This week we welcomed back Mrs Gabbie Hawthorne (Miss Carney) from her honeymoon. Kinder Gold had a terrific time with Mrs Cathy Bone and we are very grateful to her for filling in for Gabbie. The children were very pleased to see Mrs Hawthorn back and to try out her ‘new name’ and find out all about her wedding. Congratulations Gabbie and Kyle, we hope your wedding day was everything you dreamed of.
We would also like to welcome Mrs Treena Francis to our staff for the remainder of this year. Treena will be working in Year 5 Blue each Friday while Laura Slattery undertakes her Gifted Education Mentor role.
The Leading Learning Collaborative is a diocesan Catholic Schools Office initiative that began last year with Lynn Sharratt, a Canadian educator, researcher and author. This week, the leadership team engaged in a two day professional learning experience further developing our understanding of how to increase all students’ achievement through professional collaboration, building collective capacity and building a common language of improvement.
We found this learning to be highly relevant to what we are aiming to do here at St Joseph’s and it has given us much to think about and consider in our aim to build every staff member’s capacity and to develop every learner’s development.
Last week our school was host to the Successful Foundations sharing and collaboration day. All schools involved in this Early Learning action research project came together to share, discuss and reflect on what Successful Foundation looks like in their schools. These teachers also had the opportunity to observe our Kindergarten and Year One children in play and discuss their observations and wonderings in a facilitated conversation. Kim Moroney, our diocesan Early Learning Education Officer organised the day and she has written to thank our children for their help with the teachers’ learning, which I would like to share with you here.
Our early years learning spaces and resources were the envy of many teachers and we are very proud of not only the children in these year groups but also the staff.
Dear Kindergarten and Year One children at St Joseph’s Merewether,
Last Thursday I brought my Kindergarten teacher friends from 31 different schools to have a meeting at St Joseph’s (yes, I have a lot of friends ?)
We had a wonderful day! What made the day extra wonderful and totally unforgettable is that the teachers were able to watch you play in your beautiful classrooms and on the playground.
WOW!!! It was the best part of the day! I want to send a BIG thank you to each of you.
Sometimes adults don’t understand how incredibly important play is for children. Sometimes adults don’t understand that when you play, lots of learning is happening and you get to think and wonder and make decisions and have fun and feel happy and good inside. You get to make friends, share, laugh, talk, listen and go on an adventure. The teachers at your school understand how important play is and so do the teachers that visited you. By observing you play, the teachers were able to understand more about play; so if we think about it…..you were able to help the teachers learn. That’s pretty cool!
You are clever and kind! You are creative and thoughtful. You are each unique and have a special purpose in this world.
Thank you very, very much!
With LOTS of special wishes,
We are very excited to bring back the annual St Joseph’s Easter egg raffle. The request for raffle donations are as follows:
Kinder & Year 1 – packs of medium size hollow Easter eggs
Years 2 & 3 – Small hollow Easter bunnies
Years 4 & 5 – Small packs of solid Easter eggs
Year 6 – Single medium to large hollow Easter eggs
Please ensure that all eggs have been placed in the class baskets by next Friday 26th March.
All tickets and money need to be returned by Tuesday 30th March. If you would like more raffle tickets please contact the office.
The Raffle will be drawn in the afternoon of the last day of term, Thursday 1st April.
We are still in need of class parents for some classes. If you can assist with this please complete an expression of interest form here by this coming Monday 22nd March.
We need class parents for:
2 Blue, 3 Gold, 4 Blue, 4 Gold and 6 Blue
Our next P&F meeting will take place on Monday 29th March at 6 pm in the school library or via Zoom. If you have any items for the agenda please email them to Karen Stathis, the P&F secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Following a recent diocesan survey, parents and carers listed concerns about Cybersafety as one of the top three topics they would like more information about. The Federation of P & F Associations has listened and is proud to offer a FREE online presentation specifically for parents and carers of students enrolled in Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
They are delighted to announce that former detective Brett Lee will present specifically for us on 30 March at 6.30pm.
To register, please click the link here
This presentation will also be available to those who register for 5 days following the event.
