What a term this one has been! There have been many challenges, new experiences, moments to laugh at and others to feel despair with. Let’s hope that we have all grown and learnt something from these experiences but that we also don’t have to repeat such a term ever again.
Thank you for your amazing generosity for our St Vincent to Paul COVID winter appeal. It was truly magnificent. In addition to our Wild Woolly Wednesday, this week saw our first ever ‘Skip Off’. What a great craze to take hold of our children in these times. On a daily basis there are more and more children coming in with their own skipping ropes, and every break time the children are eager to show you what they can now do and there’s lots of encouragement heard between the children urging each other on to go faster, to do more and wanting each other to do their best. We have enjoyed seeing the joy that this craze has brought to the children.
This week we have sent out offers of places for Kindergarten next year and it has been interesting to get to know our new Kinder families in a different way this year, rather than face to face interviews. We hope to offer school tours next term and our regular Orientation program in Term 4. If you have a child ready to start school next year and have not yet completed or submitted your enrolment form please do so as soon as possible. Also, for any of you that are aware of friends who have a child starting school next year, perhaps in your child’s sporting group or in your local area, you might like to encourage them to consider St Joseph’s and to get in touch with us for an enrolment pack.
At the moment teachers are in the midst of writing reports for your children. As a previous letter explained, this semester’s reports are a modified version created by the diocese, taking into account the changed nature of learning that occurred throughout this semester. A number of parents have been enquiring about parent-teacher meetings. We would encourage you to wait until you receive your child’s report before contacting your child’s teacher for an interview. We will not be holding the regular parent teacher interview night as it is still not possible to bring that many adults onto a site. If, however, you would like to meet and discuss the report once you’ve read it please contact the office to let them know and your interview could take place via phone, zoom or in person depending on the arrangements made between you and the class teacher.
In order to follow COVID-19 regulations and provide a safe environment for the children and staff we are:
- continuing with our twice a day cleaning and sanitising practices
- regularly reminding children to wash their hands with soap, use sanitiser and to cough into their shoulder
- encouraging all visitors to the site to use sanitiser upon entering the school
- providing soap and sanitiser in all classrooms and sanitiser on the playground near the play equipment
- continuing to not have whole school gatherings and maintaining ventilation in the classrooms, weather permitting along with open air learning on occasions when it lends itself to the activity and the weather
Over the last few weeks it has been disappointing to see the lack of responsibility children are showing in regard to their school uniform. Both office staff and teachers are spending a lot of unnecessary time picking up clothing, sorting through lost property and finding the owners of the uniform items. Without exaggeration, on a daily basis, there has been between $1 000 and $2 000 dollars’ worth of uniform items in the lost property baskets or lying around the playground. Often when the children know that they have multiple items they do not see the need or feel the pressure of ensuring they return to class after a break with their jackets. We ask that you both encourage and expect a greater sense of responsibility from your children in regard to their personal property. Thank you for your support in this area.
Champion of Parents
Michelle Mitchell is an educator, author and award winning speaker. But most importantly, she considers herself a champion of parents.
She believes that your relationship with your child is the most beautiful, powerful and dynamic relationship you will ever have. Several of our colleagues who are both teachers and parents have found her resources, advice and ideas very pertinent to them in their role as parents. If you are looking for practical articles and videos on topics such as friendships, social media, communication, self-harm, anxiety, resilience and more you might be interested in going to her site Michelle Mitchell.
She also has a free eBook that can be downloaded at ebook.
This book is a quick read that explains 6 simple strategies that can be used as a starting point to champion resilience in your home. Each of these has the capacity to shape your daily parenting decisions, and not only boost your child’s long-term strength, but immediate feeling of wellness and connectedness with others.
Finally, just before I finish off, I would like to express my absolute immense gratitude to our staff for all that they have done this term. The have all gone above and beyond and we are so lucky to have such a magnificent group who are both wonderful professionals and wonderful people!
Hopefully the next two weeks will be filled with many sunny days and that you and your children enjoy a well-earned break from formal learning. Stay safe and healthy and we will see you in Term 3.
Semester One Student Council
As Semester One draws to a close, we acknowledge and give thanks to the twenty councillors who proudly represented their class on the Student Council for the first half of the year. Their experience has been a very different one because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however their active participation in the meetings we did have was exemplary. It was great to see collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and discernment exhibited as decisions were being made about school initiatives.
Students shared some reflections of being on the Student Council this semester.
