Last week we celebrated our Opening School liturgy for 2021 and the investiture of our Year 6 student leaders. The liturgy was a moving one and the key elements that we could all take away from it are in being God’s chosen ones we should clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience and that love should permeate all of this. We were also reminded to have gratitude in our hearts and that in whatever we do, in word or deed, to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. May we all hold these messages close to our minds and hearts this year and act accordingly. Thanks go to all our staff and students who helped to organise and lead us in this celebration; congratulations to our Year 6 students, who I am sure will take on their leadership roles with a great sense of service; and thank you to the family members who were able to come along to witness this special occasion in their young peoples’ lives.
How wonderful it was to have you back on our school grounds for our Parent Information Evening on Wednesday. The teachers very much appreciated the opportunity to share with you their goals, procedures and expectations for the year as well as begin to get to know you. We hope you can now put a face to the name when your children are talking about their various teachers. Tony Petersen, our P&F President, and myself also welcomed the opportunity to talk with you and we both commented on what a lovely atmosphere there was to the night.
If you were unable to make it on the night or couldn’t make it to see all your children’s teachers and haven’t yet received an information booklet please contact the office staff and let them know which class/es you require a booklet for.
A number of families have also expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to reconnect with the school and one another. Thank you for letting us know.
Thanks for the information at the Parent Info evening last night - it was great to hear what the kids are up to. Sounds like there are lots of fun topics planned across the year!
I just wanted to say how lovely it was to come and spend half an hour sitting in the kids’ classroom, seeing what they see, hearing about all the incredible hard work that goes on behind the scenes to teach and nurture them. I was sitting here explaining to my husband all the areas of learning I heard about this evening and I must tell you I was genuinely taken aback by what the kids are learning this year. It really helps for us to know how we can support them in these areas at home.
I just wanted to say thank you so much for allowing us parents to come onto the school grounds and allow us to be informed. It really was very much appreciated.
As parents of a child that started their schooling in 2020 tonight went a long way in making us feel welcomed into the school community.
The information presented to us was so informative, comprehensive and (the) delivery was engaging and welcoming.
Regional Swimming Carnival
Last week I had the privilege of attending our regional swimming carnival at Lambton Pool. Our swimming team, both in their swimming performances and behaviour were a credit to our school. Thank you to all our swimmers for your efforts and sportsmanship. A big congratulations goes to you all.
Each year our class parent network develops a little more. We are hoping that in 2021 it becomes very well established, particularly as Covid regulations are easing. Ideally we would like two parents from each class to volunteer for the role and for these volunteers to work in with their fellow class parents from the neighbouring class in the grade. The role of the class parents is a pastoral one and helps all families to feel connected to the class and grade. Please seriously consider taking on this role, even if you do not know many other families. It is a great way to build up a network.
For more information about Class Parents and the Expression of Interest Form click here
If you are dropping off late, or picking up early, your child you need to use the intercom at the Union Street gate and follow the instructions of the office staff. Generally parents are still not able to be on site unless for a pre-arranged meeting or for volunteer duties, for example uniform shop, canteen or in class. Parents are unable to come on site to go through lost property bins or bring forgotten items. For this reason, please make sure that all your child’s property is very clearly labelled and check that they can recognise their name and/or labels. Forgotten items will need to be dropped off at the Union St gate using the intercom and office staff will collect them and arrange for your child to get them. If the forgotten item is imperative for the day and you can bring it, that is fine, but if your child can manage without the item for the day then we suggest you not come out of your way. This is a great opportunity to teach the children about responsibility as well being one that can save you both time and money.
Union Street gate and Farquhar Street are the only entry points and we have the one-way system that was established last year still in operation. This means in one way, Union St, and out via the Church car park. Please remember to model safe road safety procedures for your children or grandchildren when picking them up and crossing roads or walking through car parks.
5 Top Road Safety tips
- Be alert and aware
Take note of the dangers you come across on your walk and bring them to your child’s attention. Point out dangers, such as vehicles coming out of driveways. Talk to your child about being alert in a road environment.
- Hold hands
When on the footpath, at a crossing or in a car park always hold your child's hand. It is advised to do this up to the age of at least 8 years old and closely supervise until at least the age of 10.
- Choose a safe crossing
Lead by example and choose a safe place to cross the road. Explain why it is the safest place to cross.
- Set a good example
Your child watches everything you do, so if you cross at the crossing they will too. It is also important to share these messages with other carers who may walk with your child to school.
- Stop, Look, Listen, Think every time you cross the road
Discuss this important road safety message.
STOP! one step back from the kerb.
LOOK! continuously both ways.
LISTEN! for the sounds of approaching traffic. THINK! whether it is safe to cross.
