St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Letter from the Principal

Tuesday March 24th 2020

Dear Families

It is hard to believe this is the final newsletter for Term 1. We have had many rich educational experiences for our children. It is with deep gratitude I say thanks to our staff. I am incredibly fortunate to work alongside such a dedicated and committed staff. They work very hard to ensure your children have the very best educational experience. They develop strong relationships with the children in their care and constantly reflect on how they can improve as educators. As a staff we are grateful to our parent community. Our children are fortunate to come from such loving and supportive homes. As always we have welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with our families. Your unwavering support helps us to be good at what we do. Finally to our beautiful children at St John the Baptist. From our Preps who now know the routines of school all the way through to our Year 6s who are displaying great leadership across so many facets of school life we say thankyou for being you. We love coming to school each day and watching you grow and flourish. 

Randoms Act of Kindness

In light of all the negative news stories I think it is equally important that we tell positive stories too. There are always so many random acts of kindness that we often witness in times of crisis. Last week I heard of a story where a family decided that rather than taking more groceries for themselves they went and donated the groceries they had to a family that were struggling to feed their family. On another occasion I witnessed an elderly gentleman searching for paper towel and a stranger went up and handed over his paper towel. Simple actions that have profound impact on others. Let us be a people who spread kindness as we try to be more Christ like in our words and actions.

If you witness or hear of any random acts of kindness please email through your story so that I can include these positive stories of hope in our newsletter. 

Champion of our School

What an exciting game it was on Friday night as we watched a former student of St John the Baptist and son to our wonderful Ange Cavarra and her husband Sam, Ben debut for the Bulldogs. It was quite a dilemma for the Collingwood supporters of our school (yes that’s me!) as to where our loyalties were on the night! Congratulations to Ben on a fantastic debut game where he kicked his first AFL goal. Ben is such an example to us all that if you keep believing in yourself, work hard, and are persistent and resilient dreams really do come true!


We are certainly facing much uncertainty with the spread of the Coronavirus across our world. I have included some tips in this week's newsletter that you may find helpful. I pray that all in our community stay healthy and safe in these coming weeks. 

Conversations with children and young people

Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss news of the virus with those in their care in an open and honest way.

Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament.

It is important to listen to any questions they may have, and to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned.

If the media or the news is getting to be too much for them, encourage them to limit their exposure.


Below you will find a range of key resources, including videos and tips for young people, to help promote ongoing wellbeing and good health across our school community:

A prayer for our community at St John the Baptist

We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.

We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.

We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.

We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs

For as long as it takes wherever You call us.



Education Ministers met last week and decided that NAPLAN will not proceed in 2020. The NAPLAN test window was scheduled to be held from 12 to 22 May. All Education Ministers acknowledge and thank all of our school leaders, our teachers and support staff for the essential work they do every day educating our children and young people, particularly during these challenging times. They are all playing a vital role in managing the response to COVID-19. Education Ministers reiterated that the National Cabinet has agreed, on the advice of the chief health and medical officers, that “pre-emptive closure of schools are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time.” The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 has been taken to assist school leaders, teachers and support staff to focus on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education, including potential online and remote learning. Further, the impact of responses to the COVID-19 virus may affect the delivery of NAPLAN testing, including the operation of centralised marking centres and the implications for nationally comparable data if an insufficient number of students are available to do the test. The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 also means that the scheduled testing of the NAPLAN Online platform, known as the Coordinated Practice Test (CPT), will not proceed. Ministers acknowledge the work that departments and schools have undertaken in preparation for the anticipated CPT which was due to commence next week on 23 March. Education departments and systems will continue to closely monitor health advice and work with schools to ensure appropriate support for students and staff as the response to COVID-19 develops. 

Term Dates

As you know we have started our school holidays early for students. Our staff are continuing to work this week at school designing at home learning. At this stage our Prime Minister Scott Morrison is saying schools will return as scheduled on Tuesday 14th April for staff and Wednesday 15th April for students. As the situation is changing so rapidly I will continue to communicate with families over the holiday break to keep you informed. I wish to reassure all in our community that we will continue to provide a quality education for your children whether that be here or at home. Take care everyone and stay safe and well. I am thinking and praying for you all. 

Lost Property

The school holidays are a good time to make sure all clothing is properly labelled from hats to jumpers and to make sure your child hasn't inadvertently picked up the wrong  jumper etc.  We have a lost property tub in the P&F room if you have misplaced an item.

Parish News

Dear People of our St John the Baptist Community,

Please know that you are all special to us and are being prayed for on a daily basis. It is sad that for the time being we will not be able to gather in our church to celebrate Mass together.  However, we would still love to stay in touch with you during this very challenging time. At this stage we are still planning to produce a parish bulletin and have it available to read on our parish website  if you would like to read it.  You may also like to join our parish email list to receive any updates, reflections or prayers that we might send out. Please email the parish office:-
if you would like to do this so that we can keep in touch.

Cheers & Blessings
Carolyn Sombekke
Faith Development Coordinator;
St John the Baptist Parish

P&F Sponsors

St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully