We are very excited about this coming week. We get to see all our youngest students return to face to face teaching and collectively I think staff, parents and children are doing a happy dance about this. I am aware that Gerard Mowbray, director of the CSO, has communicated with you about return to school details along with a Q&A sheet. Upon reading these, if you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me throughout this coming week.
Specific Details to St Joseph’s are:
- We request that morning drop off is spread out between 8:25am and 8:50am. If it looks like there are a few children entering via union St gate and you are in the car, please drive around to the Farquhar St drop off or vice versa.
- Afternoon pickups have staggered locations. We will have both Union St and Farquhar St Kiss and Ride operating. This is the safest practice, and we encourage you to use this wherever possible. If you need to walk or cycle to collect your child, please do so via the parish car park gate. We will implement the practice that we had operating last term at this gate, where we use our walkie talkies to call your children to come out and meet you. To speed this up we ask, if you can, to bring along an A4 sized piece of paper or card with your children’s names clearly written on it and the teacher on duty can quickly read and call their names out. We were finding it difficult to always hear correctly when we are all wearing masks.
- If your child is going to be wearing a mask at school, please teach them how to put it on their wrists when they are eating or drinking otherwise, they run the risk of leaving it laying around and potentially someone else begins to wear it of they pick up someone else’s to wear.
- Playground supervision rosters and locations have been formulated to help minimise large cohorts of children being together.
- We ask that you continue to keep students from Years 2-6 at home until the following week when our entire staff will be back on site too provide face to face learning as well as cover playground supervision duties.
- If your child receives support from an allied specialist such as a speech and language therapist or occupational therapist, they will be able to return on site from Monday 1st November and we have informed the providers of this.
- Unfortunately we are unable to have our extracurricular specialists such as guitar, band, piano, violin, singing or Mandarin recommence until further notice.
Our school psychologist, Sharon Beckett, has organised some very useful resources that may help you to help your children transition back to school over the next week or two. Please take some time to look at these and use with your children if or when you feel it is appropriate.
I am so thrilled to let you all know that this week Renata Powell became a mother. Her and Lucas have an absolutely adorable baby boy they have named Oliver Joseph. Oliver entered this world on Wednesday afternoon weighing in at 3.6 kg
and 52 cm long. Ren and Lucas are absolutely besotted with their young man and both baby and mum are doing well. We hope that before the year is out, we get to see baby Oliver in person. Congratulations Ren and Lucas, we are thrilled for you both.
- Whilst Ren is on leave for the remainder of this year and all of next year Mrs Nicole Charnock will be in the acting Assistant Principal role and Mrs Bel Parkes will continue to teach 3 Gold with Nicole.
- The Primary Coordinator role that Nicole held will now be filled by Mrs Leanne Skinner. Mrs Anne-Maree Mantach will teach 1 Blue each Wednesday and Thursday.
- Miss Zoe Parish will take over the Pedagogical Mentor role that Nicole also held. This requires Zoe to be off class one day a week so Mrs Di Dan will cover 5 Gold on this day, which will generally be a Wednesday.
- Mrs Tracy Grant, who has taken 4 Blue for Mrs Donna McMillan’s Religious Education coordinator release will start her maternity leave this week. Di Dan will also cover Donna’s coordinator release for the remainder of the year. Tracy and her husband will be welcoming their second child into their family early next month. We look forward to hearing of their exciting news when the time comes. Perhaps we need to start a creche for babies of staff members at the rate we are going this year!
Whilst in lockdown last term a great many of our students engaged in our school read-a-thon that our Year 4 team of parents organised for us. We congratulate those children who participated in this fundraising event. The two competitions that were held as part of the read-a-thon were to design a book cover and a bookmark. We are very pleased to announce that the winners of these two competitions are:
K – 2 Book Cover: Marcus Yau
K – 2 Bookmark: Grace Williams
Years 3 – 6 Book Cover: Eva Cootes
Years 3 – 6 Bookmark: Emma Shrewsbury
These children will be presented with a $25 voucher on their return to school as well as have their designs printed in our 2021 Year Book and all participants will receive one of these bookmarks professionally printed.
Overall we raised a total of $1 775. This money will go towards the redevelopment of our library as well as a donation to support the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Thanks to all those families who support us with this school activity. A very big thanks to the group of Year 4 mums, Vanessa, Rebecca, Carmen and Mihaela for their great work in getting this off the ground and ensuring that it went ahead. Well done ladies!
Tell Them From Me Survey
All parents/carers at St Joseph’s, Merewether are invited to contribute to a community consultation survey. The survey is now open and will close on Friday 29 October 2021.
The survey is anonymous, voluntary and easy to use. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and covers parents’ perceptions of the school’s support for learning, positive behaviours, and the promotion of safety and inclusion.
Students in Years 4–6 will also participate in the survey during an allocated timeframe once they return to school. If you returned the non-consent note sent to you at the end of Term 3, your child will not complete the survey.
