We have made it to the end of what has been a term like no other. Who would have thought when we started school earlier this term that our lives would have changed so dramatically overnight? Though times have been challenging for everyone, over the second half of this term, there have been many funny and heartwarming moments. All of us teachers have a story to tell that makes others laugh about their or their students’ Teams lessons the IT capability level of all staff and students has risen enormously and the way families have got on board with the various events and initiatives we have had has been wonderful.
Though we have not all been at school together this has not stopped us providing quality learning experiences and staying connected with our students and families. We have endeavored to continue to provide our students with experiences that they would normally have when at school and in addition, have added to these as well, in an effort to help compensate for the different schooling practices they have had to experience.
Over these last few weeks, whilst we have been in lockdown we have celebrated Book Week, Indigenous Literacy Day, Australian Reading Hour, the feast days of Mary MacKillop and The Assumption along with recognising the Day of Perpetual Remembrance; fundraised for our school library revamp with a read-a-thon and for Catholic Care with Pyjama Day; acknowledged and blessed our fathers and father figures with a touching Zoom liturgy; provided access to a range of various competitions that suit a range of interests; moved and shouted about with Ricky on his Zoom Music lessons; engaged with reptiles and scientists, authors, illustrators and performers all in the way of virtual incursion and events; and a wonderful reflective week on gratitude. When you read over this list you can see why we are all exhausted but also feeling great satisfaction that as a community we have succeeded in keeping our children at the centre of all we do.
And now it is time for a holiday for us all!
Term 4 Return to School
As the roadmap currently stands, Term 4 looks like this:
- Weeks 1-3 Level 4 settings remain in place.
- Students return to face-to-face learning under Level 3 restrictions:
- 25 October (Week 4): Kindergarten, 1 & 12 return to school
- 1 November (Week 5): Years 2, 6 & 11 return to school
- 8 November (Week 6): Years 3,4,5,7,8,9 & 10 return to school
If there are any changes to this we will inform you towards the end of the holidays when these changes have been conveyed to us.
Good News Stories
I am so proud of our children, our staff and our families and I would love to share some of the rewarding stories and emails that have come my way.
“I also wanted to share how amazing the school community and your students are.
M’s nanny works at a local nursing home and before COVID M would visit the nursing home regularly to chat, draw and keep residents company especially those that don’t have family or get many visitor . M has been doing this since she was a baby and has become very popular with the residents. M was feeling sad that she wasn’t able to visit them so we chatted about ways she could show them that she was thinking about them and she decided to draw them pictures for her nanny to take to work and then suggested that she get her friends to help.
So with this I put a message on the school Facebook page and it’s been absolutely beautiful with the amount of school students that have been wanting to help. We have received so many in our letterbox and we are very grateful and they have all been passed onto M’s nanny to take to work and hand out to the residents.
Thankyou for creating such a great school community it really does fill the heart with hope and happiness.”
“I work with 18 schools across the diocese and the (Virtual Academy) students from Merewether are a standout when it comes to consistency, manners, organisation and a positive attitude. Laura is doing such a great job in her role as GEM, offering plenty of support, regular check ins and such a positive attitude that shines through every word she says. You can’t wipe the smile off their little faces when she is talking to them, it is beautiful to see. They say it takes a village to raise a child and the environment that is offered to these students is making a real difference in the level of engagement and success they are having.”
“The One Note and seamless transition for students (whilst some days are better than others) is a credit to the school.
Resilience levels have certainly been tested by us all but being able to continue education, online Teams and stay connected as much as possible fills the kids cups each day ❤️”
“Thank you for making the current situation manageable… I completely understand that it takes a concerted team effort across all staff in normal times run an effective business and school/education is no different. However, to deliver what you are doing in these more challenging and unique circumstances - we think you are doing a great job.
I think the learning programs have been great which encourages the above, but also delivered in a manner which has been fantastic. There is always going to be hiccups, but there haven’t been many and no major ones (that we have noticed) !!
I’m sure all of the teachers are doing a stella job. We are just letting you know this positive feedback with respect to our teacher and the great work she’s doing. Thankyou – to all at the school as well, as I said – concerted team effort !"
Please also take the time to look at our Facebook page as there are some great pictures there of the way families adopted an attitude of gratitude last week. They are sure to make you smile.
We would really appreciate as many parents as possible completing the Communication Survey that was sent out earlier this week in order to gauge the thoughts and opinions of as many people in our community as possible. This then will help inform future home-school communication practices. The survey will remain open throughout the holidays and we will send a few reminders just to keep it on your agenda. It is anticipated to take 10-15 minutes of your time. Perhaps one morning over a cup of tea or coffee, you could find some time to complete it.