Communication consultation is something that will be occurring to further develop our home-school engagement connections. We would like to hear from you as to what you consider are effective ways to communicate with our families. We are aware that there are a number of people who don’t read the newsletter as well as those who do not like Compass; some parents say we communicate too much others too little … so we are very interested in hearing your thoughts around things such as - Compass Newsfeed items as opposed to, or in conjunction with, newsletters or the best use of the school Facebook page, frequency of communications etc. There will be opportunities throughout the year for you to offer your thoughts however please feel free if things come to mind outside of these times to email me with your ideas. In the subject line please use: Communication
Cyber Safety Agreements
Cyber Safety Agreements have been sent home for all students. Please find the time to sit down and read/explain these with your children at a level they understand. Often, when incidents have occurred at school and we remind the students about this document that they have signed they tell us that they haven’t read it and haven’t discussed it with mum or dad. Keeping your children cyber safe is the responsibility of us all so it is crucial that these discussions are had regularly and that your children see that both school and home share the same values and expectations in regards to this area.
Students are continuing to come to school well presented in their uniforms, however one area that needs some attention is ‘hair’. Any student with shoulder length hair or longer must wear all their hair tied back or put up (eg. a bun) not just a section of it. Hair, if it is coloured can only be of a natural colour and not various tones. The main concern we are noticing, at the moment, is hair that is quite long and is falling across the students’ eyes and faces. This poses problems for reading, seeing the board, using their devices and displaying socially appropriate listening habits. Regardless of whether a student is a boy or a girl, long hair such as this needs to be pinned or clipped back and, equally, all students are required to come to school with neat hair. Please support us in these school expectations as it makes it very difficult for your child to be pulled between two different sets of standards.
As mentioned at our recent Parent Information Evening there have been some changes to the procedure for volunteering at schools in our Diocese.
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 1.5) here.
You are asked to read through this booklet and then complete the following pages:
- Volunteer Policy Declaration - page 20
- Code of Conduct Declaration - page 25
- Statutory Screening Selection Tool for Volunteers in Schools - page 26
Volunteer roles include, but are not limited to:
Canteen, uniform shop, assisting in class, excursions, carnivals and sports gala days, assisting with events such as morning teas, Kinder orientation, liturgies, school discos, fun days and events such as assisting with bbqs or school musicals and concerts etc.
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 three 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.
We appreciate that there have been many changes over the last few years regarding this process and ask that if you have any questions regarding this matter to speak to Angela or Gina in the front office.
So, you’re wondering how you can find out more about Cybersafety? Maybe you want to listen to national and international experts on anxiety, building resilience in children and young people and learn more about keeping your kids safe or listen to experts share tips on supporting young people approaching the HSC?
You need to join the Federation of P & F Association Facebook page.
What does the “Federation of P & F Association” do?
The Federation works to strengthen the participation of all parents and carers in Catholic schools in the Diocese and to promote and advance Catholic Education and its excellence. Along with our work in advocacy and supporting Catholic education generally, we regularly invite you to events (currently via Zoom) where you can build you understanding of lots of issues that impact our children….and it’s all FREE!
Use this QR code to get onboard!
For further information E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ray O’ Malley, the President of the Merewether Beach St Vincent de Paul Society has sent us a letter thanking all the students and their families for your generous donations of food that was given to people in need at Christmas time. They were very appreciative of your generosity.
Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)
This fortnight our schoolwide PBL focus is Be Respectful: Include Others.
On the playground, staff are keeping an eye out on how students are including others as they are playing. In the classroom students are learning about the definition of ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’ and having discussions about the associated feelings connected with each of these. It is reinforced for students that including others is important because we:
- celebrate everyone’s differences (their individuality)
- display kindness as we are empowered when we care for others
- want to be ‘shepherds not sheep’ (idea of not following the crowd)
- if we notice exclusion it is each of our responsibility to do something about it.
Please take the opportunity at home this fortnight to discuss how we can all be inclusive with your child.
It is great to see the excitement students are displaying around the Dash tokens so far this year! Sharing weekly tally updates is exciting each Monday morning at our weekly assembly. Our first mid-term final count is going to take place at the end of next week. The winning sport colour house will enjoy a special reward.
Semester One Student Council
Congratulations to the student representatives who were voted upon from Years 2-6 to be part of the Semester One Student Council. I very much look forward to working alongside you as we meet to discuss how we can make St Joseph’s an even better school.
Year 2 Gold
Hamish Mitchell, Layla Pinto
Year 2 Blue
Alexander Bailey, Maya Vickery
Year 3 Blue
Bailar Griffiths, Max O’Donahue
Year 3 Gold
Hayden Craig, Ava Knox
Year 4 Blue
Jonathon Higgins, Audrey Owens
Year 4 Gold
Diesel McHardy, Edie Petersen
Year 5 Blue
Mason Van Huisstede, Isabella De Siqueira Mattes
Year 5 Gold
Luca Wildschut, Eleonor McConkey
Year 6 Blue
Rhys Kelly, Madeleine Lusby
Year 6 Gold
Gizelle Griffiths, Archie Williams
Be an eSafe kid: Fake news, real harms
On the 15th February, Year 6 joined as a grade, to take part in a webinar about being safe online. We did this webinar because on 9th February it was Safer Internet Day.