The insights we gain into parent and staff communication, activities and practices at home, and parent voice on the school’s support of learning, faith formation and behaviour will build an accurate and timely picture that schools can use for practical improvements.
This is your chance to provide valuable feedback about your school and support school planning and future direction and we welcome your participation, suggestions and comments. The school community will receive findings and proposed actions for improvement following completion of the survey process.
Click here to access the online survey.
Newcastle Permanent Maths Competition
Students in Year 5 and 6 participated in an online version of the Newcastle Permanent Maths Competition on Thursday 7th October during their scheduled class Teams meetings.
This year’s competition was comprised of 5 sections. Section 1-4 were all multiple choice. Section 5 consisted of 2 short answer questions.
Both students and teachers found the new Google Form format to be very user friendly. Students reflected that the competition certainly had its challenges, but they had all strived to achieve their very best.
As in previous years the Newcastle Permanent will be in touch with the school in November with official results, invitations to presentation days and certificates for all students.
Free "Raising Healthy Minds" App for Parents and Carers
The Australian Government has launched a new, free phone application with information, ideas and guidance for parents to help them provide additional support to their child’s mental health and wellbeing.
The Raising Healthy Minds App was developed by the Raising Children Network as part of its program to support parents’ mental health literacy by building knowledge and confidence concerning the social and emotional wellbeing of children.
Each year, more than 300,000 Australian children experience a mental health disorder, and diagnosis and treatment at an early stage is important because it can reduce the length and severity of the problem.
Parents can play a crucial role in early diagnosis and this new app will give parents and carers the confidence to recognise early signs of social or emotional problems and help them to seek support if it’s needed.
The app is targeted towards parents with children aged 12 years and under and includes information on health, development and wellbeing based on the child’s age. The app also includes information and support for parents and carers to ensure they are looking after their own mental health and wellbeing.
Download the app here
Positive Behaviours for Learning (PBL)
During Term 4 we will continue focusing on our four PBL expectations:
- Act Safely
- Be Respectful
- Care for All
- Do Your Best
Teachers will continue to give tokens out remotely to students learning from home, as well as in person, to students who are at school.
Our PBL focus this fortnight is Act Safely – Be Sun Safe. This is a big focus as we move into the warmer months of an Australian summer. During PBL lessons, students are identifying:
- What is meant by “Sun Safe”?
- Why is being Sun Safe important?
- How can we be Sun Safe at school?
Staff will be sharing a PowerPoint that we would have used in class to discuss the importance of being Sun Safe. It may be a conversation starter for you and your child/ren. Below you will also find a couple of links to videos which reinforce these concepts. Hopefully they are useful too.
The last 70 odd days of lockdown and remote learning have proved a challenge but have come so much easier with the fun quirks added making this whole experience a lot better. From showing Lego models and signed baseballs on Show and Tell Day, to meeting everybody’s furry, feathered and scaly friends on Pet Day, everybody has been left with smiles on their faces and belly aches of laughter. Despite being kept at home, we’ve found a way to connect and see each other’s beaming and yet sleepy faces on a regular basis on our everyday Microsoft Teams check-ins, ignoring the fact that most of us waist down are in pyjamas. We were so grateful that we were able to have a one-on-one session with the illustrator of ‘Dry to Dry’ Liz Anelli through a spectacular Zoom meeting. Our weeks have been packed with so many interesting, fun, challenging, different activities and what has made it better has been our teacher is there at the end of the week playing ’The Friday Song’ giving us the motivation to finish our last Maths equation of the day. Overall, the motivation and opportunities of remote learning have been so awesome, and we are forever grateful but I’m sure I’m speaking on everybody’s behalf when I say, we can’t wait to get back. Daisy
At St Joseph’s, we get lots of good things that maybe other schools don’t have. But when you add school-wide activities like pyjama day, and Teams meeting activities like pet day and scavenger hunts, we’re actually incredibly lucky. I honestly sometimes find it hard to juggle normal life and after-school activities, but add in schoolwork, can do activities, and extra things, and it gets a bit crazy! But it has been good to be getting work done in our own time, whether that be faster or slower than normally. Maybe somewhere in the middle but we all can work at a different pace. And I would say that, yes, home-learning is different but different is fun and enjoyable. Because we are all different, but we are fun and learning is enjoyable. That’s part of what makes home-learning special and interesting to me. - Emma
Dress up days online, showcasing furry felines and perfect pups in front of a screen, and staying waist-down in our pyjamas while learning has proved home learning in Year 5 to be an enjoyable, organised, and educational experience for us all. Each morning, our Teams meetings are a great way to connect with faces we have not seen for a while, and after the explanation of the day’s schedule and a mini lesson, we are usually side-tracked by something fun!