All students can return to school wearing their Summer uniforms. All uniforms can be ordered online with Lowes, including the new, optional, girls uniform of shorts and blouse.
Do you know that feeling when you’re hungry but can’t quite figure out what you want? Something sweet or savory? Crunchy or chewy? You're not sure what you're craving, you just know you want something.
That’s a little how our children feel when they are bored. Their brain is actually craving something. And sometimes they can’t quite figure out what it is. Researchers tell us that boredom is not a sign of laziness or apathy. It's their brain’s signal of a lack of meaning. That’s right! Boredom doesn’t mean your child is simply looking for something to do; it means they are looking for something meaningful to do. That’s why sometimes all the suggestions you offer fall flat. Their brain is craving something that is meaningful to them. The ideas really need to come from their brains.
This is where you can help out. A few well-phrased prompts can help get their creative juices flowing with something that is meaningful for them. Questions like:
"I wonder what kinds of things you could make out of that box?"
"What's something that you haven't done in a while that you really enjoy?"
These can serve as great jumping-off points for all sorts of creative ideas that really mean something to them. Once they get the ideas flowing, there will be no stopping them. Want some more ideas to keep on hand for when your children say, “I’m bored”? Take a look at
and spend some time sharing this story:
The world is literally changing so fast and so is the face of parenting. Whether you are navigating anxiety, stress and overwhelm, or looking for ideas to be proactive with your child, or ways to promote resilience, confidence and independence, an event has been created for you by parents, just like you!
Join 24+ national and international leading parenting & educational experts, with simple, practical tips and ideas that will help you and your child to be resilient, confident and independent! This is all for free.
The Parenting Online Summit is designed to give you practical, simple to implement ideas and strategies to create better relationships with your child, be proactive rather than reactive and grow your child to be resilient, confident and independent.
If you are looking for something for your children to do during these holidays you might be interested in some of these virtual experiences.
Experienced Educators host live sessions online (including Bush School), providing fun and educational activities for the whole family to try in your own backyard.
There are events on each week day throughout the holidays, including Shelter challenges, tracks, trails and treasure hunts, cooking delicious campfire dishes including damper, bush crafts and theatrical performances
Talent Club Holiday Workshops aim to develop a variety of Life Skills and tap on the Creativity in learners, keep them active, with practical activities - specifically crafted programs that can be enjoyed with friends and peers. Outcomes you can expect are:
- Developing a positive mindset towards Speaking
- Gain skills in a fun and interactive way from Debating and Drama Games
- Improve their leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, and self confidence.
At BRICKS 4 KIDZ, we are keen to bring CREATIVITY to your living rooms, inspiring the kids to fire up their IMAGINATION and get BUILDING with our Online Workshops with LEGO® Bricks! We call them “eWorkshops”!
From 20 September to 1 October, we will be hosting several one-to-two-hour online workshops each day. All workshops will be taught in real-time and have been designed by award-winning artists for easy participation at home.
Creative writing workshops for young people aged 6–15.
Fizzics Education is bringing exciting, engaging and hands-on science workshops to all primary aged students.
Why are some people more creative than others? Is creativity something you can practice to improve? Join us while we explore our creativity while playing Scribblenauts, a game where you’re rewarded for discovering the most creative answer to a puzzle! We’ll explore the factors that affect creativity while trying to find out which one of our scientists are most creative!
Have a restful holiday. Thank you for all your support this term. See you in Term 4. Stay safe,
Positive Behaviour for Learning – PBL
We have done our best in continuing to keep PBL on the radar, even during these times. Dash the Dolphin tokens have been awarded digitally for times such as when teachers have seen work that is impressive or when there has been great participation or listening during our daily class Teams meeting. Tokens have also been given out at school for the positive behaviour displayed by the students there. Acknowledging great choices and giving praise when appropriate is important in supporting students as they grow.
We are thrilled to congratulate the Red Colour House for receiving the most tokens in these last five weeks of school. This really is a great achievement!! Students in the Red Colour House will look forward to their reward when we all back at school together.
In Term 4 we will once again focus on 4 specific areas that fit within our school expectations of
- Act Safely
- Be Respectful
- Care for All
- Do Your Best
St Joseph’s, along with all schools in our Maitland-Newcastle Diocese, has been using the Compass App now for a number of years. Compass has many features such as news sharing, recording student attendance and distributing school reports. We have definitely appreciated communicating with our community in this central way over the last few weeks!