I’ve enjoyed celebrating how much fun we have had with the skip-off. - Jacob
I’ve enjoyed being able to make decisions on behalf of my class. - Elki
I’ve enjoyed helping the school and being part of making decisions. - Tom
I’ve enjoyed being in the meetings. - Charlotte
I’ve really liked being the leaders and running the Sharing Assemblies when we had them. - Maddi
Their advice for the next group of leaders was to
· Make sure you represent your whole class, not just give your own opinion
· Continue with fun fundraiser days
· Keep making our school even better
· Think about everyone, not just your friends
· Be creative with your ideas
Thank you again to these great leaders!
St Joseph’s Skip-Off
The recent initiative from the Student Council of a school skipping competition has been a real hit. It has been excellent to see students enjoy skipping so much. For many students, lunch and recess breaks have been busy with practising. There have been many inexperienced skippers who have become very competent over the last few weeks. It has been great to see individual skipping with some very creative tricks, but there has also been group skipping too. For many teachers it brought back memories of their time at school.
The Skip-Off culminated today when the students gathered in three groups for the final stage of the competition. Students across Kindergarten to Year 6 demonstrated their endurance and fancy foot work. Congratulations to all students for their participation and having a go, however a particular mention must go to Archie Doyle, Luke Craft and Eva Cootes who were crowned as champion skippers at St Joseph’s. Well done students!
School Photos and Video
We have a new provider this year for our school photos, Newcastle School Portraits. Our school photos will be taken on Tuesday, 15th September (Term 3, Week 9).
Newcastle School Portraits produced a video for our school. It captures our school community in a very special way. Our Facebook page has a shorter version, but when you have a moment, please check out our school website for the extended version www.merewether.catholic.edu.au
ICAS will return to St Joseph’s this year. We encourage you to consider entering your child in ICAS. This fantastic assessment program allows students to challenge themselves and be recognised for their academic efforts. The assessment is now fully online and sitting dates will commence in Term 3. Further information will be posted on Compass next term.
18th August 2020
27th August 2020
1st September 2020
ICAS Spelling Bee
3rd September 2020
St Vincent de Paul COVID Winter Appeal
We would like to thank you all, as members of our school community, who generously supported and donated towards our fundraising and food drive over these last few weeks. It is incredible how much we have to give to support the local Vinnies chapter here in Newcastle. These resources for SVDP will make a huge difference for people whose lives have been turned upside down by the recent COVID-19 Pandemic during this Winter. The children had such a fun Wild Woolly Winter Wednesday and should be proud of their generous efforts, we raised over $700 on the day.
Feast of St Benedict
St Benedict is our Inner Newcastle Parish Patron Saint; we will celebrate the feast day during the holidays on July 11th.
Who was St Benedict?
St Benedict is also known as Benedict of Nursia; Founder of Western Monasticism
Memorial 11 July
Born c. 480, Nursia, Umbria, Italy
Died 21 March 547 of a fever while in prayer at Monte Cassino, Italy. Was buried beneath the high altar there in the same tomb as Saint Scholastica
Name Meaning blessed (= Benedict)
Roman nobility. Twin brother of Saint Scholastica. Studied in Rome, but was dismayed by the lack of discipline and the lackadasical attitude of his fellow students. Fled to the mountains near Subiaco, living as a hermit in a cave for three years. His virtues caused an abbey to request him to lead them. Founded the monastery at Monte Cassino, where he wrote the Rule of his order. His discipline was such that an attempt was made on his life; some monks tried to poison him, but he blessed the cup and rendered it harmless. He returned to his cave, but continued to attract followers, and eventually established twelve monasteries. At one point there were over 40,000 monasteries guided by the Benedictine Rule. A summation of the Rule: “Pray and work.”
NAIDOC Week usually falls at this time, however, it has been postponed until 8-15th November 2020. We will celebrate this important week as a school community during these new dates in Term 4.
Find out all about attending Mass at the St Benedict’s Parish website and how to register for Mass https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/
News from 3G
Term 2 has been a very busy one for Year 3 Gold. After a very unusual start to the term, 3 Gold have settled beautifully back into everyday school life, taking changes and challenges in their stride. They are to be commended for they way they have shown great persistence, resilience, kindness and care for one another over the last few weeks.
Since our return to school, we have had so much fun learning together. Here is just a taste of what 3 Gold have been up to:
This term, one of the texts we have focused on is Junk Castle by Robyn Klein. We used this novel to inspire our Informative writing focus. Students conducted extensive research into medieval castles, finding out information such as:
- When and where were medieval castles built?
- Who built the first medieval castles?
- What were these castles constructed from?
- Why were they built and what were they used for?
- Who lived in them?
- Outline special features of medieval castles.
