah shared a vision of a world for peace! This vision of peace was based on “all nations setting aside their desire to wage war.” This idea is extended by Paul in the gospel reading; Paul urges the Christians of Rome to embrace a world where hospitality is above my own personal need! People are better served when we think of others, but also stand up for what is right and then help all people who need support; a big challenge in this Christmas season for us all.
New Classrooms and Teachers (Change)
As we all know, change can cause worry or anxiousness. We know that change is inevitable. A way to continue to reduce anxiety and build resilience in children is about honesty, openness and support; not judgement. Our feelings are valid, our behaviours in relation to these feelings are where we can help each other.
Some thoughts I share from a program I completed 3 weeks ago about young people and anxiety.
- Resilience is like the keel of a sailboat, it keeps you balanced and moving forward.
Some keys to emotional strength are:
- Openness to change.
- An acceptance that painful experiences are part of life (I lost our oldest golden retriever last term, Sue and I miss this pet from our regular walking).
- A willingness to learn from experience. (I managed this last year I can again)
- A capacity to experience and express unpleasant feelings. (Opening appropriate level discussion helps, dialogue).
- Keep an eye on patterns of thinking; catastrophization (always thinking to the worst endpoint) can cause excessive worry and can lead to inaction.
- If we are facing a problem or issue break it down into very small achievable steps. Build capacity slowly and steadily.
As a ‘Heads Up’, school activities this week
- Today our Years 1 and 2 students will have experienced a visiting group, the team will lead the ‘The Quest for Ultimate Rhythm.’
- Our Christmas celebration with our School Advisory Council and PSA committee is on this Tuesday from 6pm for drinks and nibbles. The venue is the Cally Hotel function area.
- Our School Choir will be singing at Lyndoch this Wednesday morning.
- For Grade 6 parents our second graduation mass singing practice will be held this Wednesday 4th December in the Len Hogan Area starting at 7:00pm.
- 2020 Foundation Parent Information Meeting, this Wednesday 4th December, starting at 7:30 pm in the school hall. (Note if parents are connected to both events, please call into the parent meeting to collect information and then feel free to attend the singing session.
Reminders for the following week
- State Cricket Final in Melbourne, Monday 9th December.
- Fun swim and Ten Pin Bowling for Years 1 and 2 during the week
- Orientation Day, Tuesday 10th December for Foundation-Grade 5. Grade 6 students attending their new Colleges.
- Middle School Liturgy, St Joseph’s Church, Wednesday 11th December at 12:20pm followed by a BYO picnic lunch in the Botanic Gardens.
- Literacy Interviews bookings open via PAM, Wednesday 11th December at 9:30am.
- Choir Family Concert, Wednesday 11th December at 11:15am - 12:00 noon.
- Grade 6 Graduation Mass and Social Function will be held on Thursday 12th December. Mass starts at 6pm, followed by a social gathering at 7:30pm at the Flying Horse; parents/guardian downstairs, students in the separate function area.
As always, refer to our school calendar for up to date information regarding dates and times. The school calendar is available via our website or SZApp.
Senior School Canoeing and Fishing program
While this program has already commenced we are having a very difficult time with the weather. The key issue is the wind strength and of course heavy rain. Two classes have completed their sessions but this week is not looking great. We will monitor and try our best to have all groups participate.
A reminder that all relevant dates and times are on our school calendar accessible from our website or SZApp.
With our focus turning to advent in the Church Liturgical calendar I especially note a change to the Middle Year (Years 3 and 4) with their Kris Kringle program. Students and families have embraced a new focus of gifts, thoughts and almsgiving each day, over 40 days. This change highlights each person and what they feel is important. I thank support teacher Cara Watt for this preparation work and the Middle School for their engagement, care, respect and thought of others. Student participation and family support has been appreciated.
St. Joseph’s Employment Information
As previously shared St. Joseph’s is moving to a straight grade program, Foundation to Grade 6 over the next two years. This grouping structure will be supported by an average class size of 25 students, a Professional Learning Community strategy focusing on teachers planning essential learning, high levels of learning for all, teacher collegiality and data-driven decision making. Further support to this program will include a focus on student learning behaviours, core program support, leadership re-structure and specialist teachers supporting curriculum diversity. Today I have listed staff updates for 2020.
2020 Leave Update
On leave in 2020 will be Kristy Haberfield (Teacher, Junior School), Camille Sargent (Teacher, Senior School), Kara Ward (Teacher, Foundation) and Andre Pangrazio.
Nick Murrell, as previously advised, will be taking up Principalship at St Patrick's Primary School in Koroit in 2020.
New staff in 2020
I welcome the following people joining St. Joseph’s in 2020. Congratulations Kaye Hawkins (Teacher Aide, full time), Ebony Cooper (Teacher, full time), Georgia Johnson (Teacher, full time) and Keenan Hotker (Teacher, full time).
In 2020, in partnership with St. John’s Dennington we have agreed to support a shared trainee in the Languages Area. The successful applicant was Rosalie Cullen. Rosalie is a past pupil of St. Joseph’s and has recently completed a very successful VCE Japanese Language Study in 2019.
I welcome all our new staff to our team and wish them all the best for their work in 2020. I also wish those not with us in 2020 all the best.
Congratulations to Joel Mitchell and Kara Watt, these staff will undertake intensive mathematics training to support students who need a boost along in mathematics.
Jennifer Hawkins and Ali Mugavin will provide specialist speech pathology support in 2020. We are currently also examining other specialist allied health areas including occupational therapy.
Michael Gray, Principal
Numeracy Interview Dates
- Tuesday 17 December
- Wednesday 18 December
- Thursday 19 December
Literacy Interview Dates
- Tuesday 28 January
- Wednesday 29 January
- Thursday 30 January
You need to book a time for Numeracy for one day in December and on one day in January for your children.
Bookings will be made via PAM and will open on Wednesday 11 December which is the day after Orientation Day.
Please mark on your calendar the dates for these interviews as they play an important part in your children’s education and please watch future newsletters for information about booking times online.
Please contact the office or your classroom teacher if your child will be unable to attend either of these interviews.
As we prepare for 2020 we require all families to login to PAM and update their child's Medical Information. Please take the time to check that all information is correct.
This information assists with our electronic permission forms that is a feature in PAM, we require you to update the Medical Profile for your child/ren. If your child has an Asthma, Anaphylactic or Allergy Plan, letters will be sent in December to have these updated over the January period.
Please follow the instructions below to update a medical profile for each of your children by:
- Click on link to PAM (found on our webpage or SZapp)
- Click on student (if more than 1 child, this will need to be done individually)
- Click on Medical Profile (blue writing to the left of screen)
- Check all questions and select Edit Details for updates to be made.
- Once you get to the end of the questions please confirm by clicking on the Green “Update Details” Box found at the bottom right of screen.
As a parent/guardian you are able to access your child/rens medical profile on PAM at any time to update as needed. Administration will send out reminders each term in 2020 requesting you update any necessary information.
If you have any queries or require your PAM login details, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the office.