From Week 3, Term 4 St Joseph’s will begin using features of Compass that are new to us. One of the features will be the use of Events to communicate news about excursions and to receive parent consent for student attendance of these. This will be one way we work around finding the overdue banana-stained permission note at the bottom of the bag! Another area of Compass Ancestry that will benefit the school will be in regards to finance, especially billing.
We firmly believe that the transition to this new student information and finance system will be smooth. Further information, specifically detailing how it will impact parents, will be shared closer to our change over date.
A note of thanks
Dear St Joseph’s,
On the eve of finishing work for a little while and beginning maternity leave, I’d like to share a note of thanks to the St Joseph’s community. We are very fortunate to belong to such a warm and supportive school family and I have mixed feelings as I step aside to begin this new chapter of my life. To many I have shared how comfortable I feel helping to lead a school of just about 400 students, yet the thought of caring and nurturing a newborn is just a touch foreign to me. Fortunately, for many years I have watched family after family journey through our school community modelling a way of parenthood that I admire. As Lucas and I welcome this bundle of joy into our lives we will take this example with us. For now though, we will begin setting up the nursery, finally deciding upon which pram we’d like and organising for the car seat to be fitted safely (as we can’t leave it too much longer!). I look forward to sharing our baby news with you soon and even hopefully crossing paths at our end of the year celebrations.
Kindest regards always,
World Day of Migrants and Refugees – Sunday 26 September 2021
Pope Francis has chosen the theme, Towards an Ever Wider "We", for the 107th World Day of Migrant and Refugees, commemorated in Australia on Sunday, 26 September 2021. Included in the Migrant and Refugee Lit are stories from local communities, reflections and prayers of the faithful. This useful resource is to assist parishes, schools, families and the other Church communities in celebrating this important event.
Pope Francis writes: ‘We are all in the same boat and called to work together so that there will be no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but only a single “we”, encompassing all of humanity.’ He goes on to say: “…we find many migrants and refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking, to whom the Lord wants his love to be manifested and his salvation preached.”
Let us be encouraged by Pope Francis’ message and show neighbourhood closeness to them in their vulnerabilities. Simple practical kindnesses can generate the “we” of our concern for them. May they not feel simply the “I” of facing their difficulties alone. As Pope Francis prays in his Message: “Bless each act of welcome and outreach that draws those in exile into the ‘we’ of community and of the Church, so that our earth may truly become what you yourself created it to be: the common home of all our brothers and sisters. Amen.”
We welcome the MN Diocesan Schools Integral Ecology Network. A space for information and connection for schools interested and committed to action and advocacy for our common home in the spirit of Pope Francis' Laudato Si.
School will meet once a term for:
- sharing of stories about what is happening in schools in the Diocese
- mutual support and encouragement
- practical strategies for developing sustainability and integral ecology action and dialogue in schools
- growing in our appreciation of the need to care for creation
- assistance with certification with the Catholic Earthcare Schools program
I am our school representative on this network and encourage others to join me. The members of our St Josephs’s Social Justice Group will be meeting to discuss and plan for future initiatives when we return to school.
The Kindness Project
ASPIRE is giving students the chance to share their creative talents in the Kindness Project - a hands on, creative opportunity to express what kindness means to you. Our school has really enjoyed this project and students have been so incredibly creative with their artworks and responses. Many have been submitted to the ASPIRE team. We thank all the students who contributed.
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Sharing Students’ Work
A kindness letter
I decided to LIVE KINDNESS in my community to help people remember how it feels to be loved and to unite again, because this is where we will become powerful in learning to live with this virus. I wrote a letter and bought chocolates and put them in letterboxes around my community, hoping my act of kindness would help others to remember unity.
I am a 10-year-old boy in your community, when COVID began I was eight.
Then, it felt like we were in it together. Now, it feels like we are fearful, angry and divided.
John Lennon imagined a world where we lived as one. He said ‘maybe I’m a dreamer’ and maybe I am too, but I dream of a world where we are stronger because of this virus and the division, united by love.
I hope my chocolate helps you remember the power of love and kindness!
Maybe you could dream of this world too?
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy of you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today.
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace, You
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world, You
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
Look, watch, view and share these beautiful kindness clips
Try some of these fun activities in the holidays
Arts and Crafts
Hands of HOPE
National Child Protection Week is a campaign held annually across Australia to raise awareness of child abuse prevention. This year’s theme was: Every child, in every community, needs a fair go. To treat all of Australia’s children fairly, we need to make sure every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy
This year, our students were asked to consider who their safety network is: 5 trusted adults you can talk to about anything. 5 trusted adults who will always listen. To help spread this message to our students and community, we worked to create a “wall of hands” at our front gate. The purpose of this experience is to encourage students to think about who they can trust and open the conversation about what it means to feel safe and secure. We added "fork & spoon" people to our display to represent the people who were on our hands. Go to our Facebook page for more photos.