As has been shown with almost 72 days of lockdown, one main advantage of home learning is the freedom to be independent and self-organised during all activities. This has been enjoyed by many of the Year 5 students this year, but I think most would agree that they can’t wait to be back at school! - Eleonor
Socktober Mission Month
Head, Heart, Hands
Through the rich resources and learning pathways developed for Socktober by Catholic Mission, students first get their heads around the reality of children in developing countries.
Our 360 virtual reality experiences, first-hand storytelling from partners, and formation activities throughout Socktober fill students’ hearts with love and compassion for the people we are supporting.
This compels us to use our hands to take action. We pray, advocate for and financially support children in need, in whatever way we can.
Socktober is, first and foremost, a means through which we can celebrate World Mission Month in October, and an important component of this celebration is liturgy to reflect on the efforts of mission partners around the world and pray for them and the communities they serve. All classes celebrated a liturgy to begin learning this term and to reflect on the Mission work in the world. Throughout Socktober 2021, we will be learning about, praying and advocating for and raising funds to support vulnerable children in Thailand and around the world.
Socktober Crazy Sock Day
On Wednesday 27th October, St Joseph’s will once again be celebrating Crazy Sock Day as part of Catholic Mission Month and Socktober. We are encouraging all students and staff to wear crazy socks. Families are asked to donate to this very worthy cause via the QKR app.
The class who raises the most will have a class reward of extra playtime or a movie afternoon in Week 6. The winning class will be announced on Friday 29th October 2021.
This occasion raises funds for Catholic Mission through the Sock it to Poverty campaign. Catholic Mission reach out, give life and call all people in the world to faith, justice and love.
Please donate to this very worthy cause either with cash donations or via Qkr. If you use QKR for your donations please enter them under “Other school Activities”, Socktober Mission Month 2021. This link will be available on Qkr until Monday 1st November 2021.
Your support is very much appreciated as together we help our students learn about helping those in need.
Social Justice Art Exhibition 2022
Family Ministry Corner
Find God in all things.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola discovered that God is present in every time and place. God has been with us in the past and is present in what we think are mundane realities of everyday life. Is this a typical washing day at your home? How am I going to find God in all this mess? How can one boy or girl have so many clothes?
“Two more loads and we should be ready to get to school,” mum yells over the music video as she moves the whites into the dryer and picks up another basket of clothes.
“What are you worried about? We always get to school on time !’
He/she gives mum one of those what are you worried about, Mum? looks that has been mastered since Kinder.
Family life can nurture the skills needed for growth, consideration and a harmonious life. It can offer a safe haven and be the place of positive voices. Families can cultivate and give to each other the gift of being enough. When a child, or even an adult, has a sense of being loved and enough, life is easier. It becomes easier to figure out what voices matter. It makes one feel whole and content. And it just might get the dirty washing delivered to the laundry!
I guess you can find God’s presence in all this mess after all.
PARISH - FAMILY LIAISON OFFICER, DIOCESE OF MAITLAND - NEWCASTLE
Please see the Parish Bulletin for more details and registration for Masses in our area
Representative Summer Sports
At this stage, it is looking hopeful our students will have the opportunity to trial this term for regional representation in the following sports: basketball, touch football, cricket and tennis. Diocesan trials for cricket, touch football & softball will be held next year while tennis and basketball are planned for this year.
Due to Covid regulations, parents will not be allowed to attend trials & will be asked to drop children at the venue without entering, although this is subject to change. Each of these trials will be subject to following strict Covid safe plans.
Students must be talented and experienced in the chosen sport as this is only for representative trials.
Tennis players MUST be able to independently score their own games, including tie breakers.
The regional trials will be held in time to progress to diocesan trials in November and further in 2022 and are only open to children in Years 4 & 5. Parents must also commit to travelling with their child to further trials, if they qualify, in 2022. The Polding trials for 2022 are in Tamworth. Students will be competing against others from both classes and, where selection is close, preference tends to be given to older children.
More specific information will be sent home, dependent on the chosen sport. Regional trials will all be held at a variety of venues in Newcastle and are subject to change according to Covid restrictions.
If your child would be interested in participating please complete the nomination form (found on Compass) and return to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 22nd October, so that we can organise a school trial if required. Students who are successful at the school level will be given paperwork and further information as soon as it is available.
Thank you for your understanding that these trials are subject to change at any time but we are very hopeful that we will be able to get back to providing these opportunities.
Design your own Cricket Bat Competition
The Newcastle Junior Cricket Association is inviting all students across Newcastle & Lake Macquarie to enter their ‘Design your own cricket bat’ competition. There are prizes available for individuals, as well as the school that has the highest number of students who enter. All the details are contained in the attached document.
We can’t wait to welcome all of our students back to the library.
Could you remind your children to bring their library books to school on their first day back, please?
Borrowing days will continue to be Kinder and Blue classes on Monday, Gold classes on Friday.
Mrs Collins & Mrs Drabble