We then used this research to construct our own information reports on medieval castles. Below is a sample of students informative writing:
Castles are a large building. The first castle was built by William the Conqueror. The castle was called The White Tower. The Normans also began building castles in 1066. They were very clever builders. Castles were home to kings or queens or an important person, but invaders would try to get in and try to take over the castle. Some of the features of the castle stop invaders trying to get in the castle like an arrow slit the archers would shoot their arrows through. – Byron Schmidt
Castles were built 1,000 years ago and the first castle lasted 500 years. The biggest castle is called Malbork Castle located in Poland. One day I would like to visit Malbork castle. Castles were homes to many people including kings, lords, royals and their families. Servants also lived in the castle like a cook, cleaner and a farmer. The cook would cook all the food for the king to eat, the cleaner would clean all the rooms in the castle and the farmer would grow all the food for the cook to use. Finally, dogs and cats would roam the castle to eat all the vermin that come in to eat to the food, – Hannah Webber
Castles have a lot of protections such as battlements, moats and arrow loops. They protect the people inside the castle from oncoming invaders. Also, these protections were not self-running. The people that operated them were called knights; they operated the protection forces. Most castles were built on natural obstacles such as cliffs, mountains and by the ocean. They were normally constructed out of lead, spikes and stone. The first castles were built out of wood and timber, but people found they could easily be destroyed by fire. - Darcy Williams
Throughout the novel, the characters build their very own castle from recyclable materials. 3 Gold were set the challenge to do the same. In small groups students had to design their own castles that included a variety of the specific features we had learnt about within our research. The class had just two days to work in their group, unassisted to build their castles. We think you will agree that they did a fantastic job. Here are some of our completed castles.
In Mathematics we have been learning about angles. Here are some of our learnings:
An angle is made when 2 lines meet. The lines of an angle are called arms and the point where they meet is the vertex – Ari Assopardi-Johnson
There are lots of different types of angles. We have been learning about acute, obtuse and right angles – Cooper D’Andilly
An acute angle is smaller than 90 degrees. It’s easy to remember because it is small and cute – Amalia Sculli
The obtuse angle is bigger than 90 degrees, but smaller than 180 degrees – Chloe Webber
The right angle was the most common angle that we found in our classroom and on the playground – Olive Mulley
3 Gold took their investigations to the playground, where they found examples of all 3 angles.
Over the last few weeks, the whole school has been participating in skipping games and activities to support the Student Council lead initiative. 3 Gold have been enthusiastic participants in this competition, skipping with great determination and persistence. We have had a lot of fun being a part of this challenge.
During our Science lessons this term we have been investigating solids, liquids and gases. We have had a terrific time investigating the different melting rates of chocolate. We were like real scientists during our freezing of water experiments. We were able to experience how experiments sometimes fail if we don't have the correct conditions. It took us a few days to get our bottle of water to freeze but our persistence paid off. We also enjoyed creating our very own insulators to stop ice from melting.
Lots of enjoyment was had during our Creative Art lessons this term. We viewed artworks by artists Fernand Leger. We looked at how humble 2D shapes can be used to create interesting cityscapes and self-portraits. We also studied the British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy who showed us how art can be of a temporary nature. Year 3 used objects found in our playground to make our very own nature inspired sculptures. Some students in Year 3 also entered their nature-based artworks into a Virtual art gallery competition.
FLL Holiday Virtual Workshop!
The Project Bucephalus Unlimited program has been expanded to include “Robotics Online” – in an attempt to continue offering STEM classes to families within their homes. There are two types of classes on offer:
- Weekly:Virtual afternoon classes run weekly at a set time. Students will explore the material usually delivered in our Robo Club
- Block:Virtual classes run over blocks of three days. Students will be lead through programming and design for 2 hours each mornings, then left to work on a project during the day. In the afternoon, the class will sign back in to compare and report on their progress. This class will be modelled after our Robo Camp
Virtual Robo Camp: Mine Sweeper is offered July 15-17 at a cost of $92
Please see https://www.projectb.net.au/robotics-online/ for registration details. If your child is registering for this Robo Camp over the holidays please email Miss Colvin if you require an EV3 robot to borrow
Term 2 Sporting Guidelines & Cancellation update from the Catholic Schools Office:
For the remainder of Term 2, competitive contact sport or physical activity is restricted:
- Inter-school sport competitions such as Diocesan and Regional sport, state-wide competitions and knockouts, gala days or inter-school carnivals are not permitted.
- School carnivals such as athletics, cross country and swimming carnivals are not permitted.
- Full contact and semi-contact sports are not permitted.
