For most of us we are coming to the end of the school year. For two very special people this year, it also means the coming of the end of their professional commitment to Catholic school education. Mrs Anne Dougherty and Mr Paul Nolan have both made the huge decision to formally retire and find something else other than teaching to fill their lives. Both Anne and Paul have taken some leave this year and whilst Anne formally retired a little earlier in the year, we were not able to celebrate this with her due to COVID. We are very happy to be able to celebrate with them now and let them know how grateful we are for all they have done over the years for the students and their families both at St Joseph’s and in other schools throughout our diocese.
“An Epistle from Paul” (Mr Nolan)
I appreciate Miss McGinlay giving me the opportunity to write this farewell to express my gratitude to the St Joseph’s community. I was hoping to say a few words at the End of Year Mass, but it’s probably not to be.
I am retiring at the end of 2020 and I would like to thank staff, parents and students, both past and present, for enabling me to have the happiest and most rewarding past 16 years of my 36 year teaching career. Your support, friendship and kindness has been immensely appreciated and will forever be close to my heart.
My greatest years, as well as my most difficult years, have been here at St Joseph’s. But even during that horrendous time, when I lost my wife Anne to metastatic triple negative breast cancer, it was the St Joseph’s community that helped and enabled me to survive. How fortunate was I to have my own family, as well as my school family there to look after and comfort me.
St Joseph’s is a wonderful school filled with quality people. The children are amazing and are a reflection of their loving, supportive parents and extended families.
To my colleagues, St Joseph’s parents and students, I thank you for your guidance, support, inspiration and care that you have so generously given to me throughout my time here. Some things are worth much more than money and my time at St Joseph’s has been priceless.
May God’s Spirit bless you and keep you safe.
Merry Christmas and thank you.
This week, our final Kinder Orientation morning took place and it was delightful to see all our incoming Kinder students walk in, immediately connect with their buddies and then make their way to the Kindergarten rooms and play areas as though they had been coming here for weeks on end. This group of children seem to have a real connection with the school already and the bonds with their buddies are very strong, even at this early stage. The Kinder children took home a framed photo of themselves with their buddies on the buddy bench this week and I am sure that this is going to be one of their most prized possessions if the looks on their faces and the reverent way they handled their photos are any indication. The Year 5 students have made us so proud as they have maturely and responsibly continued to step up as school leaders through this whole orientation period. We look forward to welcoming our Kinder children and their families to St Joseph’s next year.
St Nicholas OOSH is providing vacation care both before and after Christmas. Please see their Christmas and Vacation Care program and booking form at stnicholasoosh.org.au/vacation-care if you are interested.
The following letter is to our Kinder 2021 families from our OOSH provider.
We hope you and your children are ready and excited to start with us in 2021! We have been hard at work preparing for our new kindy starters and can’t wait to see you soon.
This is just a quick note to advise that our school’s OOSH provider, St Nicholas OOSH, is offering a fun and engaging vacation care program for children to enjoy in the school holiday break.
St Nicholas OOSH operates onsite at our school, which could also provide an additional opportunity for children who may have some reservations about starting kindergarten to further experience our environment prior to formally commencing their schooling. They will have the opportunity to make new friends who they will be able to recognise on the playground when school begins.
Please note, St Nicholas OOSH is offering vacation care to new Kindergarten children during the January 2021 period of care. December bookings will not be accepted.
To book, visit their website at stnicholasoosh.org.au/vacation-care.
We have now completed most of our recruitment of staff for 2021. We are very happy to be welcoming Mr Jeremy Watt and Mrs Olivia Moss to our school next year. We are also happy to see the return of Miss Zoe Parish and Mrs Nicola Matheson to St Joseph’s. We are at the final stages of sorting out classes for next year and will announce these at our Step-Up afternoon on Monday 14th December.
