Thank you for coming along to this week’s ‘Meet the Teacher’ evening. It’s a great opportunity to get a feel for what is happening in your children’s classes this year and the aims and expectations of the teachers. Sessions like this also help you to make connections with the teachers so that you know who your child is talking about when they are sharing stories at home, whilst it also does the same for the teachers, allowing them to make connections when your children are talking about their families.
Thank you also to those parents who joined us at our Opening School Mass last week. It’s always a special experience when we gather together as a community to begin the new school year and the presence of parents adds to this, particularly for those students who received their badges and blessings for their student leadership roles.
Our Kinders have settled well and they are all especially excited this week to tell anyone they meet as to what class they are in, since this week saw them go into the two distinct class groups for the first time, as opposed to one large group.
Focus areas for 2020
As I mentioned at our ‘Meet the Teacher’ evening, our key areas of focus this year are:
Writing and Vocabulary development
A goal is to further improve student outcomes in writing. Upon analysing student writing samples and other data sources we recognise that this is an area that we can work on to make a difference. One way we intend to help bring about this improvement is through the support of pedagogical mentors to work with our teachers.
The Pedagogical Mentors are highly effective, skilled classroom practitioners who will work with school’s leadership team to act as a catalyst for change, and who will work with fellow teachers to build their capacity to improve student learning.
All Pedagogical Mentors will be supported to implement a coaching approach in their role and will also be supported with ongoing Diocesan professional learning and networking opportunities to assist them in this role.
Here at St Joseph’s we have two Pedagogical Mentors for 2020, Mrs Leanne Skinner and Mrs Nicole Charnock. We are very fortunate to have such keen and capable staff who are excited about undertaking this new position. Both Nicole and Leanne will work with class teachers and the leadership team over the course of this year, focusing on Literacy, and writing development in particular.
Positive Behaviour for Learning
The purpose of this focus area is to help create an environment that, in a positive way supports children to learn, allow others to learn and provides a safe environment for our whole community. Please read Renata Powell‘s, Assistant Principal section, that explains more about PBL at St Joseph’s.
Faith formation for students staff and parents
This is the third focus area for us this year. This differs from our formal religious education teaching with the children, as it is about deepening our personal spirituality and sense of faith. Over the next two years all grades will participate in a spiritual retreat, our staff will begin the first year of a planned three year faith formation program and for the parents we will be providing an opportunity each term for you to join Helene O’Neill for a faith nurturing experience in a childfree and stress free environment.
Professional Learning Teams
This is where the staff will collaboratively work together together, using evidence to improve student learning.
Class Parent Network
The Class Parent Network complements the role of the P&F Association drawing parents more fully into our school community. Its purpose is to promote a pastorally supportive environment between home and school. The class parents are a support person for the class teacher, parents and new families to the class. The Class Parent Network can also support our families who are in need of assistance through illness, bereavement, new baby etc.
Class parents also co-ordinate simple social events for their year level, such as play dates in the park in the holidays or a parents dinner or family game of barefoot bowls. It is a great way for parents to meet and for you to get to know the families of your children’s classmates, with whom you will be sharing the journey in a special way.
Ideally each class has two class parents and in turn these class parents form a team, liaising with their own group of parents and teachers, as well as with the P&F and school leadership team.
Being a class parent requires minimal time and work and you will be supported in the role. If you are interested in volunteering to be a class parent please complete the form using the link below
On Wednesday evening I also spoke about how a goal for our staff, as well as our students, this year is to further develop our Growth Mindset. Carol Dweck is the professor and researcher, whose book I read a little from. She defines mindsets as:
Fixed Mindset “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.” (Dweck, 2015)
Growth Mindset “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2015)
Whether a student holds a fixed mindset or growth mindset significantly impacts their learning experience—from primary school to high school. Students that hold a fixed mindset give up when they can’t solve a problem and admit defeat. This can be detrimental to students’ future efforts and leads to limited student growth. With a growth mindset, students continually work to improve their skills, leading to greater growth and ultimately, success. The key is to get students to tune into that growth mindset.
One way we can help our children develop a growth mindset is through praising them using language that doesn’t just make them feel on top of the world for a minute or two but that has more long lasting effects.
This means that it is best as teachers, parents and coaches to avoid praising talent or intelligence and rather praise what they have accomplished through their practice, efforts, study, persistence and good strategies.