- Until further advice, schools cannot attend external indoor venues such as gyms, bowling alleys.
The following Diocesan sports events have been cancelled for Term 3:
Diocesan sports leading into the Polding/ NSWCCC events have been cancelled as there is no event to progress to with the cancellation of CSNSW events. The following Diocesan sports to be cancelled include:
- 23 July Dio PSSA Chris Gangemi Gala Rugby Day
- 4 August Dio PSSA Athletics Championships
- 12 August Dio SSSA Athletics Championships
- 5 August Dio SSSA Rugby 7s
The Diocese is providing further consideration to the following SSSA Dio activities: golf, netball and basketball. A notification regarding these sports will be provided in the next few weeks.
The School Sports Unit has advised the following cancellations Catholic Schools NSW have confirmed the following sport event cancellations for 2020:
- 23 July NSWPSSA & All Schools Cross Country
- 27 July NSWCPS Golf Tournament
- 27- 29 July NSWPSSA Netball state championship
- 1 – 2 August NSW All Schools 15s touch football trials
- 10 August NSWCPS 10 A Side Knockout
- 10 August NSWCPS Girls Rugby 7s Selections
- 18 August NSWCCC Netball Championships
- 18 – 20 August NSWPSSA Boys Touch state championship
- 19 August NSWCPS Hockey Gala Day
- 19 August NSWCCC Rugby League Cup
- 25 – 27 August NSWPSSA Rugby Union state championship
- 28 August Polding Cricket Selections
- 31 August – 1 September NSWPSSA Girls Rugby 7s
- 31 August – 2 September NSWPSSA Golf state championship
- 1 September NSWCPS Netball Carnival
- 1 – 2 September NSWCCC Football Knockout Semi Finals/Finals
- 3 September MacKillop Girls Cricket Selections
- 3 – 4 September MacKillop Boys Cricket Selections
- 7 September NSW Champions School Basketball Tournament
- 8 September NSW Schools Football Challenge Cup
- 8 September NSWCPS Netball Carnival
- 8 – 10 September NSWPSSA Boys Softball state championship
- 8 – 10 September NSWPSSA Girls Touch state championship
- 11 September Polding Athletics Championships
- 17 September NSW All Schools Netball Challenge
- 18 September NSWCCC Athletics Championships
- 21 September MacKillop Athletics Championships
- 22 – 24 September NSWPSSA Girls Softball state championship
In addition, the following Sports events have been cancelled for Term 4, 2020
- 13- 16 October NSWPSSA Boys Cricket championships
- 19 – 22 October NSWPSSA Girls Cricket championships
- 24 – 25 October CPS Basketball Challenge
- 26 – 27 October NSWCCC Junior Boys Basketball Championships
- 28 – 29 October NSWPSSA Athletics
- 5 – 6 November NSWCCC Junior Girls Basketball Championships
Further information and updates are available from the Catholic Schools NSW website.
Further updates regarding school sport, including contact sports, will be provided ahead of Term 3.
Premier's Reading Challenge
Congratulations Stella Porter, Angus Lane, Harry Simpson, Xavier Minto, Isabella De Siqueira Mattes, Abbie Hartnett, Daniel Stone and Gabriel Farrow for completing your Premier’s Reading Challenge. Great effort!
School holidays are a great time to read lots of books. Newcastle Council libraries are now open if you are looking for some great books to read.
School fee statements have now been issued to all families. For those families that have requested deferral or concession this statement is for information purposes only.
The Diocese of Maitland Newcastle is very conscious of the significant financial impact COVID-19 is having on our families. Our number one priority is to support our families through this crisis and ensure your child has stability in Catholic schools. For ease of access we have attached the CSO website
In order to assist we are taking the following measures:
Part A –Defer Payment of School Fees until July 2020
To access this deferment, we refer you to our website where you can click on the link called ‘COVID-19 School Fee Deferral’. Please complete the form and submit it. Please ensure you complete all relevant fields thereby enabling us to monitor your postponed payment.
Fee payer’s postponement of school fee payments will include:
- CDF direct debit – contact the CDF (4979 1163)
- Centrelink - parents will need to contact Centrelink directly.
- BPay – suspend payment from your bank account.
Acknowledgement of postponement of fees will be recorded by the school as soon as practicable.
Part B – Request for COVID-19 School Fee Concession
In instances of ongoing financial hardship, fee payers can apply for a fee concession. This concession is accessed via the CSO website by clicking on the link called ‘COVID-19 School Fee Concession’.
Families are encouraged to complete this form if they require financial assistance.
Where to find the COVID 19 Fee Relief Forms