Semester Two reports go home next Friday. We encourage you, even though it is an extremely busy time of the year for everyone to make the time to not only read your child’s report but to sit down and talk to them about it. Let your children explicitly know what you are proud of them for and also let them know what you think they need to work on next year. Engage them in this discussion with you. Ask them what they are most proud of in regard to their learning and what they will have as a goal for their learning next year. This way you know the goals they want to set for themselves and before school goes back next year you can remind them of this and talk to them about how they could make these goals happen. If you leave the report discussion until after the holidays the children have moved on from this last year and it is too hard for them to take their minds back. If you think you will forget their goals over the holidays why not write them down or store them in your mobile phone, so you can refer back to them when you and your children are making your ‘Back to School’ preparations. Please contact your child’s teacher to make an appointment or telephone interview time if you would like to discuss their report or alternatively you may wish to make an appointment early next term with their new teacher and bring along this report to refer for discussions around where or how to go forward.
University Practicum Students
We are extremely grateful for the contribution that our University students, Ben Moffat, Jade Hayman, Maeve McCallum, Maddalyn Onslow and Monique Gilbert have made to St Joseph's. Not only have they enhanced our Teaching & Learning programs but we have benefited from their contribution to our community in helping with things such as our Cricket Gala Days and Year 6 Retreat. We wish them well with their continued studies.
Medical Action Plans
If your child has a medical action plan it is a requirement that this be updated annually. We ask that over the holidays you meet with your child's medical carers to write a new plan and on return to school please arrange a time to bring the revised plan in and to explain it to both office staff and the class teacher.
Summer Holiday Reading
Just because it will soon be holiday time, it does not mean it should be "NO READING TIME". In fact, it is probably the opposite. There are far more times and opportunities for the children to read over the holidays than school time and for them to really engage with texts. I'm sure Santa has on his list, books or magazines for every one of our children! Please encourage your children to read over the holidays. It is not meant to be a chore. Why not make time to read together as a family over this break time? If your children do not read at all over the holidays it is not uncommon for them to drop back 2-4 reading levels by the time they return to school . This is a loss of 1-2 terms worth of reading progress. Do you really want your child to spend the first term of 2021 catching up on where they left off at the end of this year? If not, please ensure that regular reading of 'anything' is occurring these holidays.
These sites may give you and your family some ideas for the summer:
School uniforms can be purchased from the Lowes Newcastle store. If you do not have the school uniform list with you when you go in, do not worry. Just let the staff know the name of the school and they will assist you. Remember, you can also order online. Just select our school name and you will be given the correct items to choose from. As mentioned in the last newsletter, we will inform you of the arrival of the girls’ new shirts and shorts via Compass.
In preparation for next year we ask that you read the following information about footwear.
For both girls and boys black traditional style school shoes are expected to be worn. These may be lace ups, Velcro or ‘Mary Jane’ style shoes. Discussions were held last year, at P&F meetings which led to research and discussions with the school leadership team. It was decided to continue with the black traditional style school shoe for the summer and winter uniforms rather than a black trainer style shoe. We know that there are a number of high quality black sports shoes available however we have chosen to stay with the traditional black school shoes as there is a greater variety of shoes out there for all children that can accommodate the different sizes, characteristics and needs of their feet. Clarks’ Daytona style, for example, has 234 different fittings/sizes available.
“Putting kids into the wrong fitting shoes is a recipe for foot and leg problems. Aside from each foot having a unique shape and function, children's feet are in constant state of change due to growth and stress from sports and play. This means an incorrect shoe fit can alter the way a child's foot moves and develops, says podiatrist Joseph Frankel.”
The following links explain what to look for when purchasing school shoes and how to care for them. The one common piece of advice is to have your children’s feet professionally measured when purchasing the shoes.
In regard to sports shoes the children need to wear white trainers. Skate shoes or ‘athleisure’ shoes are not acceptable as they do not provide the adequate safety and support to your children. Again, sports shoes can be lace ups or Velcro. Please ensure that laces are white.
I am aware that it is easy purchase trainers of many varied colours but these days it is also possible to easily purchase white trainers, as well, as. Stores such as Myer, Athlete’s Feet, Foot Locker, JD Sports, David Jones, Williams, Target, Big W and Rebel all sell them and in a quick online search I found that they range in price from $8 to $120.
Some of the various brands that I have found who have white trainers include: Nike, Adidas, Ascent, Asics, New Balance, Lacoste, Converse, Lonsdale, Fila and Grosby.
Examples of Black Leather School Shoes
Examples of White Sport Shoes
If all white cannot be found, then predominantly white is required with a minimal additional colour.