Please note: To register for this event, your details will be collected by Internet Safe Education. Further details about Internet Safe Education can be found at https://internetsafeeducation.com/
A number of parents would like to assist with school activities however they’re not yet approved as a volunteer. If you feel that you would like to assist throughout the year and haven’t yet applied, please see the process required.
If you wish to volunteer, or think you might like to volunteer, at some stage, at St Joseph's please collect, or download, the latest Volunteer Induction Handbook (version 1.6).
You are asked to read through this booklet and then complete the following pages:
- Registration Form - Page 16
- Volunteer Policy Declaration - page 20
- Code of Conduct Declaration - page 25
- Statutory Screening Selection Tool for Volunteers in Schools - page 26
Previously all volunteers were required to have a Working with Children Check (WWCC). This is no longer the case if you are a close relative (see p.26) of a student enrolled at the school where you will be volunteering (other than the three exceptions outlined in the flowchart on p.26). All ‘close relative’ volunteers are, however, required to have a National Police Check (NPC) which is arranged by the diocese once you have submitted the three above mentioned documents.
Any volunteer that has already completed the NPC last year are still cleared to volunteer, however everyone else will need to resubmit their handbook and receive clearance. If you are unsure whether you have completed the NPC please contact the school office for confirmation. There are quite a few parents on our list that have a WWCC number however very few with the NPC. Until this is done, we are unable to involve you in any school-based volunteer activities.
We have been told that most hold ups in this process are due to the incorrect completion of forms. Please check that you have completed all four documents, responded in all the necessary sections and signed all forms. Once you have done this, please return the completed forms to the school offices and we will submit them to the diocesan HR-Volunteers team on your behalf.
Have a safe and dry weekend,
|23-26 March||NAPLAN online practice testing|
|24 March||Harmony Day Celebrations|
|24 March||Polding AFL Trials|
|26 March||Student Lead Tours - 2022 Enrolments|
|29 March||P&F Meeting - 6pm School Library|
|29-30 March||NSW PSSA Swimming|
|1 April||Holy Week Liturgy|
|1 April||Easter Raffle|
|1 April||Last day of Term 1|
Please note the following dates are scheduled for Staff Development Days later in the year and subsequently will be Pupil Free Days:
Friday 18th June, Friday 25th June and Friday 16th July
Promoting the Safeguarding of children: We each have a responsibility!
Here in our Maitland Newcastle Diocese the Office of Safeguarding have compiled a number of resources to support the safeguarding of children. These are very practical resources that support parents in their own knowledge and understanding, as well as providing age appropriate resources for their children. Some resources are short Youtube clips of songs about ‘safety’ you could watch with your children, whilst others are aimed at providing parents with ideas on how to best begin discussions about safety online. This is an excellent bank of resources we encourage you to look over. These links can be found below
Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)
Do Your Best: Learn and let others learn!
During our Do Your Best focus, students are learning how to do their best through learning and letting others learn. At St Joseph’s we highly value learning and we are focused on our own desire to be active learners. We do this by fostering a great love of learning and mastering new skills. PBL lessons over this fortnight will outline ways each student can make an effort to be a creative learner. Lessons will also focus on the importance of how our behaviours impact the learning of others in the classroom too.
In the classroom we are highlighting the importance of respecting others’ right to learn by working quietly, listening, staying focused, asking for assistance and challenging ourselves. We aim to complete our set work tasks with quality and attention to detail. When working collaboratively we are learning to be great listeners, to take turns and ensure we actively contribute. This means that we respect different points of view and we are inclusive of all members in our group.
If you have an opportunity, please discuss these concepts with your children.
Students are enjoying taking their class tokens to the colour house boxes and watching the numbers rise.
Special thanks to our dedicated Sports Captains for counting our tokens.
San Clemente Year 7 2022 Open Day
Next week, all schools are required to participate in a national NAPLAN ONLINE Practice Test during the NSW Test preferred dates of 23 March – 26 March 2021. This will take the form of two tests, an Omnibus and Writing (Year 3 will participate the omnibus only. Omnibus is a combination of Numeracy, Language Conventions and Reading).