Year 6 had an activity sheet that had three questions based on what we were learning in the webinar. We had to fill out this worksheet as the webinar was on, because the man hosting the webinar explained the question before we answered.
One of the questions was, “Do you think this website is true or misleading?". The webinar gave us an Instagram post of someone saying that you should not swim in Sydney Harbor because there are sharks.
The point of the webinar is that we all need to be safe on the internet, especially children. Lots of people can convince you to get things but then you do not receive it. This is called spamming.
Doing the webinar has helped Year 6 improve our knowledge of ESafety.
Lucia Minto and Shiloh Flynn (Year 6)
As with all peoples, children have human rights across the full spectrum of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
Because children are recognised as having particular inherent needs and dependencies, they also have particular rights.
Both the Commonwealth of Australia and the Vatican (Holy See) ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1990, this is the central international instrument that underpins both Australia’s and the Church’s approach to safeguarding children.
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s child friendly summary of children’s rights state that children have the right to:
- be treated fairly no matter what
- have a say about decisions affecting them
- live and grow up healthy
- have people do what is best for them
- know who they are and where they come from
- believe what they want
- find out information and express themselves
- be safe
- be cared for and have a home
- education, play and cultural activities
- help and protection if they need it
Source: Maitland Newcastle Diocese Office of Safeguarding website
As a St Joseph’s school community we have a firm commitment to upholding these rights of a child.
Be More Prayer
God of all peoples and nations,
As you accompany us on our Lenten journey,
May our fasting strengthen our commitment to live in solidarity,
Our almsgiving be an act of justice, and
Our prayers anchor us in love and compassion.
Through living simply and loving generously,
May we care for our global family and our common home, as we
“Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
-Saint Oscar Romero
Beginning of New School Year Liturgy
Our community gathered last Thursday 11th February to celebrate the beginning of the school year and pray for God’s blessing for the year ahead. At the end of the liturgy, we inducted our Student Leaders for 2021. Congratulations to our Student Leaders who were presented with their badges. It was wonderful to see the parents and family of these student leaders and celebrate as a whole school.
On Wednesday this week, our school community gathered in the Hall for our Ash Wednesday Liturgy as we commenced the season of Lent. We thank Mrs McMillan, Ms McCalden and Year 4 for their organisation of the liturgy and Fr Peter for presiding. During the liturgy, we also launched our Project Compassion social justice fundraiser. We highlighted the theme BE MORE. Each class received a donation box for Caritas Australia and we invite the children to participate in Lent through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Project Compassion – Caritas Australia
This week the season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday, which also marks the beginning of the annual Caritas Australia Project Compassion Appeal. Donations to Project Compassion allows 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 had a Project Compassion box where the children are encouraged to donate small change. You can also donate online via the Caritas Australia website at: lent.caritas.org.au
Saint Oscar Romero is our inspiration for Project Compassion 2021, so in his words let’s “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”
Who does Caritas help?
We begin our annual Lenten Project Compassion journey by learning about the story of Jamila and her family. Jamila, 22, is a Rohingya woman, living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. A single mother, she fled armed conflict in Myanmar to save herself, her elderly mother and eight-month-old baby.
With the support of Caritas Australia, through Caritas Bangladesh, Jamila was able to access emergency food and shelter. She also received counselling, emotional support and learnt sewing skills, to help her earn an income. Jamila now feels less alone, with a sense of community around her. She is able to ‘Be More’ to her little family.
- 860,494 people remain in the densely populated camps, in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, especially due to COVID-19.
Watch a short film about Jamila’s story here.
“Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”
Sacramental Program Information 2021
The 2021 Parish Sacramental Program (Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Communion) is soon beginning. This year the preparation for sacraments is fully online. Baptised children in Years 4-6 are invited to complete the program. The first step towards involving your child in the sacramental process is to register your interest by completing the online form HERE or contacting the Parish Office on 4979 1101. Once you enrol, you will receive an information packet, which will then assist you to log into MOODLE, which contains all the information about the program, and sign-up forms for the ceremonies. Support is available for parents during this program 7 days per week.
The school is also here to support families during this time. Please contact class teachers or Miss Colvin (REC) if you have any questions.
If you registered for the 2020 Program your enrolment will be carried forward and you will be contacted in the next week. The program will officially commence on March 1st. If you would like to be part of the program, please enrol prior to February 28.