Here are some examples that I promised I would share with you from Carol Dwek’s book, “Mindset - How You can Fulfil your Potential” (pp177-178):
I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that maths problem until you finally got it. You thought of a lot of different ways to do it and found the one that worked!
I like that you took on that challenging project for your science project. It will take a lot of work– doing the research, designing the model, getting the parts and building it. Boy, you’re going to learn a lot of great things.
I know school used to be easy for you and you used to feel like the smart kid all the time. But the truth is that you weren’t using your brain to the fullest. I’m really excited about how you’re stretching yourself now and working to learn hard things.
That homework was so long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it.
That picture has so many beautiful colours. Tell me about them.
You put so much thought into that piece of writing. It really makes me understand things in a new way.
The passion you put into that piece of music gives me a real feeling of joy. How do you feel when you play it?
And for those students who worked hard and didn’t do well:
I liked the effort you put in, but let’s work together some more and figure out what it is you don’t understand.
We all have different learning curves. It may take more time for you to catch onto this and be comfortable with this material, but if you keep at it like this you will.
Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find a way that works for you.
Remember - praise should deal not with a child’s personality attributes but with his or her efforts and achievements.
In regard to safety for all your children we ask that you please close Union St gate behind you when entering the school. This is particularly important of a morning. If you use Kiss and Drop instruct your children to shut the gate after them, even if it was left open when they came through.
With the Farquhar St gate, it is unlocked at 8:25am each morning and locked again at 9:05am. As the boys' toilets are quite close to this entry point we will not be unlocking them until the gates are locked at 9:05am. Please remind your boys that if they need to use the toilet before school that they should go to the new toilet block in the Quad playground.
Soccer Boot Request
Please read the DARA flyer attached to this newsletter. A request is being made for any preloved soccer boots that no longer fit your children to be donated so refugee kids can have the opportunity to play soccer and be part of a team.
|25 February||Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Stall|
|26 February||Ash Wednesday - Mass St Joseph's Church 9.15am|
|27 February||Diocesan Swimming Carnival|
|28 February||Year 6 attending Mass|
|1 March - 7 March||Catholic Schools Week|
|6 March||World Day of Prayer|
|6 March||Year 2 Grade Sharing Assembly|
Student Council Update
On Thursday, 13th February, the new 2020 Semester One Student Council had its first meeting for the year. The meeting was expertly chaired by our two school captains, Nina and Max. The Student Council discussed different ideas that were suggested by their classmates. Initiatives such as changing the bell music, pumping up school soccer balls and introducing a slushie day were put forward. The council discussed and prioritised these ideas.
Some Student Council members also volunteered to form small groups to perform short skits about how or when to use the Buddy Benches. Stay tuned for these at morning assemblies over the next few weeks!
Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)
Throughout 2019, St Joseph’s was on a journey of becoming a Positive Behaviour for Learning school. Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) is a comprehensive, integrated whole school approach to student wellbeing and behaviour. PBL is a process that supports school leadership teams to create positive learning environments that enable student learning and wellbeing.
Successful implementation of PBL is underpinned by the support and commitment of the whole school community.
PBL is based on a three-tiered continuum of prevention and intervention:
- Tier 1 - Universal prevention: school-wide and classroom systems for all students, staff and settings.
- Tier 2 - Targeted interventions: small group systems for students at-risk behaviourally and academically.
- Tier 3 - Intensive interventions: systems for students with high-risk behaviour and/or learning needs.
From extensive consultation with students and staff, four expectations for positive behaviour were identified. They are:-
- Act Safely
- Be Respectful
- Care for All
- Do your Best
Dash the Dolphin is our specific school PBL mascot and in the weeks to come we’ll be organising special Dash signage. This signage around the school is to promote positive behaviours, but also to prompt conversations if a student isn’t keeping to the expectations.
Later in the term you may also hear of your child receiving a ‘Dash token’. These tokens will be given out by staff as they see students doing the right thing. Twice a term, as the tokens are gathered in sporting houses, we’ll be rewarding the colour house which has the most. These rewards might be as simple as a picnic lunch on the field, extra playtime or an ice block. We’re hoping that this creates some excitement amongst the students as it is another opportunity for students to be recognised for following our four school expectations.
Being a PBL school, staff and last year's Student Council reflected on and formulated a flowchart to follow if students do not keep to one of our expectations. This flowchart asks staff to define ‘minor’ and ‘major’ incidents and details a consistent procedure for all to follow. Please take the time to read over the flowchart.