- It is an opportunity for dioceses/schools to test their IT and support structures – i.e. a dress rehearsal for the real event.
- The window is far enough away from the real test event that any issues identified may be remediated appropriately.
- It is an opportunity for a national platform resilience test.
- The practice test provides a good opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with the test platform.
Excessive preparation for NAPLAN Online is not recommended. Students and parents can use the public demonstration site ACARA NAPLAN Demonstration Site to familiarise themselves with the types of questions and tools available in the NAPLAN Online tests. If you have any questions about NAPLAN Online, please contact your child’s teacher.
NAPLAN testing fortnight for 2021 is the 11th - 21st May.
Last Monday Year 6 participated in the eSafety Webinar for National Day Against Bullying and National Day of Action 2021. We learnt what bullying can look like and how to report it.
We were also taught what to do if you or someone else was being bullied, how to be an upstander and how to fix the problem. The eSafety Commissioner told us an example of an “incident” and what happens when you do the wrong thing and how it affects the person. Here are some examples of what we learned.
- 85% of bullying “incidents” involves bystanders.
- Bullying has been shown to stop within 10 seconds when bystanders take positive action.
Here are some useful links you can use to report bullying:
- Bullying no way! - https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/
- E Safety Kids - https://www.esafety.gov.au/educators/virtual-classroom/be-esafe-kid-being-upstander
- E Safety Guide - https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/esafety-guide
By Xavier Mulley and Domenic Papichio
Pope Francis’ Prayer to Saint Joseph
Year of St Joseph
Pope Francis on December 8, 2020 published an Apostolic Letter Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), commemorating the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father proclaimed a “Year of St Joseph”, running from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021. Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.
St Joseph’s Day 19th March
The Feast of St. Joseph – the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus is celebrated each year on the 19th March. God called Joseph, a simple carpenter, to care for and protect Mary and Jesus. With great faith and trust, he accepted God’s call. St Joseph sets a good example for us all. Joseph showed us how to love, how to care for others and how to put the needs of others before himself. St Joseph is often shown in artworks with the symbol of a lily. The whiteness of the flower represents Joseph’s virtue, holiness, innocence, and obedience to God as well as Joseph’s faithfulness to Mary.
Our school community celebrated this special occasion on Friday with a whole school liturgy, classroom activities and whole school games tabloids organised by Year 6 (however, due to the weather, tabloids have been postponed until Week 10). Thank you to Year 1 for organising our liturgy.
The theme of Harmony Day is “Everyone Belongs” and we will be celebrating our diversity on Wednesday 24th March. Thank you to Year 3 and Mrs Jenny Bowen for organising our liturgy and class activities. Students are invited to wear orange, rainbow colours or personal traditional cultural dress. We hope to see a sea of orange and rainbow colours to show we all belong here! We will also celebrate with a very special lunch order option on Wednesday: Indian, Mexican, Italian and Asian (Our thanks to Mrs Brand in the canteen for her efforts to cook such delicious food!).
Parish Sacramental Program Commitment Ceremony
Congratulations to the children in Years 4 and 5 who are commencing their preparation in the Sacramental Program for 2021. These three sacraments: Reconciliation, Confirmation and Holy Communion continues and completes the journey of initiation the children started at their Baptism. As a community we pray for each child’s journey ahead. May the experience deepen their faith and may they feel even more fully God’s limitless love.
- Holy Week Liturgy
Our school will celebrate a special Holy Week Liturgy on Thursday 1st April at 12:15pm in our school Hall and we thank Fr Peter for presiding. All are welcome to attend (please COVID check-in at the office) and recall the events of this most important week in the church year.
Please see the Parish Bulletin for more details and registration for Masses in our area - https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/weekly-bulletins/
Congratulations to Elliot Mole and Chase Firman who have successfully qualified for the upcoming Polding AFL trials. Selection at this level would see the boys represent in the NSW Polding Team. We both the boys every success in the upcoming trial.
Congratulations to Harrison Coppola, Byron Schmidt, Jacob Flynn and Archie Doyle who successfully qualified for PSSA in the 50M Junior Relay. The boys came 2nd at the Polding carnival held today.