The additional colour needs to be royal or navy blue, with white laces.
2021 Student Leadership Process
The 2021 Student Leadership Process is underway. During the last fortnight Year 5 students have had the opportunity to nominate themselves for the Student Leadership Team and/or for the role of Sports Captain. This week, focusing firstly on the Student Leadership Team, Year 5 students have voted followed by staff.
We congratulate the 2021 Student Leadership Team:
Miriam Biswas, Eva Cootes, Cate Hayes, Ivy Jones, Bonnie Peterson, Patrick Aguado, Carter Allan, Chase Firman, Isaac Flanagan, Jack Simpson
On Tuesday, these students will present a speech to our school community. Voting for Years 2-6 will follow and the results of this determine who our 2021 school Captains and Vice-Captains are.
Yesterday, Years 2-6 gathered in Sport Colour Houses to vote on Sports Captains.
We congratulate the 2021 Sport Colour House Captains
|Red House||Green House|
|Abby Booth||Lucy Webber|
|Maverick Ford||Zachary McGready|
|Blue House||Gold House|
|Eden Buxton||Shiloh Flynn|
|Isaac Leonard||Oliver Moran|
There will be a symbolic passing on of student leadership at our Year 6 Graduation Liturgy next Friday. This will be live streamed for all in the community. 2021 student leaders will officially receive their badges at the beginning of next year.
Advent Week 1 Prayer
God of Hope,
We ask you to guide us as people of hope this Advent. We pray for our sisters and brothers around the world who are affected by COVID-19. Help us to prepare our hearts for you and to find ways to be hope for others.
In your name we pray,
During the First Week of Advent, we watch and pray, awaiting the Lord’s coming. As we enter the Church’s new year, Liturgical Year B, the season of Advent reminds us that we can look forward to and prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. It is a season of so many things: of expectation, reflection, hope and trust. We are constantly in a state of expectation, always in Advent, so much so that we can miss the present moment where, inevitably, God will be. We have to wait, and Advent reminds us that we are waiting for God. How strange it is to think that in a way God also waits. He always waits for us to come to him for he never forces himself on us, and when we do come to him, he is delighted and will give us many graces.
Thank you to Kinder Blue for organising and leading today’s Advent liturgy. Kinder Gold will be leading us in the second Advent Liturgy next Friday 11th December.
Mini Vinnies Christmas Appeal
Thank you to all the families who have generously donated to the St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal. Our donations will be greatly received.
End of Year Thanksgiving and Farewell Liturgy
On Tuesday 8th December, the whole school will meet under the COLA for a short Thanksgiving Liturgy as we come to the end of this year. Unfortunately, we are not able to have our typical End of Year Mass celebration like usual with the parent community. At this Liturgy we will also acknowledge and farewell two beloved teachers from St Joseph’s who are retiring this year, Mrs Anne Dougherty and Mr Paul Nolan. As a community we sincerely thank them for all they have contributed to our school community. We wish them all the best in their retirement.
Year 6 Graduation and Farewell Liturgy
This year we will farewell our Year 6 class of 2020 a little differently. On Friday 11th December, Year 6 will gather in the Hall for their Graduation Liturgy. This celebration will be Live Streamed to parents and the community, see link below. Year 6 teachers have planned wonderful events Thursday and Friday to celebrate Year 6 on their Primary School Graduation.
Parish Christmas Mass Booklet Drawing Competition
Fr Peter is holding a competition to decorate the front and back cover of the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass Booklet. Students in K-2 are invited to draw their best Christmas tree for the back-cover image. Students in Years 3-6 are invited to draw the Nativity scene for the front cover image. The proforma has been given to students this week. Drawings must be in portrait not landscape. There will be a prize for the two winners. You will see the winning design at the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass at St Joseph’s December 24th. Fr Peter will judge the winning designs. Please return to class teacher or the office by Monday 14th December (Week 10).
