Reflecting on June 2018 | go to Calendar »

Newsletter - June 2018

1. From The Principal

Dear Families,

Here we are once again at the winter break after a very busy semester.

I am particularly impressed at this time of the year with the leadership that our senior students continue to display, especially at a time when many around the school are tired and in need of a break. Our Grade 6s particularly have been wonderful with their younger buddies over the last couple of weeks. The senior students have also demonstrated leadership in the past week in other ways: finalising a collection for St Vincent de Paul; concluding a rubbish recycling project; organising a choir performance; running Wednesday’s Whole School Tabloid Activity afternoon; and many more – simply fantastic and thank you to all of these fine young leaders!

I know that many of our families have taken this time to go away on long anticipated overseas trips to take advantage of the northern hemisphere summer and I wish them all safe journey and safe return. To those of you who may be travelling within Australia over the next couple of weeks, please also enjoy but travel safely. To those remaining at home in Melbourne, enjoy all that is on offer around the city at this time of year. I look forward to seeing everyone back next term refreshed and revitalised to commence the second semester.

Farewell to Anna O’Grady

As you are aware, Anna O’Grady finished her time at St John’s today prior to her move to St Paul the Apostle School in Doreen. Anna has been with us for the past nine years and moves on with much sadness after this time. At the same time she is also excited about taking up new challenges, returning to the classroom intensively after a number of years working in leadership and administration, particularly in the Additional Needs area. Anna has had a number of roles with us since commencing as a replacement classroom teacher, including that of Deputy Principal. Her commitment to ensuring the needs of all children were met is exceptional and she has been a strong advocate for children across the school in her various roles. Her passion, her sense of humour and her drive for the very best are qualities that have been deeply appreciated and we will miss her and all that she has been able to offer. Anna has mentioned several times today how much she herself as learnt and developed at St John’s at the same time that she was striving for this for all of the children. In starting at Doreen, Anna is focused on continuing to develop as a learner and grow in her own professionalism while also being able to have her family routines work a little more smoothly with less time sitting in traffic each week. We thank her for all that she has been and contributed over the last nine years and wish her well in this exciting new adventure.

Reports, Parent Teacher Meetings and 3 Way Conferences

Apart from those families who may currently be on a family holiday, all families should have received mid-year reports and had the opportunity to discuss children’s progress with class teachers. Reading reports and listening in on some of the conversations between children, their parents and teachers over the last couple of days has confirmed for me the excellent work that is happening in learning across the school from Prep through to Grade 6. Our children, particularly but not only in the senior school, have demonstrated that they are able to articulate their learning over the last two terms and to identify areas that they will continue to work on in the next two. This is a reflection of the achievements they have made against the standards expected at each level, as well as a reflection of the individual growth that each has made in their personal learning journey. I hope parents will appreciate some of the changes that staff have made to the reports that were sent home this time. The intention was to make these more accessible and meaningful for parents and to clearly articulate progress and aras for future learning. The staff will continue to work on the format of the reports over the next semester so any feedback on what parents believe worked and what might not have worked will be gratefully received. Congratulations to all of our children for their continued efforts, the progress they have made so far, and for allowing us the opportunity to take them further still through the learning disposition of being coachable.

THRaSS Training

This month members of the teaching and support staff attended a two day professional learning course in THRaSS – Teaching, Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Skills. While we have had a phonics program within the school for a number of years, particularly in the junior school, THRaSS provides a consistent approach that will be employed across the school for developing  children’s skills with the incredibly complex task of making sense of the English language. THRaSS is an organised system for teaching learners of all ages, abilities and stages of familiarity with English about the letters, speech sounds and spelling choices of English, with the building blocks being introduced and reinforced through the interrelated skills of handwriting, reading and spelling.

Rather than children learning specific limited sounds for the letters of the alphabet, THRaSS raises their awareness that they need to focus on the word in which the sound is found in order to make sense of the sound produced – for example the sound represented by the letter A might be made with the graphemes “a”, “a_e”, “ai”, “ay”, or just as easily with “eigh”, aigh”, “ea” or “et” among others. Rather than children giving a simple answer if a teacher asks what letter makes the A sound, they are encouraged to first ask “What’s the word?” Connections are explicitly made between the sounds and their visual representations. Over the coming term, teachers will be implementing their training with the children and we will also be providing information for parents so that you are able to engage with the children’s learning and support them in making new connections.

Parish Contribution to the Front of the School

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fr Peter and the parishioners of Our Lady of the Southern Cross Parish who have made it possible for the fence along the front of the school to be given a much needed coat of paint. This has not only freshened up the appearance of the fence but will protect it from further damage in the next few years; we may eventually be able to start small repairs to damaged sections but the coat of paint will keep it going until such time arrives.

Year Seven Students

This week we have been visited by a number of our ex-students, mainly now in Year 7 but also some from Year 8. It is always wonderful to see our past pupils returning and to hear how well they are doing in their secondary schools. At St John’s we pride ourselves on preparing the way for our children to succeed once they leave us, and this certainly seems to be the case from what has been shared this week. Rumour has reached me that some of our girls at the Academy of Mary Immaculate were again recognised for their endeavours and I congratulate them for this.


Once again, I wish all of our children and staff a refreshing winter break and I look forward to seeing everyone back when Term 3 commences on Monday 16th July.

Until then, respectfully, Daniel 🙂

2. From The Parish

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3. From The P&F

Parents and Friends Update June 2018


June has been a month of behind the scenes work from the P&F. Last week we had our lunch orders, which judging from the children’s response was very well received! We also ran our curriculum mini golf day at YarraBend, which despite the brisk wind didn’t put too many off their game!

This was followed up by our movie night in the evening, where those present settled in to the long weekend with a glass of bubbles and a laugh. Thanks to all those who planned and participated in these activities, your support is so appreciated!

MAJOR FUNDRAISER: Saturday 1st September

Planning is in full swing for our major fundraiser which is the Comedy and Auction Night. It promises to be a fantastic night of entertainment and we urge you to get a group of friends or family together and make a night of it.


Use the link:  Please note; this year ticketing is done through the Comedy for a Cause website so we need
everyone to pre-purchase tickets.


A huge part of the fundraising comes from our auction items sold on the night. We need help getting auction items to sell. By now you will have received the notices asking everyone to approach their local businesses for support in supplying products, vouchers or anything saleable on the night.

Even if it’s small, we can package things up and make something wonderful to win. We also have an online auction, so even if you are unable to attend, you can still lend your support by bidding through the online auction site:

Auction link:

If you are uncomfortable approaching businesses, you may instead like to make a personal donation or go in as a group with other families to make a donation. Please feel free to contact Melissa or Julia if you want some ideas of what sell well. We urge everyone to come on board to help out with our Major Fundraiser. It is a huge job to pull together and we can’t do it without extra help!

Please contact Melissa McIntosh or Julia Manickam if you are able to help out in any way. Finally, we wish everyone a safe and relaxing holiday.
Thankfully, we are officially over the shortest day and have started the long march towards warmer, longer days! In the meantime stay warm!

2018 P&F Committee

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