It takes time to implement such a school wide initiative and having the support of all members of our school community is crucial to its success. We also recognise that PBL is something new for the community and there may be implementation challenges. This is something that we will be journeying through together. Over the coming term we will be sharing with students about St Joseph’s being a PBL school and really focusing on the positive aspects of acknowledging positive behaviour in the classroom and the playground.
Coming into the season of Lent, our Mini Vinnies team has organised a fundraiser for the launch of Project Compassion by holding a Pancake Day for Shrove Tuesday 25th February. During recess, we will be selling pancakes for $1. The options will be served plain, with maple syrup or strawberry jam. Please notify the office of dietary requirements by Friday 21st February. We would greatly appreciate parent volunteers to assist with this from 11:30am. Please let the office know if your available to help. Thank you for your support.
Next Wednesday 26th February, we will be celebrating the beginning of the Lenten Season with our Ash Wednesday Mass at 9:15am at St Joseph’s Church, led by Fr Peter. Thank you to Year 5, Miss Slattery and Mr Nolan for help organising the Mass. All are warmly invited to join us for this Parish Mass. It will be great to see you there.
The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which also marks the beginning of the annual Caritas Australia Project Compassion Appeal. Donations to Project Compassion allow Caritas Australia, the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, to work with local communities around the world to alleviate poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice. We encourage you to put your compassion into action this Lent through your prayer, fasting and almsgiving by supporting Project Compassion. Each class will receive a Project Compassion box for their donations, or you can donate online via our website at lent.caritas.org.au
Let’s Go Further, Together!
Here are some ideas for those people who would like to do more rather than less this Lenten season.
- Pray – Making a vow to pray throughout Lent can help you connect with your faith.
- Compliment Others – Most people like being complimented, and hanging out one compliment a day can help make someone’s day a little brighter.
- Smile – It’s hard to be upset when smiling. Even if it’s a gloomy day, finding a reason to smile can help make the day more bearable.
- Listen – It sounds easy, but in an age where everyone is glued to technology, listening is harder than some might think. Making time for conversation can be relaxing and lending an ear, without interruption, can help someone who needs to talk.
- Attend church – This one goes along with praying. While most make sure to attend church on major holidays, make a promise to wake up early enough on Sunday to go to church, could be a good way to follow through with penance.
- Volunteer – For those with a little extra time, lending a helping hand at a local shelter, nursing home or hospital will benefit those in need. Not a people person? Most communities have animal shelters that could probably use a volunteer.
- Eat Healthier – Most people might give up ice cream and fast food. Making a promise to eat more vegetables could improve health overall.
The Parish Sacramental Program has begun for 2020. It is great to see so many children, particularly in Year 4 enrolled this year. If your child is not yet registered, it isn’t too late! Please register on the Parish website https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/sacraments/
The information session went well on Tuesday night, if you could not attend but require the information provided, please see Mrs Pringle in the office for a copy. The next important date is Tuesday 10th March, the Commitment Ceremony at Sacred Heart Cathedral 6pm, followed by a sausage sizzle. Families are invited to formally present their children and declare their commitment to the program.
Reconciliation modules begin:
- 29th March - Reconciliation mini-Retreat @ SHC 4pm (45 mins) then Mass and sausage sizzle post Mass.
- 31st March - St Joseph’s, 1st April Stockton, 7th April SHC, 8th April Mayfield, 2nd rites with parishioners.
Confirmation modules begin after school holidays:
- 22nd May - Confirmation Retreat @SHC – school day.
- 26th & 27th May - Confirmation @ SHC all candidates together by Bishop Bill.
Holy Communion modules begin:
- 21st June FHC Mini Retreat @ SHC 4pm 45 mins then Mass and Pizza in Toohey room post Mass.
- 27th & 28th June - First Holy Communion in their parish community.
Catholic Schools Week – Monday 2nd March marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. Student Council will be leading us in liturgy in the Hall beginning at 9:15am. Please stay tuned for more events coming up during Catholic Schools Week.
St Joseph’s Day – Our school feast day will be celebrated on Thursday 19th March beginning with a liturgy in the church at 9:15am. Activities will follow later in the day. More information to come soon.
Harmony Day - We will be celebrating Harmony Day Friday 20th March as a school community. Lots of fabulous things are being planned for the day and details will be made available soon.
Newcastle Inner City Catholic Community - Weekend Mass times
Sacred Heart Cathedral – Vigil Saturday 5:30pm, Sunday 9:30am and 5:00pm
St Joseph’s, The Junction – Sunday 9:00am
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Tighes Hill – Sunday 8:00am
St Mary’s, Newcastle – Sunday 7:30am
Last Wednesday 44 students from St Joseph's represented our school outstandingly at the Central Region Swimming Carnival held at Lambton Pool.
The swimmers demonstrated great sportsmanship in and out of the water. Seventeen of our students have progressed to the next level and will compete at the Maitland -Newcastle Diocesan Carnival next Thursday 27th February, 2020. We know that they will participate with great enthusiasm and that they will represent Central Region well. Good luck team!
100m Open Freestyle, 12 years 50 m Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly, 200m IM & Senior Girls Relay
100m Open Freestyle, 11 years 50 m Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly, 200m IM & Senior Boys Relay
100m Open Freestyle, 12 years 50 m Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly, 200m IM & Senior Boys Relay
100m Open Freestyle, 11 years 50 m Freestyle, Breaststroke & Senior Boys Relay
8 Years 50 m Freestyle
8 Years 50 m Freestyle
9 Years 50 m Freestyle, Junior 50m Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly, Junior 200m IM & Junior Boys Relay
9 Years 50 m Freestyle
10 Years 50 m Freestyle
10 Years 50 m Freestyle & Junior Boys Relay
10 Years 50 m Freestyle & Junior Boys Relay
11 years 50 m Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly & Senior Girls Relay
11 years 50 m Freestyle & Senior Girls Relay
12 years 50 m Freestyle & Senior Boys Relay
Junior 50m Backstroke, Butterfly
Junior Boys Relay
Senior Girls Relay
Swimming Ribbons Presentation
Our presentation of Swimming Ribbons for our school Swimming Carnival is scheduled for Friday 27th March at 2.20pm. Families are warmly invited to join us on that afternoon.
Isaac Flanagan will be representing at the Polding Tennis Trials this Friday 21st February. We wish Isaac the very best of luck for this event!
Congratulations to Max Mitchell, who has been selected to progress to the Diocesan Cricket Trials on Friday 13th of March.
We wish Max all the very best for this upcoming trial!
Regional Winter Sports Trials
Regional trials for the sports of Netball, Soccer and Rugby League will get underway this Friday 21st February. We would like to wish the following students all the very best for the trials and look forward to hearing of their results in our next newsletter.
Netball: Ruby Watson, Nina Amidy, Ashley Heron, Mabel Hainsworth
Soccer: Domenic Papichio, Maverick Ford, Zac Griffiths, Peter Higgins, Bronte Bowker, Raphyte Molinia, Gizelle Griffiths, Sienna Friend, Olivia Halverson
Rugby League: Ollie Russell, Chase Firman
On Wednesday, 18th March, students from Years 2-6 will be participating in the Cross Country event at Empire Park, Bar Beach.
All students will be walking to Empire Park at 8.50am, where we have an estimated starting time of 9.10am.
Please see below for a schedule of the races.
- 8 and 9 years (2kms)
- 11 years (3kms)
- 10 years (2kms)
- 12/13 years (3kms)
The fastest three runners from each age category will be selected to represent St Joseph's at the Diocesan Cross Country event early in Term 2.
Please ensure your child brings their asthma puffer, hat, adequate water for the event and that they have applied sunscreen before school.
Further, considering the timing of the event, several classes may be returning for a slightly later lunch. Our canteen volunteers are aware of this and will make appropriate arrangements.
Next week will put a call out via Compass looking for parent volunteers for the morning. Please consider if you are available.
Please feel welcome to come along and also spectate on the day!
St Joseph’s Cross Country Committee
Winter Sports Trials – Friday 21st February
Polding Tennis Trials – Friday 21st February
Diocesan Swimming Carnival – Thursday 27th February
Diocesan Cricket Trials – Friday 13th March
Cross Country - Wednesday 18th March
Diocesan AFL Trials – Thursday 19th March
Regional Touch Football Trials - Thursday 26th March
Swimming Ribbons Presentation – Friday 27th March
Year 4 Blue have had a fantastic start to 2020!! We would love to share with you some information and photos about what we have been learning and some of the challenging and enjoyable tasks we have been completing. We are having such a great time. Every day is super busy and fun.
Our Aboriginal art activity showed that we are all different. It was really fun. – Edie
I really enjoyed using cotton buds and dabbing the paint onto the paper in our Aboriginal art. – Milla
I liked doing the Aboriginal art because it turned into a pattern and looked nice. It was great doing it with the whole class. – Aurelia
I am so excited about using computers to go on Studyladder, Sound Waves and iMaths and OneNote– Mabel
I liked designing and drawing the Aboriginal artwork. – Halle
I enjoyed looking at the Aboriginal artworks and learning about all the extinct animals and plants. – Zara
I liked doing the Aboriginal art. – Angus
I liked doing the Aboriginal art. We learnt that Aboriginal people don’t leave any gaps, they fill it with dots of paint. - Rex
I have liked bringing my own computer for work. - Elliot
I enjoy going on the computer and using iMaths, study ladder and soundwaves. – George
So far I am really enjoying Boot camp. Every day we go outside and do some physical activity- Theo
I am so enjoying working with new kids that weren’t in my class last year. – Heath
We drew and painted pictures of what we did in the holidays. I went mountain biking. - Spencer
I have enjoyed boot camp because it a good way to cooperate with other kids you have not been in a class with before. – Jacob
I really like going on my laptop and doing maths investigation challenges. – Tom
I really liked using the cotton buds to do the dots on the Aboriginal art painting. I drew circles and then did the little dots inside the circle. Zenon
This year I have been enjoying Boot Camp with my friends. I like to come back into the cool classroom to do art. - Mateo
I am having a lot of fun learning new things, like times tables. – Hannah
I am finding learning about Aboriginal history is interesting. In PE I am enjoying Boot Camp. –Ashley
I have enjoyed using the laptops to go on Sound Waves, Studyladder and iMaths. I have also found it exciting to practice typing on the computer. – Skylar
I really liked when we were reading ‘My Place’. We had to write about the characters, how old they were, what year it was and if they referred to the fig tree. – Miller
Maths is more interesting as it’s harder than Year 3. – Christiaan
I am enjoying maths and I am trying to get better at times tables. – Clancy
I am enjoying the challenging maths challenges and working in groups to solve problems. - Harry
I am enjoying working on the maths activities about measuring with my friends. - Luca
I enjoy doing maths challenges – Isaac
I enjoy studying Aboriginal art and completing art projects. I love times tables races. – Tomas
I love art and working with friends to solve problems in maths-Eve
Students from Kindergarten to Year 6 have had a fun and exciting start to 2020 in their new Music classes with Miss Parker. This term, all classes are exploring beat, rhythm and tempo at different levels. Working with their love of movement and vocalisation, students explore the difference between beat and rhythm, as well as creating their own rhythmic patterns. Percussion instruments will be utilised to further extend student knowledge and understanding of these concepts.
This week, Year 4 Blue began organising rhythmic symbols using the Kodaly method. They created their own patterns to share with classmates and the teacher. The patterns were made of three new symbols, that is, a crotchet, a pair of quavers and a crotchet rest. Students know these as ‘ta’, ‘ti-ti’ and *silence with arms out* respectively.
Studies have shown that the Kodaly method improves rhythm skills, music literacy, and the ability to clap and sing in increasingly complex parts. Outside music, it has been shown to improve perceptual functioning, concept formation, motor skills, and performance in other academic areas such as reading and maths. As Year 4 Blue continue their musical journey, they will begin to delve into pitch and dynamics.
Miss Parker congratulates Year 4 Blue on their enthusiasm and effort during all Music lessons.
Please keep an eye out for your class to be featured in the following newletters!
After 4 years of involvement in the running of the school canteen it is time for me to hang up my apron. Thank you for all the people that have helped me along the way and that continue to volunteer in the canteen. Also a huge thank you to Kelly for her enthusiasm and dynamic approach in the running of the canteen as Canteen Manager. But as I leave this position the P & F do need someone to take over my role. With Kelly now taking care of all the day to day running of canteen and rosters it is purely a liaison role with Kelly, Karen and the P & F. It is by no means a large time commitment and if anything a great way to be involved in school especially if you have a keen interest in that area. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or if you would like to take on this role. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or if you see my around feel free to grab me for a chat. Maegan Boyle
Below is the canteen menu for Term 1
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