Diocesan Cross Country Update
The 2021 Diocesan Cross Country Carnival will be held on Tuesday 27th April with a back up date of 4th May. A venue is still to be confirmed. As soon as we have this information, we will forward it on to the families of all competitors.
Diocesan Touch Football Trials
Congratulations to Chase Firman, who has qualified for the upcoming Diocesan Touch Football Trials. Chase has proven himself to be a multi-talented sportsman, currently representing St Joseph’s in many areas. We wish him the very best for the upcoming trial.
Diocesan Winter Trials
Due to wet weather, trials for soccer, hockey and league have been postponed until the backup date of Thursday 25th March. Netball will go ahead as planned as it is an indoor event.
Diocesan Winter Sport Trials (Soccer, Netball, Hockey) Back up: Thursday 25th March
Polding Swimming: Thursday 25th March
NSW PSSA Swimming: Monday 28th & Tuesday 29th March
Term 2 Dates:
Diocesan Touch Trials: Wednesday 21st April
Diocesan Cross Country: Tuesday 27th April
School Athletics Carnival: Wednesday 5th May
Central Region Athletics Carnival: Friday 11th June
Students in Year 4 Blue are working hard and enjoying learning each day. We have embraced our school BYOD policy and are using our devices to support and enhance our learning.
In our Maths unit on Measurement and Length, we researched ways we can measure length.
Our investigation project was to create a long flying paper plane. We each made 3 and flew them to establish which one we would submit to the ultimate class challenge. We then gathered and flew them off the 1936 building balcony. What a blast!! The paper planes performed well in windy conditions and we measured their flying distance in metres and centimetres.
In Year 4 we have are enjoying increasing our typing skills using the Typing Tournament program. This program actively promotes the use of the right fingers on the right keys and supports us towards using two hands effectively on the keyboard.
We are really enjoying reading the story My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. We have each taken on a project inspired by the presentation of the book. We are researching, designing and writing our own two pages based on events in the year 2020.We have also used the Google Earth App to find locate own homes. We sketched their images and framed them for display.
Our first unit ‘Jesus Ministry” helps us to see Jesus as our Friend, our Teacher, our Saviour and our Miracle Worker. We enjoyed exploring the stories in the Bible and relating these to our lives.
This term in Creative Arts we have been trying new techniques with water colours. Using these techniques, we have created incredible Aboriginal artworks that tell stories.
Year 4 have spent time identifying strategies to create healthy and active environments. We have analysed our patterns of physical activity over time. We have worked on completing food and exercise diaries to map our activity. Boot Camp sure is keeping us fit!
Science and Technology
Our unit this term has seen us investigating the power of the sun and what happens when the Earth revolves around the sun. We are excited to be now working on our sun projects- “How can the sun help us tell the time?” This week we will research sun dials, the most common form of measurement before the mechanical clock was invented, and then we will plan and design our own working sun dial.
Our virtual excursion to the State Library was very informative and really helped our class to gain an insight to life as a convict and to the experiences of the Aborigines. We created our own data walls with the vocabulary that we heard and this helped us to remember so many details to write about.
CONGRATULATIONS St Joseph’s community for attending choir in such large numbers! We’ve been inundated with new singers over the past two weeks and I can’t tell you how impressed I’ve been.
‘Our first few weeks of COVID Safe Choir has been awesome!
It is so amazing to see all St Joseph’s singers together again for another great year of singing.
I can’t wait to sing my way through 2021! ?’ – Ivy J (Senior Choir)
Due to the sustained large numbers we are reintroducing our Junior and Senior Choir Sessions each week at school. These two sessions will allow us to look at different topics for each choir and ensure we’re singing safely through the year.
Senior Choir (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6) will rehearse at lunchtime in the hall, while Junior Choir (Years 1 and 2) will rehearse during recess in the hall.
It’s so nice to be returning to our normal singing activities here at St Joseph’s and we’re thrilled that our keen singers are showing such a commitment and joining us each week for some vocal fun.
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