Please see the Parish Bulletin for more details and registration for Masses in our area
The 2021 Premier’s Reading Challenge has closed. These students completed their challenge recently Oliver D, Henry L, Lila K, Harriet M, Otis C, Gabriel F, Katharina M, Adelaide M, Ella W, Miller C, Spencer S, Hamish S, Shloka T and James S.
Congratulations everyone who completed the challenge this year.
Library Books – if students are present at school on any day they may return their books to the library and borrow new titles.
Happy holidays and happy reading!
1 Gold News
I am so proud of all the wonderful work that Year 1 Gold have done this term! Everyday I look forward to seeing their beautiful smiles and hearing their voices on our Teams meeting. Sometimes it is like being back in the classroom when someone screams, “There is a spider” or calls out, "I just lost a tooth." We have celebrated many birthdays and sang online. I am amazed at how skilled the children are becoming on the computers. They even help me when I’m having technical problems. “Mrs Delore we can’t hear you! You are muted!”
Year 1 Gold would like to thank all the Super Mums and Super Dads who have juggled home, work and helping us with our home learning. It must feel like you are back at school in Year 1. Spot the artwork!
During Week 8 we celebrated Gratitude Week. We had fun participating in a variety of Gratitude activities.
Here are some of our favourite things that we have done in home learning and are grateful for.
Some of my favourite things have been making an obstacle course in my house, planning a camping trip to The Great Barrier Reef and setting it up on the deck and making fruit kebabs to learn about patterns.
This is Adelaide and these are all my favourite things that I liked doing in home learning.
I really loved seeing everyone in our Teams meetings.
I liked sending emails to each other and when we did Typing Tournament.
I also loved making stuff in Art and Craft time.
I hope we can see everyone soon and we can do face-to-face learning again.
My favourite home learning activity is Maths because I like adding up. I also liked drawing my superhero picture in home learning.
I have really enjoyed participating in the science experiments over the last few weeks and my favourite activity was making the relaxation jars.
I like being able to use the computer.
My favourite activity in home learning has been finding things in my garden and around my house to make a natural mandala.
My favourite thing in home learning is doing all the art.
My favourite thing is playing at home.
My favourite thing is doing craft because I can "make a story". I like telling stories through pictures and craft projects. I made myself an award for reading fluently.
My favourite thing during home learning was making the bookmark for my prayer journal, drawing the friends of 20 flowers and dressing up for the fairy tale day.
My favourite home learning activity is the decodable readers because I like reading. I like these readers because they are interesting and some of them are funny. My favourite character is Nip because he’s always happy and has a cheeky grin on his face.
I also liked the online book week parade. My favourite online class meeting was getting dressed up and playing the character guessing game.
I liked dressing up for book week as the Very Cranky Bear. I also liked the Maths games and the fairy tale writing.
My favourite thing about home learning is going to the Teams meetings, because we get to see our friends and answer questions.
My favourite activity was geography when I made a camp with a spa bath for the three bears.
My favourite activity was drawing myself as a superhero.
I liked doing maths with chalk because I love doing maths and science. I like getting my hands dirty.
ASPIRE is the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools Office's creative and performing arts program. The application to audition for 2022 ASPIRE is now online. Please see the attached links for further information regarding auditioning for the design, drama, vocal, dance, instrumental and production ensembles.
Audition information can be found at https://aspire.mn.catholic.edu.au/join-us/2022-auditions/ and also on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CSOaspire.
If you want to know more about what ASPIRE is please view https://youtu.be/NmtwRUmO5m0
To audition for ASPIRE students need to complete the online audition form on the ASPIRE website: https://aspire.mn.catholic.edu.au/join-us/2022-auditions/ Please note due to COVID restrictions auditions cannot be face to face and students will be required to submit a video audition.
Unless otherwise stated, the advertisements placed in this newsletter are placed by independent third parties who have no legal relationship with the Diocese. The activities or services of the advertisers are not supervised or controlled in any way by the Diocese. The Diocese is not in a position to endorse the advertisers or the services provided and makes no representation about those matters. Accordingly, the Diocese cannot accept any responsibility for the advertisers or the activities or services that are the subject of these advertisements