- Advent Liturgies led by Kindergarten – Friday Week 8 & 9
Find out all about attending Mass at the St Benedict’s Parish website https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/ or by viewing the latest edition of their bulletin https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/?p=4468
Congratulations to our two teams for 2020, the Merewether Magic and Merewether Masters. Both teams, mainly consisting of rookie members performed very well at the virtual Regional Competition two weeks ago. Merewether Magic received an award for Breakthrough Team. Merewether Masters received an award for Engineering Excellence. The Masters team were also selected as a top team to progress to the National East Competition this Saturday 5th December. We offer our congratulations to both teams who have worked very hard this year in challenging circumstances. Wishing the Masters team all the very best for Nationals tomorrow!
Team Merewether Magic (Year 5): Miriam, Lucy, Sunny, Olivia, Abigail, Lucia, Danial, Angus, Xavier and Aidan
Team Merewether Masters (Year 5 & 6): Georgia, Ava, Bronte, Kaylah, Abbie, Maddie, Cate, William, Liam and Kyle.
Coach: Miss Colvin
PSSA Summer Sports
Congratulations to Isaac Flanagan, who has been successful at the recent Diocesan Tennis trial. Isaac will now progress to the Polding trials for Tennis, which are scheduled to be held in early 2021. Congratulations Isaac on your outstanding efforts!
A reminder that our 2020/21 Swimming Carnival will be held next Wednesday 9th December at Lambton Pool. Only students who have completed their competitor application form will attend (applications for this event have now closed). All students not attending the carnival will remain at school as normal. Mrs Mantach will hold a team meeting today in order to inform all participants of important event information. We look forward to a successful, COVID safe carnival and wish all our competitors the very best of luck!
Swimming Ribbon Presentations
On Thursday 3rd December we were finally able to conduct our ribbon presentation for the Swimming Carnival held in February 2020. We congratulate all of the ribbon recipients and commend our winners for 2020 – The Gold House!!
Please insert photos here
As we are also undertaking a modified carnival this term for qualification for the 2021 Regional Swimming Carnival, as outlined above, the ribbon presentation for this event will be held on Thursday 10th December.
Unfortunately, due to our current COVID restrictions, parents will be unable to attend these events. Pleased stay tuned for photos in the upcoming newsletters.
Swimming Carnival: Wednesday 9th December 2020
Polding Basketball & Tennis: Friday 5th February 2021
Regional Swimming Carnival: Wednesday 10th February 2021
Diocesan Swimming Carnival: Thursday 25th February 2021
Regional Cricket Trials: TBA Term 1 2021
Cross Country: TBA Term 1 2021
Year 2 Blue have participated in some fun and interesting activities during 2020. Throughout the year in Visual Art lessons the students have discovered some great artists such as David Hockey, Vincent Van Gough, Rene Magritte and local artist Trevor Dickenson. Our Year 2 artists have developed skills in sketching, painting, creating collage and weaving. Science and Technology saw the children building a model of a sustainable farm. During our History lessons students researched St Joseph’s Church. Did you know that our first school was opened in 1876 in the original St Joseph’s small stone church? Through their work in Geography, using the wonder of technology, the students were able to travel the seven continents of the world. Weekly sport on our new field has been wonderful. The Skipping Competition was a fantastic opportunity for students to improve skill and fitness. Everyone enjoyed dressing up for our Book Week parade and showing off their crazy socks for Socktober. In Year 2 Blue, 2020 has been a special year to remember.
All outstanding school fee accounts need to be finalised by Friday 11 December.
Howard Ward Music
It's not too late, there are still positions available in our Concert Band for 2021. If your child would like to be a part of our fabulous Concert Band please phone
Howard Ward 0419 663 389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You don't have to buy an instrument, maybe rent (for 6 months) to see how they go.
Most of the rental money paid will come off the purchase price.
From Sunday 13 December there will be improvements to Newcastle Transport timetables.
While there have been no changes to dedicated school service routes, some minor adjustments have been made to timetables to better reflect congestion and actual travel times to and from schools around the Newcastle Transport area.
School students who use Newcastle Transport dedicated school services or regular routes will need to check their timetables to and from school prior to the changes commencing Monday 14 December (Term 4, Week 10).
Information on Trip Planner and other transport planning apps is now available, to align with Transport for NSW’s Trip Planning service. Parents and students can easily check their timetable by following these three simple steps:
- Visit https://newcastletransport.info/plan-your-trip/school-services
- Type your school name into the search field
- Select your school bus route to download the PDF timetable that will be effective from 13 December.
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