Important Dates (You only need to attend one for each sacrament):
- Tuesday 16 March @ 5:30pm in St Joseph’s Church, The Junction
- Tuesday 16 March @ 6pm in St Joseph’s Church, The Junction
- Tuesday 16 March @ 6:30pm in St Joseph’s Church, The Junction
- Wednesday 17 March @ 6pm in St Peter-in-Chains, Stockton
- Tuesday 23 March@ 5:30pm in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
- Tuesday 23 March@ 6pm in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
- Tuesday 23 March@ 6:30pm in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
- Wednesday 24 March @ 6pm in Christ the King, Mayfield
- Tuesday 18 May @ 7pm, with Bishop Bill at Sacred Heart Cathedral
- Wednesday 19 May @ 7pm, with Bishop Bill at Sacred Heart Cathedral
- Tuesday 25 May @ 7pm, with Bishop Bill at Sacred Heart Cathedral
- Wednesday 26 May @ 7pm, with Fr Andrew at Sacred Heart Cathedral
- 5 June at Christ the King Mayfield
- 6 June at St Peter in Chains
- 6 June at St Joseph’s The Junction at 9am
- 6 June at Sacred Heart Cathedral Hamilton at 9:30am
- 6 June at Sacred Heart Cathedral Hamilton at 5pm
- 19 June at Sacred Heart Cathedral Hamilton at 5:30pm
- 20 June at Tighes Hill at 8am
- 20 June at St Joseph’s The Junction at 9am
- 20 June at Sacred Heart Cathedral Hamilton at 9:30am
- 20 June at Sacred Heart Cathedral Hamilton at 9:30am
- St Joseph’s Day– Our school feast day will be celebrated on Friday 19th March beginning with a liturgy under the COLA at 10:30am. Fun class activities and tabloids will follow after lunch, so children will wear their sport uniform. More information to come.
- Harmony Day 21st March – will be celebrated at school on Wednesday 24th March where the students will be invited to wear orange, rainbow colours or personal traditional cultural dress. More information to come.
Please see the Parish Bulletin for more details and registration for Masses in our area - https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/weekly-bulletins/
Last Wednesday 35 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. Twenty two of our students have progressed to the next level and will compete at the Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan Carnival next Thursday 25th February, 2021. We know that they will participate with great enthusiasm and that they will represent Central Region well. Good luck team!
|Harrison Coppola||Ava Kent|
|Vincent Maxwell||Amelia Coppola|
|Sidney Maxwell||Adelaide Morton|
|Archie Doyle||Ava Knox|
|Jack Jones||Audrey Owens|
|Luke Craft||Bonnie Petersen|
|Domenic Papichio||Ivy Jones|
|Byron Schmidt||Hannah Webber|
|Jacob Flynn||Lucia Minto|
PSSA Winter Sports Trials
Winter Pathway Sports Trials for Netball and Soccer took place last week. The following students participated in the trials:-
Netball: Lucia Minto, Bonnie Petersen, Ashley Heron, Mabel Hainsworth and Edie Callinan
Soccer: Rhys Kelly, Zac Griffiths, Zach McGready, Maverick Ford, Isaac Flanagan, Sienna Friend, Chloe O’Donoghue, Gizelle Griffiths and Abby Booth.
Trials for those students who nominated for Touch Football will be held on Friday 5th March. These students will receive the relevant paper work in the coming weeks.
Diocesan Swimming Carnival: Thursday 25th February
Cross Country: Wednesday 3rd March
Regional Touch Trials: Friday 5th March
NSW PSSA Swimming: Monday 28th & Tuesday 29th March
The CSO, along with Principal representatives, have committed to moving the billing cycle to each family receiving an annual bill. These were distributed to families last week and replaces our current arrangement whereby families are billed school fees over Terms 1, 2 and 3.
The benefit of annual billing is that you will be able to see your full fee obligation for the year from early in Term 1 which will enable you to plan your payments. Please contact our office for assistance.
Your payment method can continue to be via direct debit with the CDF (Electronic form); BPay using the fee statement reference number; credit card over the counter, cash or by QKR.
- Each fee payer can tailor frequency of payments to suit individual circumstances
- Direct debit payment frequency options can be established as weekly, fortnightly or monthly
- BPay can be at your discretion and can be setup as an automated payment
A form from your school is attached to enable families to indicate payment frequency preference. We ask that families complete and return the form to each school in which they have a child enrolled and ensure payments commence prior to 31 March 2021 and are finalised by 30th November 2021.
Some fees such as excursions, incursions, sport, may continue to be charged separately during the course of the year prior to the event being held.
For students that leave our Diocesan school system during the year a credit will be issued. A refund will be granted where payments have been made in advance.
Statements will be issued regularly to allow monitoring of fee status.
Families can be assured we will continue to extend hardship concessions for those that need our assistance to pay their fees in accordance with current special consideration determination.
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